Military History Publications By Women

Grace Person Hayes, The History of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in World War II: The War Against Japan, Naval Institute Press, 1982. If you have an interest in World War II, strategy, and strategy-making and have not yet read this, I highly recommend it.

Lists of suggested and recommended books continue to be popular in national security and strategic studies circles. General Mark Milley, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, recently released his professional reading list for 2017. This list covers topics addressing battles and campaigns, the army profession, and strategy and the strategic environment.

While the extended list comprises many relevant and notable works, some readers pointed out that it contains only one work authored by a woman, Barbara W. Tuchman’s classic The Guns Of August, published in 1962. In response, a call went out on Twitter to solicit titles of books by women on military history subjects. The initial version of this list is posted here.

This list of books on military history (and other related topics) is not exhaustive, nor the only one available, but it amply demonstrates that in 2017, there really is no shortage of worthy and appropriate publications written by women available for inclusion on professional reading lists. The addition of any of these titles would provide a broader perspective to any undertaking specifically intended to expand the thinking of students and practitioners.

It also shows that women are publishing works that are interesting in their own right but don’t seem to be getting the recognition that they deserve. Like Eric M. Murphy, I took a look at my own personal book collection and realized just how few of them were written by women. I am reasonably certain that I don’t intentionally avoid buying books by women, but I have tangible proof that I have done so regardless. I have read or am familiar with many of the works on the list cited above, many of which I can and have recommended without reservation. But there are also many titles that I have not yet looked at, so I have some work to do. I can do better at this and if I find something noteworthy, I can pipe up about it. I think we all can.

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Shawn Woodford
Shawn Woodford

Shawn Robert Woodford, Ph.D., is a military historian with nearly two decades of research, writing, and analytical experience on operations, strategy, and national security policy. His work has focused on special operations, unconventional and paramilitary warfare, counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, naval history, quantitative historical analysis, nineteenth and twentieth century military history, and the history of nuclear weapon development. He has a strong research interest in the relationship between politics and strategy in warfare and the epistemology of wargaming and combat modeling.

All views expressed here are his and do not reflect those of any other private or public organization or entity.

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