As part of West Point’s Officer Professional Reading List (.doc), they include the Top Ten Military Classics. While there may be a few quibbles with the selections, most military historians would agree with this list. As such, any aspiring student in the history of warfare should read these classics.
Here is a look at the quickest methods for accessing these classics, some of which are free on the Internet.
On War by Carl von Clausewitz
Some Principles of Maritime Strategy by Julian Stafford Corbett
Corbett’s work is available free online.
History of the Art of War Within the Framework of Political History by Hans Delbruck
Delbruck’s work first became available in English between 1975 and 1982 with affordable paperbacks in 1990. The titles were rebranded to focus only on war, but the content is the same. There is no free online version unless you are fluent in German. Instead, you will need to purchase a copy of volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4. Luckily, Amazon has some very cheap, used copies.
The Command of the Air by Giulio Douhet
The Dino Ferrari translation is the most recent translation. There is no free version online.
Battle Studies by Ardant Du Picq
West Point refers to the translation available in the second volume of Roots of Strategy, but there is a free translation available as well.
The Art of War by Antoine Henri Jomini
West Point refers to a modern translation, but there is a free translation available as well.
The Art of War by Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783 by Alfred Thayer Mahan
While there are some modern editions, the original language is in English, which is readily available free.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
The Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
There are numerous versions of Thucydides available online. However, this book benefits from modern translations.
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