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"Which 10 books do you think everyone should read ?" Topic

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19 Jan 2015 1:11 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2014 10:47 a.m. PST

Bustin' out of the which books should gamers lie about reading poll – which IMHO is as perverse a topic as I can imagine (I've read war & peace – should I lie and say I haven't ? Why ?).

Let's try it this way – if you reflect back on all the books you've ever read which 10 should people read ? Not neccessarily the most "fun to read" – I'd maybe put The Feynman lectures on physics on the list, but it's hardly a side splitter !

Thinking caps on – list of 10 and off we'll go !

Pictors Studio17 Jan 2014 10:57 a.m. PST

History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
Sparta and Persia by Lewis
Discourses on the First Ten Volumes of Titus Livy by Machiavelli
Two Treatises on Government by Locke
Commonwealth of Oceana (at least the first book) by Harrington
Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut
At least one collection of short stories by Saki
The Bible by various
Catcher in the Rye by Salinger
The Iliad by Homer

If the collection of short stories doesn't count as a book then I would put Anthem by Rand in there instead.

USAFpilot17 Jan 2014 11:37 a.m. PST

The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut
Chronology of the World – Isaac Asimov
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco

Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut17 Jan 2014 11:53 a.m. PST

Plato's Republic

Space Monkey17 Jan 2014 11:54 a.m. PST

I don't think I can come up with 10.
The Bible for sure, not for the spiritual aspects but because it underlies so much of our culture that it seems ignorant to not have some idea of the actual book.

The Illiad and The Odyssey and some version of Gilgamesh… just to touch on how our ancestors viewed the world.

Common Sense and The Federalist Papers (for folks in the U.S.) just to have some sense of the history of this place.

The Cat In The Hat or Green Eggs & Ham because they're fun and a common touchstone for people.

Grimm's Fairy Tales (unexpurgated) and Bulfinch's Mythology to get the pre-Disneyfied versions of those tales.

The Stranger or The Exile And The Kingdom by Camus just because those are two books that changed my brain.

Some huge friendly book of world history that lays it all out from then to now without too many specifics or too much concentration on wars/battles. I've read a few but none of the names stuck with me.

avidgamer17 Jan 2014 12:16 p.m. PST

A good bunch of CW books but not quite 10 in total. :)

A Stillness at Appomattox bt Bruce Catton

The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer

The Iliad and The Odyssey by Homer

My Life on the Plains by George A. Custer

Corporal Si Klegg and His "Pard" by Wilbur F. Hinman

Reminiscences of the Civil War By John B. Gordon

Hardtack & Coffee by John Billings

Campaigning with Ulysses S. Grant by Horace Porter

Shiloh Bloody April by Wiley Sword

Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose

Ascent17 Jan 2014 12:28 p.m. PST

Tommy by Richard Holmes. It gives a proper understanding of life on the front line in WWI.

Larry R17 Jan 2014 12:33 p.m. PST

The Bible
Campaigns of Napoleon-Chandler
Seven Pillars of Wisdom-LOA
The Adventures of Brigadier Gerard-Doyle
Killer Angels-Shaara
Caesar Gallic War-Himself
The Republic-Plato
The Art of War-Sun Tzu
On War-Clausewitz

ArchiducCharles17 Jan 2014 12:38 p.m. PST

Les Misérables

Because its just so damn good. And please, don't tell me you don't have to read it because you've seen the musical!

Dynaman878917 Jan 2014 1:00 p.m. PST

(those two just so people can't lie to you about what is in them…)
On origin of species (ditto)
A good physics textbook.
A good book on logic and how to spot a bad logical argument.
An excellent book on probabilities.
The constitution (or the basis of your Government's legal system)
A Modest Proposal.
John Adams

Sparker17 Jan 2014 2:31 p.m. PST

The Desert Generals by Corelli Barnet, for the truth about Montgomery. When you realise how such a high ranking individual in the glare of publicity got away with such blatant untruths and character assassinations for so long, it really makes you wonder about any 'official' version of events…

The Campaigns of Napoleon, David Chandler, of course…

Swords around the throne, by Col Elting, not because it remains the most informative volume on the Grande Armee, but because its such a pleasure to read…

Anything and everything by the late, great Paddy Griffith…

Red Army by Ralph Peters – still the best 'what if' for WW3…

The three 'Wellington' volumes by Jack Gill.

FusilierDan17 Jan 2014 4:54 p.m. PST

To Kill a Mockingbird -- Lee
Been Down so Long it Looks Like Up to Me -- Farina
Revenge of the Lawn -- Brautigan
The Hobbit -- Tolkien
The First American Army -- Chadwick
The Crystal Cave -- Stewart
Freakonomics -- Levitt, Dubner
Leaf by Niggle from the Tolkien reader -- Tolkien
Saratoga -- Ketchum
Serpentine -- Thompson

Pedrobear17 Jan 2014 5:36 p.m. PST

Specific to wargaming:

Little Wars

DBA v1

Fire & Fury

Fred T Jane's naval wargaming rules


The Selfish Gene – masterpiece of scientific writing; an exhilarating read.

Bible – you *are* an educated man, are you not?

Starship Troopers – you *are* a citizen, are you not?

Geek Cred:

Princess Bride


Dune – just the first one, please.

Bonus 11th book being me evangelising:

The Fountainhead (good storytelling once you discount the philosophy, and easier read than Atlas Shrugged).

John the OFM17 Jan 2014 5:59 p.m. PST

I am only going to recommend books for wargamers. Why should anything I recommend appeal to LGBT Yoga instructors? Not that I have anything against them, but I imagine their recommendations would not appeal to me at all.

All of these have had a lot to do with how I view my life in the gaming universe.
I am not vouching for the accuracy of ANYTHING here. I just think you should read them, so we can argue about them over a Yuengling ice cream..
I will not distinguish between fact and fiction. With some of these, it might be hard to distinguish. grin

The collected works of Harry Flashman

The Lord of the Rings (Paired with Game of Thrones, simply because I want to argue some "theories".)

The Chinese Bandit

Plutarch's Lives

Runciman's History of the Crusades

Arian's life of Alexander

David Hackett Fischer's "Washington's Crossing". (Throw in his "Paul Revere's Ride" too, while you are at it.)

The Iliad and the Odyssey

Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome"

Tuchman's "The Guns of August"

A Bridge too Far (paired with The Longest Day)

There are of course dozens more, so I cut myself off at 10. grin

EDIT: BTW,I *have* read them all. Would I lie? grin

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2014 6:04 p.m. PST

All Quiet on the Western Front or perhaps For Whom the Bell Tolls.

skinkmasterreturns17 Jan 2014 7:05 p.m. PST

Wasnt Macaulay's "Lays of Ancient Rome" used as the basis for Guccione's "Caligula"? :)

John the OFM17 Jan 2014 9:03 p.m. PST

Yes it was, which is why I recommended it.

richardmkii17 Jan 2014 9:46 p.m. PST

Horton hears a who
Cat in the Hat
The cat comes back
green eggs and ham
Dr. Susses sleep book
Hop on Pop
One fish two fish red fish blue fish
The lorax
Butter battle book
Daisy-head mayzie
Oh say can you say

Repiqueone In the TMP Dawghouse17 Jan 2014 11:18 p.m. PST

For wargamers:

1. The Flashman Novels by Fraser
2. The Patrick O' Brien Aubrey-Maturin series
3. The Price of Glory by Alistair Horne
4. The Red Badge of Courage by Crane
5. Vom Krieg by Clauswitz
6. Face of Battle by Keegan
7. Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon by Muir
8. Pickett's Charge in History and Memory by Reardon
9. War at Sea-A Naval Atlas 1939-1945 by Faulkner
10. Art, War, and Revolution in France 1870-1871 by Milner
Bonus: Anything by John Lynn, especially Giant of the Grand Siècle.

These books are all well written and contain challenging ideas, provoke new insights, and are unique and apart from the usual "war" book.

Repiqueone In the TMP Dawghouse17 Jan 2014 11:39 p.m. PST

For anyone:

1. The Sun Also Rises
2. Shakespeare, especially the Histories
3. Don Quixote
4. Moby Dick
5. Huck Finn
6. The Three Musketeers by Dumas
7. Les Miserables by Hugo
8. In The Garden of the Beasts by Larsen
9 Tristram Shandy by Sterne ( Uncle Toby is the original wargamer!)
10. Catch 22 by Heller

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2014 11:41 p.m. PST

Mostly military history, but I submit the following;

The Bible
The Campaigns of Napoleon
The Washing of the Spears
Battle Cry of Freedom
At Dawn We Slept
Archaeology, History, and Custers Last Battle
The Face of Battle
The Peloponnesian War – Kagan
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Duel of Eagles

Martin Rapier18 Jan 2014 12:55 a.m. PST

A random selection I've enjoyed:

Restless by William Boyd
The Rotters Club by Jonathen Coe
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
LOTR, naturally
Spearhead of the offensive, the Soviet conduct of tactical manoeuvre by David Glantz
Almost anything by Ian M Banks, probably Excession
Mailed Fist by John Foley
Battle by Charles Grant, the latter two got me wargaming
Something modern by John le Carre, Our kind of traitor perhaps?
Aubrey/Maturin, hard to pick one as they are a continuum
The War the Infantry Knew by J C Dunn

Oops, that is 11, oh well

parrskool18 Jan 2014 3:21 a.m. PST

JFC "Boney"Fuller
Decisive Battles of the Western World & their Influence Upon History

also "The Official ARRSE Guide to the British Army"

langobard Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2014 3:23 a.m. PST

The Bible
The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History (if there is a better single volume military history of the world, I'd love to know what it is…)
Frederick the Great – A military life (Duffy)
Campaigns of Napoleon (Chandler)
Swords around a throne (Elting)
Westpoint Atlas of the Napoleonic wars (Elting)
The Lord of the Rings
The Illiad
The Song of Roland
A world at arms

Sparker: Desert Generals is a good antidote to Nigel Hamiltons fawning 3 volume authorised bio of Monty (let alone his own memoirs) but politicians and generals have been telling their side of the story since, um, Ceasar? I am a fan of Monty: he did well at Alemain and kept the pressure on Rommel till the fall of Tunisia. Even I admit he should have been sacked for his dilatory performance in Italy while allied soldiers were dying at Salerno, but he contributed greatly to the planning and implementation of Overlord (I give him a lot of credit for his positive attitude when Ike asked for opinions after the weather forecast been made) and in Market Garden he came up with one of the boldest plans of the war. Of course, he came up with it to try to get control of as many US assets as possible, and it would have been better if it had been transferred to an area under Bradleys command where there were fewer (and less wide) rivers to cross… He should have been sacked again for his stupidity after the Bulge. But seriously, everyone who writes a history book has an axe to grind, and if we are going to read them, we need to be aware of this, whether it is Monty with his perverse sense of destiny or the various German generals who survived WWII conveniently blaming Hitler for everything that went wrong… Monty had his moments, and IMHO they just happened to coincide with moments when the British people needed him most, and for that I give him credit.

Ewan Hoosami18 Jan 2014 4:06 a.m. PST

John and Betty
Grims Personal Hygene Companion
How to wash an Annorak by I.M. Smally
The Big Blue Book of Acceptable Social Intercourse by Dilligaf
How to play and be gracious whether you win or lose by Imah Dork
How to converse with the opposite sex by Bashfull and Frank
Fowlers Complete Obsessive Compulsive Dissorders, A Self Help Guide.
Weight Watchers Calorie Guide.
The 40 Year Old Virgin DVD Companion
Any Jane Austin Novel

basileus6618 Jan 2014 8:02 a.m. PST

Whatever ten they fancy.

Don Manser18 Jan 2014 8:28 a.m. PST

The Heimskringla
Wealth of Nations immediately followed by On War
Iliad & Odyssey / Verse no text versions
Maccabees 1 & 2
The War at Troy Quintas of Smyrna
History of the Consulate and Empire
Memoirs of Captain Coignet
Diary of a Cavalry Officer / Tomkinson
Frontier Forts of PA
Art of War


Lost Wolf18 Jan 2014 11:02 a.m. PST

The Bible. It shows man in his best/worst moments, God's love for man and man's rebellion towards God, and many intense battles for the tabletop

Ender's Game
The Three Musketeers
Sun Tzu: The Art of War
Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun
The Harbinger
The Three Musketeers
The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes
A Tale of Two Cities
Just about anything by Jules Verne

Eleve de Vauban Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2014 11:28 a.m. PST

On holiday in Corsica a few years ago, I was moved to tears by Primo Levi's "If this is a man".

Staying On – by Paul Scott, a good day's read.
1984 by George Orwell
The Martian Chronicles by Malcolm Bradbury.
The Flashman novels.

Fire and Stone by Christopher Duffy
The Price of Glory; To Lose a Battle; both by Alistair Horne
Paths of Glory by Anthony Clayton

Sparker18 Jan 2014 2:41 p.m. PST

@ Langobard,

Thanks for this mate. Whilst I respect your opinion I think you are wrong on 2 aspects – Monty did not keep up the pressure on the Afrika Corps after 2nd Alamein – I think I can say uncontroversially that the balance of contemporary and modern assessments are that he let them get away as he was so slow in organising a pursuit.

But my main point of disagreement is not about him writing biased history – I agree that he would not be the first nor the last – my beef is rather him slandering his predecessors and superiors through out the war. This can only have added to alarm and despondency. Whilst the popular perception is that he was good for morale, actually its now pretty clear that his monomania undermined unity at every turn.

Personal logo Rogzombie Supporting Member of TMP Fezian18 Jan 2014 5:49 p.m. PST

I decided to focus on fantasy
The Amber series
Michael Moorcocks Eternal champion sequence
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
Game of Thrones series
Conan(the REH at least)
Lord Fouls Bane
The Black Company
Drizzt Do'Urden books
The Sword of truth

ancientsgamer18 Jan 2014 9:55 p.m. PST

The Bible – Douay and Rheims version (KJ and indeed the Jewish bible/version dropped sections)


Lord of the Rings Trilogy in one volume

Go Rin No Sho (Book of Five Rings)

Art of War (or better yet, one of those books that includes it and other more modern treatises on war)

Iliad and the Odyssey as one volume

Culinary Arts Institute's Encyclopedia of cooking with recipes

Shakespeare's Complete Works (one HUGE volume! LOL)

Common Sense (or more likely a single book that contains the summation of Democratic ideals through the modern era)

U.S. Army Survival Manual

And by the way, if you stop at 10, you have only yourself to blame as in no way would this ever be enough.

So many classic fiction and non-fiction books out there. Heck, just the Encyclopedia Britannica on DVD would be a stunning thing to read and absorb.

John D Salt19 Jan 2014 7:52 a.m. PST

Oooh, lessee:

"A Hero of Our Times", Lermontov
"Le Grand Meaulnes", Alain-Fournier
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", Pirsig
"Bad Thoughts", Jamie Whyte
"Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid", Hofstadter
"The Fractal Geometry of Nature", Mandelbrot
"An Introduction to General Systems Thinking", Weinberg
"Peopleware", DeMarco and Lister
"On the Psychology of Military Incompetence", Dixon
"Sex and War", Potts and Hayden

Anyone who reads and understands that lot will have quite a good clue as to why the world works the way it does.

All the best,


dayglowill19 Jan 2014 1:45 p.m. PST

The General Prologue to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, in the original Middle English. I had to spend 2 years of my life studying that blasted text for my English Literature GCE, so I see no reason why everyone else shouldn't share my pain! wink

Seriously, I'm with basileus66, I believe people should read the books THEY want to read.

flooglestreet22 Jan 2014 12:53 p.m. PST

The Living Shadow Maxwell Grant
The Infernal Buddha Kenneth Robeson
The Man of Bronze Kenneth Robeson
The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu Sax Rohmer
Fu Manchu's Bride Sax Rohmer
The Nine Unknown Talbot Mundy
The Spider and the Sons of Satan Grant Stockbridge
The History of Civilization Edward E. Smith Ph.D.
A Princess of Mars Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Bat Staffel Robert J. Hogan

TelesticWarrior20 Feb 2014 10:02 a.m. PST

Catch 22 (Heller).
The Lord of the Rings (Tolkien).
The Silmarillion (Tolkien).
Sherlock Holmes (Doyle).
A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens).
1984 (Orwell).
Fingerprints of the Gods (Hancock).
The Republic (Plato).
Rule by Secrecy (Marrs).
The Gnostic texts (various Gnostics).

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse22 Feb 2014 5:15 p.m. PST

The Bible…..really?

Personal logo Dasher Supporting Member of TMP21 Mar 2014 9:08 p.m. PST

Atlas Shrugged- Rand
Gates of Fire – Pressfield
To Kill a Mockingbird – Lee
The Razor's Edge – Maugham
Liberal Fascism – Goldberg
The Secret Knowledge – Mamet
The True Believer – Hoffmann
The Law – Bastiat
The Princess Bride – Goldman
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Shakespeare
Hon. Mention: War World: The Battle of Sauron – Carr and Hawthorne ;-)

dejvid16 Aug 2014 10:53 a.m. PST

As a poll this would be pointless because the answer depends on for what. Is it a good reliable source for wargame re-fights or is as an inspiration for life. A more focused poll might be useful but this would be comparing things that are too different to be compared.

Weasel18 Aug 2014 3:00 p.m. PST

That everyone should read? That's pretty tough.

I'd say Forever War because it's one of my favourite books of all time.
Maybe "War is a racket" by Butler and Catch 22 by Heller.

Throw in a good text book on the scientific method and an overview of 20th century political theory and then five of the worst trash novels you can find, so the reader will learn to appreciate proper literature.

grommet3719 Aug 2014 3:30 p.m. PST

A Moveable Feast
The Moon is Down
A Case of Conscience
The Martian Chronicles
The Hobbit
Red Nails
The Mountains of Madness
Brave New World

J Womack 9419 Aug 2014 5:02 p.m. PST

The Bible, definitely. Even for non-Christians, it is the basis of so much of Western society that not having a passing familiarity with its contents is ridiculous.

Dune If you want to understand in an interesting way how economics, politics, and religion intertwine in a society.

Green Eggs and Ham incredibly important life lesson: try something you are certain you won't like every once in a while.

Starship Troopers for a look at a society that requires a citizen to earn his rights. Favorite line is when it is explained that the system continues because it works, not because of any inherent moral superiority.

1984 and Lord of the Flies for a look at the meaning of tyranny (thought police!) and how close to atavism we all are.

The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown an interesting history of the effect of the Sea Venture's seemingly miraculous return. seemingly minor things, big differences.

Constitution of the United States half the world's written constitutions are based on it. It would be nice if more citizens knew what it says.

Declaration of Independence especially the parts prior to the list of grievances; fine description of the purpose of government and definition of tyranny. Although the grievances are rather entertaining.

The Hobbit It's short and entertaining. Kinda like the main character.

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