Air University’s Reading List and Note to Airmen

Lt Gen Kwast Official photoAir University,

Since our birth as Airmen, we have been charged with thinking about ways for the Air Force to secure the American way of life now and in the future.  There is no better way to build a foundation for this thinking than by deliberately developing the habits of mind capable of understanding the rapidly changing world order in which we live.  Make no mistake, the current international system, created and sustained largely by American dominance, is being tested by state and non-state actors who fundamentally disagree with our values. We must take steps to understand their mindset, motivations, and nature as we hone our ideas about Airpower and its evolving role in world politics.    To that end, every instructor, student, and staff member in this university, whether uniformed or civilian, must have an Airman’s mind.  Airmen understand how to apply lessons from history to today’s issues and tomorrow’s challenges.

By our nature, Airmen seek new and creative ways to apply innovative approaches to emerging problems.  Airmen fundamentally understand culture and human thinking and can apply this understanding to power projection for America.  The attached bookshelf will help with these conversations in the future.  Engaging books like these are a professional responsibility for Airmen of every rank and any skill.  These readings will be part of a broader conversation I will have with the faculty and staff over the coming months so we can better understand our place on the arc of history.  Many of you have already read these works but if not I expect you to.    It is our professional obligation to be well read in a broad range of topics from leading thinkers so we can better invest in our human capital development and secure victory in future wars with regard to Airpower.  This is your obligation and my challenge to you.  Thank you for allowing me to serve you.  I look forward to continuing the evolution within Air University and am humbled by your commitment to our nation and the Air Force.

Lt Gen Kwast


Recommended Reading List

General Topics:

“The CONSTITUTION of The United States of America”

“Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World”-Ian Bremmer

“Crucible of war: the Seven Year’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766”-Fred Anderson

“World Order”-Henry Kissinger

“Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War against Nazi Germany”-Donald L. Miller

East Asia:

“A Contest for Supremacy: China, America, and the Struggle for Mastery in Asia”-Aaron L. Friedberg

“Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and The End of a Stable Pacific”-Robert D. Kaplan

“On China”-Henry Kissinger

“The China Dream: Great Power Thinking & Strategic Posture in the Post-American Era”-Colonel Lie Mingfu

Middle East:

“Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World through Islamic Eyes”-Tamin Ansary

“A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Middle East, 1914-1948”-James Barr

“A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East”-David Fromkin

“The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years”-Bernard Lewis

“What Went Wrong: The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East”-Bernard Lewis

“The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War”-Steven Pressfield

“Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama”-Dennis Ross


“Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine and the New Cold War”-Marvin Kalb

“The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Puttin”-Steven Lee Meyers


“Balkan Ghosts” Robert Kaplan




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