Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.

Published Airpower Journal- Summer 1999

The CSAF Reading List

THE CHIEF OF STAFF of the Air Force’s Professional Reading Program began in March 1997. After the initial success of the program, Gen Michael E. Ryan released a slightly revised version of the list in May of this year:

Enlisted and Civilian Grades
One to Eight

Basic­­Airman Basic to Senior Airman

The Passing of the Night: My Seven Years as a Prisoner of the North Vietnamese
by Brig Gen Robinson Risner
10 Propositions Regarding Air Power
by Col Phillip Meilinger

Intermediate­­Staff Sergeant to Technical Sergeant

 Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times
by Donald Phillips
10 Propositions Regarding Air Power
by Col Phillip Meilinger
They Also Flew: The Enlisted Pilot Legacy, 1912­1942
by Lee Arbon

Advanced­­Master Sergeant to Chief Master Sergeant

The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara
Makers of the United States Air Force
by John Frisbee
This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness
by T. R. Fehrenbach
Winged Victory: The Army Air Forces in World War II
by Geoffrey Perret

Officers and Civilian Grades
Nine and Above


Basic­­Second Lieutenant to Captain and GS-9 to GS-12

A Few Great Captains: The Men and Events That Shaped the Development of U.S. Air Power
by DeWitt Copp
Heart of the Storm: The Genesis of the Air Campaign against Iraq
by Col Richard Reynolds
Hostile Skies: A Combat History of the American Air Service in World War I
by James Hudson
Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times
by Donald Phillips
Officers in Flight Suits: The Story of American Air Force Fighter Pilots in the Korean War
by John Sherwood
The Right Stuff
by Tom Wolfe
10 Propositions Regarding Air Power
by Col Phillip Meilinger
This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness
by T. R. Fehrenbach
Thud Ridge
by Col Jack Broughton
Winged Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the United States Air Force
edited by Bernard Nalty
Winged Victory: The Army Air Forces in World War II
by Geoffrey Perret

Intermediate­­Major to Lieutenant Colonel and GS-13 to GS-14

Air Power: A Centennial Appraisal
by Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason
Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership
by David Spires
The First Air War, 1914­1918
by Lee Kennett
General Kenney Reports: A Personal History of the Pacific War
by Gen George Kenney
Makers of Modern Strategy: From Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
edited by Peter Paret
Over Lord: General Pete Quesada and the Triumph of Tactical Air Power in World War II
by Thomas Hughes
Rise of the Fighter Generals: The Problem of Air Force Leadership, 1945­1982
by Col R. Michael Worden
Storm over Iraq: Air Power and the Gulf War
by Richard Hallion
The United States Air Force in Korea, 1950­1953
by Robert Futrell

Advanced­­Colonel through General Officer and GS-15 and Above

 The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat
by Col John Warden
Airpower against an Army: Challenge and Response in CENTAF's Duel with the Republican Guard
by Lt Col William Andrews
Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam
by H. R. McMaster
 Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead
by James Belasco and Ralph Stayer
 The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
by Walter McDougall
Hoyt S. Vandenberg: The Life of a General
by Col Phillip Meilinger
Ideas and Weapons
by Maj Gen I. B. Holley Jr.
Joint Air Operations: Pursuit of Unity in Command and Control, 1942­1991
by James Winnefeld and Dana Johnson
The Sky on Fire: The First Battle of Britain, 1917­1918, and the Birth of the Royal Air Force
by Raymond Fredette
Strategy for Defeat: Vietnam in Retrospect
by Adm U. S. Grant Sharp

Changes to the list were based on the availability and price of books, as well as the availability of new publications. As before, new books were chosen because of their readability. This revised list includes new books written by serving Air Force individuals, signifying the growing interest in the Air Force and knowledge about the institution and an airpower way of life.

"The books on our professional reading list provide insight into how and why aerospace power has become so important," General Ryan said. "Many of the books are also a window into the rich heritage of the US Air Force." The general went on to emphasize the value of this reading list: "Engaging in professional reading can help Air Force members of all grades articulate the historical significance of aerospace power."

In addition to stocking three to five copies of each title in more than one hundred Air Force libraries, these libraries will sponsor a "book-of-the-quarter" program, offering resources for squadrons, groups, and wings to establish their own book-discussion groups. Such groups allow airmen and civilians to read one of the books and get together to discuss and critique it. According to Capt J. R. Riddell, program manager from Air Staff History, books on the list will be located in a special area in the libraries. Interested readers can also go to their local base library or military-clothing sales stores to pick up a new brochure that highlights the changes.

In addition to base libraries' involvement, beginning this month Air Force readers will also be able to purchase their own copies of reading-list titles at a discount from select Army and Air Force Exchange Service military-clothing sales stores or through the AAFES web site at http://www.aafes.com. Also, by accessing the reading-list web site at http://www.af.mil/ readinglist, readers can find a list of the military-clothing sales stores that keep the books in stock. The site also contains reviews of books, answers to frequently asked questions, and materials for discussion groups, among other interactive features.

Divided into three levels--basic, intermediate, and advanced--the list aligns closely with professional military education. Personnel who attend Airman Leadership School, the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, or the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy receive appropriate books from their instructors. Captains on active duty receive a shipment of the officers' basic list shortly after their promotion. All others are encouraged to borrow books from the library or purchase personal copies. The program offers novice and experienced readers a common point of reference with their peers, subordinates, and superiors.

"Regardless of your functional specialty, I think Air Force personnel should be familiar with the development of aerospace power," Captain Riddell said. "The chief's list can either help you launch a career-long reading program or supplement your current and previous readings.”  


The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.

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