Commander, US Pacific Command Professional Development Reading and Movie List
Adm. Harry Harris, Jr. U.S. Navy, U.S. Pacific Command, Jan. 02, 2018
“I hope you have time in your busy lives to read books and watch movies, both for personal enjoyment (my #1 reason!) and for some professional development. This list is a selection of good books -- novels and non-fiction -- and movies that tries to reflect the breadth and depth of issues that cover what we all do at United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). There are thousands of great, good, and not-so-good books and movies about the Indo-Pacific out there, but I wanted to keep the list manageable, relevant and, importantly, fun. I deliberately left off some of the tomes that students might confront in graduate school or Professional Military Education/War College, such as anything by Clausewitz, Thucydides, and Mahan. As essential as they may be, none of them kept me up at night! I hope that you'll take the time to discuss these works within your professional and personal circles. Enjoy!”
BOOKS (by author)
“The Dark Net: Inside the Digital Underworld” by Jamie Bartlett
A behind-the-curtain look at the underworld of the Internet.
“The General versus the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War” by H.W. Brands
Insight into the tumultuous relationship between the President and his iconic general.
“The Impossible State: North Korea Past and Future” by Victor Cha
A look behind the curtain at North Korea’s history, leadership, economy, and culture.
“Cyber Dragon: Inside China's Information Warfare and Cyber Operations” by Dean Cheng
A framework for assessing China’s advancement in cyber espionage.
“By More than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia-Pacific since 1783” by Michael Green
An examination of the development of U.S. strategic thinking in the Indo-Pacific.
“Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women” by W. Brad Johnson and David Smith
A guide which discusses how men in leadership positions mentor women.
“Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965” by Yuen Foon Khong
Khong describes how leaders use analogies incorrectly to guide their decisions when contemplating the decision to take their country to war.
“Without You, There is No Us: Undercover among the Sons of North Korea’s Elites” by Suki Kim
Haunting account of the experiences of an English teacher for privileged children during the last few months of Kim Jong Il’s reign.
“The Cactus Air Force” by Thomas G. Miller
In recognition of the 75th anniversary of the conclusion of the Guadalcanal Campaign, this book describes the challenges of a joint force attempting to fight at the far end of the logistics chain.
“Samudra Manthan: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Indo Pacific” by Raja Mohan
Samudra Manthan or "to churn the ocean” tells the story of Sino-Indian rivalry spilling over from the Great Himalayas into the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
“Democracy” by Condoleezza Rice
Rice describes the global movement toward democracy and the importance of continuing U.S. support for such efforts.
“The Gray Rhino: How to Recognize and Act on the Obvious Dangers We Ignore” by Michele Wucker
A helpful “guide” on how to recognize and strategically counter looming high impact threats.
NOVELS (by author)
“The Forever War” by Joe Haldeman
Military sci-fi novel about elite soldiers who return to Earth after fighting in a futuristic interstellar war only to find themselves alienated from their fellow citizens.
“Woman on the Other Shore” by Mitsuyo Kakuta
A novel about modern Japanese society and the role of women in the workforce.
“Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War” by Karl Marlantes
A novel about a Marine lieutenant and his comrades – written over a 30-year period by a decorated Vietnam veteran.
“Anil's Ghost: A Novel’s Son” by Michael Ondaatje
Set in Sri Lanka, the protagonist finds herself in a web of political deceit, paranoia, and tragedy as she attempts to find the facts behind the killings in the bloody civil war.
“Green Island” by Shawna Yang Ryan
Story of sacrifice and survival by one family during Taiwan’s journey from the end of Japan’s colonial rule to its transformation into a democracy.
“The Ginseng Hunter” by Jeff Talarigo
A look at life along the fragile border between China and North Korea.
MOVIES (by title)
“Beasts of No Nation”
Drama about the experiences of a child fighter in an unnamed African country – although outside of the PACOM AOR, the story mirrors the situation of child fighters around the world.
An amazing story of the resilience and perseverance of an Indian boy who was adopted in Australia after being separated and lost from his family, and his journey to find his birth family.
A social drama and crime thriller set in the slums of Manila.
“Northern Limit Line”
Korean film dramatizing the 2002 Battle of Yeongpyeong at sea.
“Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware”
Documentary of the Chinese city now home to 20 million people and the source for some of the world’s most advanced computer hardware.
“The Vietnam War” Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
A multi-perspective, ten-part mini-series on the Vietnam War.
Books and novels are listed in alphabetical order by author and by title for movies. The appearance of any books, movies, or media sites on this list does not constitute an official endorsement by US Pacific Command, the Department of Defense, or the US Government.
(Last Updated: January 02, 2018)