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U.S. Pacific Command's Professional Development Reading and Movie List

 COM PACOM Professional Development Reading List (PDF) 


 Adm. Harry Harris, Jr. U.S. Navy, U.S. Pacific Command, OCT. 11, 2016 

“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-Asia-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)

“Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World” by Graham Allison
The title says it all. Lee Kuan Yew’s views on US, China and India futures, Islamic terrorism, economic growth, globalization, and democracy.

“CEO, China: The Rise of Xi Jinping” by Kerry Brown
Part political biography, part economic and political history of contemporary China.

“Mayday: the Decline of American Naval Supremacy” by Seth Cropsey
The consequences of the US losing its global maritime supremacy.

“This Kind of War” by T.R. Fehrenback
What happens if you must “Fight Tonight”… but aren’t ready to do so.

“Dear Leader” by Jan Jin-Sung
A peek into North Korea through an eyewitness account. The author, who defected, is a former propagandist and court poet to the ruling Kim family.

“Asia’s Cauldron” by Robert Kaplan
Why the South China Sea matters.

“Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power” by Robert Kaplan
The growth of “Monsoon Asia” and what the US must do to stay relevant in this region.

“Connectography” by Parag Khanna
How the growing interconnectedness of the world impacts international security, economics, and national identity.

“World Order” by Henry Kissinger
Reflections on the past 2,000 years and the next 50.

“War from the Ground Up” by Emile Simpson
A wide-ranging study of international security topics, including grand strategy, civil-military relations, counterinsurgency, and the implications of war from the inside.

“Intimate Rivals” by Sheila Smith
Why the changing relationship between Japan and China matters to the future of economic, political and military conditions in the Indo-Asia-Pacific and beyond.

“Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China” by Ezra Vogel
The history of one of China’s most influential leaders and an essential character for understanding post-Mao China.

“Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers” by Simon Winchester 
The title alone is worth the read. The history of the Pacific region through ten events and case studies occurring after 1950.

“The Accidental Superpower” by Peter Zeihan
The “Accidental Superpower” is the US and Zeihan proposes a new future of global disorder. 


 NOVELS  (by author)

“White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga
This novel’s protagonist struggles against the social and cultural dynamics of modern India amid globalization and social stratification.

“The Ugly American” by Eugene Burdick & William J. Lederer
Required reading for all American military and diplomats preparing to go overseas. Although published in 1958, its lessons remain relevant today.

“War Trash” by Ha Jin
A Chinese immigrant to the US tells the story of a Chinese prisoner of war during the Korean Conflict. Caught in a tug-of-war between political ideologies, the main character navigates the traps of mixed loyalties.

“Orphan Master’s Son” by Adam Johnson
This novel is about North Korea from the perspective of a man who struggles through everyday life, prison, interrogation, and working for Kim Jung-il.

“Island of a Thousand Mirrors” by Nayomi Munaweera
This novel contrasts the natural beauty of Sri Lanka with the brutal civil war there.

“Ghost Fleet” by P.W. Singer and August Cole
This novel, about future war, challenges some sacred assumptions about the composition of our armed forces, the strengths of our new systems, and even the way we fight.      

 MOVIES  (by title)

“Eye in the Sky”
A thriller detailing the moral and legal complexities military and civilian authorities face in this modern age of drone warfare.

“Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War” (Korea)
The story depicts Korean life prior, during, and after the Korean War. It follows the journey of two Korean brothers throughout the war, as they join the ROK army, fight in major battles, cross sides, and ultimately face each other on the battlefield.

“Terror in Mumbai”
This documentary gives the viewer an inside look into the November 2008 terrorist attack on Mumbai, India. The raw footage, telephone intercepts and tape of the sole surviving terrorist’s interrogation allows for a glimpse into the minds and operations of extremists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmr9Zlh0YxE

“The Killing Fields”
A true story of two journalists during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia that offers a glimpse into an extremist ideology amid a unique and courageous friendship.

“The Quiet American”
This film depicts French and British colonialism in Vietnam and the arrival of Americans during the 1950s.

“The Reluctant Fundamentalist”
As ISIL pursues its own “rebalance” to the Indo-Asia-Pacific (where the vast majority of Muslims in the world reside), this story reminds us that rich, urbane, young, and pro-Western professionals are not immune to the siren’s song of radicalization. 


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: October 11, 2016)