More than 100 Recommended Books by Indian Army

Edited by Shantanu K. Bansal

The complete list is prepared by the Director General Military Training (DGMT), Indian Army.

This list aims at providing officers with publications for reading relevant to the study of the profession of arms. The list of books has been selected for reading up to officers with 15 yrs of service & have been divided into two groups i.e. up to 7 yrs service & 7 to 15 yrs service. Further in each gp the books have been subdivided under following heads:-

(a) Theory/ Evolution of Warfare.
(b) Military History.
(c) Leadership.
(d) General Reading.


(a.) Theory/ Evolution of Warfare

  1. The Profession of Arms, Gen Sir John Hackett. A well illustrated book on the evolution of warfare from the ancient to the modern times, it covers the progression of weapons, technology and tactics in a lucid yet simple style.
  2. Essentials of Military Knowledge, Maj Gen DK Palit. Covers the study of warfare through the ages and examines its prime elements; strategy, operations, tactics and guerrilla warfare to conflict in the nuclear age.
  3. The Art of War – Sun Tzu. Written in China over two thousand years ago, Sun Tzu‘s The Art of War provides the first know attempt to formulate a rational basis for planning and conduct of military operations. These essays contain principles, which are relevant even today.
  4. Defence of Duffers Drift, Ernst Swanton. An interesting and instructive work on what Wavell has called, ―subaltern‖ tactics of siting
    trenches and common sense principles of defence.
  5. Infantry Attacks, F M Erwin Rommel. Rommel‘s classic on how maneuver can be successfully employed by the infantry in the mountains based on his personal experience during the First World War from 1914 to 1917.
  6. The Next World War, John Adams. Explores the contours of the information revolution in all its forms from exploitation of media as an agent of political change in international relations to cyber warfare in a very readable format for the lay reader.
  7. Blue Helmets: The Strategy of UN Military Operations, Hillen, John. A comprehensive review of the military force and organizational operations of the United Nations since 1948, Blue Helmets addresses a number of important questions about the UN’s competency to handle complex future operations.
  8. City Fights: Selected Histories of Urban Combat from World War II to Vietnam, Antal, John. An incomparable collection, City Fights re-creates the last century’s most astonishing examples of urban warfare, stretching from Tai-Erh-Chuang in 1938 to Hue City in 1968.
  1. People’s War, People’s Army, Gen. VO Nguyen Giap. In this book a successful communist general gives us a glimpse of the methods of guerrilla war which were highly successful in Vietnam.
  2. Guerrilla Warfare: Irregular Warfare in the Twentieth Century, William Weir. This book traces the genesis of Guerrilla warfare and critically examines a number of these conflicts, whether as sideshows of the World wars or as the main events in wars of revolution or liberation.
  3. The Pakistan Army, Stephen Cohen. A detailed analysis of the Pakistani Army, its origins, structure, psychology, role of Islam and politics by Stephen Cohen an acknowledged expert on the Pakistan Army.
  4. A History of the Modern Chinese Army, Xiaoping Li. In A History of the Modern Chinese Army, Xiaoping Li, a former member of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), provides a comprehensive examination of the PLA from the Cold War to the beginning of the twenty-first century that highlights the military’s central function in modern Chinese society.

(b.) Military History

13. History of the Second World War, Liddell Hart. History of the Second World War embodies the fruits of twenty years of research and a lifetime of thinking on war. France‘s defeat in 1940, Hitler‘s failed invasion of Russia, and Japan‘s stunning victory at Pearl Harbor: the effectiveness of the Allies‘ strategic bombing of Germany; the questionable necessity of detonating atom bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and much more are covered in incisive detail.

14. The Indian Army After Independence, K C Praval. This is a valuable work on the history of the Indian Army from its break up post
Partition to Operation Blue Star and covers all its operations over the years in a fair amount of detail. Can be considered as a virtual almanac of the Indian Army over the ages.

15. Slender Was the Thread, LP Sen. The unofficial history of the 1947 J and K Operations, so to say providing a ring side view to the reader for the author was commander of 161 Infantry Brigade, the key formation which undertook operations in the Valley during the period.

  1. The Battle of Dograi, Brigadier Desmond E Hayde, MVC. The book covers a single battle during the Indo – Pak War 1965 and highlights what a highly motivated infantry battalion can achieve through sheer élan and leadership and also how its successes could not be exploited due to lack of flexibility in higher military leadership.
  2. A Ridge Too Far – War in the Kargil Heigts : 1999, Capt Amarinder Singh. An account of the latest Indo-Pak conflict providing a novel view through a review of conduct of operations of the 10 battalions.
  3. Infantry In India, Lt Gen V R Raghavan. Covers the evolution of the Indian Infantry from the Middle Ages to the modern times including its performance in the present era.
  4. The Official History of J and K Operations – 1947-48, B Prasad. The first Indo-Pak conflict occurred virtually on the call of independence in 1947 and ended in 1948, with the standoff continuing to this day.
  5. Siachen : Conflict without End, Lt Gen V R Raghavan. The author with active experience of war fighting in the highest battlefield on the Earth, the Siachen Glacier provides an overview of the nuances of the conflict from the practitioners as well as the armchair strategist‘s point of view.
  6. Assignment Jaffna, SC Sardesh Pande. An account of Op Pawan – our considerable endeavors on a military, diplomatic and political
    front in Sri Lanka from 1987-1989.
  7. India’s China War, Neville Maxwell. An authoritative book on the Sino-Indian War of 1962, which covers the political and military issues
    in great detail; analyzed in depth including the Chinese perspective.
  8. The Lightning Campaign, Maj Gen DK Palit. During the earlier part of the Bangladesh crisis, which was perhaps the most critical period of its history, the Indian armed forces executed, within the brief period of twelve days, the most decisive liberation campaign in military history,
    giving a nation of 75 million people its independence in one lightning strike.
  1. Pork Chop Hill, SLA Marshal. A nonfiction work about combat during the Korean War. Book covers many significant topics like Chinese military tactics; how U.S. and Korean troops worked together; communication on the battlefield; leadership and organization; the impact of terrain on battle; and types of weapons used.
  2. Patrol, Fred Majdalany. As indicated by the title, the central theme of the story is a night time infantry patrol Leadership.
  3. Platoon Leader, James Mc Donough. The American War in Vietnam proved a test by fire for leaders particularly at the platoon and company level. This book based on the author‘s experiences in Vietnam as a platoon commander provides useful insights into grass roots command in the face of fire in an uncertain, insurgency environment with colleagues operating on the fixed tenure syndrome.
  4. On Moral Courage, Compton Mackenzie. The renowned writer Compton Mackenzie sets out on the uneasy and difficult task to define moral courage in this intellectually stimulating book.
  5. Follow Me II – Maj Gen Aubrey, “Red” Newman. A sequel to the authors most successful and contemporary book Follow Me I, the book comprises of reflections of an infantry officer on life in the army at various stages of command from the formative years to generalship.
    Gives very practical and timely insights on military conduct by professionals on and off the battlefield.
  6. Small Unit Leadership : A Commonsense Approach, Dandridge M Malone. What does it take to get the job done? How do you get the men in your unit to do what you say? To follow you into battle and shoot to kill? How do you build the confidence that spurs men on to do their job, to stand by their leader and each other? These are some of the questions that ―Small Unit Leadership attempts to answer.
  7. Thinemaya of India – Humphrey Evans. Thimayyas life covered against the backdrop of events of his times. In this biographical account the author puts Gen Thimayya at par with best of the military leaders of the world.
  1. Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw : Soldiering with Dignity, Deepinder Singh. A tribute to India‘s best known modern military commanders, covers his life and times and his apogee, the victory in Bangladesh in 1971 well covered with personal anecdotes.
  2. Rommel as a Military Commander, Ronald Lewin. The book presents an objective, vivid, and graphic picture of Rommel‘s operations and methods of command. Discusses the mystique of Rommel, the Desert Fox, his battles and sway over the minds of his adversaries including Churchill.
  3. Slim as Military Commander, Geoffrey Evans. This biography is a charming account of the leadership, clarity of thoughts, professionalism, easy demeanor and fantastic sense of humor of a man absolutely dedicated to the task of soldiering with dignity. An inspiring story of how merit will overcome the advantages of wealth and status even in a feudal setup as the Army of yesteryears. Slim, with no armory but integrity, personality and intellect, rose to the pinnacles of his profession.
  4. The Officer as a Leader, S L A Marshall. Highlights the trials and tribulations in following the honour code for officers covering the essential aspects of leadership from morale to mission and motivation.
  5. Demystifying Military Leadership, Lt Gen HB Kala, PVSM, AVSM, SC. The book analyses every relevant fact of military leadership including aspects such as Time Management‘, Stress management‘ and The Art of Relaxation‘ which have not been given the attention they deserve in the vast literature on the subject. The author suggests many practical measures for the officers as they progress from the first to the apex ring of military leadership.
  6. Panzer Leader, Guderian. Published in 1952, Panzer Leader was an instant best seller and is now established as a classic. It provides an overview of the life and times of the father of modern tank warfare and undoubtedly one of its greatest practitioners.
  1. Napoleon, Evil Ludwig. This book tells the story of Napoleon, a man of extra- ordinary qualities and brilliant military commander. It is about his striking military campaigns, mighty wars, conquests and also reasons for his downfalls.

(d.) General Reading

  1. Customs and Services of the Army, HR Roach. A prime on etiquettes and norms of social life in the Armed Forces, it highlights the standards of accepted etiquettes, good manners and gentlemanly behavior.
  2. Glimpses of World History – Jawaharlal Nehru. Provides a bird’s eye view of human history over the ages through the perspective of a person who had the vision of evaluating it from the Indian perception. Covers all major political and military events of World history from the ancient to the 20th Century.
  3. Serious Creativity – Edward De Bono. Military problems are usually multifaceted and without a ‘right answer’, especially in today’s world of complex environments characterized by uncertainty. Soldiers need to know how to think under pressure and with little or too much information. Creative thinking can be taught, and this is a ‘how-to’ guide, full of exercises and activities to free up lateral thinking and spark creativity, including the well-known ‘Six Thinking Hats’.
  4. Battles that Changed History : An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. All of these conflicts—and hundreds more—played a crucial role in defining the direction of history and the evolution of human society. This text provides readers with detailed descriptions of the battlefield actions that have played the greatest parts in shaping military history and human existence.


(a.) Theory/ Evolution of Warfare

  1. Strategy The Indirect Approach, BH Liddell Hart. A detailed analysis of success in warfare achieved through use of the indirect approach covering the period from ancient and medieval wars to the Second World War.
  2. On War, Von Clausewitz. On War‘ is the most significant attempt in Western history to understand war, both its internal dynamics and as an instrument of policy. Since the work‘s first appearance in 1832, it has been read throughout the world, and has stimulated generations of soldiers, statesmen, and intellectuals.
  3. The Art of War, Jomini. This work is in the same vein as Clausewitz‘s On War and some critics say superior to it in some aspects. It covers the salient aspects of strategy, grand tactics (operational art) and battles, logistics and combined arms. A complementary companion to “On War‘.
  4. Principles of War by Carl von Clausewitz. “Not simply the greatest but the only truly great book on war,” declared historian Bernard Brodie on Principles of War. Written two centuries ago by a Prussian military thinker, this is the most frequently cited, the most controversial and in many ways, the most modern book on warfare.
  5. The Art of Manoeouvre, Robert Leonard. Covers the development of the theory of manoeuvre warfare and its culmination into the air land battle. Leonard exposes the folly of the view of war as an attritional phenomenon, measuring success in body counts and tons of explosives spent through a strategy of high-tech attrition rather than effective maneouvre.
  6. Arthashastra – Kautilya. This political classic of ancient India covers the organization of the state and function of its various constituents including perceptive observations on defence and war, planning campaigns and covert operations.
  1. Nuclear Doctrine for India, Raja Menon. A comprehensive coverage and analysis of nuclear strategy for India covering development of nuclear weapons, locus of the atomic bomb in international relations to the Indo-Pak and Sino-India nuclear calculus, command and control and nuclear strategy.
  2. The Art of War in World History, Chaliand, Gerard. The progression of the art of war from ritualized wars of the ancient and medieval times to modern warfare including the atomic age has been covered in great detail and with accuracy.
  3. The Making of Strategy – Rulers, States and War, Williamson Murray, Alvin Bernstein and MacGregor Knox. This book’s objective is to provide the reader with an understanding of the varied factors that influence the formulation and outcome of national strategies. It offers a tour de force of historical examples, ranging from the origins of strategy under the Athenians to the intricacies of the nuclear age. It is comprehensive, inclusive and written by leading scholars.
  4. Roots of Strategy, Phillips T.R. A Concise summary of the writings of Sun Tzu, Vegetius, de Saxe, Frederick and Napoleon, Roots of Strategy is a useful addition to the understanding of military thought and its evolution prior to the twentieth century.
  5. Prepare or Perish, General KV Krishna Rao. Provides a geographical and historical perspective survey of Indian security from the Partition to the Sub Continental Wars, counter insurgency and discusses India’s vital interests, strategy and NBC warfare.
  6. Amphibious Warfare: Strategy and Tactics. The Theory and Practice of Amphibious Operations in the 20 Century – Ian Speller and Christopher Tuck. Despite its illustrated coffee table format, this primer by two British defence academics analyses the step by step preparation and execution of amphibious operations and has valuable chapters on logistics and equipment.
  7. Air Power and Joint Operations, Air Commodore Jasjit Singh. Highlights the need for a greater understanding of air power and joint operations in the Indian Military.This significant work by Air Commodore Jasjit Singh enhances our understanding of employment of air power and its role in joint operations in the Indian Sub Continent.
  1. The Next World War, John Adams. Explores the contours of the information revolution in all its forms from exploitation of media as an agent of political change in international relations to cyber warfare in a very readable format for the lay reader.
  2. Allvin & Heidi Toffler, War and Anti War. Alvin and Heidi Toffler are futurists who’s line of work on the future of power and warfare provides the backdrop to this influential book which has identified that contours of the information and knowledge age and how it will affect the way we conduct war and also antiwar or peace.
  3. The 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene. Brilliant illustrations of the strategies of war—and the subtle social game of everyday life. Spanning world civilizations, synthesizing dozens of political, philosophical, and religious texts and thousands of years of violent conflict, The 33 Strategies of War is a comprehensive guide to the subtle social game of everyday life informed by the most ingenious and effective military principles in war.

(b) Military History

  1. The Bear Trap, Brig Mohammad Yousaf and Major Mark Atkin. Highlights the role and functioning of the ubiquitous Pakistani intelligence agency the Inter Services Intelligence or ISI and its role in the Afghan war against Soviet invasion by an officer who was tasked to co-ordinate these operation. Denotes functioning of a modern intelligence organization supported by the state.
  2. North African Campaign: 1940-43, Liddell Hart. North Africa offered the geographical space for practicing the theory of maneouvre
    warfare. Military leaders as Wavell and Rommel provided the daring and tactical innovation to win battles which would seem unwinnable under normal circumstances. A study of this campaign thus assumes significance in more ways than one.
  1. Barbarossa, Alan Clark. Covers the full swathe of the operations on the Eastern Front during the Second World War from Hitler‘s drive to Moscow to the Red Army‘s march on Berlin with all the ups and downs, the tactics and strategy involved on both sides. An excellent account of what some say the ultimate campaign in military history.
  2. Defeat Into Victory, Fd. Marshall William Slim. Presents the history of victory against Japan in Burma by Field-Marshal Viscount William Slim who led the shattered British forces from Burma to India in one of the lesser-known but more nightmarish retreats of the war, and the ultimate liberation of India and Burma from the Japanese Army.
  3. No Victor No Vanquished – The Yom Kippur War, Edgar O’ Balance. The Arab – Israeli wars provide an useful insight to students of the military art on the nuances of modern conventional warfare waged in an environment of intense hostility. As the title suggests most of these wars have ended without any tangible gains to both sides. A survey of the Arab Israeli conflict by one of the renowned historians of our times.
  4. War in the Gulf : Lessons for the Third World, Brig V.K. Nair, VSM (Retd). The Gulf War 1991 demonstrated the variation in waging conventional conflict between the modern, Western Armies and Third World Armies as that of Iraq. Analysis of the lessons of this War from the Third World perspective is essential to highlight applicability of the same in our context provided by the author.
  5. History of First World War, Liddell Hart. The First World War some military analysis feel is anachronistic in the information warfare age of today. However it is the matrix of modern warfare, where coalitions and not nations fight wars at a global scale. Liddell Hart is ideally suited to provide a perspective on the First World War with its background, major campaigns, strategy, tactics and lessons learnt.
  6. History of the Second World War 1939 – 45, Maj Gen J F C Fuller. Covers the strategies and tactics of the Allies and Axis powers during the Second World War restricted to the land campaign in Europe, Africa, Pacific and Burma.
  1. War Dispatches, Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh. A detailed review of 1965 operations including the main battles, air, logistics, Pakistani tactical concepts and lessons learnt from the man who should know it all, the GOC in C Western Command during the War.
  2. The Bear Went over the Mountain: Soviet Combat Tactics in Afghanistan, Grau Lester W. To capture the lessons their tactical leaders learned in Afghanistan and to explain the change in tactics that followed, the Frunze Military Academy in Russia compiled this book for their command and general staff combat arms officers. It provides an intimate look at the brutal business of Counter insurgency operations.
  3. The Past as Prologue: The Importance of History to the Military Profession, Williamson Murray and Richard Sinnreich. A collection of essays from writers important in the field of military studies, this anthology explores the significance of history to the military profession.
  4. The Official History of J&K Operations 1947-48, B Prasad. The first Indo-Pak conflict occurred virtually on the call of independence in 1947 and ended in 1948, with the standoff continuing to this day. This book by the official historians provides a detailed survey of the conflict.
  5. Himalayan Blunder, Brig JP Dalvi. In this book Brigadier Dalvi gives his version of the events that led to India’s debacle in the Himalayas. Dalvi is firmly of the view that China does not have any right over Tibet and that the McMahon line ought to be India’s north Western frontier. Maxwell on the other hand is very sympathetic to China’s claims over Tibet and does not believe the McMahon line, a British invention, ought to be the boundary between India and Tibet.

(c) Leadership.

  1. Panzer Leader, Heinz Guderain. Published in 1952, Panzer Leader was an instant best seller and is now established as a classic. It provides an overview of the life and time of the father of modern tank warfare and undoubtedly one of its greatest practitioners.
  1. Acts Of War: The Behavior Of Men In Battle, Richard Holmes. This wide-ranging, exhaustively researched book is a compelling attempt to grasp the very nature of war. It takes us through the soldier’s experience in its entirety – from the humiliation of basic training and the intense comradeship of army life, to the terror, isolation and exhaustion of battle.
  2. The Last Hundred Yards: The NCO’s Contribution to Warfare, Poole, H.J. Evidence of success in limiting rules on subordinate units can be found in many examples throughout history. The German NCOs of World War I were trained in making tactical decisions. They were deciding how to engage the enemy, and at a time and place of their choosing. Within The Last Hundred Yards, author H.J. Poole argues that the small unit leader needs to adapt to situations as they develop, and that the rigidity of rules (and training by the same) is counter to the manoeuvre warfare concept of winning at low-cost.
  3. Demystifying Military Leadership, Lt. Gen. HB Kala, PVSM, AVSM, SC. The book analyses every relevant facet of military leadership including aspects such as ‘Time management’, ‘Stress management ‘ and ‘The Art of Relaxation’ which have not been given the attention they deserve in the vast literature on the subject. The author suggests many practical measures for the officers as they progress from the first to the apex ring of military leadership.
  4. Men Against Fire: The Problem of Battle Command in Future War, S.L.A. Marshall. First published in 1947, S.L.A. Marshall’s Men Against Fire argues that in spite of the proliferation of weapons systems that allow targets to be destroyed from great distances, future wars will still fundamentally revolve around the infantry.
  5. In the Line of Duty : A Solider Remembers, Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh. This is a book about a soldier who had the courage of his convictions and was not afraid to use his judgment and face the consequences. He not only set a standard for himself to perform to the best of his ability but inspired others to do the same.
  1. The Challenge of Command: Reading for Military Excellence, Roger H Nye. An insightful combat-arms officer, Colonel Nye has produced a one-of-a-kind tool for the professional officer who intends to master his profession. A handbook for mentors as well as junior officers, this work guides the reader through the major aspects of command: developing a professional vision and being a tactician, warrior, moral arbiter, strategist, and mentor.
  2. Tao of Leadership, John Heider. The book provides Simplest and clearest advice on how to be a very best kind of leader : be faithful, trust the process, pay attention and inspire others to become their own leaders.

(d.) General Reading

  1. Discovery of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. This book takes us through the remarkably rich history of the Indian civilization and covers the political as well as the military issues with incisive comments by a perceptive thinker that Nehru was.
  2. The Clash of Civilization and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P Huntington. A popular, seminal but controversial review of the post cold war world which argues that new religious, social and economic tensions will be a major source of future conflict.
  3. Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman. Goldman‘s refreshing research that emotional quotient is as important if not a more important trait for leaders of tomorrow provides very good tips for development of emotional stability in leader.
  4. Soldier and the State, Samuel P Huntington. Incisive and remarkably relevant. Huntington delves into the role of the military in shaping and protecting a society and the significance of civil military relationship based on a study of the same in the USA, Germany and Japan in the pre World War II era.
  1. The Indian Army After Independence, KC Praval. This is a valuable work onthe history of the Indian Army from its break up post partition to Operation Blue Star and covers all its operations over the years in a fair amount of detail. Can be considered as a virtual almanac of the Indian Army over the ages.
  2. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pepole, Stephen R Covey. Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principlecentered approach for solving personal and professional problems with penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.
  3. Management in the Armed Forces, John Downey. The basic book on management in the Armed Forces, provides a basic insight into the significance and employment of the science of management in the Armed Forces.

More Books on Military History

Source: Director General Military Training (DGMT), Indian Army.


  • Shantanu K. Bansal

    Founder of IADN. He has more than 10 years of experience in research and analysis. An award winning researcher, he writes for the leading defence and security journals, think-tanks and in-service publications. He is a senior consultant at the Indian Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla. Contact him at:

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