Not sure what to read this holiday season? The Daniel Morgan Graduate School faculty has teamed up to compile a list of the best books for students to read during their leisure time before the spring semester.


Dr. Steven Meyer, DMGS Dean of Graduate Studies, National Security Program Chair

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? (May 30, 2017) by Graham Allison

In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the twenty-first century.


Prof. Ronald A. Marks, Intelligence Program Chair

Grant (October 10, 2017) by Ron Chernow

A well-written biography on Ulysses S. Grant covering his U.S. military career and presidency.


Prof. Kevin McCarty, Managing Disruption & Violence Program Chair

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (July 29, 2008) by Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom

A compelling discussion about interactions between centralized and decentralized organizations, touching on the organizational similarities and differences between terrorism, cybersecurity, and the automotive industry.


Dr. Michael Sharnoff, Director of Regional Studies Program

Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know? (Oxford University Press, 2015) by Dr. Daniel Byman, Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Senior Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.

This is a well written and easily accessible reference book on the ideology and goals of contemporary Salafi-jihadi movements, and the challenges and threats they pose to the region and beyond.


Col. Preston McLaughlin, Associate Professor of National Security

The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency (April 4, 2017) by Chris Whipple

The Gatekeepers is a well written and researched book that discusses the White House Chief of Staff’s Role over 17 Administrations, giving the reader an inside look at National Security policy development and decision-making.


Dr. Yuval Weber, Inaugural DMGS – Kennan Institute Fellow

All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin (November 7, 2017) by Mikhail Zygar

All the Kremlin’s Men is a political page-turner about the court of Putin, portraying a weary king beset by the expectations of the courtiers, barons, and future pretenders to the throne and not the all-seeing, all-knowing mastermind usually depicted in the news.

The Red Web: The Kremlin’s Wars on the Internet (August 22, 2017) by Andrei Soldatov & Irina Borogan

Two of Russia’s top investigative journalists trace the history of the Kremlin’s war on the internet and creation of a surveillance-state – a must-read for those interested in cyber warfare.