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CAF Reading List

The Chief of Air Force’s Reading List series includes titles specific not only to air power, but also offers a spectrum of titles covering historical, technological and organisational themes with applicability to the air power practitioner. Below are links to each of the reading lists in the series as well as the "enduring works".

2017 List | 2015 List | 2014 List | 2013 List | 2012 List | 2011 List | 2010 List
* There was no CAF Reading List in 2016


Enduring Works for Professional Mastery

Air Power Strategy

The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat 
Colonel John A. Warden III
The seminal work on the contemporary application of air power and air campaign planning, first published in 1988.

The Command of the Air
Giulio Douhet
The foundation book that explored the concepts of air warfare, in which concepts for the employment of air power were explored that are still valid today.

The Paths of Heaven: The Evolution of Airpower Theory
Colonel Phillip S. Meilinger, USAF (ed.)
A detailed study consisting of a number of essays that together provides a clear understanding of the development of air power theories through analysis of the wars and conflicts of the past century.

Power Plus Attitude: Ideas, Strategy and Doctrine in the Royal Australian Air Force, 1921–1991
Alan Stephens
A comprehensive overview of the evolution of Australian air power thinking. It provides an understanding of our background to inform our future.

The Art of Air Power: Sun Tzu Revisited
Sanu Kainikara
A detailed study of the great Master’s paradigms and their application to air power at the strategic and operational level in the twenty first century.

Military Strategy

Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
Peter Paret (ed.)
Over 20 essays on war, covering leaders and thinkers like Clausewitz and Mao, conflicts, strategy and politics.

On War 
Carl Von Clausewitz
Written in German in 1832, multiple versions and translations abound, but volumes one to three of his 10 volumes of work are known in English as ‘On War’.

The Art of War
Sun Tzu
The Chinese classic compiled over 2000 years ago. There are several translations available of the book that inspired Clausewitz and Jomini (among others).

Strategy: The Indirect Approach
B.H. Liddell Hart
Originally published in 1929 and extensively updated since, a British World War I Army Captain analyses historical battles to develop an alternative to attrition warfare. Hart provided a ‘new’ guerrilla warfare chapter in his 1967 edition.

The Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660–1785
Alfred T. Mahan
Written in 1890, this was required reading by American, German and Japanese Navy members pre-World War I.


The Mask of Command: Alexander the Great, Wellington, Ulysses S. Grant, Hitler, and the Nature of Leadership
John Keegan
Keegan’s 1987 classic that considers the nature of military leadership and reviews the careers of four significant military leaders; Alexander, Wellington, Grant and Hitler, to identify what makes a great leader in the unique field of military conflict. 

Air Power History

A History of Air Warfare
John Andreas Olsen (ed.)
A 2009 collection of essays by eminent scholars that traces the history of the development of air power from the very beginning, to the Lebanon War of 2006. It also includes three very thought provoking essays on the future of air power.

Global Air Power
John Andreas Olsen (ed.)
This 2011 work examines, in several essays by world renowned air power theorists, the historical developments that have brought the major air forces of the world to their current position.

Royal Australian Air Force History

The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918: Volume VIII - The Australian Flying Corps
F.M. Cutlack
Still the most detailed, informative and interesting history of the earliest Australian military flying service during WWI before the formation of the RAAF.

The Australian Centenary History of Defence—Volume II—The Royal Australian Air Force
Alan Stephens 
A comprehensive overview of RAAF History from its beginnings until 2000.