James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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Showing posts for "TWE Recommended Reading"

What’s Worth Reading This Summer?

by James M. Lindsay
A visitor stands in front of a giant bookshelf at the book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, October 6, 2010.  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach A visitor stands in front of a giant bookshelf at the book fair in Frankfurt, Germany, October 6, 2010. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

CFR.org editor Bob McMahon and I recorded our annual summer reading episode of CFR’s  “The World Next Week” podcast. Elizabeth Saunders, who is a Stanton nuclear security fellow this year at CFR and also an assistant (soon-to-be-associate) professor of political science at George Washington University here in Washington, DC, joined us for the conversation. As you would expect in a summer reading podcast, we discussed books: ones we have read, ones we plan to read, and ones we will read at the beach. Read more »

Belated Birthday Wishes to the United States Army!

by James M. Lindsay
United States Army soldiers stand before the start of the Army's 237th anniversary celebrations at Times Square in New York on June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton United States Army soldiers stand before the start of the Army's 237th anniversary celebrations at Times Square in New York on June 14, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Yesterday the United States Army celebrated its 241st birthday. Alas, while I wrote out my birthday wishes I failed to post them. (Yes, I have been known to write cards and forget to send them.) But being a big believer in “better late than never,” here are my belated birthday to wishes to every active duty, former, or retired member of the United States Army. Read more »

Five Foreign Policy Books the Next President Should Read

by James M. Lindsay
MacLeod's used bookstore in Vancouver, British Columbia . (Andy Clark/Courtesy Reuters) MacLeod's used bookstore in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Andy Clark/Courtesy Reuters)

Inauguration Day is now exactly one year away. In 366 days—2016 is a Leap Year—one of the candidates now barnstorming Iowa and New Hampshire will take the oath of office. Everything will change the moment he, or she, says the constitutionally mandated words, “I do solemnly swear….” Campaigning is about promises; governing is about choices. Read more »

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!

by James M. Lindsay
U.S. Marines, currently stationed in Cuba, stand at the ready for the raising of the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool) U.S. Marines, currently stationed in Cuba, stand at the ready for the raising of the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool)

The Marine Corps turns 240 years-old today. On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution to create a Marine force composed of two battalions. Since then, the Marines have been “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli” and many other places as well. Read more »

What’s Worth Reading This Summer?

by James M. Lindsay
Mobile library by the beach in Tel Aviv People check books at a new mobile library for beach visitors initiated by the Tel Aviv municipality on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in Tel Aviv July 9, 2013. (Nir Elias/Reuters)

CFR.org editor Bob McMahon and I sat down yesterday to record the annual summer reading episode of CFR’s “The World Next Week” podcast. Our good friend and colleague, Janine Davidson, joined us for the conversation. The discussion was mostly, but not entirely, about books: what we have read, what we plan to read, and what we will take to the beach to read. Read more »

Ten Vietnam War Novels to Read

by James M. Lindsay
Vietnam War Soldiers Novels Soldiers carry an injured comrade through a swamp in Vietnam. (National Archives and Records Administration)

All week I have been blogging on the best histories, memoirs, films, and songs to mark Sunday’s fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the first U.S. combat troops in Vietnam. Today I want to look at the best novels, because fiction can provide fresh insights into great historical events. My challenge, though, is that I have only read three novels about Vietnam: The Quiet American (1955) by Graham Greene, The Ugly American (1958) by Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer, and The Short-Timers (1979) by Gustav Hasford. The first two made my list of the best Cold War novels, and The Short-Timers was the grist for Stanley Kubrick’s film Full-Metal Jacket. So the list below, which is based on reviews and recommendations, are the ten Vietnam War novels that I most want to read if I can find the time to read anything other than email. Read more »

The Ten Best Memoirs of the Vietnam War

by James M. Lindsay
Vietnam War Soldiers Memoirs Two soldiers await a helicopter evacuation with their fallen comrade after a battle in the jungles of Vietnam. (National Archives and Records Administration)

Yesterday, I posted my picks for the best histories of the Vietnam War. While those books all provide excellent analyses of the war, another way to understand U.S. involvement in Vietnam is through the personal stories of those who lived it, whether on the battlefields or in the halls of power back in Washington. Here are my picks for the ten best memoirs of the Vietnam War: Read more »

The Best Histories of the Vietnam War

by James M. Lindsay
Vietnam War Books President Lyndon B. Johnson and General William Westmoreland decorate a soldier in Vietnam. (National Archives and Records Administration)

Next Sunday marks the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of the first American combat troops in Vietnam. It wasn’t a decision that President Lyndon Johnson had planned on making. True, the previous August had seen the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which prompted a near unanimous Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution supporting Johnson’s determination ”to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression. But three months later Johnson was still insisting: “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” Read more »

The History of the Cold War in 40 Quotes

by James M. Lindsay
Churchill and Truman Winston Churchill and Harry Truman aboard a train to Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill would deliver his Iron Curtain speech. (Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration/Abbie Rowe)

On Monday, I posted my nominees for ten Cold War histories worth reading. But many people don’t have the time or patience to plow through comprehensive histories. So for TWE readers looking to save time, here is a short course on the history of the Cold War using forty of the most memorable quotations from that era. Read more »

Ten Cold War Films Worth Watching

by James M. Lindsay
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy British actor Gary Oldman, Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, and British writer John Le Carre at the premiere of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in London. (Suzanne Plunkett/Courtesy Reuters)

The Cold War has provided the grist for rich histories, enlightening memoirs, and terrific novels. It has also provided source material for some great movies. Here in alphabetical order are my ten favorite English-language films about the Cold War: Read more »