Experts > David Cortright

David Cortright's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books David Cortright recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of David Cortright's favorite book recommendations of all time.

The Vietnam war continues to be the focus of intense controversy. While most people--liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, historians, pundits, and citizens alike--agree that the United States did not win the war, a vocal minority argue the opposite or debate why victory never came, attributing the quagmire to everything from domestic politics to the press. The military never lost a battle; how then did it not win the war? Stepping back from this overheated fray, bestselling author John Prados takes a fresh look at both the war and the debates about it to produce a much-needed and... more
Recommended by David Cortright, and 1 others.

David CortrightThis is one of the best histories of Vietnam. As someone of the Vietnam generation, I’m addicted to the historiography of the war. This is a monumental book, stretching from 1945 to 1975. It addresses some of the misperceptions that have arisen over the years and clarifies that, despite some revisionist thinking, the United States never won. (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...


How Terrorist Groups End

Lessons for Countering Al Qa'ida

All terrorist groups eventually end. But how? Most modern groups have ended because they joined the political process or local police and intelligence agencies arrested or killed key members. This has significant implications for dealing with al Qa'ida and suggests fundamentally rethinking post-9/11 U.S. counterterrorism strategy: Policing and intelligence, not military force, should form the backbone of U.S. efforts against al Qa'ida. less
Recommended by David Cortright, and 1 others.

David CortrightThis is an interesting book from the RAND Corporation, a long-established think-tank. It addresses a very important issue. Jones and Libicki examined hundreds of cases and found that terrorist groups are defeated not, generally, by military means but through other processes. These include law-enforcement measures – tracking down the terrorists and prosecuting them – and political ones, such as... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

A fascinating, accessible introduction to Islam from the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Zealot

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • A finalist for the Guardian First Book Award

In No god but God, internationally acclaimed scholar Reza Aslan explains Islam—the origins and evolution of the faith—in all its beauty and complexity. This updated edition addresses the events of the past decade, analyzing how they have influenced Islam’s position in modern culture. Aslan explores what the popular demonstrations pushing for...
Recommended by David Cortright, and 1 others.

David CortrightFor me, this is the best introduction to Islam. I think all of us in the West are trying to learn more about Islamic culture and religion. Aslan writes so beautifully about what Islam represents – its theological, cultural and economic dimensions. It’s the most eye-opening and illuminating book I’ve read on the subject. It gave me a sense of respect for Islamic culture and the great scientific... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

The twenty-first century has seen millions unemployed. It has seen livelihoods undermined by environmental degradation. Middle-class cities in Europe, Asia, and Africa have become cauldrons of violence and resentment. Tribalism, ethnic nationalism, and religious fundamentalism have flared dangerously, from Russia to Spain. The use of force is unlikely to help. What works when counter-insurgency has run its course: in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and beyond?

In this book, two authors brought together from distant points on the political spectrum by their concerns about the...

Recommended by David Cortright, and 1 others.

David CortrightThis is a wonderful review of how military doctrine is changing. One of the book’s authors, Shannon Beebe, was a U.S. army colonel. He read some of Mary Kaldor’s earlier books and wrote to her. ‘What you’re saying about the nature of warfare is true,’ he said, ‘because I’m experiencing it.’ (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

The Middle East, a region infamous for political violence and a democratic deficit, boasts a rich but little-known history of nonviolent civilian-led struggles for rights and freedoms. Ordinary Egyptians, Palestinians, Turks, Israelis, Iranians, Kuwaitis and other Middle Easterners have, over the past century, used "weapons" including boycotts, strikes, demonstrations, sit-ins, and other methods of civil disobedience and noncooperation to courageously challenge entrenched power and to advance democratic self-rule. This book challenges the oft-heard claim that nonviolent resistance "can't... more
Recommended by David Cortright, and 1 others.

David CortrightA colleague of mine, Maria Stephan, edited this book. It’s a collection of essays about the Middle East. They reveal different groups’ approaches to their disagreements, including those by the Palestinians. We think of the latter’s protests as violent – and they certainly were during the second Intifada. But there are many heroic examples of Palestinians resisting the separation barrier in a... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

Don't have time to read David Cortright's favorite books? Read Shortform summaries.

Shortform summaries help you learn 10x faster by:

  • Being comprehensive: you learn the most important points in the book
  • Cutting out the fluff: you focus your time on what's important to know
  • Interactive exercises: apply the book's ideas to your own life with our educators' guidance.