The Unexpected Book

I discovered something absolutely fascinating this morning (well, it’s fascinating to me at least) – that Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” is apparently on the required reading list for West Point US Military Academy.

While I’d always assumed that military training did involve some pretty heavyweight study, for some reason it had never occurred to me that fiction would be on that list (albeit fiction with a somewhat military bent). I’d always pictured it as being biography and history, with a shed-load of strategy for good measure. And while I can understand precisely why it’s “Starship Troopers”, I think it might be the best thing I’ve learned all week – just for the sheer unexpectedness of it.

This got me poking around the internet, looking for other reading lists. Did you know, for instance, that “Catch-22” is on this year’s US Air Force Chief of Staff Reading list? Or that “Nineteen Eighty-Four” appears on the Private / Private First Class reading list for US Marines? Nope. Me neither.

You learn something new every day.



  1. I’ve actually had visits on my blog from West Point. Sadly I didn’t write down what they looked at, but I think it was a review, so they obviously read SFF there.

  2. Did you know that some of the tactics Dan Abnet uses in his Black Library stuff got used by a group of tank guys, who subsequently contacted him and told him not only did they love his book(s) but the tactics also saved their lives whilst under fire? That’s a bit frightening and close to home.

    1. That’s amazing! I never knew that – thanks, Liz. It’s definitely a bit alarming, but also very, very cool. I guess the moral of the story is that SF saves lives! 😉

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