Every Book I Read in 2014

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Sometime in the fall of 2009 I realized that I was having trouble keeping the topics and titles of the many books I have read straight. To fix the problem I started “an annotated bibliography of everything,” recording the bibliographic information and a concise (usually 3-5 sentence long)  review of every book I finished from that point forward. Keeping it up to date can be a  bit tedious, but in this case the rewards of tedium redeem its costs. One of the neat things it allows me to do is list everything I have read over the course of any given year. 

Last January I published the full list of books I read in 2013. I still do not quite understand why that list was so well-liked, but liked it was, earning a spot as one of the most popular posts published on the Scholar’s Stage that year. It success has convinced me to repeat the formula and make this an annual tradition. Thus I gladly present the next list: “Every Book I Read in 2014.”

The  following list of books is roughly chronological, listed by the time  when I finished, not started, each book. It is a bit shorter than last year’s. I attribute this to the number of books that I read this year that I read only in part, and to the increased amount of time I spent with language study and practice. I set a goal to read more fiction this year, and that I did, though it might not be immediately apparent. While the number of fiction titles is not much larger than appeared on last year’s list, the length of the novels that do appear are all quite long (most more than 800 pages), meaning I spent much time reading fiction this year than I did before. 

I have bolded the ten best books of the year (as was the case last year, books that I have read before–such as Sima Qian’s Record of the Grand Historian–were disqualified). If I wrote a book review or review essay for the book here at the Stage or at Amazon then I have placed a link next to its citation. 


Jorgenson, Kregg, Acceptable Loss: An Infantry Soldier’s Perspective, (New York: Ballantine Books, 1991). 

Herr, Michael. Dispatches. (New York: Vintage International, 1991; or. ed. 1977).

Devanter, Lynda van, Home Before Morning: The Story of an Army Nurse in Vietnam 2nd ed (New York: Beufort Books, 2001).

FitzGerald, Frances.  Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. (or. ed., 1972; rev. ed, New York: Little Brown and Company, 2002).

Short, Philip. Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2003).

Sanderson, Brian. The Way of Kings. (New York: Tor Books, 2010).

Lind, Michael. Vietnam, The Necessary War: A Reinterpretation of America’s Most Disastrous 
Military Conflict. (New York: Touchstone, 1991).

Ye Fu. Hard Road Home, trans. A.E. Clark (Dobbs Ferry, NY: Ragged Banner Press, 2014). [Scholar’s Stage post.]

Dang Thuy Tram, Last Night I Dreamt of Peace, trans. Andrew Pham (New York: Harmony Books, 1991).

Hayslip, Le Ly and Jay Wurts, When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, (New York: Doubleday, 1989).

Elverskog, Johan, Our Great Qing: Mongols, Buddhism, and the State in Late Imperial China (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2006).

Edelman, Bernard (ed.), Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam (New York: Pocket Books, 1985).

Miller, Roger Lemoy, Economics Today: The Macro View 16th ed. (Boston: Addison Wesley, 2012).

Perdue, Peter, China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2005). [Scholar’s Stage post]

Robb, John, Brave New War: The Next Step of Terrorism and the End of Globalization (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2007).

Narinzy, Kevin, The Political Economy of Grand Strategy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007.)

Headrick, Daniel, The Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in Nineteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).

Hugo,Victor. Les Miserables. trans. C.E. Wildbur, ed. and abridged, Laurence Porter (New York: Barnes and Nobles Publishing, 2003).

Fingarette, Herbet, Confucius: The Secular as Sacred (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1972).

Nylan, Michael, and Michael Lowe, ed. China’s Early Empires: A Re-appraisal (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring (New York: Ballantine Books, 1982, or. ed. 1952).

Tully, John. France on the Mekong: A History of the Protectorate in Cambodia, 1863-1953 (Lanham, New York: university Press of America, 2002).

Moeller, Hans Georg. The Philosophy of the Dao De Jing. (New York City: Columbia University Press, 2008).

Tolkien, J.R.R., The Two Towers (New York: Ballantine Books, 1982, or. ed. 1954).

Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty I, trans Burton Watson (New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1993).

Raaflauband, Kurt and Nathan Rosenstein, eds., War and Society in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds (Cambridge: Harvard U.P., 1999).

Li Feng, Early China: a Social and Cultural History (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Tolkien, J.R.R., The Return of the King (New York: Ballantine Books, 1982, or. ed. 1956).

Christopher K. Johnson, Ernest Z Bower, Victor D. Cha, Michael J. Green, and Matthew P 
 Goodman, Decoding China’s Emerging “Great Power” Strategy in Asia (Washington DC: Center for International and Strategic Studies, 2014).

Bray, Francesca, The Rice Economies: Technology and Development in Asian Societies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985).

Yoshikawa Eji, Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan, trans. William Scott 
 Willson (Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1992; or. ed. 1966).

Walter, Carl E. and Fraser J.T. Howie, Red Capitalism: The Fragile Foundations of China’s Extraordinary Rise (Singapore: John Wiley and Sons (Asia), 2011).[Scholar’s Stage post].

Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty II, trans Burton Watson (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). [Related Post, Part I and Part II]

Bechtol, Bruce, Jr., Defiant Failed State: The North Korean Threat to International Security (Washington DC: Potomac Books, 2010).

Office of the Secretary of Defense, Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2014 (Washington DC, Department of Defense, 2014).

 Pyle, Kenneth, Japan Rising: The Resurgence of Japanese Power and Purpose (New York: Public Affairs, 2007). [Scholar’s Stage post-Pending]

Kirk, Donald, Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and the Sunshine (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009)

Pettis, Michael, The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Road Ahead for the Global Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013).

Chan Chun-shu, The Rise of the Chinese Empire, vol I: Nation, State, and Imperialism in Early China, ca 1600 BC-A.D. 8 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007).

Cai Liang, Witchcraft and the Rise of the First Confucian Empire (Albany: SUNY Press, 2014). [Scholar’s Stage post-Pending].

Axlerod, David, The Evolution of Cooperation, rev. ed., (New York: Basic Books, 2006).

Yu Ying-shih, Trade and Expansion in Han China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967).

Blainey, Geoffrey, The Causes of War (New York: The Free Press, 1973).

Shelling, Thomas, Arms and Influence, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale, 1996).
Kennedy, Robert, Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, rev. ed with foreword by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. (New York: Norton and Company, 1999 [or. ed. 1971]).

Huan Kuan, Discourses on the Salt and Iron (Yen T’en Lun), trans. Esson M Gale (Taipei: Ch’eng Wen Publishing Company, 1967).

Perenboom, R.P., Law and Morality in Ancient China: The Silk Manuscripts of Huang-Lao (Albany: SUNY University Press, 1993).

Smith, Charles, Palestine and the Israeli-Arab Conflict: A History With Documents, 5th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012).

Jiang Rong, Wolf Totem, trans. Howard Goldblatt (New York: Penguin, 2009).

Keller, Markus, “From ‘Non-action’ to ‘overaction‘: An Analysis of the Shift of Political Paradigms in the Second Century BC (PhD diss, Princeton University 1993).

Loewe, Michael, The Men Who Governed Han China: A Companion to the Biographical Dictionary of the Qin, Former Han, and Xin Periods (Boston: Brill, 2004).

Ames, Roger, trans., The Art of Rulership: A Study in Ancient Chinese Political Thought (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994).

Ganguly, Sumit., Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions Since 1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001).

Bielenstein, Hans, The Bureaucracy of Han Times (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980).

Ebray, Patricia, Anne Walthall, and James Palais, East Asia: A Cultural, Political, and Social History, 2nd ed. (Boston: Cengage Learning, 2008).

Anderson, Qin-Hong, ed. Masterworks Chinese Companion (Boston: Cheng and Tsui, 2007).

Liu An, The Huainanzi: A Guide to the Theory and Practice of Government in China, trans. John S. Major, Sarah Queen, Andrew Meyer, and Harold D. Roth, trans. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014).

De Bary, William Theodore, Sources of the East Asian Tradition, vol I: Pre-modern East Asia (New York: Columbia University, 2008).

McNiell, William H. The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society since AD 1000 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982).

McGullough, Helen Craig, trans., The Taiheiki: A Chronicle of Medieval Japan (New York: Tuttle Classics, 2004).

Berry, Mary Elizabeth. Hideyoshi (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982). 

 I also read substantial portions of (100 pages+), but did not finish, Kelly’s The Forager Spectrum: Lifeways of Hunter-Gatherers, Fernandez-Armesto’s Civilizations, Fieldhouse’s Economics and Empire, Whittaker’s Frontiers of the Roman Empire, the Book of Mormon, Shapiro’s translation of Outlaws of the Marsh, Yate’s translation of The Five Lost Classics, Schwartz’s The World of Thought in Ancient China, Loewe’s A Biographical Dictionary of Qin, Former Han, and Xin Periods and Crisis and Conflict in Han China, Di Cosmo]s (ed.) Military Culture in Imperial China, Fairbank’s (ed.) Chinese Ways in Warfare, Johnston’s Cultural Realism, The Old Testament, Baugmart’s Imperialism, Brocheux and Hemery’s Indochina: A History, Gat’s War in Human Civilization, Quinn’s, The French Overseas Empire Bold’s Mongolian Nomadic Society,  Chu’s Han Social Structure, The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia Vol 3, From 1800-1900, The Cambridge History of Chia, Vol I: Ch’in and Han, and The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol 3: Medieval Japan.

What were the best books you read in 2014? 

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One Comment

Great list!

The best three books of my year were:

David Hackett Fisher's Washington's Crossing

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors and Neptune's Inferno by Hornfisher.