War Studies 500 - Preliminary Readings
War Studies 500 "Theories of War" is the core course of the War Studies Programme at the Royal Military College. Generally, WS 500 is composed of students from disparate backgrounds from a variety of academic disciplines and military services. The preliminary readings have a number of purposes. First, they provide ample material for a good first discussion, an "icebreaker", to see where everybody stands on some fundamental issues and introduce them to a graduate-level seminar. Second, they introduce some counterintuitive thought processes which help re-orient students to the study of war away from what they already "know". A Canticle for Lebowitz is a novel written at the height of the Cold War in the 1950s. It introduces the concept of historiography and the methods by which knowledge is passed over the course of "deep time." The Tao of Conversation provides the seminar with a framework for analysis and is designed to move students away from "personal attack" methodology towards something more constructive.
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), professor of medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, explores dark truths about human social interaction in his lecture, "The Inner Ring."
George Orwell's essay "The Politics of the English Language" is the best shock treatment for new authors dealing with highly-politicized issues.
The posthumously eminent Colonel John Boyd cogently examines the concepts of creation, reasoning, inductive and deductive thinking.
A leading composer whose tunes are canon on television, in the movies, and popular culture, reflects on the obstacles placed in the way of the creative process by lesser minds.