Navy Reading ListReading Lists

Naval Academy Reading List

The United States Naval Academy was established in October 1845 by then-Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft. It is the second oldest Service Academy and located in the beautiful city of Annapolis Maryland. The Naval Academy graduates around 1000 Ensigns and 2nd Lieutenants a year into the Navy and Marine Corps.    If you are a midshipman at the Naval Academy, parent of a Naval Academy Midshipman, or just want to learn more about Annapolis, the below books need to be on your Naval Academy reading list:  

Naval Academy Novels: 

  • A Sense of Honor by James Web:  A complex story based on Senior Jim Webb’s experience at the Naval Academy in the 1960’s. Sense of Honor is the story of a hard charging first class man’s attempt to help a challenged plebe get through his first year at the Academy. 
  • The Return of Philo T. McGiffin by David Poyer: An hilarious and irreverent novel about the shenanigans and humor that goes on behind closed doors at the Naval Academy.  If ever a novel could successfully mix the humor of  “Animal House” with proper military culture, David Poyer pulls it off perfectly. 

Naval Academy Admission Assistance & Parents Guide:

  • The Naval Academy Candidate Book by Sue Ross:  Sue Ross has done hundreds of interviews with Midshipmen and compiled her work into the Naval Academy Candidate book. This book provides information on how to prepair for the Naval Academy, earn admission to the Academy, and excel when they get to the Naval Academy.
  • Brief Points (An Almanac for Parents and Friends of US Naval Academy Midshipmen), by Ross H. Mackenzie: Brief Points is one of the standard guides for prospective midshipmen, parents and friends. This book is on its third addition and is now being edited by a Naval Academy graduate, and son of the original author.  
  • The Official United States Naval Academy Workout by Andres Flach and Peter Field Peck: The Standard for over 20 years, This workout guide provides exercises and guidance that a future plebe will need to excel as a first year midshipman. 

Naval Academy History

  • A Walk in the Yard: A self guided tour of the Naval Academy – by Taylor Baldwin Kiland and Jamie Howren:  Taylor and Jamie take you on a self guided tour of the Naval Academy campus, also known as the “Yard”.  Their tour includes monuments, culture, quote from famous graduates, graves and architecture of this 150 year old institution. 
  • Historic Photos of the United States Naval Academy by James Cheevers: With over 200 amazing historical photos of the Naval Academy James Cheevers is able to bring alive Academy’s history from 1845 to present.
  • The Nightingale’s Song by Robert Timberg:  Robert Timberg weaves together the lives of four famous graduates John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, and John Poindexter.  The book moves from their Academy experience to their experience in Vietnam and reveals how the Vietnam War still continues to haunt America.

Naval Academy Leadership:

  • Becoming a Leader the Annapolis Way by  Brad Johnson and Greg Harper: Brad Johnson is a  Professor of psychology in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law at the United States Naval Academy and goes into detail on how the Naval Academy builds quality leaders from the ground up and gives them the habits and tools required for leadership in the American Navy.
  • In the Shadow of Greatness: Voices of Leadership, sacrifice and Service from America’s Longest War by Johua Welle and the Naval Academy class of 2002.  The Academy class of 2002 was walking to class the morning of 9/11. After graduation they received their commission and were deployed to do their nations bidding in far off lands. Each story in the Shadow of Greatness provides a glimpse into the lives of modern day Navy or Marine Corps officers who were faced with unique challenges and sacrifices after their graduation. These stories explain the trials of war and reveal a world of service many don’t understand.

  The above books are just a small sample of some of the best books that should be read by prospective Naval Academy midshipmen. If you feel like we missed a book on this Naval Academy reading list please contact us below.  

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