(Editor’s Note: SOFREP invites our members to submit articles for publishing consideration. Today we bring you a piece by SOFREP member Shelby Kearns. Mrs Kearns graduated with an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago and has experience teaching writing classes and working for a non-profit. She is an emerging writer and lives with her husband Matthew in Lawton, Oklahoma)

On February 15th, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville will release another book on his reading list as he does on the 15th of every month. This may not seem like a noteworthy event. Gen. McConville follows a decades-old (maybe centuries-old) tradition of military leaders maintaining a professional reading list, and these days, everyone from a battalion commander to an academy commandant has one.

My experience has led me to believe that these reading lists matter. When my husband checked into Infantry basic training at Fort Benning, he placed his copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Breakfast of Champions” in the “Amnesty Box,” the container for all contraband from the civilian world. The reason? He felt worried that Vonnegut wasn’t on any of the reading lists. My mother-in-law mailed him two of the approved books: Dave Grossman’s influential “On Killing” and Erich Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front”.