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Jim Mattis Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Books

Warriors and Citizens (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Marines, Counterinsurgency, and Strategic Culture (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Call Sign Chaos (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

James Norman Mattis was born on September 8, 1950 in Pullman, Washington. He is the son of John West Mattis (a merchant mariner) and Lucille (Proulx) Mattis. His mom immigrated from Canada to the United States as an infant and worked in Army Intelligence in South Africa during World War Two. Mattis’ dad moved to Richland, Washington to work at a plant that supplied fissile material for the Manhattan Project. Mattis was raised in a bookish house where there was no television.

Mattis graduated in the year 1968 from Richland High School and got a Bachelor of Arts from Central Washington in history in the year 1971. Years later, he got a Master of Arts in the field of international security affairs from the National War College of National Defense University in the year 1994.

Mattis enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve in the year 1969. During his service years, he was considered an “intellectual” among the upper ranks, and Robert H. Scales (a retired United States Army general) called him one of the most polished and urbane men he knew.

Mattis is a graduate of the US Marine Corps Command and Staff College, the National War College, and the US Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School.

When he was serving as a brigadier general in Afghanistan, Mattis was well known as an officer that would engage his guys with “real leadership”. He has been quoted as saying “be courteous, be polite, and have some plan to kill everybody you meet”.

Mattis is known for his interest in the study of world history and military history, having a personal library that at one time had over seven thousand volumes. He even had a habit of publishing required reading lists for the all of the Marines that were under his command. The Marines under his command were required by Mattis to be well-read in the history and cultures of the regions where they were going to be deployed, and had the Marines deploying out to Iraq undergoing “cultural sensitivity training”.

A young Marine officer, named Nathaniel Fick, said that he witnessed Mattis in a fighting hole talking with a lance corporal and a sergeant. He said that nobody would have questioned Mattis if he had slept eight hours in some private room, woken up by an aide every morning that ironed his uniforms and heated up his MREs. There the guy was, right in the middle of the freezing night, right there on the lines with all his Marines.

He has never been married, although was about to get married before it was called off just days before the wedding. She said she didn’t want to interfere with his career. Because of his lifelong devotion to the study of war and bachelorhood, he has been nicknamed “The Warrior Monk”.

Other nicknames include: “Mad Dog” and “Chaos” (which is his call sign). When he was a colonel, a regimental commander gave him the nickname, which is an anagram for “Colonel Has An Outstanding Solution”.

He is a highly decorated in the military. He was given a Navy Distinguished Service, the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Defense Superior Service Medal.

Jim is Catholic, and has been described as being “committed” and “devout”. During the 2003 Iraq invasion, he would pray often with general John F. Kelly on Sundays. That being said, he will not discuss his faith in public.

He retired from active duty in the year 2013, and in the year 2017 became the 26th United States Secretary of Defense. It is a position that he stepped down from at the end of 2018. This is due to a difference of opinion he had with the president.

He has written a memoir called “Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead”, which was released in the year 2019. Mattis also co-edited “Warriors and Citizens”, which was published in August 2016.

“Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead” is Jim’s memoir and was released in the year 2019. This is Jim Mattis’ storied career, from his wide ranging leadership roles in three different wars to ultimately commanding a quarter of a million troops over all of the Middle East. Mattis recounts all of his foundational experiences while being a leader, taking the lessons he learned about peacemaking and the nature of warfighting, the strategic dilemmas, the importance of allies, as well as the short sighted thinking that faces the nation. He states clearly why America has to go back to a strategic footing in order to not continue winning battles but fight inconclusive wars.

Mattis splits the book into three parts, that are called: Direct Leadership, Executive Leadership, and Strategic Leadership. In part one, he talks about his early experiences leading Marines into battles, when he knew each of his troops as well as he did his own brothers. In part two, he goes into what it really means to command thousands of troops as well as how to adapt your style of leadership to make sure your intent is understood by your most junior of troops. This is to make sure they will be able to own their mission.

In part three, Mattis talks about the techniques and challenges of leadership at the strategic level. At this point, military leaders have to reconcile war’s grim realities with the human aspirations of the political leaders. It is where complexity rules the day, and the consequence of imprudence will be severe, and even catastrophic.

This book is both an autobiography and an argument in favor of an internationalist foreign policy.

Through reading this book readers found themselves coming away with a great respect for his skill as a soldier as well as his thirst to improve through learning. This is a fascinating man and it is nice to see a subdued tale that only focuses on his military career, leadership strategy, and philosophy. The book features a lot of good advice on how you must lead people to achieve your objective. Mattis delivers life lessons from the perspective of somebody that actually had the experience.
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