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CNO Gilday drops ‘woke’ books from Navy reading list

Updated: May 20, 2022

Chief of Naval Operations Michael Gilday last week released a new list of books from his professional reading list that no longer includes some of the controversial titles that drew criticism last year.

In 2021, Gilday’s reading list included "How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi, "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander and "Sexual Minorities and Politics" by Jason Pierceson.

At the time, Gilday said the Kendi book was added because Task Force One Navy was set up in the wake of George Floyd’s death, and he wanted to allow Sailors to “courageously come forward and tell their stories” about racism.

Those books also drew criticism that the Navy was focusing on “woke” politics instead of readiness and morale.

Gilday’s new reading list contains none of those titles, and instead focuses on Navy and broader military strategy and history.

“A learning mindset is essential to accelerating our warfighting advantage,” Gilday about the list. “A Navy that learns, adapts, and improves the fastest will be the most successful. Knowledge sharing is essential to creating a learning culture.”

The titles that Gilday recommended for Sailors’ shelves are:

  • “To Rule the Waves” by Bruce Jones

  • “A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy” by James Holmes

  • “China as a 21st Century Naval Power” by Michael. A. McDevitt

  • “Not One Inch” by Mary E. Sarotte

  • “The Sailor’s Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea” by Admiral James G. Stavridis

  • “Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War” by Paul Scharre

  • “Fortune Favors Boldness” by Barry Costello

  • “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour” by James Hornfischer

  • “World War II at Sea: A Global History” by Craig Symonds

  • “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield” by Gayle T. Lemmon

  • “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown

  • “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck

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