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Subject: Military History Bookshelf for February, 2012 rss

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Jon
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southern_cross_116 wrote:
Historical fiction, true - but well, I am not overly versed in the rise of Gaius Marius ...



First Man in Rome ... I might probably go onto the next one after this one (The Grass Crown) -which I think it probably about Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (based upon the context of the title).


Great fun! thumbsup

rogersmith wrote:
I first encountered it 30+ years ago and since then have borrowed it numerous times from various libraries. I'm so excited to finally have my own copy!



This too!
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Elijah Lau
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http://www.amazon.com/One-Hundred-Days-Falklands-Bluejacket/...

Impulse purchase at a bookstore.
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Igor Kwiatkowski
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dougadamsau wrote:
Now reading Eugene Sledge's With The Old Breed, which is marvellous. He writes very well, and it's easy to see why this is considered a classic.

It was released (or perhaps reprinted) in Polish to support the HBO Pacific series. Wow, that put Combat Commander: Pacific in perspective!

As for my reading, I'm halfway through Ambrose's Band of Brothers which probably needs no advertising.
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Still fighting to finish The War of Wars, A one-volume account of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

Continuing to work on The Longest Night, A one volume military history of the Civil war.

Adding to it The War of the Revolution, by Christopher Ward, a one volume military history of the American Revolution.
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Sam I Am
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I am currently reading "Africa's World War" by Gérard Prunier. I'll comment further when I'm finished, but it's a great read so far.

This isn't a book, but I figure this is the best place to post this. I'm on course ten of "WWI: The great war" a course offered by "The Teaching Company"(www.thegreatcourses.com) and taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius. I bought it on audio download, and listen mostly on my bus trips home after work. It's an excellent course, 36 30-minute lectures covering the military, political and social aspects of the Great War. I highly recommend it, the professor is interesting and engaging.

I've bought a few of their courses and I've never been disappointed, but this is one of the best ones I've listened to.
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James Lowry
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Wargames » Forums » General
Re: Military History Bookshelf for February, 2012
southern_cross_116 wrote:
Historical fiction, true - but well, I am not overly versed in the rise of Gaius Marius ...



First Man in Rome ... I might probably go onto the next one after this one (The Grass Crown) -which I think it probably about Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (based upon the context of the title).

Very good book, well worth reading to get a more personal 'feel' for the late Republic than you can usually get. The rest of the series is good, but The First Man in Rome is the best of the lot, and the best realized as a novel (though the series does finish strong, as The October Horse is also strong).

It did leave me wanting to know more about the Gracchi (sp?) brothers. Anyone have a recommendation on that subject? Or a non-fiction book on Gaius Marius?

Finish this off last week:

The short review is that is it well worth reading, but not for the faint of heart. I hope to finish off a longer review soon.

Now I'm part-way through:

Very nice overview. Nice to see someone taking a more 'general reader' approach to the subject. Good, engaging, and fun to read (just like the related podcast, "12 Byzantine Emperors" was fun to listen to).
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Alfred Wallace
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sxmpxr wrote:
This isn't a book, but I figure this is the best place to post this. I'm on course ten of "WWI: The great war" a course offered by "The Teaching Company"(www.thegreatcourses.com) and taught by Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius. I bought it on audio download, and listen mostly on my bus trips home after work. It's an excellent course, 36 30-minute lectures covering the military, political and social aspects of the Great War. I highly recommend it, the professor is interesting and engaging.

I've bought a few of their courses and I've never been disappointed, but this is one of the best ones I've listened to.


It's a good course; I watched it to see Dr. Liulevicius in action. I'm a big fan of his book War Land on the Eastern Front; one of the best books I've seen about a military occupation. It's about the weird military utopia set up by the German Army in WWI in part of occupied Russia.
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Steve Trauth
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Quote:
Or a non-fiction book on Gaius Marius?


I found this one the other day in my family's library- a Penguin Classics paperback Plutarch's 'Fall of the Roman Republic' - which isn't really anything but a reprint of a selection of Plutarch's "Lives" biographies.

First one in this book is on Gaius Marius. When looking for copies of this book at Archive.org (I don't think I found it -but then again I don't do Google books, as I prefer to download pdfs)... I did see a number of volumes called 'Lives' under Plutarch as the author - so you can probably track down a short bio there -at least for starters.
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Michael Gill
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I'm about halfway through 'Decision in Normandy' which tells the tale of Operation Overlord. Specifically, it compares the intent of Operation Overlord with the actual results, thus directly challenging Montgomery's infamous "I never once had cause or reason to alter my master plan" quote. D'Este focuses on the English and Canadian front; the Americans are (so far) only mentioned in passing. He describes the original concept of a quick, direct thrust through Caen, shows how it went awry and explains how the replacement 'go around Caen', followed by the 'thrust at the Orne' strategies ended as a stalemate. D'Este is very fair with Montgomery giving him credit for the overall plan and for adapting well to the changing circumstances in Normandy, but takes great umbrage in the claim advanced after the war that the original plan had always been to hold the Germans at Caen to allow an American breakout. He also mentions the manpower shortage and morale problem Montgomery was dealing with. Maps, while present are not comprehensive enough to give the big picture and none have compass point making it difficult to match the narrative to the map. A very good read for the operational view of the Normandy campaign from the Allied perspective.


Speaking of maps, this book contains selected maps from the US Army Center of Military History's series 'The US Army in WWWII: The European Theater', referred to as the 'Green Books' if I recall correctly. Invaluable when reading about Normandy, although obviously biased towards US operations.


Also picked up this after a gentle nudge from Mr. Dorosh last month; my bookshelf does not appreciate the added weight! Haven't gotten very far, but the footnotes are amazing.

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Rindis wrote:

Now I'm part-way through:

Very nice overview. Nice to see someone taking a more 'general reader' approach to the subject. Good, engaging, and fun to read (just like the related podcast, "12 Byzantine Emperors" was fun to listen to).


I love Byzantine history, but really, "THE FORGOTTEN BYZANTINE EMPIRE THAT RESCUED WESTERN CIVILIZATION" makes me want to stab whoever is responsible for that byline. Aren't we running out of cultures that 'SAVED WESTERN CIVILIZATION!!!' at this point? First the Irish, now the Byzantines... everyone studiously ignoring where most of the knowledge of 'Western Civilization' was stored for the Middle Ages (namely, the Middle East and Islamic Spain). Gotta sell books, I suppose.
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Genghis Ahn
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Jon
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I am happy to hear that you made it through Empires of the Silk Road, James. It gives me courage to try it again at some point.

I am also interested in Byzantine history, but the few books that I have come across have not scratched the itch. I have the Norwich book that shmushes his trilogy into one volume, but I found it way too abbreviated to be enjoyable. Does anyone have an opinion on his original three volume set? Perhaps that is the direction I should go if I want more detail.

My radar went on when I saw you mention the emperor podcast....

*****

Gabriel - You struck a chord with the knock on the plethora of "saved the West" titles. I have the same pet peeve, along with a dislike of titles from a few years ago like "Salt" or "Butter" or whatever product they thought was vital to the existence of civilization. I am not knocking their arguments, just the titles.

*****

I too have read Decision in Normandy and really enjoyed it. In fact, I have liked all of his books that I have read.
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Alfred Wallace
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Capt_S wrote:
I am also interested in Byzantine history, but the few books that I have come across have not scratched the itch. I have the Norwich book that shmushes his trilogy into one volume, but I found it way too abbreviated to be enjoyable. Does anyone have an opinion on his original three volume set? Perhaps that is the direction I should go if I want more detail.


For a more modern view there's Warren Treadgold's History of the Byzantine State and Society, which tips the scales at about 1000 pages. Plus: The author is a wargamer (and designer, of a prototype that's been carefully honed now for at least nine years). Treadgold is no slouch of a writer, but JJN is more literary in style.
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Jim F
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I was going to buy this but apparently it's all about a hammer, so I passed.

Have been reading 'Barry Lyndon' and getting into a SYW mood. Just need a decent wargame to match it...
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James Lowry
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wolvendancer wrote:
I love Byzantine history, but really, "THE FORGOTTEN BYZANTINE EMPIRE THAT RESCUED WESTERN CIVILIZATION" makes me want to stab whoever is responsible for that byline. Aren't we running out of cultures that 'SAVED WESTERN CIVILIZATION!!!' at this point? First the Irish, now the Byzantines... everyone studiously ignoring where most of the knowledge of 'Western Civilization' was stored for the Middle Ages (namely, the Middle East and Islamic Spain). Gotta sell books, I suppose.

Actually, my ire caught at the word 'forgotten' and didn't get that far. Maybe I'm just too involved in history, but Byzantium just doesn't seem that 'forgotten' to me. Certainly it's easier to find out about than say, the Hellenistic states, or the Holy Roman Empire (never mind something like Merovingian Francia).

Capt_S wrote:
I am happy to hear that you made it through Empires of the Silk Road, James. It gives me courage to try it again at some point.

I recommend it. The beginning is really rough to get through, but it gets slowly better as he works his way out of prehistory.
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Jur dj
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Peter Lorge: The Asian Military Revolution: From Gunpowder to the Bomb

Picked it up to find out a bit more about Chinese warfare in the 16th and 17th century. Because of this article:
http://the-diplomat.com/china-power/2012/02/08/the-west’s-first-war-with-china/

According to Lorge, Chinese firearms, despite their headstart, developed mostly on the track of canon. This was mainly due to Chinese warfare being determined by sieges, rather than field battles.

In the 16th century the Chinese faced the maritime challenge of the Japanese wokou pirates (who were actually also large part Chinese). Once they recognised it as an urgent problem, they dealt with it quite easily, improving their sea and land organisation and tactics.

This experience was to prove useful when the Japanese invaded Korea at the end of the 16th century. The Koreans used Chinese maritime technology and added their turtle ships to decisively defeat the Japanese fleet and cut off supplies to the mainland. On land the Japanese could not match the Chinese canon, although they outclassed the Chinese in small arms and close combat (and Northern Chinese cavalry proved ineffective). The Japanese therefor spread themselves and avoided set piece battles with the Chinese. However, that made them vulnerable to Korean guerillas.

All in all it seems that the Chinese were quite up to par in siege technology, which was most of the conflict with the Dutch in 1661/2. Maybe not so much in battlefield use of small arms.
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Rob ZoBell
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Just finished:



And while I enjoyed it well enough, I can't recommend it. The author has the (to me) annoying habit of writing his history to read like a novel, where every bit of dialogue is precise and quoted, and interior monologues of not-interviewed-because-they-were-killed-on-the-beach minor characters are presented with astonishing fidelity. Plus, this didn't talk as much about the Dieppe operation as I would have liked (wrong zoom level, given what I was looking for). I also disagreed with the author's thesis that the raid was a cover for sneaking a single d00d up to look at a radar installation.

Still reading:



At 1200 pages it means that I'll be with this one for a while, but even given it's vast scope, I find myself wanting to know more details about each of the individual battles. Does this mean that I'm Grand Tactical instead of Operational? Regardless, it's still incredibly enjoyable and will provide a nice framework from which to hang my further studies.
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Andrew Finke
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I'm looking for a book covering the Army's action in the Pacific Theater. Any suggestions?
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Thomas Marshall
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southern_cross_116 wrote:
Historical fiction, true - but well, I am not overly versed in the rise of Gaius Marius ...



First Man in Rome ... I might probably go onto the next one after this one (The Grass Crown) -which I think it probably about Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (based upon the context of the title).


You never have to make qualified apologies for her Masters of Rome series, Steve. There's more history in the series' pages than some so-called scholarly papers on the end of the Republic I've read. The amount of her research is prodigious. Plus, almost every book in the series is just flat out fun to read. Her historical characters of the era come alive and create history in her Masters of Rome novels, they don't merely react to it. Some of the books I liked more than others, but this initial work in the series just might be its best.
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Jeb
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finke67 wrote:
I'm looking for a book covering the Army's action in the Pacific Theater. Any suggestions?


The US army has what the call 'the green books' which are army historians writing about the key campaigns in WWII ... There are a bunch on the Pacific ... I think that is a great place to start.
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Steve Trauth
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finke67 wrote:
I'm looking for a book covering the Army's action in the Pacific Theater. Any suggestions?



What Jeb said- plus you can find them in pdf format on the Army History unit's site for download. (Plus loads more as well).
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Jeb
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southern_cross_116 wrote:
finke67 wrote:
I'm looking for a book covering the Army's action in the Pacific Theater. Any suggestions?



What Jeb said- plus you can find them in pdf format on the Army History unit's site for download. (Plus loads more as well).


Here is the link

http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/collect/ww2-ap....

If you've got an iPad, you can save the pdf's to you iBook library.

There is a similar series on the web for WWI if folks are interested in that war as well.
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Will (JR) Todd
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jeb123 wrote:
southern_cross_116 wrote:
finke67 wrote:
I'm looking for a book covering the Army's action in the Pacific Theater. Any suggestions?



What Jeb said- plus you can find them in pdf format on the Army History unit's site for download. (Plus loads more as well).


Here is the link

http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/collect/ww2-ap....

If you've got an iPad, you can save the pdf's to you iBook library.

There is a similar series on the web for WWI if folks are interested in that war as well.


Thanks very much for the link. These look VERY interesting.
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Joe Thompson
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I finished this recently and found it to have an excellent blend of explanation and first hand accounts. A really good book that taught me a lot.

Then I purchased:



Which I was initially disappointed with, since it solely consists of first hand accounts. But they have been chosen carefully; and you do get a vague feel for what was happening. Recommended, I'll get more in the series.
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Thomas DeFranco
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Ashiefan wrote:
Genghisx wrote:


I was going to buy this but apparently it's all about a hammer, so I passed.

Have been reading 'Barry Lyndon' and getting into a SYW mood. Just need a decent wargame to match it...


What about Clash of Arms' BAR system? If you like tactical 18th Century stuff, I don't think you can do better than that.
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