Wargames » General » Military History Bookshelf for February, 2012

Author: greatredwarrior
I'm back and posting this one! I love Indonesia...gives me an edge on greeting the new day/month/year early. I just finished my "night watchmen" with some of the guys from the community and I am still a little wound up so I'll post this now.

I am still working on A Peace to End All Peace, which has been really informative. It seems like a lot of decisions were made by people who really didn't know anything. As a cultural researcher here in Indonesia I find this idea fascinating...maybe I could work for some government somewhere and tell people a bunch of stuff that I don't really know...total awesome! Still only about a third of the way through this one.



I've also been working on Landscape Turned Red, which has been my primary endeavor lately. I'm trying to finish it so that I can leave it here and not worry about it taking up luggage space. I'm still just in the first couple of chapters, but it's been really good so far. Not really a whole lot new to learn, but always good to get a deeper perspective.



My Audio-book for this month continues to be Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative, Volume 2 and 3. I am currently stalled out on the Battle of Chickamauga. The narrative flow is confusing, probably because the majority of the battle was incredibly confusing. I'm going to pause this and read up on the battle on Wikipedia and then continue with the aftermath. There will be some good chances to work on this one some more because between now and then end of the month I've got two trips (to Jakarta and Surabaya), and some serious driving around locally to do.

I've got a goodreads.com account as well, and would love to be your friend on that site as well...

What have you been reading lately? Post up a mini-review and let us know what you all thought?
Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:10 pm
Author: Hidalgo
I'm about halfway through Enemy At The Gates by William Craig. It's been very interesting so far as the style is personal accounts from both sides of the battle as well as a sort-of overview of events at times.
Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:43 pm
Author: mrbeankc


Picked this up cheap on Amazon almost on a lark. Turned out to be one of those serendipity purchases. A really fascinating look at the history of Arlington covering everything from Lee's time living there to the controversy over the Vietnam War's Unknown Soldier. Highly recommended.
Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:15 pm
Author: mrbeankc
greatredwarrior wrote:

I've also been working on Landscape Turned Red, which has been my primary endeavor lately. I'm trying to finish it so that I can leave it here and not worry about it taking up luggage space. I'm still just in the first couple of chapters, but it's been really good so far. Not really a whole lot new to learn, but always good to get a deeper perspective.


A good corollary to this is The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 by Ezra Carman and Thomas Clemens. Also the soon to be published Maps of Antietam by Bradley Gottfried.
Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:19 pm
Author: morsecrossing
my reading list this month:

Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power by John France

With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 by David Stevenson
Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:32 pm
Author: Noreaster

Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:14 pm
Author: Capt_S
I am going through one of my reading lulls. Due, in part, to the copious amount of rules I have been pouring over.

Poking my way through the latest "Medieval Warfare" magazine, the focus this time being the Normans in the Mediterranean. I am learning stuff (always cool).

Book-wise I have How the North Won, Why the South Lost the Civil War and Keegan's The American Civil War beside my bed. The fact that I have started up a PBEM session of For the People is just a coincidence I am sure. In all honesty I am not sure if I am going to read any of these tomes at this time as I need to space my readings on the subject.

Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:06 pm
Author: alfredhw
Capt_S wrote:
Book-wise I have How the North Won, Why the South Lost the Civil War and Keegan's The American Civil War beside my bed.


John Keegan has written several good books. He also wrote The American Civil War. If you want a brief, military-heavy introduction to the war, I recommend the Osprey essential history over this one.

EDIT: "Why, Alfred?"

Honestly, I forgot why I hated it. It came in the mail, I sat down with it, it seemed pretty crummy with a once-over, other scholars I rang up also thought it was crummy. I put it aside, sold it, and forgot about it. But I found this. For those not in the know, James McPherson likes...I won't say he likes almost anything, but he likes a great many books. He is very charitable. You'll find a blurb from him on the back of many books out there. So when James McPherson doesn't really like a book...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/books/review/McPherson-t.h...

But seriously: If you want a short, accessible, military history of the war, you (and my students last semester) will be well-served by the Osprey book. It's written by top folks, has lots of pictures and maps, and is good stuff. It'll be a good reference while you're reading How the North Won and Why the South Lost.
Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:30 pm
Author: Capt_S
Thanks Alfred. Folks I spoke to did not like his book on intelligence either.

Good thing he has written some of my favourites in the past, like The Mask of Command. At least there are those to fall back on.

EDIT: That was a scathing review which I felt he was pained to write (the reviewer that is). Sad in some ways.
Wed Feb 1, 2012 12:08 am
Author: zuludawn


In preparation to play RAF, which arrived in the post yesterday.
Wed Feb 1, 2012 12:24 am
Author: Luftwaffe Flak
Lars is back! laugh

Only read one book this month, but it was a long one (over 600 pages)!



Excellent book, I knew next to nothing about the Korean War and I picked this up at my local Habitat for Humanity and decided to rectify that situation. He expertly weaves the political backgrounds, the generals backgrounds, the strategic overviews, and the first hand accounts of the men on the ground into one flowing story. To understand the American politics behind the war he also presents the Russian, North Korean, and Chinese going ons as well. It is (as most books of this kind are) a sad read as well, the amount of human life wasted because of political aspirations and fear is horrible. Excellent in depth overview (if that makes sense) of the war in my opinion.
Wed Feb 1, 2012 12:08 pm
Author: jurdj
zuludawn wrote:
Overy's Battle of Britain cover

In preparation to play RAF, which arrived in the post yesterday.


d'oh! up there in my to read list. long time since I read Deighton's account, but Overy has a different approach
Wed Feb 1, 2012 9:12 pm
Author: mrbeankc
jurdj wrote:
zuludawn wrote:
Overy's Battle of Britain cover

In preparation to play RAF, which arrived in the post yesterday.


d'oh! up there in my to read list. long time since I read Deighton's account, but Overy has a different approach


Going to pick this up. Read Deighton's book last year after someone posted it to this list and thought it was fantastic. Not a huge WW II buff but I find Britain during the war to be very interesting.
Wed Feb 1, 2012 10:31 pm
Author: pete belli
Ten Million Bayonets: Inside the Armies of the Soviet Union a 1988 reference book by wargame designer and former SPI staff member David C. Isby.
Thu Feb 2, 2012 12:29 am
Author: Ashitaka


A little light reading heading my way...
Thu Feb 2, 2012 3:01 am
Author: desertfox2004
Still working my way through...


Good book, though not what I was expecting. The book deals much more with the major personalities (Nimitz, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, Churchill) than I anticipated, though I think that's all to the good. I'm gaining a great deal of insight into these characters (I'm especially intrigued by the picture that the author paints of Admiral Ernest King, a picture much more nuanced than I imagined).
Thu Feb 2, 2012 3:11 am
Author: mrbeankc
desertfox2004 wrote:

Good book, though not what I was expecting. The book deals much more with the major personalities (Nimitz, Yamamoto, Roosevelt, Churchill) than I anticipated, though I think that's all to the good. I'm gaining a great deal of insight into these characters (I'm especially intrigued by the picture that the author paints of Admiral Ernest King, a picture much more nuanced than I imagined).


I think when it comes to military history people seem to approach it two different ways. Some enjoy the tactical aspects of it more while others enjoy the personal/political aspects of it.

For myself I generally enjoy the latter. I read the tactical civil war books of course but I've always been more interested in the commanders, what they were thinking and how they interacted. I'd rather read about the commander and how he dealt with the situation rather than how the specific units maneuvered on the battlefield. Mind you there is no right or wrong way to study history and to truly delve into one side you have to have a good understanding of the other as well. We're all just drawn to different aspects of it.

I actually find in my interest in manned space flight it's the same way. I belong to a forum with a number of authors and people who took part in the Apollo program. I find I especially enjoy studying the astronauts, the engineers, controllers and how they all meshed together while other tend to enjoy delving more deeply into the hardware. Very similar situation.
Thu Feb 2, 2012 3:58 am
Author: DaveyJJ


Just picked up Beevor's book on the Stalingrad siege.
Thu Feb 2, 2012 11:44 am
Author: jpr755
in the Hands of Fate by Dwight Messimer. The story of the men and planes of PatWing TEN Dec 41 to May 42. Filling in a hole in my knoowledge of the valiant struggle of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet and the other ABDA allies.

Compelling stuff every wargamer interested in WW2 PAC theater should study.
Thu Feb 2, 2012 3:16 pm
Author: MonteCristo23
Bouncing back and forth between



and



with a bit of http://www.amazon.com/US-Submarine-Losses-World-War/dp/B0026... interspersed, as this months obsession is Silent War while waiting for High Frontier and the expansion (on back orderangry) to arrive.
Thu Feb 2, 2012 3:58 pm
Author: alfredhw
MonteCristo23 wrote:
Bouncing back and forth between



and



with a bit of http://www.amazon.com/US-Submarine-Losses-World-War/dp/B0026... interspersed, as this months obsession is Silent War while waiting for High Frontier and the expansion (on back orderangry) to arrive.


If you're interested in their prey, get a library copy of Mark Parillo's book on the Japanese Merchant Marine. Why the library? Well:

http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Merchant-Marine-World-War/dp/...
Thu Feb 2, 2012 4:09 pm
Author: evanbrooks


Still working my way through



It started out well, but degenerated due to a lack of maps. Also, the author contends that Ludendorff lacked operational perspectives while seeking tactical gains and then often criticizing OHL for improperly exploiting tactical gains.

For February.



and



I have actually read the last book, but am taking both on a forthcoming trip to Israel this month.






Thu Feb 2, 2012 5:29 pm
Author: seanmac
DaveyJJ wrote:


Just picked up Beevor's book on the Stalingrad siege.


One of the most engagingly written pieces of military history I've ever read.
Thu Feb 2, 2012 6:13 pm
Author: sendinthetanks
seanmac wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:


Just picked up Beevor's book on the Stalingrad siege.


One of the most engagingly written pieces of military history I've ever read.


Definitely the best I've read. I'm presently looking for Beevor's piece on the Spanish Civil War, hoping it's just as good!
Fri Feb 3, 2012 9:54 pm
Author: alfredhw
sendinthetanks wrote:
Definitely the best I've read. I'm presently looking for Beevor's piece on the Spanish Civil War, hoping it's just as good!


It's not bad. Not as analytical or comprehensive as I'd like, but it's well-written and should leave you knowing more about the war than when you started. I'm certainly glad I read it.
Fri Feb 3, 2012 10:50 pm
Author: Snowman
sendinthetanks wrote:
seanmac wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:


Just picked up Beevor's book on the Stalingrad siege.


One of the most engagingly written pieces of military history I've ever read.


Definitely the best I've read. I'm presently looking for Beevor's piece on the Spanish Civil War, hoping it's just as good!

Have to agree, an amazing read. One of my all time favorites. Currently reading:

Would very much like to see this Conflict of Heroes: Isle of Doom – Crete 1941 get published.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 12:06 am
Author: Luftwaffe Flak
Snowman wrote:
sendinthetanks wrote:
seanmac wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:


Just picked up Beevor's book on the Stalingrad siege.


One of the most engagingly written pieces of military history I've ever read.


Definitely the best I've read. I'm presently looking for Beevor's piece on the Spanish Civil War, hoping it's just as good!

Have to agree, an amazing read. One of my all time favorites. Currently reading:

Would very much like to see this Conflict of Heroes: Isle of Doom – Crete 1941 get published.


Stalingrad, Berlin, D-Day, and The Spanish Civil War by Beevor are all excellent! Crete is winging its way to me from a seller in Oregon via Amazon and will be one of the few books (A Time for Trumpets is going too thanks to ya'lls recommendations!) Im taking with me when I move to Israel. Looking forward to reading it!
Sat Feb 4, 2012 3:54 am
Author: Moron Tom
Just finished reading a book I last read 40 years ago,"The Last Battle" by C. Ryan. Geez I'm old.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 5:17 am
Author: jpr755
Moron Tom wrote:
Just finished reading a book I last read 40 years ago,"The Last Battle" by C. Ryan. Geez I'm old.


Oldie...but goodie! (At least the book is! whistle) As are The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far. I always thought these 3 were "must haves" for a WW2 library.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 2:46 pm
Author: pete belli
The Collapse of the Soviet Military by William E. Odom

Time has passed this volume by... but I was primarily interested in the first chapters covering the European situation in the early 1980s.

The book includes a chapter which offers one of the best descriptions of Marxist-Leninist military policy and the Soviet philosophy of war that I've read.

Sat Feb 4, 2012 3:52 pm
Author: pete belli
Claws of the Bear: The History of the Red Army from the Revolution to the Present by Brian Moynahan

Like the previous book I mentioned, this 1989 volume is quite dated. However, it has excellent chapters on the Warsaw Pact in the 1950s 1960s, and 1970s.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 4:03 pm
Author: Philip Thomas
Shadow of the Sultan's Realm: The Destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle Easr by Daniel Allen Butler.

Don't be fooled by the glib (and occasionally inaccurate) generalisations in the opening chapters, this is well worth reading as an account of WWI in the Middle East and subsequent events up to 1923.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 4:38 pm
Author: ajoer
Two suggestions for your reading pleasure. First, for a completely different view of WW2, but an important one, try Hitler's Empire -- How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower. This is not alternative history, but is a look at, no surprise, how the Nazis treated their conquered territories. Interestingly, their attitude was wildly different in different places. And not always for racial reasons. Interesting book.

Of course, if you like this, there is always Wages of Destruction by Tooze. I have recommended this in the past, but if Hearts of Iron 2 ever fascinated you, you must read this book.

But second Three Armies on the Somme by William Philpott is an absolute must for anyone interested in WW1. This is revisionist history at its best. The author tells the story of the THREE armies on the Somme -- and makes a good argument that the one that most historians ignore (the French) actually had the best of the battle, learned the most and achieved the most.

He also tells the story of how the story of the Somme was told -- how the story got hijacked by a number of vested interests for political purposes. For someone whose early introduction to wargaming and specialist military history was heavily influenced by BH Hart, this was a further nail in the coffin of Hart's military reputation. But at the same time, a further episode in understanding the depth of feeling that made Hart's mostly baneful influence on the British military more understandable.

But don't let this explanation take you astray, Three Armies is a great book, very engaging and insightful on what was going on in all three armies as well as on the battlefield.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 5:21 pm
Author: alfredhw
Good to see some occupation history on here...

If you liked Hitler's Empire for the big picture, you might find his previous book, Inside Hitler's Greece, interesting for a more in-depth case study.
Sat Feb 4, 2012 5:40 pm
Author: sgtstinky
I just read Company Aytch, I think this is my fourth read on this book. All time civil war classic, it never gets old. This version included some previously unpublished material from the Watkins family, basically Sam's notes and other material that was edited out of the book. Didn't really make a difference in the read, still the same book. [ImageID=51Bz8hwzHKL_AA240]
Sat Feb 4, 2012 7:27 pm
Author: southern_cross_116
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).
Sat Feb 4, 2012 10:48 pm
Author: NikTheRake


A book for the general reader but very interesting to me.
Sun Feb 5, 2012 8:38 am
Author: CletePurcel
Just acquired:











Sun Feb 5, 2012 1:35 pm
Author: wifwendell
My WIF buddy Chris has lent me



I'm only about 30 pages into it (the invasion fleet is still in Virginia) but so far it's interesting. I know very little about Operation Torch and the conquest of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.
Sun Feb 5, 2012 2:06 pm
Author: jpr755
wifwendell wrote:
My WIF buddy Chris has lent me



I'm only about 30 pages into it (the invasion fleet is still in Virginia) but so far it's interesting. I know very little about Operation Torch and the conquest of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.


A good read, as is the follow up The Day of Battle. Still waiting for his last one to complete the trilogy.
Sun Feb 5, 2012 2:36 pm
Author: aTomm


Very good reading!
Sun Feb 5, 2012 4:38 pm
Author: jurdj
jpr755 wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
My WIF buddy Chris has lent me


I'm only about 30 pages into it (the invasion fleet is still in Virginia) but so far it's interesting. I know very little about Operation Torch and the conquest of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia.


A good read, as is the follow up The Day of Battle. Still waiting for his last one to complete the trilogy.


The brilliant bits are about Yanks and Tommies taking the piss out of each other. I'm always fascinated by the Torch attempts to get into Tunisia, including paradrops and nifty negotiations with local French forces. They almost got there before the Germans could reinforce.

With hindsight, it actually proved better the German first invested a quarter of a million troops there that did little to delay the invasion of Italy and could be bagged a few months later.
Sun Feb 5, 2012 4:50 pm
Author: aysi
Slowly working my way through this: Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I



Sun Feb 5, 2012 7:40 pm
Author: alfredhw
aysi wrote:
Slowly working my way through this: Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I





I heard Neiberg give a talk on part of this when he came to my school to talk to us Military History/Modern Europe grad students and faculty. The talk focused on (basically) newspaper reactions to the events leading up to WWI, showing how they reacted with a singular lack of nationalism. My problem was that all his newspapers were left-wing; no Le Figaro, no Daily Telegraph. Most of his diarists were socialists.

He's a top scholar, so presumably his source base for the Real Book is much broader, but it was a somewhat disappointing talk.

(Haven't read the book.)
Sun Feb 5, 2012 8:27 pm
Author: southern_cross_116
Snowman wrote:
sendinthetanks wrote:
seanmac wrote:
DaveyJJ wrote:


Just picked up Beevor's book on the Stalingrad siege.


One of the most engagingly written pieces of military history I've ever read.


Definitely the best I've read. I'm presently looking for Beevor's piece on the Spanish Civil War, hoping it's just as good!

Have to agree, an amazing read. One of my all time favorites. Currently reading:

Would very much like to see this Conflict of Heroes: Isle of Doom – Crete 1941 get published.


I recently got super-lucky and found Beevor's Crete book, at of all places a lapidary show -in decent shape where someone wanted all of 20 cents Australian for it. The only other book on history there was something about a short history of the Byzantine Empire for the same price -so I had to grab that as well. My luck isn't normally that good.
Sun Feb 5, 2012 10:44 pm
Author: aysi
[q="aysi"]
Quote:

I heard Neiberg give a talk on part of this when he came to my school to talk to us Military History/Modern Europe grad students and faculty. The talk focused on (basically) newspaper reactions to the events leading up to WWI, showing how they reacted with a singular lack of nationalism. My problem was that all his newspapers were left-wing; no Le Figaro, no Daily Telegraph. Most of his diarists were socialists.

He's a top scholar, so presumably his source base for the Real Book is much broader, but it was a somewhat disappointing talk.

(Haven't read the book.) [q]



The book does look to be very well researched at this stage-just finished the 4th chapter. He uses French Public Opinion and Foreign Affairs by Carroll a fair bit in these early chapters, mainly for the Le Figaro/Calmette content. The Daily Telegraph and the Times are also referred to in their coverage of the assassinations in June, where they were only on the front page for a day or two.

The strong reliance of the socialist view in the book so far, and I suspect will remain throughout, is his belief that they formed the major opposition to the nationalist/militarist factions that often tried to turn the various crisis at the time, into something the vast majority of Europeans did not want. This is the foundation of his book: Europe did not want to go to war, the Europeans believed that there were safe guards employed by their governments, that had proved successful in the past avoiding war, and a very small minority, not necessarily in charge, proved to be the influencing factor that started the war.

A very interesting read.

Sun Feb 5, 2012 10:53 pm
Author: jurdj
aysi wrote:
[q="aysi"]
Quote:

I heard Neiberg give a talk on part of this when he came to my school to talk to us Military History/Modern Europe grad students and faculty. The talk focused on (basically) newspaper reactions to the events leading up to WWI, showing how they reacted with a singular lack of nationalism. My problem was that all his newspapers were left-wing; no Le Figaro, no Daily Telegraph. Most of his diarists were socialists.

He's a top scholar, so presumably his source base for the Real Book is much broader, but it was a somewhat disappointing talk.

(Haven't read the book.) [q]



The book does look to be very well researched at this stage-just finished the 4th chapter. He uses French Public Opinion and Foreign Affairs by Carroll a fair bit in these early chapters, mainly for the Le Figaro/Calmette content. The Daily Telegraph and the Times are also referred to in their coverage of the assassinations in June, where they were only on the front page for a day or two.

The strong reliance of the socialist view in the book so far, and I suspect will remain throughout, is his belief that they formed the major opposition to the nationalist/militarist factions that often tried to turn the various crisis at the time, into something the vast majority of Europeans did not want. This is the foundation of his book: Europe did not want to go to war, the Europeans believed that there were safe guards employed by their governments, that had proved successful in the past avoiding war, and a very small minority, not necessarily in charge, proved to be the influencing factor that started the war.

A very interesting read.



This is in line with the argument in Herwig Decisions for War 1914-1917. He argues that in many cases the decision making process was separated from public opinion and that those making the decisions were in many cases convinced war was inevitable and that they were going to lose out if they didn't act now.
Sun Feb 5, 2012 11:27 pm
Author: rogersmith
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!

Mon Feb 6, 2012 2:41 am
Author: BeatPosse
I am returning to the work of David Glantz and reading Barbarossa Derailed. I just finished War Without Garlands, a book with a similar focus on Army Group Centre and the drive on Moscow.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:23 am
Author: dougadamsau
Ashitaka wrote:


A little light reading heading my way...


I finished those four books in late January and thoroughly enjoyed them.

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.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 4:54 am
Author: Capt_S
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!
Mon Feb 6, 2012 5:58 am
Author: elijah234


http://www.amazon.com/One-Hundred-Days-Falklands-Bluejacket/...

Impulse purchase at a bookstore.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 6:46 am
Author: waffel
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.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 7:34 am
Author: John Nemo
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.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 10:33 am
Author: sxmpxr
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.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 3:41 pm
Author: Rindis
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).
Mon Feb 6, 2012 6:32 pm
Author: alfredhw
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.
Mon Feb 6, 2012 7:11 pm
Author: southern_cross_116
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.
Tue Feb 7, 2012 11:10 pm
Author: GillFish

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.

Wed Feb 8, 2012 4:08 am
Author: wolvendancer
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.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 4:51 am
Author: Genghisx
Wed Feb 8, 2012 6:34 am
Author: Capt_S
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.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 6:04 pm
Author: alfredhw
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.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 6:55 pm
Author: Ashiefan
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...
Wed Feb 8, 2012 7:39 pm
Author: Rindis
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.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 8:05 pm
Author: jurdj
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.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 11:47 pm
Author: oppenheimer
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.
Wed Feb 8, 2012 11:58 pm
Author: finke67
I'm looking for a book covering the Army's action in the Pacific Theater. Any suggestions?
Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:10 am
Author: CubbieBlues
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.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 2:28 am
Author: jeb123
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.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 5:11 am
Author: southern_cross_116
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).
Thu Feb 9, 2012 5:35 am
Author: jeb123
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.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 6:16 am
Author: Hidalgo
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.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 8:29 am
Author: ShallowThought


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.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 9:17 am
Author: TommyD
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.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 8:22 pm
Author: southern_cross_116
The Army History unit's full publication list (as well)...

http://www.history.army.mil/catalog/browse/title.html

I had a great time testing my ISP bandwidth allotment when I found it - got the official history of the Vietnam War as well.

They also have a couple of Earl Ziemke books on the Eastern Front.

Moscow to Stalingrad & Stalingrad to Berlin --- however those were both written before the end of the Cold War (and subsequent availability of more info)... just an example of what you can find there.
Thu Feb 9, 2012 9:44 pm
Author: wifwendell
I just finished K Blows Top. "K" being Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet premier, and the book being about Nixon's visit to Moscow in 1959, Khrushchev's famous tour of the US in 1959, and his trip to New York for the UN General Assemly in 1960, when he pounded his shoe.

Not exactly military history, but it is an interesting chapter from the Cold War, and lots of discussion of missiles and nuclear weapons and possibility of war. Entertaining and interesting.

Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:58 am
Author: Capt_S
Very unusual title.

Must be a headline?
Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:17 am
Author: wifwendell
Capt_S wrote:
Very unusual title.

Must be a headline?


It was. Lots of newspapers shortened Khrushchev's names in the headlines, frequently using K.
Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:23 am
Author: pete belli
Quote:
Lots of newspapers shortened Khrushchev's names in the headlines, frequently using K.


In 2012 it could be:

K? OMG! LOL.
Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:10 am
Author: finke67
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.


Thank you. I will definately look at this and pass it on to my coworker as well (both his grandfather's served in the Pacific in the Army).
Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:55 am
Author: landru


Been playing lots of Market Garden games recently... so started reading Cornelius Ryan's excellent account. Highly recommend it. Much easy reading than the stack of East Front books I was slogging through last year.

Also watched the movie which is always good too.



Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:34 am
Author: Capt_S
Great book and one of my favourite (guilty pleasure) movies.
Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:44 pm
Author: Moron Tom
Capt_S wrote:
Great book and one of my favourite (guilty pleasure) movies.


Yes indeed! Director Richard Attenborough (Big X from "The Great Escape") also directed one of my favorite movies, "Gandhi".
Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:08 am
Author: Ashitaka
landru wrote:


Been playing lots of Market Garden games recently... so started reading Cornelius Ryan's excellent account. Highly recommend it. Much easy reading than the stack of East Front books I was slogging through last year.

Also watched the movie which is always good too.



Funny you should mention this:

Operation Market Garden

Last night I purchased this same book on my Nook Color. Speaking of e-books, would be curious how many of us are using e-books these days?
Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:19 am
Author: wifwendell
Ashitaka wrote:


Last night I purchased this same book on my Nook Color. Speaking of e-books, would be curious how many of us are using e-books these days?


I have a Kindle but the last thing I want to read on it is a military history book that has maps - as any decent military history book should.
Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:15 am
Author: Rockhopper01
wifwendell wrote:
Ashitaka wrote:


Last night I purchased this same book on my Nook Color. Speaking of e-books, would be curious how many of us are using e-books these days?


I have a Kindle but the last thing I want to read on it is a military history book that has maps - as any decent military history book should.


Totally agree. I have a Kindle Touch, and it's completely impractical trying to read anything that requires you to jump around, such as nonfiction books with charts or maps. It is certainly outstanding for novels though.

So, that being said, I am currently reading Patrick O'Brian's HMS Surprise on the Kindle.



I am also reading John R. Elting's Swords Around a Throne in paperback.

Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:27 am
Author: Moron Tom
If you like O'Brian, you have to read Alexander Kent's 'Bolitho" stories. They're better than Hornblower.
Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:42 am
Author: jovan


I've just finished reading Tank Men by Robert Kershaw.

The thought of flipping a tank counter in ASL is making me feel a bit squeamish.
Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:59 am
Author: Alliterato
The Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944-900 Days of Terror by David M. Glantz

Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:23 pm
Author: jpr755
Rockhopper01 wrote:
So, that being said, I am currently reading Patrick O'Brian's HMS Surprise on the Kindle.



thumbsup

POB's Aubrey/Maturin series is the best literature I have ever read. Very satisfying, and a most worthy endeavor!

Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:35 pm
Author: aforandy
jpr755 wrote:
POB's Aubrey/Maturin series is the best literature I have ever read. Very satisfying, and a most worthy endeavor!


whereas Douglas Reeman's oeuvre isn't really, nor is the rest, although I note the last books in the Fox series are very hard to obtain:
"This is the novel where Fox turns highwayman and joins his childhood enemies, the Hogans, to administer their own form of justice on Lord Rowe."

Hornblower had his uses, as I suspect he benefitted Gregory Peck's style, whereas Russel Crowe doing Jack Aubrey was an interesting example of a good actor meeting his Waterloo, acting so hard high-pressure steam was coming out of his ears.

C. S. Forester and Cornelius Ryan were authors in poor health, though Ryan was on the way out when he was writing A Bridge Too Far. I suspect it might be best to read this book last, rather than first like so many of us, for its generally exceeded by all the others, being disjointed, unbalanced, long on anecdote and short on understanding -- beginning with the title. Ryan's wife wrote an account of his final illness which was well received.
Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:12 pm
Author: alfredhw


Prof. Dan Beaver here at PSU, recommended I read Barbara Donagan's War in England with an eye to providing context for my ACW dissertation. This is sort of the centerpiece of it. One of my favorite books was Carlton's Going to the Wars, a book (basically) about the ways and means of soldiering in the ECW. Donagan surpasses it.

It's in five parts. The first deals with attitudes towards war, from a secular and religious perspective, and also discusses "Military Educations," how the English learned about war, be it from literature or experience.

There follows three chapters on "The Texture of War," which focuses on the world (i.e., the society) that surrounded soldiers during the war. She uses what seems to be a useful concept, "Integrated War," to describe the the porous spheres between the civilian and military world on the one hand, and between the combatants on the other. The divisions weren't as sharp as they might be in other wars. I was planning on looking at spheres, and traveling between them, in my own work; this gives some historiographical background.

Then come four chapters on law, formal and informal, and how they governed what happened on the battlefield. This is a section in my own dissertation I'm struggling with, so I found this useful mostly for "stylistic" inspiration.

The last two sections might be of the most interest to non-professionals. The first, "The Protagonists," is about what one might call the anthropology of soldiers, officers, and the armies they made up. What makes a good officer? What led to cases of cowardice and other "martial failure" in the men? How and why did the armies change over the course of the war? What stayed the same?

The book culminates in the accounts of two sieges, both late in the period. Boarstall House was a minor siege, and Donagan looks a lot at the rhetoric of the surrender negotiations and the besieged Royalist commander's preoccupation with his own honor throughout (he refused to abandon the King, even in the face of an utterly hopeless siege). The siege of Colchester gets a lot more attention, which is reasonable given its much larger size and importance (if not to the war, then to how it was remembered).

Important: You will not get a diagram of the walls and the Parliamentary outworks in this book. The nuts and bolts of the siege are less important than the nature of the siege's destruction, the life of those involved in the siege, and how besieger and besieged dealt with each other. Not to mention the propaganda war that surrounded Colchester--who was committing the atrocities and why?

I liked this book a lot. That said, it may not be for everybody. Oxford has issued the book in paperback and for the Kindle, which means they expect it to reach a reasonably popular audience (if it's just for "us professionals," they charge $110 and only expect libraries to buy them). What kind of popular audience is being addressed here?

1. You need to have a pretty good grasp of the English Civil Wars. This is not, and does not pretend to be, a narrative of the conflict. Donagan assumes that the reader basically knows why the war was being fought in the first place, who the major players are, and the general outline of the battles and campaigns.

2. You're not going to get many battle narratives in here. She doesn't include them, because they "have been extensively studied, and their place in its political and religious as well as its military history is widely recognized." If you want to read about Marston Moor, you are encouraged to get a book on Marston Moor.

3. This book is addressed to fans of what in a previous generation was called "new" military history, which addresses the experience of soldiering--and civilian-ing--in preference to political and "strictly" military history. Basically, if you've read some good texts on the bigger-scale war, this helps bring out soldiers and civilians as individuals and as groups.

I wish it had more on garrisons. If Geoffrey Parker (Military Revolution) is to be believed--and he generally is--for much of the war half the men under arms were pulling garrison duty, not serving in field armies. Garrison duty is kind of my job, so I grasped at the occasional straw. In conversation with Prof. Beaver, the problem is sources; unless there were battles going on the written record is pretty thin. Dr. Beaver did find enough sources to write a chapter on one community in Gloucester, but in general my kind of garrison is usually invisible (in terms of getting a good grip, anyway).

Anyway: Highly recommended to those with an interest in:

1. The English Civil War
2. Soldier, officer, and army life
3. How soldiers and civilians get along
4. Sieges

But again: You need to be pretty clear on your ECW history before diving in.

(EDIT: One ambiguous phrase, one mis-read number, and misspelling the freaking author's name twice.)
Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:26 pm
Author: wifwendell
jpr755 wrote:
Rockhopper01 wrote:
So, that being said, I am currently reading Patrick O'Brian's HMS Surprise on the Kindle.



thumbsup

POB's Aubrey/Maturin series is the best literature I have ever read. Very satisfying, and a most worthy endeavor!



I blew thru all 20 of those books in about 3 months, they were so damn good. And I can't tell a jib from a sprit (or whatever those naval thingamajigs are)! I admit I tended to skip over POB's loving descriptions of rigging and all that...
Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:28 pm
Author: jurdj
alfredhw wrote:
I wish it had more on garrisons. If Geoffrey Parker (Military Revolution) is to be believed--and he generally is--for much of the war half the men under arms were pulling garrison duty, not serving in field armies. Garrison duty is kind of my job, so I grasped at the occasional straw. In conversation with Prof. Beaver, the problem is sources; unless there were battles going on the written record is pretty thin. Dr. Beaver did find enough sources to write a chapter on one community in Gloucester, but in general my kind of garrison is usually invisible (in terms of getting a good grip, anyway).


Have you tried contemporary newspapers? I could get you in contact with someone who's done extensive transcriptions of ECW newspapers and other sources if you're serious about the research.

Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:28 pm
Author: Rockhopper01
wifwendell wrote:
jpr755 wrote:
Rockhopper01 wrote:
So, that being said, I am currently reading Patrick O'Brian's HMS Surprise on the Kindle.



thumbsup

POB's Aubrey/Maturin series is the best literature I have ever read. Very satisfying, and a most worthy endeavor!



I blew thru all 20 of those books in about 3 months, they were so damn good. And I can't tell a jib from a sprit (or whatever those naval thingamajigs are)! I admit I tended to skip over POB's loving descriptions of rigging and all that...


Then I can also heartily recommend A Sea of Words to go along with the series.

Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:32 pm
Author: Ashitaka
wifwendell wrote:
Ashitaka wrote:


Last night I purchased this same book on my Nook Color. Speaking of e-books, would be curious how many of us are using e-books these days?


I have a Kindle but the last thing I want to read on it is a military history book that has maps - as any decent military history book should.



Granted I'm new at using the Nook for war books, but I haven't found the maps to be an issue as of yet. I can bookmark the map pages and reference them whenever desired and I can scroll/zoom on the map however I like. So far so good...

Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:02 pm
Author: oneilljgf

Acquired February, 2012 and just finished it. It is an engrossing treatise on the theory and practice of wargame design by Professor Philip Sabin, the chappie who wrote both Lost Battles and Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World.


Jim
Est. 1949

Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:11 pm
Author: alfredhw
jurdj wrote:
alfredhw wrote:
I wish it had more on garrisons. If Geoffrey Parker (Military Revolution) is to be believed--and he generally is--for much of the war half the men under arms were pulling garrison duty, not serving in field armies. Garrison duty is kind of my job, so I grasped at the occasional straw. In conversation with Prof. Beaver, the problem is sources; unless there were battles going on the written record is pretty thin. Dr. Beaver did find enough sources to write a chapter on one community in Gloucester, but in general my kind of garrison is usually invisible (in terms of getting a good grip, anyway).


Have you tried contemporary newspapers? I could get you in contact with someone who's done extensive transcriptions of ECW newspapers and other sources if you're serious about the research.



We've thought of newspapers, they're just not enormously common for very many of these garrisoned communities, which often may not have a population of more than 1000--and less, when the first army showed up.
Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:14 pm
Author: ajoer
Another one I just finished is The Greatest Battle by Andrew Nagorski.

The subtitle sort of says it all here – Stalin, Hitler and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow that Changed the Course of WW2. This purports to be a history of the battle, well campaign, in 1941, but the author is not a historian, but rather a journalist and it shows through and through. The book is thus a battle book or battle history that leaves most of the battle outside the scope of the book. Being no great expert on military matters (at one point he apparently confuses divisions with brigades), the author focuses his attention on the things that any journalist would focus on – the people story and interesting vignettes along the way.

To be clear, this is not necessarily a “bad thing” in any way, it is just something to be aware of before delving into the book. Because if you come to this book looking for details of the fighting, you are going to be completely dismayed and frustrated. On the other hand, if you want to hear the “rest of the story” so to speak, then this book has something to say. To be sure, there is military stuff going on, and some of that makes its way to the foreground, at least in relatively cursory fashion, but the author tells a bunch of other stories. Such as the story of the internal conflicts inside the German high command, not in specialist fashion but in general history format), the story of some of the conflicts inside the Soviet high command, the story of how the relationships between the Soviets and the Western Allies got started and a bunch of very interesting stories about the human side of things. One thing the author weaves in that is particularly interesting is a journalist’s view of the historiography of the battle after the battle and especially after the war. There are a couple of stories about the author and a bunch of guys wandering around in the woods picking up relics and bones. The “guys” are Russians dedicated to trying to find remains of soldiers and give them a proper burial. The fact that these are modern era (like now) people doing this tells a lot about the Soviet regime and Putin’s goons.

So what does this book add? I think it has a role if you want an introduction to the non-military context of the battle. I am hoping to find something stronger on the military side of things and have Rodric Braithwaite’s Moscow 1941 and Seaton’s Battle of Moscow on my shelf at the moment, so I am hoping for good things there. But the author here makes the point that no one really has a political interest in telling the story of this pivotal battle. You would think the story of the Nazi’s first defeat would be a big deal, but there are so many minefields and pitfalls in this story, from all sides, that no one really wants to dredge this up politically. The Soviet side has Stalin’s obvious stupidity (both in the purge trials and in 1941) to worry about, the obvious stupidity of their forces’ conduct in Barbarossa and the civilian panic in October to avoid. P{lus almost unimaginable casualties, far beyond what the Soviet regime could admit (and the admitted casualties were horrific). The Germans obviously lost this one, so no biggie there. And it can’t all be blamed on Hitler – wasn’t him who said leave most of the German Army’s winter clothes in Warsaw. And the Western Allies’ craven kowtowing to Stalin started right there before the final apocalypse before Moscow. So, yeah, not a whole lot of political interest beyond what Seaton has contributed and the three volume history of Paul Carrell way back in the 60s.

Which, incidentally, is still the case. Aside from this book and the other two cited above, even Amazon doesn’t list a lot of stuff on this battle. Which, when you think about it, is pretty amazing. 7 million men involved, casualties as high as anything in WW1, much less WW2 and nobody talks about it much. Of course, a lot of this is due to the destruction of German records in WW2 and the closing of the Russian archives by the Soviets and their imitators in Putin’s regime of thugs, but still a shame and a disservice to all the brave men and women who turned back the Nazi tide for the first time.
Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:07 pm
Author: jurdj
ajoer wrote:
So, yeah, not a whole lot of political interest beyond what Seaton has contributed and the three volume history of Paul Carrell way back in the 60s.

Which, incidentally, is still the case. Aside from this book and the other two cited above, even Amazon doesn’t list a lot of stuff on this battle. Which, when you think about it, is pretty amazing. 7 million men involved, casualties as high as anything in WW1, much less WW2 and nobody talks about it much. Of course, a lot of this is due to the destruction of German records in WW2 and the closing of the Russian archives by the Soviets and their imitators in Putin’s regime of thugs, but still a shame and a disservice to all the brave men and women who turned back the Nazi tide for the first time.


Books on the Battle for Moscow may not be as common in English as Normandy, but Barbarossa as a whole does have a fair list of recent publications (that is, since the opening of Russian archives in the 1990s), eg Glantz and Overy. Compare that to the Hungarian campaign of 1944, or the Ethiopean Campaign.
Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:50 pm
Author: verdunjp
I read two books on the same subject but with differents conclusions.





From Blurt it ``Christopher Browning's publication of "Ordinary Men" in 1992 was significant in that it was among the first works to move the culpability of the Holocaust away from a small group of German political leaders and the world of high politics and extend it to the larger German population. Following on this same theme, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen published Hitler's Willing Executioners in 1996 and went several steps further to assert that not only did ordinary Germans actively participate in genocide, but that they were naturally predisposed to participate in the Final Solution. It was this book that had the German historical establishment up in arms and the general German population lining up at bookstores to purchase a German copy of Goldhagen's sensational and scandalous book.

The most unusual aspect of the debate between Goldhagen and Browning is that both historians based their respective books on nearly the same set of primary sources. As Browning himself has also noted, it was highly unusual for two historians to arrive at such different and mutually exclusive conclusions when studying the same sources. Consequently, the Goldhagen-Browning debate also raises some important questions about the nature of the historical discipline, the question of "objectivity" and the historian's role in creating a historical narrative.``
Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:31 pm
Author: alfredhw
For what it's worth, most of the pros I've spoken to are squarely on the Browning side of the debate. I haven't polled a representative sample, mind, but my dollar's on Browning.

It's not that unreasonable to draw different conclusions from the same primary source material; you have to use your best judgement, the context you know from other sources, etc. Distinguished Scholar and I disagree on how to interpret a certain dataset; he thinks the numbers in it are large, and I think they're small. The underlying difference is from what vantage point to look at them. Distinguished Scholar isn't being dishonest or crazy; his position is entirely reasonable (if wrong). My understanding is that he thinks the same about my approach...

What's been drummed into my head, rather than an objective/subjective dichotomy, is the importance of being honest rather than dishonest. An honest historian doesn't hide any data (even the stuff that doesn't fit the model), admits when they're not sure of an answer to a question, and has a certain humility towards the source material. Dishonest historians hide the facts that don't fit their story, claim omniscience, etc.

EDIT: No, I'm not putting names to any of that.
Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:46 pm
Author: verdunjp
I have just finished the two books. According to me, there is no winner. Both have good arguments. For me, Browning's explanation is solid but minimize the influence of antisemitism among the german population. The holocaust would never have worked as well without a strong support from the population. On the other side, I would say that the weakness of Golhagen position is to overshadow the possibilty that other factors, even if less important, have had an influence on the actors of the holocaust. Regards.
Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:15 am
Author: Lawrence Hung
Quote:
The Soviet side has Stalin’s obvious stupidity (both in the purge trials and in 1941) to worry about, the obvious stupidity of their forces’ conduct in Barbarossa and the civilian panic in October to avoid.


Stupidity might not be the exact word for Stalin. Many archival evidences now suggest that he was going to plan an attack on Germany in 1942, while he still thought there was enough time in 1941 to build up the defensive earthworks along the border. Somehow, the offensive-defensive strategy was hung in the balance and neither posture was adopted in 1941, which resulted in military disasters.

Quote:
And the Western Allies’ craven kowtowing to Stalin started right there before the final apocalypse before Moscow.


Not sure what you are referring to above here. But the Western Allies did not craven kowtow to Stalin according to my reading. It was because they wanted Hitler to turn against Stalin in the east first. A lot of Stalin's demand before the war was unmet by the West, then Stalin turned to Hitler for the Non-Agression Pact for the land spoils in the Baltics.

Quote:
Aside from this book and the other two cited above, even Amazon doesn’t list a lot of stuff on this battle. Which, when you think about it, is pretty amazing.


I keep clicking the "Wish List" button when there are books on the WW2 Eastern Front mentioned here in this thread. There are many many books on the subject, unless you are specifically talking about the political aspect.

One book I am reading now and is very commendable - "Stalin's Folly":



It is now $6.4 only, a real bargain!
Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:24 am
Author: Capt_S
The latest "Ancient Warfare" magazine just arrived at the end of last week.



Hey Wendell...not sure if you can make it out from the picture, but the fellow has a robe with the star burst symbol just like your guys in our Successors (third edition) session. The comment on his clothing notes that it was a common symbol from the time period and probably Macedonian in origin. The fellow depicted is actually from southern Italy.
Mon Feb 13, 2012 4:07 pm
Author: Shep
Another for
Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:20 pm
Author: teufen
I am reading this, in anticipation of my next play of Phantom Fury:

Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:59 pm
Author: Philip Thomas
The Great Favourite: The Duke of Lerma and the Court and Government of Philip III of Spain, 1598-1621 by Patrick Williams

Mostly about Spanish domestic politics but various military events are described- the war with the Dutch up to the Twelve Years Truce, conflicts in Germany and Italy and the beginning of the Thirty Years War. Interesting treatment of an understudied period of Spanish history.
Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:52 pm
Author: Emperador Carlos
Anyone reading anything about WWI Aviation? It's my new favorite topic.




Also, I've been reading my first and only love, Napoleonics:

http://www.amazon.com/Nelsons-Trafalgar-Battle-Changed-World...


Great book!
Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:32 pm
Author: sxmpxr
Just finished reading "Africa's World War" by Gérard Prunier. A very detailed and in-depth look at the war in the Congo in the aftermath of the rwandan genocide. The book is a little intimidating at first, because of the amount of players, factions, countries and groups involved. The author manages to weave a compelling narrative and shed light on a very complex conflict.

Put up a short review on goodreads.com
Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:50 pm
Author: Philip Thomas
The Sicilian Vespers: A History of the Mediterranean World in the Later Thirteenth Century by Steven Runciman

The subtitle is perhaps more accurate- the Vespers itself is just one chapter in this magisterial volume about the 13th century Mediterranean. Pope fighting Hohenstaufen, Guelf fighting Ghibelline, Angevin fighting Byzantine, Aragon fighting Angevin, France invading Aragon, there's plenty of military history here, with a good dose of politics and religion as well. First published 1958, but it doesn't seem dated to me. Runciman's narrative is as compelling as ever.
Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:49 pm
Author: aysi
Quote:
nyone reading anything about WWI Aviation? It's my new favorite topic.


Not reading at the moment, but I will when it turns up.

Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:09 pm
Author: alfredhw
Fresh off the presses:



Haven't really looked at it, except to verify that his coverage of occupation isn't up to snuff. (Says the occupation historian.) I have a feeling this is heresy around here, but I'm glad to see him not writing about fortifications...
Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:09 pm
Author: aforandy


The Road to Guilford Courthouse is by an author who clearly felt he had to write it, as a first attempt, save a smaller examination of Delaware militia. Its very readable, first setting the scene of the Carolinas as there were at the start of the Revolutionary war and then progressing smoothly to the relatively short campaign there. Its notable that the battles are not given any undue emphasis, although it seems that many questions are answered, for example the motivation of the revolutionaries to fight. That this can't have had much to do with "liberty" was suggested by a British observer of the slaves in Charleston, who of course heavily outnumber the whites. The rest of the book is similarly balanced, to a remarkable degree, perhaps because the bulk of it appears pro-British but the Americans win in the end.

Various heroes are described in their divers attributes, but one is marked out throughout for possessing only one, which is dauntless aggression. Banastre Tarleton [both are family names from the Liverpool area, originally names of towns], the Green Dragoon, pursues the King's enemies relentlessly, and though its not stated, one gets the impression he achieved that rarest & most powerful military effect, of making them all scared of his attentions. The author's apparent acknowledgement of this may be backed by showing Tarleton in combat on cover of the book, on the one hand at his unlucky defeat at the Cowpens, but on the other fighting the opposing cavalry commander to the very end with the last sword-strokes of the action, and nearly besting him. After the war Tarleton joins the Prince Regent's set, perhaps to make his Royal Highness feel better about himself, and has a long but stormy relationship with his girlfriend Perdita. Eventually nearly everyone forgets him but he rises to the rank of general, without purchase, and is finally honoured with the Order of the Bath, by his old friend the King.
Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:54 pm
Author: sassypickle
I spend so much stinkin' money at Half Price Books, I should be a partial owner by now.

Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu - Bernard B. Fall



Stumbling Colussus - David Glantz



Stalingrad - Antony Beevor


The Landmark Thucydides - Robert. B. Strassler
Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:12 pm
Author: jpr755
sassypickle wrote:


Hell in a Very Small Place: The Siege of Dien Bien Phu - Bernard B. Fall


The Landmark Thucydides - Robert. B. Strassler


thumbsupthumbsup for these 2!
Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:32 pm
Author: Rindis
Finished of Lost to the West last weekend.

It's a very good readable brief history of the Byzantine Empire, and I recommend it as such to anyone who would like to familiarize themselves with the subject.

However, the subtitle "The Forgotten Byzantine Empire that Saved Western Civilization" suggests a particular thesis for the book, which it does not follow. Byzantine culture is brought up on occasion, as well as the rise and fall of education during various periods. However, 'saving Western Civilization' only comes in at the end with the population fleeing the Ottoman Empire, and bringing copies of various Roman and Greek works that had lost in Western Europe.

I'd kind of like to see a detailed look at just how certain works have been transmitted down from ancient times to today, but that is a specialized subject, and not part of this book. Similarly, there is only passing mention, at the beginning and at the end, of how 'Byzantine' history has been 'lost' to Western culture, not least because of how it has been somewhat artificially removed from 'Roman' history.

But it is good, light, general history, and if you enjoy it, I highly recommend the author's podcast, 12 Byzantine Rulers, which was done to go along with this book. Conversely, if you enjoyed the podcast, you will enjoy the book.

And now I'm onto re-reading Terence Wise's Medieval Warfare:
Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:22 pm
Author: Rindis
atilla66 wrote:
I'm about 300 pages into this one. It's a nice read. Presents a good overview of the American Civil War. I suppose I'll have to dig into Shelby Foote when I finish.

I also highly recommend Bruce Catton.
Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:41 pm
Author: alfredhw
Rindis wrote:
atilla66 wrote:
I'm about 300 pages into this one. It's a nice read. Presents a good overview of the American Civil War. I suppose I'll have to dig into Shelby Foote when I finish.

I also highly recommend Bruce Catton.


I'll also say that you don't have to read any of them...feel free to explore any special topic that interests you instead.
Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:11 pm
Author: jurdj
Finished Bogdan Musial's Kampfplatz Deutschland: Stalins Kriegpläne gegen den Westen

I've put my full review here:
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/8558456#8558456
If you think there is stuff to debate about the book, maybe it's best to have it in the dedicated thread

This book´s main contribution lies in the daring attempt to bring together all the developments relevant to the rearmament of Soviet Russia in the 1930s in one coherent frame. Furthermore, Musial contends that after the failure of autonomous revolution in the early 1920s, Bolshevik doctrine leadership under Staline became that the Red Army would be the instrument to spread the revolution by armed force. Finally, Musial gives an interesting view on the chain of events leading up to the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Despite Stalin´s long term intention to strike west, Hitler´s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 cannot be defended as a preventive strike.

Some points I found interesting:

Although the title and Musial suggest that Germany was the primary goal of Soviet plans throughout this period, the book spends surprisingly little time convincing the reader that Germany is indeed the specific target of revolutionary ambition, rather than that the direction is more generally to the West. It isn’t particularly relevant to most of the arguments made in the book, but surprising all the same. Maybe the publisher felt that a more specific focus on Germany was necessary to sell the book.

Musial’s main line of argument integrates fundamental ideological choices with military build up, industrialisation, collectivisation of agriculture and purges. That is an audacious undertaking, because it assumes a coherent and consistent line of policy over almost 15 years. Even with hardheaded bureaucrats like Stalin, this looks a little too much to believe.

I was curious to see how Musial, a Polish political refugee in the 1980s, would judge the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact in 1939. Musial argues Hitler had more to offer than Chamberlain and Briand. While the latter could only offer a defensive alliance (and they didn’t try very hard at that, although Musial doesn’t note this), Hitler could offer a partition of Eastern Europe in spheres of interest.

However, Musial doesn't end up condoning Hitler's attack in 1941 as a preventive war against Soviet aggression. Instead he argues that both Hitler and Stalin saw a confrontation as inevitable, and prepared for the final showdown. Musial’s account shows that the Red Army was in no state in 1941 to take the offensive, and that only in 1941 did Stalin & co decide that the time had come for the revolution to take the offensive.
Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:51 am
Author: Rindis
atilla66 wrote:
I mention Shelby Foote because some who wrote one star reviews on Amazon of Battle Cry claim that McPherson's treatment of the war has a politically correct Northern bias and Foote's treatment is more "balanced". Some writing one star reviews of Foote's civil war books claim that Foote has a Southern bias. I figure that after finishing a book with a Northern bias, it might be interesting to read a civil war book with a Southern bias.
So far, I think McPherson's treatment of the war has been reasoned and balanced, but maybe that's because I have a Northern bias. If I decide upon reading a few chapters of Foote that I don't care for his approach, then I certainly have no problem trying a different author. There's no shortage of books on the American Civil War.

Ah yes, the ACW, still being fought by proxy 150 years later.
Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:37 pm
Author: Benjro
atilla66 wrote:
I mention Shelby Foote because some who wrote one star reviews on Amazon of Battle Cry claim that McPherson's treatment of the war has a politically correct Northern bias and Foote's treatment is more "balanced". Some writing one star reviews of Foote's civil war books claim that Foote has a Southern bias. I figure that after finishing a book with a Northern bias, it might be interesting to read a civil war book with a Southern bias.
So far, I think McPherson's treatment of the war has been reasoned and balanced, but maybe that's because I have a Northern bias. If I decide upon reading a few chapters of Foote that I don't care for his approach, then I certainly have no problem trying a different author. There's no shortage of books on the American Civil War.


Having read Foote I love him and as a Kansan I have a strong Northern bias and this is not subjective -- our state history courses in school are pretty plainly pro-Union. Plus, we are still fighting the Border War. Heck our state motto is "to the stars through difficulty" Those stars aren't in the sky but on the US flag.

I found he was praising and harsh to both sides. What he does have is a bias towards specific figures, especially when it comes to the cavalry. I think he is a little romantic about the grand raids performed by the South. I won't spoil it by telling you who he has special affinity for.

Anyway, that is a relatively minor and easily spotted issue. The other failing of the books is the relative lack of maps and the utter lack of photos. Having read McPherson in college, I felt like Foote offered a more in depth but equally accessible entry point into the ACW.

edit: turned flags to stars and Boarder to Border.
Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:35 pm
Author: wifwendell
Benjro wrote:
... Kansas ... still fighting the Boarder War. Heck our state motto is "to the stars through difficulty" Those flags aren't in the sky but on the US flag.


I knew Kansas' motto was Ad astra per aspera but I had no idea it was about becoming a star on the US flag! Makes sense, though.
Sun Feb 26, 2012 6:46 pm
Author: Philip Thomas
Danton by David Lawday

Thoroughly enjoyed this fascinating biography of one of the leading figures of the French revolution. The author even manages to evoke sympathy for the man who brought the terror into existence (and was devoured by it in his turn).

Not very much military history though. Danton makes the occasional trip to Belgium, authorising a disastrous attack on Holland, and the opening years of the French revolutionary wars form the backdrop and, to a degree, excuse for the terror.
Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:23 pm
Author: 11B4V
A third of the way through......



or in other words, how to fight a modern war, with modern equipment and employ WW1 tactics.shake
Mon Feb 27, 2012 8:50 am
Author: ajoer
jurdj wrote:
ajoer wrote:
So, yeah, not a whole lot of political interest beyond what Seaton has contributed and the three volume history of Paul Carrell way back in the 60s.

Which, incidentally, is still the case. Aside from this book and the other two cited above, even Amazon doesn’t list a lot of stuff on this battle. Which, when you think about it, is pretty amazing. 7 million men involved, casualties as high as anything in WW1, much less WW2 and nobody talks about it much. Of course, a lot of this is due to the destruction of German records in WW2 and the closing of the Russian archives by the Soviets and their imitators in Putin’s regime of thugs, but still a shame and a disservice to all the brave men and women who turned back the Nazi tide for the first time.


Books on the Battle for Moscow may not be as common in English as Normandy, but Barbarossa as a whole does have a fair list of recent publications (that is, since the opening of Russian archives in the 1990s), eg Glantz and Overy. Compare that to the Hungarian campaign of 1944, or the Ethiopean Campaign.


I quite agree -- Barbarossa does get play, but, to me (and this is very much my own view) Barbarossa isn't quite the same thing as the Battle of Moscow. Any more than Kursk is all of 1943 or Stalingrad all of 1942.

And I know that Glantz in particular has played a key role in opening up the Russian archives to western readers and is an important figure in western historiography of WW2. But IMHO he just isn't all that good a writer. Kinda dull in fact, to my taste. The kind of writer that gets "lost in the weeds." To be fair, I am (re)reading Zhukov's Greatest Defeat at the moment, and that is not quite as tedious as some of his other works, but it still is pretty heavy going.

And to get back to the main point I was trying to make -- compare the Battle of Moscow shelf with the Battle of Stalingrad shelf or the Battle of Kursk shelf. Even if you open up the comparison to Moscow plus Barbarossa vs Stalingrad vs Kursk, it seems the weight of works is still very much against Moscow and Barbarossa.

Which is odd, given the impact of the battle. You can very easily make the argument that Moscow was at least as important as the other two. In fact, you could even make an argument that Moscow was actually much more important, in terms of determining the course of WW2, than both of the other two battles together: USSR loses Moscow and it is hard to see them generating enough force to make something like Stalingrad happen in 1942. Which makes Kursk in 1943 a non-starter. Which means that the Western Allies meet the advancing Red Army much further east than they did. Which makes the view out your window and mine a LOT different today.
Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:07 am
Author: Diis
I just finished Marc Bloch's seminal work about the Fall of France (1940) Strange Defeat. I'd read excerpts before but it had been awhile.

Wow.

I'd forgotten just how powerful and topical the book is.

His descriptions of the failures of the French staff could have come from any of my tours in Iraq, and, most chillingly, his descriptions of the weaknesses of French society in the immediate pre War years are tellingly close to problems we have in the US.

Read this and you'll be astonished at his ability to think clearly even though he wrote it in the very same year he personally fought and lost as a French captain. His ability to look clearly at France's failures in 1940 so closely and without flinching is an amazing testimony to his ability as a historian.

Pass this one up at your peril.

I'm also reading Ernest May's Strange Victory, itself a book about the Fall of France in 1940 but written in 2000--May notes his title is a nod to Bloch's work and intends his book as a "compliment rather than a refutation" of Bloch's.

May too comments on the topicalness of Bloch's book and mentions that he feels the US, like France in 1940, is vulnerable to "unconventional enemies with audacious plans."

Ironically, May wrote that only a year before September 2001 would put some of those vulnerabilities on display.

Strange Victory is more conventional and less far ranging in its approach to French history, but time and perspective has given May the benefit of much more knowledge and far better records from all sides than Bloch had access to.

That said, if you only read one, there's no question--Strange Defeat.

Diis

Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:46 am
Author: Rockhopper01


Heard about this on Dr. Al Moehler's Thinking in Public podcast which featured his conversation with the author. Snagged it on Amazon, should be here tomorrow.
Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:07 pm
Author: 11B4V
What's he mean by the New History?
Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:38 pm
Author: oppenheimer
Rockhopper01 wrote:


Heard about this on Dr. Al Moehler's Thinking in Public podcast which featured his conversation with the author. Snagged it on Amazon, should be here tomorrow.

I read this one in November. It was excellent. A fine one volume treatment. I liked it well enough that I bought two copies and gave one to my father and one to my grandfather for Christmas.
Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:05 pm
Author: Rockhopper01
11B4V wrote:
What's he mean by the New History?


One of the main subjects of the podcast was the defense of history from revisionist attempts.

From what I heard from the interview with the author of Storm of War, there is quite a bit of statistical data now available that hasn't been generally included in many general survey WW2 histories. Some of the details I had never seen analyzed before.

For instance, in the conversation with Dr. Mohler the author notes that for every US serviceman killed, the Japanese lost 6, the Germans 11, and the Soviets a staggering 92. Most Americans tend to believe that our Greatest Generation bore the brunt of WW2, when in fact it was the Soviet Union that endured the most against Germany. This is nothing new to us, but to the general public it would be shocking.

One topic of discussion in the podcast was the difference in how WW2 is perceived amongst the various nations today. The US has a far different view of WW2 then say, the Russians do, primarily from the aforementioned casualty figures, and from the fact that nations besides the US were fighting for their very existence. I'm not sure yet how much of this is included in the book, but the passage of time is necessary if you are detailing the results and attitudes of the war today.

I certainly understand and share the concern that anything labeled "new" should be regarded with a critical eye. Anything that appears revisionist should be intensely scrutinized. However, in this case, I think the label of "A New History" doesn't mean that the book contains some sort of blockbuster new information about a war fought 66+ years ago. "A New History (Book)" could be applied to any newly published book.

A second book covered in the podcast was about the leadership styles of Hitler and Churchill, but the name and author escape me at the moment. However the author and Mohler talked quite a bit how there had been many recent attempts to revise the history of Churchill as an historical figure. The author had debated Pat Buchanan, who was attempting to discredit Churchill and his leadership during WW2.

EDIT: the second book was Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership also by Andrew Roberts.

Link to podcast, including transcript: http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/09/06/tip-andrew-roberts/
Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:09 pm
Author: pete belli
Trial By Fire: The 1972 Easter Offensive, America's Last Vietnam Battle

Fascinating book on a dramatic campaign.
Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:32 pm
Author: jpr755
pete belli wrote:
Trial By Fire: The 1972 Easter Offensive, America's Last Vietnam Battle

Fascinating book on a dramatic campaign.


A thrilling vignette of the Easter Offensive is that of "Ripley at the Bridge." It's the story of then Marine Captain John Ripley who blew the bridge at Dong Ha to help stem the tide of advancing NVA. Inspiring stuff...
Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:46 pm
Author: pete belli
jpr755 wrote:
pete belli wrote:
Trial By Fire: The 1972 Easter Offensive, America's Last Vietnam Battle

Fascinating book on a dramatic campaign.


A thrilling vignette of the Easter Offensive is that of "Ripley at the Bridge." It's the story of then Marine Captain John Ripley who blew the bridge at Dong Ha to help stem the tide of advancing NVA. Inspiring stuff...


Indeed.

The campaign is frequently overlooked, but I'm creating a scenario covering the I Corps sector for my regiment/brigade Memoir '44 system.
Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:51 pm