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Subject: Military History Bookshelf - October 2016 rss

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John Robinson
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Hello everyone,

The start of another month. Let everyone know what you are currently reading or if you have just finished then tell us what you thought of it.
Military fiction is also welcome here too,

My current book;



from deadly games of cat and mouse in the Baltic and the Barents Sea to operations under the Arctic ice cap. Stealthy missions to eavesdrop on ship radar emissions, weapons tests and Soviet naval exercises are punctuated by near misses and not so near misses. Ballantyne charts a series of incidents when, even in the coldest of northern seas, the cold war could have got hot as Royal Navy submarines were pursued with potentially lethal force by Soviet forces.
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The best of the trilogy, and if you read only one, I'd recommend this one, or maybe even starting the trilogy here. This also has the best narrative of the Holocaust that I've read, and is simply excellent overall. British historians of WWII are consistently masterful, definitely my favorites, and Sir Richard has written an authoritative, new account of the rise and fall of the Third Reich.



Chipping away at this. The author turned his dissertation into a book. A little dry, and only for determined students of the period, as it's focused on training and recruitment. It is helping me understand the issues that the Soviet army had in 1941.
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Andy Daglish
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Cheadle
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An interesting attempt at an overall history of the Mongol invasions, which normally encompasses too many countries for one study. Their success is attributable to superiority in most military areas: weapons, armour, supply, mobility, tactics, experience, and so on, including specialisms such as smokepots for genuine fog-of-war on battlefields. Their surgeons didn't get much practice, however, and for sure they didn't like taking indigenous casualties several thousand miles from home [which may be the real reason why they didn't penetrate further into Europe than the Austrian border]. They became slightly unstuck on the bridge at Mohi, where they found a few crossbows of 1241 vintage were invariably effective at very close range. The larger castles and rougher terrain of Hungary were also disincentives, as their siege engines tended not to dent the former whilst their horse armies couldn't easily negotiate swamps and mountains, whilst the fruits of victory were limited in poverty-stricken medieval Europe.
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Paul
Switzerland
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"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
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I'm reading "The Things They Carried," by Tim O'Brien. So far it's outstanding. Think I'll probably finish it up in a late-nighter.

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John Doe
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I'm reading this in dead tree version, while I am listening off and on to



on my ridiculous commutes, and occasionally put away a few pages of



on my iPad/Kindle.
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Joe Steel
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A few 18th and 19th Century books we rarely see mentioned:

1848: Year of Revolution
https://www.amazon.com/1848-Year-Revolution-Mike-Rapport/dp/...


The Habsburg Monarchy, C. 1765-1918: From Enlightenment to Eclipse
https://www.amazon.com/Habsburg-Monarchy-C-1765-1918-Enlight...


Garibaldi and the Making of Italy: June - November, 1860
https://www.amazon.com/Garibaldi-Making-Italy-June-November/...


So Far From God: The U. S. War With Mexico, 1846–1848
https://www.amazon.com/So-Far-God-Mexico-1846%C2%961848/dp/0...


Frederick the Great: The magnificent enigma
https://www.amazon.com/Frederick-Great-magnificent-enigma-Wa...


Great Generals of the Napoleonic Wars
https://www.amazon.com/Great-Generals-Napoleonic-Andrew-Uffi...


A Brief History of the Crimean War
https://www.amazon.com/Brief-History-Crimean-War-Unnecessary...
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Etien
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Quote:
So Far From God: The U. S. War With Mexico, 1846–1848
https://www.amazon.com/So-Far-God-Mexico-1846%C2%961848/dp/0...


John Eisenhower writes well. I enjoyed this book.
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Jeff Gringer
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Pretty weighty list. I'd like to hear what you think of the Hapsburg book.
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Dave Johannsen

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Mike Richardson
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You've got the games...you have to get the books...



Anyone interested in World War One will want to check out the works of this outstanding British historian, Elizabeth Greenhalgh, who specialises in works on the French army, a subject strangely lacking in English.

Reading this one at the moment, and it is outstanding...

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Nicola S
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This month I am starting a new (reading) adventure, right in the middle of the desert.

I must admit that the feats of the L.R.D.G. had escaped my radar, and especially all the ingenuity displayed by its founding members (Bagnold to name the most representative), so now I am making up for this unexcusable lack.

I have started with this:
Eyes of the Desert Rats - David Syrett

Then these are arriving:



And I am sure more will follow (i.e. Shaw's, Owen's, etc.)...
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Florent Leguern
France
Saint-Martin-d'Hères
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_viper_ wrote:

Then these are arriving:


That book seems intriguing, I wanted to see more about it, but no preview on Amazon and I just saw that there are copies at 99$ wow How sad...
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John Iverson
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Starting this three volume tome. Now just into the Boer War. Is a decent read and flows along nicely. Enjoying it a little more than his MacArthur book - though had no specific issues with that one either.


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Jeff Gringer
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Finally made it through a French-language piece of historic fiction, La Guerre de Trente Ans dans la Haute Vallee de la Thur (The Thirty Years War in the Upper Thur Valley) by Pierre Sieger.

Decent enough piece of local history, which starts our like a French-language Alsatian version of Little House in the Big Woods, describing the generally tranquil but sometimes exploited life in a valley of the Vosges. Finally by the early 1630s, war comes to the valley, and various bands of soldiers lay waste to the community with endless pillaging, rape, and murder. Not unlike Syria currently. Slowly the land recovers as the surviving son helps to rebuild.



Pillaging in Won by the Sword will never be quite the same.
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Bob Zurunkel
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GringerJD wrote:
Finally made it through a French-language piece of historic fiction, La Guerre de Trente Ans dans la Haute Vallee de la Thur (The Thirty Years War in the Upper Thur Valley) by Pierre Sieger.

Decent enough piece of local history, which starts our like a French-language Alsatian version of Little House in the Big Woods, describing the generally tranquil but sometimes exploited life in a valley of the Vosges. Finally by the early 1630s, war comes to the valley, and various bands of soldiers lay waste to the community with endless pillaging, rape, and murder. Not unlike Syria currently. Slowly the land recovers as the surviving son helps to rebuild.



Pillaging in Won by the Sword will never be quite the same.


I wonder if this was the source for the Michael Caine movie, "The Last Valley"?
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Iain K
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I've been reading "The Devil's Birthday" by Geoffrey Powell



I thought it would just be another Market-Garden book but I'm enjoying it more than I'd expected. To begin with, it's told from a British perspective and as such it gets into the details of the British forces much better than accounts I've read to date. The author is candid and critical. I thought he was a bit "easy" on Monty, but it's become apparent that he's focused his criticisms on Monty's subordinates and their dubious choices. It should also be noted that the author participated in the battle as a company commander.

He's also quite complementary of the Americans, who he rightfully notes as much more experienced in airborne ops at the time. For example, he notes how extensively and successfully the Americans used local citizens as guides and assets while the British were distrustful or ignored the locals to their own determent.

As I say, it's been a pleasant surprise.
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Jeff Gringer
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Westie wrote:
I wonder if this was the source for the Michael Caine movie, "The Last Valley"?


No. This book appears to be more recent. The Thur valley was by no means a hidden paradise per this depiction.
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Mark Drake
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http://www.diandsaulbooks.co.uk/ekmps/shops/diandsaulbooks/i...

Excellent book about types of Italian truck mounted artillery from both world wars.
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Paul
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"Capitaine Conan," by Roger Vercel (1934).
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GringerJD wrote:
Westie wrote:
I wonder if this was the source for the Michael Caine movie, "The Last Valley"?


No. This book appears to be more recent. The Thur valley was by no means a hidden paradise per this depiction.


I work near Rheinfelden, the battle Caine and his men go to at the end of the movie. It's supposed to be about 2 days ride away from the valley. I've always wondered if the valley was supposed to be located in the rough country in the Black Forest to the north of the town.
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Andy
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My first Market-Garden book from the German point-of-view - not very far in but so far it's a decent overview of their chaotic situation up to the 17th.
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Mark Mahaffey
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Columbia
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Certainly not straight military history -- but a fascinating and beautifully-written look at some of its after-effect in my own hemisphere;

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Hans Korting
Netherlands
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Tarawa by Robert Sherrod.

Written in 1944 and really a first hand account on this bloody battle.



Found it hard to put down when I started reading. It's taking you right into the action.

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Brandon
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I figured my mood was too good and my outlook on humanity has been too optimistic.
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Tim Parker
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Three greatest chess players ever: Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, and Victor Korchnoi.
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Working my way through

The Rise of Germany by James Holland.


Learned a few new things so far. The personal stories are very well written.

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Mike Whittemore
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I bought this book to complement my learning of Empire of the Sun. Very interesting and well written.

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