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Subject: Military History Bookshelf for September, 2011 rss

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Larz Welo
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Well, Ramadan is over and I'm still working on Max Hasting's Retribution. I'd be done by now, but his chapter on the Chinese Communists, while fascinating in its own right, was a total drag and didn't seem to really matter. I think he gave it away when he said something like, "Mao's forces never contributed anything to the defeat of Japan", and then spend the next 30 pages telling me about guerrillas who mostly just lived in Russia and other things that weren't really interesting. However, I'm past all that now, into the section on the bombs and nearly finished.

 




After I finish that I'm going to start on

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Leo Zappa
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With a nice vacation and some business travel, I finished four books in August, clearing the decks so to speak for September...

1. Finally finished Volume One of Samuel Morison's "History of United States Naval Operations in World War II - The Battle of the Atlantic 1939-1943". Really gives a great look into the evolution of the convoy system. Quite readable, but I'm looking forward to the later volumes with the surface battles and great carrier raids...



2. Finished rereading Harry Summer's "On Strategy - A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War". A solid read that frankly depresses me, since it seems fairly clear that whatever lessons we learned from our defeat in Vietnam have been unlearned over the last ten years...



3. A friend lent me a copy of "Daring Young Men" by Richard Reeves. What a fascinating and well-written account of the Berlin Airlift, from the Western point of view. The description of recent post-war Germany and how the Americans, British, and French interacted with their former enemies was very interesting. I'd highly recommend this one...



4. Military science-fiction has always been one of my favorite guilty pleasures, and I was quite pleased with this airport book kiosk pickup in San Diego - the first book in Ian Douglas' Earth Strike series, "Star Carrier". A fairly plausible scientific framework for FTL travel and combat, with a decent human story interwoven. I will be getting the other books in the series...



For September, I plan on starting the second volume of Morison's United States Naval Operations history, "Operations in North African Waters"...



Of course, I also plan to start on "A Dance with Dragons", so it remains to be seen how far I will get on either book!

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Mike Kreuzer
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Finished the two on Pickett's Charge & still working may way through Foote, though I'm mostly mentioning Foote to rile the usual people.

Have read George Stewart's book before (& Foote's), and the writing is similarly splendid. I liked what Hess has added though. I had thought that nothing could be added, so that's a measure of his achievement - but his writing style isn't quite up to the same high standard as the other two.

All great books, highly recommended.


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Wendell
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I'm reading The Dark Valley - A Panorama of the 1930s by Piers Brendon. The period between WW1 and WW2 focused on the great powers - Britain, France, Germany, United States, Italy, Japan, Soviet Union - and the things that were happening there and the impact they had on those societies and on the slide into renewed war.

Also chapters on the Spanish Civil War. It's pretty interesting.
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Jon
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I have just unpacked a few boxes of my books that were in storage and have been happier that a pig in poop as I get reacquainted with some of my favourites. So I have not been concentrating on one title per se, but rather jumping from one to the next.

Be that as it may, I too have joined the legions here on BGG and purchased..



It looks very interesting, but I think if I am going to take it on I will have to read it in conjunction with something lighter. That is how I got throught The Arms of Krupp afterall.

Right now I am reading the latest "Ancient Warfare" magazine. This month's focus is on the Sassanid Persians. Nice nerd centrefold depicting the Battle of Callinicum.
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Steve Trauth
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I had a bumper month last month- and aside from reading (as previously mentioned) Walter Lord's 'Day of Infamy', finsihed up John Toland's:

"Infamy" yesterday.



I decided to launch into Paul Ham's 'Vietnam'.



-although I am getting the feeling that I should have maybe stuck to WWII for awhile longer.
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Michael Gill
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I’ve left my Military Bookshelf untouched for the past few months (which doesn’t mean I haven’t added to it), but returned recently and opened up ‘Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton’ by Martin van Creveld. Apparently the real world equivalent of successfully moving a counter across the board takes a lot of forethought and planning. This is an easy read dealing with a topic which receives little mention in most history books.
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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Adam Cirone
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I am hoping to read this soon...



... before I have to return it to the library.


I found this at a thrift store today...



... I wouldn't mind reading this soon. I have the Disney film based on this book, and it is interesting.
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Erik Nicely
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Luftwaffe Flak wrote:



I've read that. It's good account of the air war in the middle east in 100 pages over all those years. Good stuff.

For me this month it's the 2 same topics I was reading last month but in 2 new-to-me books.

I've been eyeing this for months, bought it a couple days ago:



This one was very well reviewed and I like reading about Leyte Gulf:

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Pete Belli
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To the Gates of Richmond by Stephen Sears.

Getting ready for Road to Richmond by SPI.

Truly a superb book. This time I'm reading it cover to cover.
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Dan Owsen
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Had a little shopping spree at Powell's in Portland on the way back from vacation. cool

First on the reading list is a double Stackpole book: Night Flyer/Mosquito Pathfinder: Night Operations in World War II, a choice inspired by Nightfighter.
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Jon
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pete belli wrote:
To the Gates of Richmond by Stephen Sears.


I picked this up after buying the 7 Days trio from the CWBS (Seven Pines, Gaines Mill and Malvern Hill). I have yet to read it mind you, but have heard good things about his Gettysburg book.
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J.
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It's a chaotic month - getting married in 58 days and there's a possibility we may be moving in a few weeks, so I wanted something light to read. Amazon has a few cheap military history books for my new Kindle (it's great, by the way), including this for $1.50:



As I said, very light, consisting mostly of top ten lists on various topics. I don't know much about the Civil War, though, so hopefully this will be a good start.

I've been going crazy buying books for my Kindle! I also picked up a few WWII books by Bob Carruthers (The Wehrmacht in Russia and Servants of Evil: Voices From Hitler's Army). Not bad for $3 each!
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Started reading Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, I have found this to be a well written account of the brutal conduct of the Bolsheviks and Nazis in the region between Germany and Russia. What stands out, what makes this book worth reading is the research that Snyder has conducted in documenting the atrocities of the Bolsheviks, much of which was repressed and hidden after WWII.

http://bloodlandsbook.com/?p=2

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Wendell
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sgtstinky wrote:

Started reading Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, I have found this to be a well written account of the brutal conduct of the Bolsheviks and Nazis in the region between Germany and Russia. What stands out, what makes this book worth reading is the research that Snyder has conducted in documenting the atrocities of the Bolsheviks, much of which was repressed and hidden after WWII.


I have this (not read it yet), it's well-regarded.
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ian morris
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I'm reading Bomber Boys, by Patrick Bishop, a sympathetic study of RAF Bomber Command crews. Next up will be Achtung Panzer !, by Heinz Guderian.


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Brian Morris
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Over a Wide, Hot...Crimson Plain : The Struggle for the Bliss Farm at Gettysburg by Elwood Christ. Short at only about 150 pages but decent. The author's taking digs at Longstreet as the cause for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg about every 15-20 pages gets old after a bit. I had to laugh at his statement that only the 20th Maine's stand on Little Round Top was more important at Gettysburg than the skirmishing at the Bliss Farm.



The Rashness of That Hour: Politics, Gettysburg, and the Downfall of Confederate Brigadier General Alfred Iverson by Robert Wynstra. Wow! Not just a fine telling of the events of July 1st at Gettysburg but all the politics that went on at the brigade and division level in the Army of Northern Virginia.



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Brian Morris
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Quote:


Finished the two on Pickett's Charge


You will be hard pressed to find a better book on Pickett's Charge. For that matter anything by Earl Hess is worth reading.

pete belli wrote:
To the Gates of Richmond by Stephen Sears.

Getting ready for Road to Richmond by SPI.

Truly a superb book. This time I'm reading it cover to cover.


That might be his best book.
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None But Heroes

I'm also visiting the actual battlefield soon as well, so I'm pretty vested in this right now.
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Brian Morris
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medlinke wrote:


None But Heroes

I'm also visiting the actual battlefield soon as well, so I'm pretty vested in this right now.


Two suggestions for touring Antietam. First bring a sack lunch. Sharpsburg is about the same size as it was during the civil war and pretty much has no place to eat in town. Second tour Antietam in the morning and then do Harpers Ferry in the afternoon. Antietam is a much smaller battlefield than Gettysburg so you can tour it in 3-4 hours and then it's a 20 minute drive to Harpers Ferry. I've actually done Antietam, Harpers Ferry and Ball's Bluff in one day.
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Jem Ruggera
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I have just started Passchendaele - The Sacrificial Ground by Nigel Steel and Peter Hart. I've been reading a bit about World War 1 this year, unusual as I am generally more interested in WW2. Have also read The First Day of the Somme and The Price of Glory, an excellent account of the battle of Verdun. Wouldn't mind getting my hands on some books about the fighting in 1914 and 1918, when the fighting consisted of more manoeuvre type warfare. All three books mentioned above strongly feature terrific artillery bombardments, advancing waves of infantry, machine-guns and horrfic casualties - usually in that order.
This one, however, does give a lot of eyewitness accounts of the first tanks crews to go in - fascinating stuff.
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Wendell
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greatredwarrior wrote:


After I finish that I'm going to start on



Fromkin's is an outstanding book. I learned a lot, and it serves as a reminder that even events that are "merely" history from damn near 100 years ago have relevance today.
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Leo Zappa
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usrlocal wrote:
Bill brought up Glantz in another thread (clever pun, btw ), and this got me thinking of Ziemke. I used to own copies of:



and



and I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on these books vs. Glantz. I never got around to reading my Ziemke books, and lost track of them quite a while ago. Should I be seeking these out again?


I have them and I think they are quite informative books, but I found them to be a bit dense - not the easiest nor most entertaining reads, to be sure. Frankly, they were a chore to get through. Having said all that, I should revisit these, because there was a lot of detail there that gets glossed over in more popular accounts.
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Mike Kreuzer
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mrbeankc wrote:
Quote:


Finished the two on Pickett's Charge


You will be hard pressed to find a better book on Pickett's Charge. For that matter anything by Earl Hess is worth reading.



Oh I agree it's a very fine book, I just preferred the writing in George Stewart's - his narrative, pacing, and his style were all better. For me any way. It's just a personal preference - I'm just a 1950s kind of guy when it comes to writing style.


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