I was at Borders a few nights ago and I picked up 'Warhammer 40,000: The Killing Ground', 'The Art of Clint Langley: Dark Visions from the grim Worlds of Warhammer', 'The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road: 1567-1659' by Geoffrey Parker, 'Forgotten Wars: The End of Britain's Asian Empire' by Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper and 'The grand Strategy of Philip II' by Geoffrey Parker.

I finished 'The Lover' by Marguerite Duras a few days back. I have just started on 'Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen 1618-1635'. I am also in the midst of a few other books including 'God is not great: How religion poisons the world' by Christopher Hitchens.

What you are guys reading?

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Read: "Sniper's Honor" by Stephen Hunter. A Bob Lee Swagger novel on a search for a Russian woman sniper of WWII, lost behind Nazi lines in 1944. Takes place today but flashes back to 1944. Someone does not want anything on this mystery discovered. They are willing to kill to protect this secret. Very Good and Recommended.

"Field of Prey" by John Sanford. A Lucas Davenport novel. A cistern on a old farm is found with lots of bodies, all women. The hunt for the killers is on. Great story with twists that keep you hooked till the end. Highly Recommended.

Read: "Pharaoh" by David Gibbons. A novel on a possible connection between Pharaoh Akhenaten and Moses. The story mainly concerns the English expedition to save Gordon in the 19th Century. Just so-so.

"Afterglow of Empire: Egypt from the Fall of the New Kingdom to the Saite Renaissance" by Aidan Dodson. After the defeat of the "Sea Peoples" in 1177BC, Egypt went downhill. This book covers this history. Just OK.

"Tiglath Pileser III" by Abraham S. Anspacher. A short Bio on this Assyrian King who restored his country's power. He overthrew the previous King. Reigned 745-727BC. Pretty Good.

Read: "The River War: An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan" by Winston Churchill. Written originally in 1899, this reprint is excellent reading. Highly Recommended.

"The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam" by Bernard Lewis. A good overview of this Shia Sect which supposedly added the word "Assassin" to English. The Mongols who know how to win wars, wiped them off the map. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Druze" by Robert Brenton Betts. A history of this non-muslim sect from its beginnings, as a Shia Sect, but split off from islam completely. Very informative and Recommended.

I finished the German-centric 'Korsun Pocket' and 'Shanghai 1937' on Wednesday night.

 

"Korsun Pocket" was Germanic-centric as the individual views and also that of the command depicted are German mainly. It is not comprehensive either as it doesn't cover much of the air and also the strategic level decision-making that affected the campaign. In any case, it was a worthwhile read as it revealed a fair bit of the command issues that the German command was facing.

'Shanghai 1937' is a narrative of a battle that I know very little about. I have heard of it but no more than that. It seems that the older Chinese-speaking folks of that era would know it very well. Quite a horrific battle with German-trained Chinese infantry against the Japanese. 


I am continuing with Birds of Prey meanwhile. The book is already somewhat obsolete when it came in print given how fast developments are.

Read: "The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle over God, Truth, and Power" by Melanie Phillips. A excellent book on the Fall of Western Civilization. The Author's central thesis is: The West has bought into irrationally through the new religions such as witchcraft, wacky cults and,paganism, to name a few. Very Highly Recommended.

"Wars of the Roses: Stormbird" by Conn Iggulden.  A new series by the the author. This is the first book and is Very Good. The author has a glossary of characters and some historical notes to help understand what is going on. This is the wars between the usurping Lancaster family and the Yorkist Family. They will exterminate each other and the "Dark Horse" Tudors will win out. Recommended.  

Read:"The Old Contemptibles : The British Expeditionary Force 1914" by Robin Neillands. This covers the BEF to the end of 1914. This was a colonial army, not up to par, fighting a European power, especially Germany. French, the commander, was operating above his competency level. In spite of these problems, The BEF, outdid itself, but in the process bled to death. Very Good and Highly recommended.

"1918: A very British Victory" by Peter Hart. Excellent book on the BEF in 1918. Starting with "Operation Michael" then going to the end of WWI. The BEF took a pounding but did not break. They came right back and shoved it down the Germans' throats with interest. The author mixes personal memories with the big picture. The Aussies and Canadians were the answer to the German Stormtroopers. Excellent and Very Highly Recommended. Two great books for the 100th anniversary of WWI.

Reading "Cloud Atlas" as well as "Hell Hath no Fury"

Read:" Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps on the Western Front, 1914-1915" by Gordon Corrigan. The BEF was running out of soldiers and needed help in 1914. The Indian Corps was formed and sent to France. They were a mixture of ethnic groups, castes, religions, and needed special foods(diets) to eat. This caused large problems plus these troops were even less ready for a European War than the BEF. In spite of this, they performed heroically and held the Germans off; winning Victoria Crosses plus other medals for bravery.  Very Good and Recommended.

"Home Before the Leaves Fall: A New History of the German Invasion of 1914" by Ian Senior. A covering of the opening phases of WWI from the initial invasion by the Germans to the First Battle of the Marne. This is mainly from the German perspective. The perfect plan by Schlieffen was too good to be true. Everything had to go as predicted by Schlieffen or bust. It went bust because of "Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men" and the egos of the participants. Then there was the Allies: they refused to performed as choreograph by the "Plan". Very Good and Recommended.

I'm reading the rules for "Storms of Steel."

 

Bob D.

Read: "March of The Scythians: From Sargon II to the Fall of Nineveh" by Cam Rea. This is the history of the Scythians and Cimmerians whom were nomadic peoples from the Steppes of the Ukraine and Central Asia. They would, in their invasions of Anatolia through the Caucasus Mountains, weaken mighty Assyria. This in turn would help the Medes and Chaldeans  destroy and sack the infamous city of Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire. A "New World Order" was ushered in for the Middle East. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Rise of Parthia in the East: From the Seleucid Empire to the Arrival of Rome" by Cam Rea. The Parthians, actually the Parni a Scythian tribe, after taking control of the Seleucid Province of Parthia, hence their name, went on to overrun the bulk of the Seleucid Empire. The Seleucids were one of the Successor states of Alex's empire. Very Good and Recommended.

"Rome, Parthia and India: The Violent Emergence of a New World Order 150-140 BC" by John D. Grainger. Narrates the main events of this important decade of warfare that changed the map of the Ancient World. The author shows how the wars raging from as far as Spain and North Africa, to India were interconnected and puts Roman expansion in a wider context.  Excellent history and Highly Recommended.

"The Defeat of Rome in the East: Crassus, The Parthians, and the Disastrous Battle of Carrhae, 53BC" by Gareth C. Sampson. A excellent history of this battle, that stopped Roman Expansion to the East. Reconsiders the career of Marcus Crassus and his military reputation and a graphic account of the Parthian victory over Rome at the city of Carrhae. Highly Recommended.

I am reading "X-Planes of Europe" and "British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II", both by Tony Buttler.

I finished "The Songs of Distant Earth" by Arthur C. Clarke decades after I bought the hardcover in the eighties. For some reason, I had put it off for a long time.

I also finished J.G. Ballard autobiography and a couple others.

Read: "Nomad: From Islam to America" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This is a follow up to the author's earlier outstanding book, "Infidel". This is about islam down to the quantum level. A must read and Highly Recommended. The author is a most courageous and outstanding Human Being.

"Ancient India: From the Earliest Times to the First Century A.D." by E.J. Rapson. A good overview of this period in Indian History. Very Good and Recommended.

"Ashoka: The Search for India's Lost Emperor" by Charles Allen. This is a detective story on how British and some other Europeans discovered Ashoka and his times which had been lost from memory. Very Good and Recommended.

"Deadline" by John Sanford. A novel on Virgil Flowers, a most interesting detective, who has hilarious ways of solving crime in the backwoods of Minnesota. Outstanding read and Highly Recommended.

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