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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The Subprimes.  Set somewhere in the relatively near future where the Ayn Rand ideal has been realized.  Callers to 911 have to select Standard or Premium; Emergency Services are contingent on a good credit score; debtor's prisons have been reinstituted; renewable energy has been outlawed in the "Energy Independence and Freedom Act" etc.

The story follows a number of people in different circumstances who will all (presumably) collide at some point.  I'm expecting a revolution.

Read: "Gathering Prey" by John Sanford. A Lucas Davenport novel(#25). There are people called 'Travelers' who move around, do drugs, party, etc. but usually stay within the spirit of the law. Someone is killing them. Lucas's daughter is involved with these 'Travelers' and asks for help from her Dad. He finds a mystery that explodes beyond his imagination. Very Good and Recommended.  

"Time Salvager" by Wesley Chu. A SF novel in the 26th Century. Earth is a mostly dead planet. Most of humanity lives off Earth in other parts of the Solar System. Entropy has set in, Humanity is going downhill and will disappear in some future time. There is the Chronmen, time travelers who go back in time to gather technology, food, wood even, just to get by on, in this 26th Century.  They have high tech time travel but low tech everything else. The author gives you tidbits on how this all came about. By 2098, America had spit into a few new countries. That I can buy into, I already see this happening right now. After 2098, the Great Decay set in. Excellent and Highly Recommended. A sequel is coming out next year. 

Read: "The Precipice" by Paul Doiron. A novel on the Appalachian Trail in Maine. Two coeds go missing and are later found dead. It's hard to tell how they died because their bodies have been chewed up by animals. The prime suspects are coyotes. The warden, a police officer, for the Trail is not sure because his girlfriend, a expert in animal behavior, says bull. Then there is the mysterious FBI Agent hovering in the background. What is his angle. Only the warden's bosses know. A good mystery that keeps you reading till the end. Highly Recommended.

"Pacific Payback" by Stephen L. Moore. This covers the Dauntless Dive Bomber pilots, who are flying into Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941,and are caught up in this start of WWII for America. It covers these pilots for the next 6 months to the Battle of Midway, their participation in the carrier raids on Japanese occupied territory and the fulfillment of their vows to get revenge for Pearl Harbor. The coverage of the incredible 5 Minutes at Midway that destroyed the Japs hope for victory is spellbinding. The SNAFUS that almost prevent these pilots from reaching the Jap carriers, at all in that 5 minutes, is covered in detail. I'm surprised they even made it. Revenge, How Sweet it is. Hats off to these incredible men who accomplished this Great Feat. Too bad people like this are no more. Outstanding and Highly Recommended.

A quarter way through Guns of August: The Outbreak of World War I.  The ultimatum was sent and everyone was against everyone divided between two sides - The Central Power and the Central Entente.  I come to the point where Sir Edward Grey, in his famous quote in Whitehall, said "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime."  Awe.....


Read: "The Machine Awakes" by Adam Christopher. A SF novel where Earth is at war with the "Spiders",machines with 8 legs and controlled by a sentient AI. Some mysterious signals are detected in the Jovian System. Something is hiding down in Jupiter's Atmosphere. Very Good and Recommended.

"Silence the Dead" by Jack Fredrickson. A mystery novel about a new mayor, of a small Illinois town, who unearths a series of deadly secrets when he re-opens a 30 year old murder investigation. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Seveneves" by Neal Stephenson. SF novel about a catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a great race against the inevitable, people around the world band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space. Five thousand years later , their descendants, seven distinct races three billion strong, embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown; to a alien planet completely changed by cataclysm and time: Earth. A roller coaster of a ride. Outstanding and Highly Recommended. 

Read; "The Imjin War: Japan's Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and attempt to Conquer China" by Samuel Hawley. This is a Greek and Shakespearean Tragedy combined. Toyotomi Hideyoshi, dictator of Japan, invades Korea at Pusan. He intends to conquer Korea first, then China and follow up with the rest of Asia. He even had grandiose thoughts of conquering Europe later. He was a megalomaniac. The following 7 years of war was one of the most devastating catastrophes in East Asia in the last 1000 years.  This Tragedy has a cast of thousands with brutality, corruption, deceit, and Heroism. The Hero is Yi Sun-Sin, the monkey wench in Hideyoshi's dream. He was a lowly admiral at the start, but would go on to crush Japan's navy and bring Hideyoshi's Grand Plan to dust. Thousands of Koreans died for Japan's lust for Empire and to this day Koreans remember this war with great hatred for the people of Nippon. A must book for anyone interested in Military History. Outstanding and Most Highly Recommended.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Sun-sin

Read: "The Second Crusade: Extending the Frontiers of Christendom" by Jonathan Phillips. A history of the 2nd Counter-Crusade to liberate the Near East from muhammadan control. It was one of those "unintended consequences" that change best laid plans. It was a bust in the Near East but liberated lands and cities in Spain. One city was Lisbon, the future capital of Portugal. Along the Elbe River in future Germany the Slavic Wends had been raiding settlements west of this river for years. Now a concentrated effort was made to push them back. This time it was a draw. This expedition was only to travel to the Near East but expanded to the above mention areas. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Lady Queen: The Notorious Reign of Joanna I, Queen of Naples, Jerusalem, and Sicily" by Nancy Goldstone. A bio on this women that Hollywood probably could not do justice too. This is Machiavellian politics to the nth degree. Everything is here: sex, murder, betrayal, battles, wars, and lots of bribes. The Pope, of this day, being the most notorious taker of bribes of the lot. The Queen comes out smelling "like a rose" compared to the other characters of this story. I liked her. A ballsy woman in a world of men. Very Good and Recommended.

"Protocol Zero" by James Abel. A suspense novel on a possible plague set off in Barrow, Alaska. Two Marine MD's, and trained in Bioweapons, work against time to solve the mystery.  Very Good and Recommended.

All the battles on the Great Northern War  on Wiki.  Starting Bread Upon the Waters.

Read:" Dingo Firestorm: The Greatest Battle of the Rhodesian Bush War" by Ian Pringle. A great workup on this battle showing the preparations, intel, leaders and the troops themselves. A wipe out for the commies. A day or two earlier, Mugabe and his lackeys would of been killed also. Just like the Americans in Nam, win the major battles but lose the war. Very Good and Recommended.

"Saturn Run" by John Sandford and Ctein. Mr. Sanford's first foray into SF, that I know of. A alien presence is sighted in Saturn's rings. The Americans and the Chinese, in competition, set out in separate spaceships to  contact these aliens first. Starts off good but drops off towards the end of the story. Mr. Sandford is so much better at detective/mystery thrillers. Just So-So.

Read: "The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217" by Richard Brooks. An excellent analysis of this battle and its importance to English History and all that follows to the present time including  the histories of America, Canada, India, etc. If the French had succeeded, England could very probably be part of France today and all that entails. William Marshall is the Hero who held England together after the death of King John and led the forces that won the 2nd Battle of Lincoln. This victory insured the evolution of Democracy that we have today. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

"Pinnacle Event" by Richard A. Clarke. A Science Fantasy novel, more fantasy than science, about 5 simultaneous murders on 3 continents that lead to the revealing of five nuclear weapons being sold on the black market. Who bought them?And what is their intended target?  Pretty Good.

Read: "A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain" by Marc Morris. A excellent bio on this king of England, considered one of the greatest. He updated the common law of the land, significantly, that would lead to the Laws of the English speaking peoples of today. But he is more noted for his wars. A civil war, fought to claim his crown; the conquest of Wales, and the attempted conquest of Scotland which did not go so well. See the movie "Braveheart".  Though this movie is way off on the history at times but still enjoyable. A Highly Recommended book.

"The Hundred Years War IV: Cursed Kings" by Jonathan Sumption. The author's Magnum Opus, an outstanding coverage of this war, militarily, politically, socially, and the economics of the contestants. One more volume to go. It took so long for this war to end because the French found it more enjoyable to kill each other than to fight the common enemy. Most Highly Recommended.


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