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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Re read via the free itunes books: Several versions of The Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. Been many years since I first read these and am amazed how fresh the descriptions of the bloodletting come to seem more like the slow motion techniques of some late 70s Sam Peckinpah style. Herodotus the second time and it also seems fresh; and now Thucydides history of the Peloponnesian  War. Just beginning this right off the bat I am thinking I know why all of these continue to entertain after all of these centuries.

Read:"The Price of Valor: The Life of Audie Murphy, America's Most Decorated Hero of World War II" by David A. Smith. The first half of the book is the best, because it covers Audie Murphy's military life, the last half covers his movie career which is less interesting. I remember his death in the news when I was younger. The back of the book has a list of all the movies Audie Murphy was in. Some of these I've seen. A decent Bio on this Great Man.

"Japan 1941: Countdown to Infamy" by Eri Hotta. A groundbreaking history that considers the attack on Pearl Harbor from the Japanese perspective and the debate at the highest levels of Japan's government at the time. Much more of these officials believed that attacking America was a  very bad idea but persisted in following the path of suicide. Not one of these leaders of Japan would use their power or courage to resist a war they new was unwinnable and would be calamitous for their country. Deja vu, history is repeating itself just like in the present time but in reverse. A brilliant expose of a government leading their nation to destruction and its people, willingly having "faith" without question or doubt, as they should have, in this destruction. Most Highly Recommended.  

Read: "The Delhi Sultanate: A political and Military History" by Peter Jackson. This was a muhammadan colony founded by Mamluks(slave soldiers) in India. It would last 320 years, 1206-1526. These foreigners would conquer the native Indians and force them to follow their rules, customs, and traditions. Their military superiority was their horse archers, supported by heavy cavalry with better siege tech.   The Indians were divided up into many kingdoms fighting among themselves similar to the Ancient Greeks. They never had a Sparta and Athens to save them. The Indians were mostly infantry with some cavalry and elephants. Their leaders were awful. These muhammadans, because they were a minority, called in thousands more of their own kind to share in the spoils and increase their numbers. The muhammadans would split up into separate kingdoms and fight each other for territory and spoils on Indian soil and cause the deaths of millions of Indians caught in the middle of this internecine violence. They were replaced by another muhammadan dynasty, the Mughals who took up were the Delhi Sultanate left off. Just mediocre.

"The Settler" by Brian Duncan. A historical novel that starts in 1890 and goes to the end of the 2nd Boer War in 1901. It covers the lives of two men, an Englishman and a American who go off to seek their fame and fortune in the new lands of Rhodesia. Through their lives, the history of Rhodesia and South Africa, is told in this time period. Historical individuals pass through their lives, such as Lord Roberts, Winston Churchill, Leander Starr Jameson for the English; Louis Botha, and Hendrik Potgeiter for the Boers. Then there is Frederick Russell Burnham, an American who lives a life of impossibilitys. A cameo appearance is made by Gandhi at the Battle of Colenso but is not named. The reader has to catch this. Maybe it was a test. A great novel and Highly recommended.

Read; "Lake of Slaves" by Brian Duncan. Book 2 of "The Lion and The Leopard Trilogy". A historical novel on the 1880's. Takes place around Lake Nyasa area of Central Africa.(Modern Malawi) The peoples of this area are being primarily devastated by muslim slave traders and somewhat by Angoni warriors, a offshoot of the Zulus. It will take several years to stop the muslims but the British win out in the end. The book covers all the trials and problems in this great accomplishment through the authors' characters; British, Missionaries, Sikh soldiers, and local Africans themselves.  Pretty good and recommended.

"The Conquering Tide: War in the Pacific Islands, 1942-1944" by Ian W. Toll. This is Vol. II of the author's trilogy of the Pacific War. The book covers the heart of the Pacific War; mid-1942 to mid-1944 and ends with the strategic defeat of the Japanese at the Marianas. A Excellent book and and Highly Recommended.

Read:"I Am Your Judge" by Nele Neuhaus. A suspense mystery novel on a sniper killing people in Frankfurt, Germany. The author's characters, police detectives Bodenstein and Kirchhoff, are hard put in trying to solve the case. Are the shootings random or is there a more personal reason. Very Good and Recommended. This book was much better than an earlier novel I've read of the author's.

"A Splendid Savage: The Restless Life of Frederick Russell Burnham" by Steve Kemper. This is a bio on a most extraordinary man. He lived 1861-1947. He traveled the world in search of riches, fought Indians, bandits, involved in range wars of Arizona, immigrated to Rhodesia where he fought in the two Matabele Wars where his daughter died, was chief of Scouts for the British in the 2nd Boer War where he won the DSO from King Edward VII, was friends with famous people such as Churchill, Baden-Powell and T. Roosevelt and in his 60's found the "pot of gold" he had so elusively searched for, Oil. Most Highly Recommended.

Read: "The Rise of Muslim Power in Gujarat: A History of Gujarat from 1298 to 1442" by S.C. Misra. This area of western India today, was conquered by the muhammadans in 1298 and added to the Delhi Sultanate as a province. Later with the breakup of the Delhi Sultanate, it would declare its independence as a separate kingdom on the backs of the native Indians. This book covers this history. Very dry reading but is enlightening on the brutal muhammadan conquests in India. 

"The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774: Catherine II and the Ottoman Empire" by Brian L. Davies. This is a military history of this war, that resulted in one of the most dramatic shifts in the balance of power of 18th Century Eastern Europe. The Russians would defeat the muhammadan Ottomans on land and sea. With the destruction of the muhammadan Tartars in the Ukraine and the Crimea and the subsequent annexation of these lands into Russia, Russia would acquire vast territories rich in resources and ports on the Black Sea. Sevastopol would be founded as the major port on this sea. Very Good and Recommended. 

"Jungle Warriors: From Tobruk to Kokoda and Beyond, How the Australian Army Became the World's Most Deadly Jungle Fighting Force" by Adrian Threlfall. This is not a history of the fighting by the Australians in the Pacific but the story of the evolution of the Aussie Army through new jungle training by trial and error to become these elite jungle warriors. New infantry tactics with the cooperation of all other arms such as artillery, air power, medical, engineers, tanks, etc. are brought into play. An interesting note is the Matilda Tank, obsolete on other battlefields, but most useful in jungle warfare for support against the Japanese defenses. Very Good and Recommended.

>""The Russo-Turkish War, 1768-1774: Catherine II and the Ottoman Empire" by Brian L. Davies. This is a military history of this war, that resulted in one of the most dramatic shifts in the balance of power of 18th Century Eastern Europe. The Russians would defeat the muhammadan Ottomans on land and sea. With the destruction of the muhammadan Tartars in the Ukraine and the Crimea and the subsequent annexation of these lands into Russia, Russia would acquire vast territories rich in resources and ports on the Black Sea. Sevastopol would be founded as the major port on this sea. Very Good and Recommended."


I recently finished read two articles by Jacob W. Kipp:

    _______ "Lenin and Clausewitz: The Militarization of Marxism, 1914-1921," Military Affairs (Oct. 1985): 184-191.
    _______ "Mass, Mobility, And The Red Army's Road To Operational Art 1918-1936" http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/fmso/kipp.htm.

Read: "The Churn: An Expanse Novella" by James S. A. Corey. A SF novel on Amos Burton, one of the main characters in the "Expanse" series of SF books and on TV. Just OK.

"The Last Apocalypse: Europe in the Year 1000A.D." by James Reston, Jr.. Starts about 950A.D. with the Vikings ravaging Northern Europe to Southern Europe, Magyars sending deep penetration raids from future Hungary across Central Europe as far south as Spain and Italy, and muhammadans attacking with Jihad in Spain and by sea along the Med South coasts. Then there was the corrupt Papacy with all its debauchery that would not be equaled till the Borgia Popes of the Renaissance. 50 years later Scandinavia and Magyars would be Christian and the muhammadans in Spain disintegrated into petty kingdoms. With the election of Sylvester II, as the first French Pope, the Papacy would lead Christendom and the West into a counter-offensive to the East to liberate former Christian lands and south into Spain in support of the Reconquista.  This is a heroic telling of this transformation. Very Good and Recommended.

"Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs" by Buddy Levy. A outstanding book on this life and death struggle between Cortes, a ruthless genius at war and politics, and King Montezuma, a God and leader of the most powerful state in the Americas whose people the Aztecs practiced Human Sacrifice and Cannibalism. Cortes out thought and out fought the Aztecs at every turn. Most highly Recommended.

Read: "The Silence of the Sea" by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. A mystery/thriller novel on a Luxury Yacht that comes crashing into Reykjavik harbor with no one aboard. The author uses flash backs to show what is happening on the yacht,  leading to this incident, and the present time, with Thora Gudmundsdottir who is a lawyer, trying to solve what has happen. Pretty Good and Recommended.

"Pirates of Barbary: Corsairs, Conquests, and Captivity in the 17th Century Mediterranean" by Adrian Tinniswood. This is the story of these brutal muhammadans who plagued not only the Med but sailed out into the Atlantic as far as the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and Newfoundland. European renegades showed the muhammandans  how to sail into the Atlantic to pillage, rape, and take people as slaves. The European Governments proved incapable of protecting their citizens at first but finally found some guts to do what was needed. The English went half-way, but the French, under Abraham Duquesne, went all the way and wiped the muhammadans off the map. We need a Duquesne today. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "The Stolen Village: A Thrilling Account of the 17th-Century Raid on Ireland by the Barbary Pirates" by Des Ekin. Shortly before daybreak on Monday, June 20, 1631 a joint force consisting of 230 elite troops of the muhammadan Ottoman Empire and muhammadan pirates from the Barbary coast of North Africa stormed ashore at the little port of Baltimore ,West Cork, and brutally stole almost all the villagers away to a life of slavery and death in Algiers. This is their story in all its terror and brutality. Only three people ever made it back home. Very Good and Recommended.

"Rhodes Besieged" A New History" by Robert Douglas Smith and Kelly DeVries. This is the history of the two sieges of Rhodes by the muhammadans in 1480 and 1522. The first one failed. The second one succeeded under Suleyman the Butcher, the Ottoman Sultan. Suleyman, facing revolt in his army, agreed to let the Knights of Rhodes to leave for practical reasons and not magnanimity. There are appendixes in the back of the book detailing the artillery of both sides and the fortifications of the Knights. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Extreme Prey" by John Sanford. This is the latest Lucas Davenport novel. A great thriller and mystery about the next Presidential Elections. The governor of Minnesota, Lucas's old boss, is in the running and finds out something is not kosher in Iowa. A possible assassination is in the works and he hires Lucas to find out what is going on. There is a twist to this mystery. Highly Recommended.

"The Hard Way" by Lee Child. A suspense novel with Jack Reacher stumbling into a kidnapping. But this is no ordinary kidnapping. So Reacher sets out to solve this mystery the only way he knows; the hard way. Very Good and Recommended.

"Tomorrow and Tomorrow" by Thomas Sweterlitsch. A semi-SF novel that takes place 10 years after Pittsburgh has been reduced to ash by a nuke. This takes place in the later part of this century where people are directly hooked to the internet by their brains being wired up. The main character is a digital archivist that survived the nuking of Pittsburgh, and works to find missing people from that event, if possible. He stumbles into a nightmare more horrific than anything he could have imagined. Just OK.

Recently finished reading Kay Brinkmann's thesis for the U.S. Arnmy Command and General Staff College on "German Observations and Evaluations of the U. S. Civil War: A Study in Lessons Not Learned" (2000).  You can get it here: www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA384203


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