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: "The Praetorian Guard: A History of Rome's Elite Special Forces" by Sandra Bingham. This is the story of the Guard from its founding by Augustus in 27BC to 312AD when Constantine disbanded it. The book covers the details of the Guard and its various jobs such as size, recruitment, command structure, secret police force, special missions for the Emperor, admin gofers in Rome and elsewhere, and finally as a military force that would travel with the Emperor on campaigns. Very Good and Recommended.

"Tide of Empires: Volume One: Decisive Navel Campaigns in the Rise of the West, 1481-1654" by Peter Padfield.  The starting point on how a Culture of nothings at the extreme western end of the Eurasian Continent conquered the Seas around them and invented ships able to travel over the world's oceans. This in turn made it possible to grab the oceans trade and the monies made from this; then would enable this West to dominate the land as well. Covers about everything from ship building, crews, tactics, and strategy that was developed to accomplish this domination. This vol. starts with the rise of Portugal and ends with England coming to the fore. Very Good and Recommended.

"1456: The Siege of Belgrade" by Michael Wilson. Muhammad II, nicknamed the "Conqueror" for taking Constantinople in 1453, would try his luck at Belgrade 3 years later. He failed. Covers the type of forces the muhammadans and Christians had at the time and the leadership of both sides. The Christians put up a spirited defense and Muhammad II was careless in his tactics. He had to flee and was almost killed.  Very Good and Recommended.

"Genghis Khan: The Flail of God" by Alexander Kennedy. A very good overview of this military genius and his rise to power by knowing when to use force and the carrot. Recommended.

Read: "Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, The People's War" by Alexander Watson. This is not a military history of WWI, but a economic, political, and cultural history from the perspective of these two Central Powers. Surrounded on all sides and faced with starvation and economic collapse, Germany and Austria-Hungary tried to find ways to survive and win this war but failed. Deep and dry but recommended.

"The Siege of Jerusalem in 1099: The History and Legacy of the Climatic Battle of the First Crusade" by Charles River Editors. A overview of this first major response of the West to the muhammadan imperialist conquest of the Middle East and the liberation of Jerusalem. Recommended.

"Time and Again" by Clifford D. Simak. A SF novel taking place in the 80th Century AD. Earth rules over a Galactic Empire but very thinly in population. Except for 61 Cygni star system, which refuses all contact with Earth. A man, Asher Sutton is sent on a covert mission to this star and does not return for 20 years. What happen? His is no longer Human and Earth's rule is in question. Good and Recommended.

"The Werewolf Principal" by Clifford D. Simak. A SF novel in the distant future were a man is found frozen in interstellar space and brought back to Earth. There are flying Houses with AI's to control them, flying cars, but no cell phones. This book was published in 1967. Andrew Blake has a loss of memory, his name is just a given, and strange things start to happen to him, waking up outdoors with no clothes on and strange memories of distant worlds. It soon is realized he is from 200 years in the past and has some kind of link to a myth of a "Werewolf Principal" which holds his fate and Humanity's at stake. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Modern Islamic Warfare: An Ancient Doctrine Marches On" by Harold Rhode. This book explains the process that the muhammadans are using to overthrow the West just like they did to others since 622A.D. The author cuts through the obfuscation, deceptions, and scholarly apologias to explain how this is being done in a readable fashion. Outstanding and Highly Recommended.

"Tide of Empires:Volume Two: Decisive Navel Campaigns in the Rise of the West 1654-1763" by Peter Padfield. This volume takes up the evolution of Western navel warfare in all its parts from the Anglo-Dutch Wars to the end of the Seven Years War with England taking the lead over all others.(See earlier post on Vol. One) Very Good and Recommended.

"Rollo the Viking: The Life and Legacy of the Viking Ruler Who Conquered Normandy" by Charles River Editors. A bio on Rollo who founded the Duchy of Normandy. His descendants would conquer England in 1066 and Southern Italy in the late 11th Century.  Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War Between Islam and the West" by Raymond Ibrahim. The title says it all. Begins with the first muhammadan attacks on Christendom in the 7th Century in the Middle East, Anatolia, North Africa, the Med, Spain, France, Italy and the Balkans.  Then there was the Christian counterattack in all these same areas after being provoked first. Then the muhammadan invasions of the Balkans and Russia in the 13th Century, etc.  This war continues to this day. Outstanding coverage and Highly Recommended. 

"The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410AD: The History of the Event that Marked the Final Decline of the Western Roman Empire" by Charles River Editors. A short but good coverage of this important year of Roman History. Recommended.

" My Forever Heartache: Four Years of Discovery with the Kalahari Bushmen" by Bernard Horton. The author, a Welshman, moves to Botswana to live with the Bushmen, to be able learn their ways of life. The Bushmen are almost extinct. They use to live all over the southern part of Africa but the Bantu(Zulus, Xhosa, etc) moving from Central Africa carried out ethnic cleansing at best and worst, genocide. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Singularity Trap" by Dennis E. Taylor. A SF novel in the near future where an asteroid miner, down on his luck, is put in the position by dumb luck, as the only one who can save the Human Race. A pageburner of  a story. Could not put it down till finished. Outstanding and Highly Recommended.

Read: "Legion Versus Phalanx" by Myke Cole. This covers the period 280-168 BC when the Legion and the Phalanx clashed. The author shows how and why the Legion, with its more flexible organization, versatile tactics, and superior discipline would replace the Phalanx and dominate the ancient battlefield. Very Good and Recommended.

"Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings" by Tom Shippey. The author sets out to prove the Vikings were exactly what they were: vicious, ruthless, with their berserkers, valkyries, and cults of Valhalla and Ragnarok which have been verified by there own actions, words, their victims, and archaeological evidence. There has been attempts to whitewash the Vikings by the pc crowd but the author debunks this. The author presents the Vikings for what they were: not peaceful explorers and traders, but bloodthirsty warriors and marauders. I'm convinced. Great in the telling and Highly Recommended.  

Read: "The Apache Wars: The Hunt for Geronimo, the Apache Kid, and the Captive Boy Who Started the Longest War in American History" by Paul Andrew Hutton. A "white eyes" boy is kidnapped in 1861. This set in motion a war that ended the freedom and identity of the Apache People. This boy, renamed "Mickey Free" would not be trusted by both sides, although he was more Apache than American. He was the only man that Geronimo ever feared and played a pivotal role in this long war starting in 1861 until its end in 1890 with his pursuit of the renegade scout Apache Kid. A Winner and Most Highly Recommended.

 "Tarzan of the Apes" and "The Return of Tarzan" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Not much to say but Great Adventure and Highly Recommended.

Read: "Twisted Prey" by John Sanford. The latest Lucas Davenport novel and he is pitted against an old enemy. A woman Senator(D) from Minnesota who intends to be the first woman President of the USA. She intends to do this by hook or crook. ummm, sounds familiar. Anyway, the other Senator(R) from Minnesota stands in her way. She has a plan. A road accident??? happens to this Senator(R) and Lucas is called in to investigate. He gets another bite at the apple because this woman Senator(D) had probably carried out some murders in the past but Lucas was not able to prove it. Ex-naval seals' hit men, CIA hit women, corrupt CEO's, etc. make a hell of a ride. Take the ride and enjoy.

"Holy Ghost" by Jon Sanford. The latest Virgil Flowers novel. Wheatfield, Minn. is a hamlet of 600 souls. It is on its way to oblivion but a miracle occurs.  The Virgin Mary appears at the old shut up Catholic Church. Pilgrims pour in with all that money for the locals. Things are lookin up but then disaster strikes. Shootings start happening and then people are killed. A sniper is loose. But Why? Virgil is called in to solve the case with his ever tongue-in-cheek style. Another Fun Ride of a story. Highly Recommended.

Read: "The Viking Wars: War and Peace in King Alfred's Britain 789-955" by Max Adams. This is a history of Britain in the Viking violent period, from 789 to their final expulsion in 955. Covers Wales, the future Scotland and the future English with Ireland brought in as needed. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Beasts of Tarzan" by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is the third book in the series. Begins in 1913 with Tarzan and Jane have a son. They are all kidnapped by a Russian criminal. Tarzan of course, through many trials and adventures, prevails. Great Read.

"In a House of Lies" by Ian Rankin. A mystery novel. Everyone has something to hide, everyone has secrets, and nobody is innocent. A PI, who disappeared 12 years ago, is found in the trunk of a car buried in a woods, murdered. Sets off a new investigation with crooked cops, Drug Lords, corrupt businessmen and the Hero; John Rebus. Rebus is retired but was involved in the original case. Rankin's Rebus at his best. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Red Hope" by John Dreese. A SF novel. The Curiosity Rover discovers on Mars the remains of a humanoid and artifacts that could mean a Tech Civ on Mars millions of years ago. A rush is on to send a maned spaceship there. Starts out very hot but then sinks to ice cold. Disappointed. Could of been so much better.

"End of an Era" by Robert J. Sawyer. A SF novel on two paleontologists going back in time 65 million years to find out info on the demise of the dinosaurs. Was it an asteroid or something else. They discover earth's gravity is half its 21st century strength but also some Aliens are running around on earth. Finished in one day. Great Read and Highly Recommended.  

Read: "Past Tense" by Lee Child. A Jack Reacher novel. Reacher is bumming rides in New England and sees a sign for a town his father was born in. Why not, what is one extra day. At the same time a Canadian couple's car breaks down. Now their stranded in the middle of nowhere. Reacher and the Canadians paths are going to cross with a Big Bang.  Action like only Lee Child can handle with his character Reacher. Highly Recommended.

"The Black Ascot" by Charles Todd. An Inspector Rutledge novel. In 1910 a man who supposedly murdered a woman and almost her husband after the Black Ascot race, popular for the aristocrats of the day, is convicted in the media and seeing the cards were against him, disappears for 10 years. He is, maybe, spotted in Wales in the here and now. Inspector Rutledge is quietly sent to fine out if this story/rumor is true. With his sanity questioned and his shell shock from the Somme in 1916 maybe exposed, Rutledge must prove his sanity and his honor by finding this man at all costs. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Read: "Avenger" by Frederick Forsyth. A thriller/suspense novel of a free lance "Avenger" hired to avenge the death of a young man, who disappeared in Bosnia years ago. A suspect is found but is hidden in a fortress in South America. Along side this is a CIA agent bent on stopping a muhammadan terrorist and the Avenger is in the way. The CIA must stop the avenger before the world is thrown into chaos. Very Good and Recommended.

"Military History of Late Rome 284-361" by Ilkka Syvanne. The first book in a series on the Late Roman Empire to 641. Covers everything on the evolution of the Roman Army from the Emperor Diocletian to Constantius II. Starts with some background on the "3rd Century Crisis", then shows how tactics, weapons, leadership, enemies and economics brought about changes where the legions looked a lot different by the end of this book from Julius Caesar's day. There is a lot of info on all this and can be somewhat overwhelming. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Manuscript 512" by Rick Chesler. A novel on a crooked American Historian, Dr. Winslow, who steals "Manuscript 512" from a Brazilian museum. This manuscript holds the key to finding the lost city of "Z" in the Amazon jungle. The Brazilian police are after him as Dr,. Winslow goes deep into the Amazon to seek the treasure of a thousand lifetimes. Or maybe its "best laid plans..". Very Good and Recommended.

"The Komnene Dynasty:Byzantium's Struggle for Survival 1057-1185" by John Car. After the fall of Anatolia to the muhammadans, invasions by nomadic tribes across the Danube, and the Norman invasion of Greece, things look very bleak for the Roman Empire of the East. Then came the Crusaders from the West to fight the muhammadans' crusaders. Poor Byzantium is in the middle. The Komnene Dynasty managed to save the Empire from total collapse.  This is the history of that struggle. Very Good and Recommended.


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