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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Yes, "The Rape of Nanking" is an eye opener. A documentary/movie was made based on this book. Ms. Chang herself had a bright future. She died to early, under mysterious circumstances. It was thought she had been murdered, at first, but later determined it was suicide. She was 36.
Wow - I missed her death....when did that hapen?
She died in Nov 2004. I came across the news article at the time. She was found by the side of the road. It was initially thought to be a robbery/homicide. It was only later that it was decided to be a suicide after talking with family and friends plus a suicide note or notes. There was even a story on a possible conspiracy. She was not liked among some conservative groups in Japan.
I knew of that, that some of the self-styled patriotic groups that sanitized thier history books had no love for her.
Indeed, I was also unaware of her passing.
Stephen Ambrose himself named her as one of America's most important rising historians. Iris Chang though suffered from severe clinical depression, a disease that can be as painful and fatal as any physical disease. It certainly was in her case. Her family lost a wife, daughter and mother, and we lost a brave and shining talent.
I'm definitely trying to do something about that in my history and poli sci classes. Sometimes there's resistance, as with one student (old enough to know better) who sees Jewish conspiracies everywhere. Generally though my students are quite good about assimilating the horrors of the past, including the Shoah, Nanking, Japanese occupation practices in Korea, or Rwanda. Some are from families touched directly by one or more of the above.

'Tis the season to grade research papers, and I'm getting some excellent work crossing my desk. One student researched how US Army soldiers witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust when they liberated the concentration camps, and I am extremely impressed by her work.
In the last few weeks I finished The Black Swan by Taleb and No End to War by Laqueur. Among my pile of half read books, I'm now focusing on Future Jihad by Phares.

Capsule Reviews:

If you consider yourself a wargame designer but haven't read The Black Swan, then you need to get off your backside and do so. This book has had a considerable impact upon the way I view the world and conceive of research problems. His essential premise is that it is the highly improbable large events that drive social systems, not bell-curves. Thus, probabilities become questions of exponential doubling, rather than highly deviated outliers, bringing the actual probability of these events more in the realm of reality. If that doesn't make any sense, read the book!

Laqueur's No End to War is an informative social history of terrorism. The book is interesting in that it looks a some specific terror groups, traces their origins, and places them squarely in a social context. It makes a few assertions that I intend to test empirically in the near future. While a good overview, because it casts such a broad net in terms of regions and type of groups, the depth of the analysis is somewhat unsatisfying, It also, presumably to remain accessible, stays away from any of the actual empirical results that already exist on the subject, and addresses it from more of a pundit point of view, which I found disappointing.
I´m reading Rising Sun and Tumbling Bear (Russia´s war with Japan). I preordered Tide at Sunrise (MMP) a month ago and I wanted to introduce myself inside this conflict before the game hits the score to be published. The game and the book are not expensive and they look like really interesting.

His whole WW II series is T R I P E. I agree - very dissapointing.

I'm reading Saratoga by John Luzader. I never had to much interest in this era but seeing as I live within an hours drive of most of the engagements in this campaign I had to read about it. Next summer I will be checking out some of the battle sites. This is a very detailed book.
Hello Bill,

You can check out more about John Luzader and "Saratoga" at www.savasbeatie.com where you will find an interview with the author.
I am glad you are enjoying the book.
It would be great if after you finish reading it you would go on Amazon and post a review.

Tammy Hall
Sacramento, CA


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