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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I have read two or three of his Hamilton's novels, the Greg Mandel ones, and I own close to every work he has ever published. There simply isn't time to read them all.

I am trying to recall if I own this.

I've read the Commonwealth trilogy which was very good, ending could of been better, but then tried the Void Series, first book, no good. Earlier this year "Salvation", Bad. "Great North Road" was very good as stated but on the wordy side. I don't buy fiction; I use the library. Saves money. I have lots of books, paper and Kindle, not enough time to read them all plus using the library. The library, tho, forces you to finish reading the book. A time limit.

Read: "Black Sun" by Owen Matthews. A novel on the so-called Cold War. It is 1961. Khrushchev is the Soviet boss, the Soviets have sent the first man into space, and at a top secret city in the forests of Central Russia, a brilliant young physicist is found dead. Arzamas-16 is the home of the Soviet nuclear program. A KGB major is sent from Moscow to investigate this death. In 10 days the most powerful thermonuclear device in history will be tested. (I remember) This device could mean the end of Humanity. This novel is based on true events, names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. The actual person in charge of this city was Dr. Sakharov. A page-burner and Most Highly Recommended.

"Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History" by Nicola Di Cosmo. This is on one nomad power, the Hsiung-nu Empire. Time period is 900-100 B.C.  Covers early Chinese history to the early Han and their response to the Hsiung-nu and the victory of the Han over these nomads. The author calls it a Pyrrhic Victory. Just So-So.

"Octavia Gone" by Jack McDevitt. An Alex Benedict SF novel.(8th) Gabe, Alex's uncle, is back from being lost in space. A artifact goes missing from Gabe's collection and is found to be possibly, Alien. There is a possible connection to the greatest mystery of Human Space, the disappearance of the Octavia Satellite that was in orbit around a Black Hole searching for Worm Holes. This is the "Amelia Earhart" story of this time. The search is on. Very Good and Recommended.    

Read: "Rise of the Tang Dynasty: The Reunification of China and the Military Response to the Steppe Nomads AD581-626" by Julian Romane. This history examines the military events behind the emergence of the Sui and Tang Dynasties from 581-626AD. Covers the battles, campaigns and strategy used to combat the steppe cavalry vs. Chinese infantry armies. In the end the Tang, taking over from the Sui, would defeat all enemies and continue the Chinese imperial colonialism to north, east, west, and south with their Manifest Destiny. Without this "China" would be much smaller today. Deja Vu. Very Good and Recommended but a problem: No Maps.

"The Outside" by Ada Hoffmann. A SF novel where in the future the galaxy is ruled by super-intelligent AI Gods. Their algorithms determine the rewards you reap before and after death. A autistic scientist creates a new energy drive that could change the future of humanity. But the Gods declare her work heretical which usually means instant death. This time the Gods offer her a deal she cannot refuse; help them find her mentor who taught her the math that helped her create this device or die. No one can be trusted, not even the Gods. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India" Vol. I(1000-1526) by J. L. Mehta. This period begins with the Ghazvanid muhammadans' invasions of the Indian sub-continent primarily for riches, slaves, and, as holy crusaders for muhammadanism, to spread the faith by the sword. Then came the Ghorid muhammadan invasions that would conquer most of India by the end of the 13th century AD that became the Sultanate of Deli. The author calls these invasions the "Holocausts". Per the author, the Indians with their innumerable kingdoms fighting each other and the apathy of the Indian people brought this on themselves. Similar to the Occidental World of today. This Sultanate of Deli would be brought to an end in 1526 by the muhammadan Mughal dynasty. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Battle of Plassey 1757: The Victory That Won an Empire" by Stuart Reid. The muhammadan Mughals, conquers of India, saw big monies to be gain by trading with Europeans, so trading posts were allowed with various European states. Chance circumstances would lead England to go to war with the local muhammadan governor of Bengal. Hence the Battle of Plassey in 1757 that would lead England to become the dominate European state in India. The Indians replaced one conquer for another. Just so-so.

"Warrior Woman: The Story of Lozen, Apache Warrior and Shaman" by Peter Aleshire. Lozen was the sister of Victorio, a chief of the Chihenne Apaches. Lozen was born in the 1840's and supposedly had "magical powers" to know when enemies were nearby.  She could shoot, ride, kill, better than most Apache warriors. Victorio called her his right arm and would use her as one of his chief advisors. She was involved in most of the battles/campaigns of the Apache Wars. She surrendered with Geronimo in March 1886 and would be sent east with Geronimo and his band of warriors plus families. She passes from history but is believed to have died at Mt. Vernon, Alabama, of tuberculosis in the late 1880's or early 1890's. Her brother, Victorio, called her "the shield of her people". A most fitting epitaph. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "City of Victory: The Rise and Fall of Vijayanagara" by Rarnakar Sadasyula. The history of the Vijayanagara Empire, which stood like a mighty bulwark, protecting the Hindu dharma in South India. It was a rock against the muhammadan brutal invasions that ravaged and destroyed large parts of Northern India. Today it exists only in stones and stories, but its legacy would forever be remembered. Founded in 1336 by two brothers and would be as large as the Austrian Empire of its day in the 1500's. It was destroyed by the muhammadans at the Battle of Talikota in 1565. It was winning the battle but muhammadans in its army betrayed the Vijayanagarans and caused the total defeat of same. The capital was sacked and utterly destroyed with its inhabitants. The rest of the Empire would be overrun in coming years. Today the Indian Government does not allow muhammadans in its armed forces to face off against their own kind. Very good and Recommended.

"The Decisiveness of Israeli Small-Unit Leadership on the Golan Heights in the 1973 Yom Kippur War" by Major Oakland McCulloch. A case study of how the leaders of Israel's small units on the Golan Heights managed to slow down the invasion of the muhammadans' from Syria. In doing this they bought time for Israel's reserves to arrive to eventually drive the Syrians back. Covers the critical part of this battle from Oct. 6-10. Excellent and Highly Recommended. 

"Perilous Glory: The Rise of Western Military Power" by John France. Starts in Neolithic times and concludes with Today. This is a survey of warfare in search of a understanding of the origins of Western warfare, challenging accepted ideas about the development of military might, impact of culture, and the possible future of Western dominance. Mr. France has some strong opinions about the "Western Way" of war. Example: There is no "Western Way" of war and calls this "nonsense". He goes on to state:"styles of warfare do not arise from democratic (or undemocratic) decisions, but from experience and brute material circumstance." Mr. France has a tendency to ramble a while, then stop to clarify a point. Has some excellent points but also areas I disagree with. Just Good.

Just finished Where the Iron Crosses Grow by Robert Forczyk, quite an interesting book.  Now am about to actually finish Shattered Sword by Johnathan Parshall and Anthony Tully.  

Both works are critical of certain people that have long been held as masters in their fields.  In the first case (Iron Crosses) the author is critical of Manstein, but his arguments seem to contradict themselves during the tale.  Still the information is very detailed and worth the read.  In Shattered Sword the authors seem to have it in for Yamamoto and work to defend the decisions of Nagumo.  I find their arguments to be rather weak, but the other details of the book do provide a very good insight into the operations of the carriers and the reasons for the devastation caused by so few hits.

Read: "Relic" by Alan Dean Foster. A SF novel with a twist.  In the distant future, humanity has spread among many planets in our galaxy. No aliens have been found. Humanity carries on with its normal internecine wars until a "genius" invents a smart virus. No more humanity except one man, Ruslan. The last man in the universe. He is waiting to die of old age BUT then Aliens arrive. They cannot believe their good fortune, a live human being. They, and other Aliens, have been digging in the ruins of humanity just like we do with Ancient Egypt, etc.  These Aliens come up with a grand scientific enterprise, the resurrection of the Human Race ala Jurassic Park. This is a competition for the Nobel Prize of their day. Ruslan is not interested. Most enjoyable read and Highly Recommended.

"Salvation Day" by Kali Wallace. A SF novel in the distant future. Earth is recovering from the "Collapse" of civilization 400 years ago. A cult group intends to hijack a spaceship in orbit that has been closed up for years as result of a plague. Then flee into interstellar space. The government has been hiding a secret about this ship. The cult finds a way aboard this spaceship and awakens this "secret" that could cause the end of humanity. Just So-So.

Read: "White Gold" by Giles Milton. A Bio of Thomas Pellow, who at 11 yrs. old and 51 other Whites were captured by muhammadan Barbary corsairs in 1716. He would endure 23 years of Hell until he found a way home to England. He was taken to Morocco where he would refuse to assimilate into the muhammadan collective. Only after beatings that came close to killing him would he finally consent. He caught the eye of the ruling tyrannical sultan, Moulay Ismail, and would witness first-hand this tyrant's psychopathic rule.  He was one of the few that survived to tell his tale. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Operation Hannibal: The World War II Evacuation of East Prussia And the Disaster at Sea" by Michael A. Eggleston. Last days of WWII, a calamity awaits German civilians on the Easter Front as the Soviets advanced into Germany: Judgement Day. The Germans were fearful of payback for all the atrocities committed by their military in Russia, and rightfully so. These civilians and soldiers were cut off by land; only by sea could they escape. This route was a gauntlet, patrolled by Soviet subs and aircraft. The Nazis came up with Operation Hannibal. This started in January 1945 till it ended the day after the end of WWII. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Blasphemer: The Price I Paid for Rejecting Islam: by Waleed Al-Husseini. The story of a young muhammadan from the West bank Territories of Israel. He comes, by trial and error, to the conclusion that there is no god. Therefor he becomes a atheist. He was tortured and jailed for 11 months before released to stand trial at a later date. He fled to Jordan and then France. He explains, in gory detail, his experiences in this Kafkaesque reality. Very Good and Recommended.

"Antigonus the One Eyed: Greatest of the Successors" by Jeff Champion. Covers the life of Antigonus and his supposed quest to take over Alexander the Great's empire for himself. Takes in all the successor wars of Alex's empire after his death till there is 3 main states, Macedon, Egypt, and the Seleucid Empire. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Bloody Genius" by John Sanford. The latest Virgil Flowers novel. At the state university in Minnesota, two feuding departments face off on the battleground of science vs medicine. Each side goes all out and someone is murdered. Virgil is called in by the governor to figure out what happen and catch the guilty. Along the way Virgil stumbles on to some crimes that are unknown to anyone. Another tongue-in-cheek Virgil Flowers story. Outstanding and Highly Recommended.

"Alexander The Great: Lessons From History's Undefeated General" by Bill Yenne. An exploration of the leadership, strategy and legacy of the most celebrated leader of all time. This is a military appraisal of Alex's genius and his outstanding talent to think outside the box, Big Time. Very Good and Recommended. 

Read: "Byzantium and the Avars, 6th-9th Century A.D.: Political, Diplomatic, and Cultural Relations" by Georgios Kardaras.  Pretty good covering, as the title states, of this time period and peoples. One of the things the Avars, a nomadic Asian people, brought to Europe was the stirrup. Recommended.


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