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Just finished Lloyd Clark's THE BATTLE OF THE TANKS: KURSK, 1943. Generally well-written as an overview of the battle and its context within the larger Great Patriotic War. Incorporates most of the latest scholarship (save for DEMOLISHING THE MYTH by Valeriy Zamulin). However, the editing is quite sloppy; a number of irritating usage and spelling problems and then there are the issues with the maps, which are the worst of all. Lots of them and generally well rendered as overviews, but something went wrong with the computer font for labeling the larger towns (like Prokhorovka and Oboyan) on many of them--they read like gobbledegook. And then the maps on the battle are spread all throughout the text, even when the chapters they are paired with have nothing to do with the battle. As one example, Chapter 2: "The Origins of Annihilation II: The Soviet Union and the Soviets, 1918-41" has a map entitled "Map 3: The Eve of Battle, 4 July 1943" leading it off. Atlantic Monthly Press gets a thumbs down in the physical production of what could have been the best layman's treatment of this pivotal battle. Sigh.
Read: Deon Meyer's "Heart of the Hunter"; A ANC hitman trained by the E. Germans and KGB is retired but has to come out of retirement to help a white friend. "Thirteen Hours"; Takes place over 13 hours with a American girl running for her life. A Roller Coaster ride of excitement. "Blood Safari"; A 'white trash' body guard hired to help a rich woman find out what happen to her brother years ago. All these take place in the South Africa of today but with links to the past. The author is a Afrikaner who writes with a "hold on to your ass because you are in for the ride of your life". These books all portray the politics, social, and everyday life of today's South Africans, black, white, colored, etc.. These are outstanding in their windows into a South Africa in transition. A note: the author seems to have a bias against America. Highly Recommended.
"Aetius and the Augusta: The Last of the Romans" by Paul V. Store. A history of the last hundred years of the Western Roman Empire and the two central characters of this period; Flavius Aetius, general and Augusta Galla Placidia, Empress and last credible ruler of same. Very good but one notable historical error and lazy editing. Recommended.
Just finished " When a crocodile eats the sun" by Peter Godwin, which is his family history interwoven with the madness of Mugabe and the collapse of Zimbabwe in the early 2000's...pretty harrowing stuff.... I'll think I'll read a Stainless Steel Rat book next to cheer myself up.
I've wandered away from military history for a brief dip in the waters of modern science with "Epigenetics: The Ultimate Mystery of Inheritance" by Richard C. Francis. For any of you with a bent toward genetics and fun with DNA in general, I found this a fascinating read - easily accessible yet with enough depth of topics that it didn't feel like just another a primer on the topic.
Read: All Deon Meyer Novels and all take place in South Africa.
"Devil's Peak"; A vigilante is killing murderers of children. A social message on present day law enforcement in SA.
"Dead before Dying"; A possible serial killer using a old German handgun of Boer War fame.
"Dead at Daybreak"; A political mystery linking back to SA's involvement in Angola of the 70's.
All these are excellent and highly recommended. No more Deon Meyer books to read. Will have to go 'Cold Turkey' till he writes some more.
I am reading Five Bells and Bladebone. A Murder Mystery written in the 90s by one of my favorite authors, Martha Grimes.
In my vehicle, I am listening to "The Stainless Steel Rat gets Drafted"
I just finished reading "Before the Big Bang" a terrific overview of the Theories about the Universe and Multiverse. The current theories about everything suggest that there may have been no big bang, but, a POP from the grinding of two universes together.
I have also been slowly reading through the "Dark Tower" books by Stephen King. Next up "Wizards and Glass". These are actually very good books. A bit graphic but not too much so. "The Man with No Name" meets "Brave New World" meets H.P. Lovecraft
Read:"Firebird" by Jack Mcdevitt. A sci-fi novel on Black Holes, parallel universes, and quantum physics. Very Good and Recommended
"Holy War: How Vasco da Gama's Epic Voyages Turn the Tide in a Centuries Old Clash of Civilizations." by Nigel Cliff. Supposed to be a history of Vaso da Gama's trips to India and turning the tide against islam but is instead the author's own opinions(not facts), lies, and misinformation. Not Recommended.
"From Democrats to Kings: The Brutal Dawn of a new World from the Downfall of Athens to the Rise of Alexander the Great" by Michael Scott. The title says it all. Very Good and Recommended.
"Operation Napoleon" by Arnaldur Indridason. A mystery/thriller novel that starts in 1945 with a plane crash in Iceland with both senior American and German officers aboard and ends in the present. Very Good and Recommended.
THINKING, FAST AND SLOW by Daniel Kahneman. Been a fan of his and Amos Tversky's work on heuristics and bias in judgment for years; this is a far more approachable book.
AMERICAN PATRIOT: THE LIFE AND WARS OF COLONEL BUD DAY by Robert Coram. The author is obviously enamored with his subject but that doesn't mean this biography shouldn't be read. Day earned the Medal of Honor for his heroism as a POW in Vietnam but there's far more to his life than that.
I am reading: The Smith&Wesson Revolver A shop manual by Jerry Kuhnhausen. One of the best books on the disassembly and reassembly of the S&W Revolver. Many tips on action work, and various ways to bring out the maximum in accuracy.
Read: "The Punic Wars: Rome, Carthage, and the Struggle for the Mediterranean" by Nigel Bagnall. The author was a British officer and ended his career as Chief of the General Staff in London. He brings a military man's perspective to the Punic Wars. He has some different conclusions on the Roman Army of the time. At the end of the first two Punic Wars, he reviews the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical moves of both sides and the right and wrongs of these. This is very helpful. Very Good and Recommended.
"Scipio Africanus: Rome's Greatest General" by Richard A. Gabriel. Excellent Bio on Scipio.Highly Recommended.
These two books will be very helpful for playing GMT's SPQR. There are some changes to be made to some of the battles in this game for improving them.