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'm currently reading The Mind of War by Grant Hammond, which is about John Boyd. Very interesting read so far. I am also starting in on Keegan's Face of Battle which I haven't read in years.

Read: "Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy" by Ibn Warraq. Mr. Warraq offers a frank criticism of Islam with a authoritative defense of Western ideas such as Freedom of Speech, Inventiveness, boundless energy, etc. against that of islam with its barbaric practices of justice, misogyny, apartheid, slavery, etc. He goes on to explain how the West needs to fight back against the willful complacency within it towards muslims and their savage culture.  Excellent and Most Highly Recommended.

"Before the Normans: Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries" by Barbara M. Kreutz. This is a very good history of this part of Italy with the wars, battles and social interaction by Lombard, Italians, Byzantines, and muslims. The Normans would unite these groups and liberate the area from the muslims in the 10th Century. Very Good and Recommended.

"Stolen Prey" by John Sanford. A great detective thriller novel to keep you engrossed to the last page. A family is massacred along with their pets with Lucas Davenport on the case. Very Good and Highly Recommended.

"12-21" by Dustin Thomason. For decades. December 21, 2012 has been the touchstone for doomsayers worldwide. It is the date, they claim, when the ancient Maya calender predicts the world will end. Here is the story of that future event, not far off, in a page burner of a novel. Outstanding and Very Highly Recommended.

"Ghost Dancer" by John Case. What does Nikola Tesla, Indian Ghost Dancers, and Ayn Rand have in common. Read this book and find out. A thriller of a ride, non-stop. Most Highly Recommended.

'Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar' by Simon Sebag Montefiore. A complex individual; I've always been fascinated by the 'Man of Steel'. So many of his contemporaries, even Lenin, seem to have underestimated him. Certainly Leon Trotsky did. I've often thought that Winston Churchill was the only Western politician who had him pegged, or at least clearly saw the Soviet leader's ambitions. Sadly, Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not. I recently finished ' The Dictators' by Richard Overy - an interesting comparison of the careers of Stalin and Adolf Hitler.

Just curious: how many of you can read a book more than once? I've had many friends who could never revisit a book after the first read. I can read a good book several times and enjoy it equally well upon each visit. The heart of my personal library are my dad's military history books, many of them well used. He had a large collection of Ballantine paperbacks. He used to tell us (I have five siblings) that money on a good book was never wasted. My wife cannot read a book twice. She just looks at me, shakes her head, and says, "What, you're reading that again?"

Sebag`s, "Young Stalin" was fabulous.  Man was a bank-robbing wife-beater; an out and out gangster.  Bit like Capone becoming President.

As for re-reading it depends on the subject matter and, above all, the author`s style.  I`ve read the Flashman books a few times, Jack Higgins`s, "The Eagle Has Landed " a handful of times, "The Lord of the Rings" maybe a dozen and Arthur Conan Doyles`s Sherlock Holmes canon countless times. 

The same criteria applies for military history but, generally, after the first read I tend to use them for reference.  Exceptions include: Churchill`s, "The River War", Lady Sales`s, "Afghan Diary", Morris`s, "The Washing of the Spears", and a few others, each of which have multiple reads.   Since my particular interest is "The Great Game" I`ve read most of Hopkirk`s books more than once.

Good friend of mine has literally had multiple sets of "The Thomas Covenant Chronicles" disintegrate on him through re-reading.  I`m not THAT bad ! :-)

I have read a few books more than once but the big one is Isaac Asimov's "Pebble in the Sky". Since I first read it back in my early teens I have probably read it 8-10 times+. Just something about it that compels me to read it again every few years. I always fine something new that interests me within it. As to history books I usually re-read just the sections I need for research. 

Read: "The Final Reckoning" by Sam Bourne. This is a novel about the Nokmim(Avengers). They were a group of Jews out to prove to the world that no one will ever get away with another Holocaust against the Jewish People without retaliation. It takes place now at the UN with one more 'Hit' to go for justice. The author's note at the end is very lightening on the history of these happenings. Too bad they were not a complete success. Very Good and Recommended.

"Decline and Fall of The Sasanian Empire: The Sasanian-Parthian Confederacy and The Arab Conquest of Iran" by Parvaneh Pourshariati. A dry but excellent history of this period of Iranian History. This is a polemic on the co-op of the new Sasanian Dynasty with the old Parthian Dynasts and their breakup which facilitated the muslim conquest of Iran in the middle 7th Century A.D. The author also proposes that this invasion started a few years earlier than most believe it did. A dry read but well worth the effort.

"The Sepoy Mutiny" by V.A. Stuart.

Read: "El Cid: The Making of a Legend" by M. J. Trow. Very Good book on "The Cid", national Hero of Spain. The author sorts out the truth, as possible, from the myths and legends. Recommended.

"Reconquest and Crusade in Medieval Spain" by Joseph F. O'Callaghan. This book covers the middle period(11th -13th centuries) of the Heroic Spanish and Portuguese peoples taking back their lands stolen by the brutal muslims. Besides the historical narrative, the author also covers the weapons, tactics, both on land sea, and the financing of the military forces of this period of Iberian History. Very Good and Recommended.

"People of The First Crusade" by Michael Foss. This is a human interest look at both the upper and lower classes of the first counter-crusade to the Near East from both sides. Very Good and Recommended.

R E Lee 4 volume biography.

I am almost finished with the fourth volume of Churchill's World Crisis series on World War I. Putting his personal ego aside it has rekindled an interst in World War I for me and once I am done with volume six I may look into some more balanced treatments on the subject.

Read: "Mohammed & Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy" by Emmet Scott. This answers the question "What Ended Roman Civilization and brought about the Dark Ages". This author supports the Belgian historian, Henri Pirenne, who stated in his book(same title as above) that the muslims destroyed classical civilization and not the Barbarians. I've read Mr. Pirenne's book a long time ago. I agree with the author's conclusions. Very Good and Recommended.

"Holy Warriors:Islam and the Demise of Classical Civilization" by John J. O'Neill. Another book on Mr. Pirenne's Thesis with additional evidence in support of it. Very Good and Recommended.

"The Last Crusaders: The Hundred-Year Battle for the Center of the World" by Barnaby Rogerson. This book covers the period between 1450-1590 that would change the world from becoming muslim to the world we know today. It covers the battle-fields from Spain and Morocco to India and the East Indies.  The West is on the ropes in the beginning but would survive and go over to the counter-offensive and win out in the end. Very Good and Recommended.

Read: "Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered" by Peter S. Wells. Just so-so.

"Charlemagne" by Derek Wilson. A Bio on Charlemagne that is Just OK.

"Eifelheim" by Michael F. Flynn. This is a historical and Science Fiction novel. It covers the Black Forest area of Germany during 1348-1349. This is also the period of the Black Plague. Aliens crash land nearby to the village of Eifelheim. It jumps between this period and present time. It is a case of Serendipity, big time. A outstanding read and Most Highly Recommended.


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