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Read: "A Fine Summer's Day" by Charles Todd. An Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery novel. It is June 1914, an Archduke is murdered at Sarajevo, but Rutledge has more pressing concerns. A son grieves for the loss of his mother which dredges up a past that will lead to a series of murders across England, seemingly random, that Rutledge must solve. Excellent and Highly Recommended.
"After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000" by John Darwin. The Hapsburgs, the Ottomans, The Manchus, the British, the Japanese, the Soviets, and the Nazis all built empires in this time period that where supposed to last forever but all failed. From the death of Tamerlane in 1405, to America's rise and the resurgence of India and China into the global power club, the author spends a grand narrative that offers a different perspective on the past, present. and future of empires. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "The Line upon a Wind: The Great War at Sea, 1793-1815" by Noel Mostert. This is a history of the navel war during the Napoleonic conflicts. Covers the evolution of navel tactics and strategy of this time period but has major sub-plots within it. There is the War between the Sea(Britain) and the Land(France) for world supremacy and the melodrama of the personal duel between Horatio Nelson, Patriot and Lover of his country vs. the megalomaniac, Napoleon Bonaparte who is full of himself. The Patriot won, in spades. Very Good and Recommended.
I'm reading Bernstein, Peter L. The Power of Gold. (NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2000)--great book that takes you through the history of gold. It would be interesting to see if there's a wargame out that accounts for a countries gold reserves.
I just finished The Killer Angels novel by Michael Shaara ab't the battle of Gettysburg.
The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge
Great medieval story of a second son with no inheritance forced to make his way in the world who succeeded brilliantly, knowing and serving five different Angevin kings from Henry II to John, including Richard the Lionheart. His experiences with them reflect a lot about their characters. In his long life he fought in virtually all his country's wars and also went to the Crusades. ★★★★★
Hannibal's dynasty: power and politics in the western Mediterranean, 247-183 BC by Dexter Hoyos
Great synthesis of disparate sources with excellent discussion of which are more likely to be correct. Also good on the First Punic War, events in Spain between the wars, Hannibal as political leader after the Second Punic War and his subsequent flight and work with Antiochus. One of the few books on this topic willing to critique the Barcas, for example their poor conceptualization of sea power and lack of ability with sieges (the little town of Saguntum took Hannibal eight months and he never essayed Rome at all). Wish I had had this before designing Republic of Carthage as it brings so many sources together in one place. ★★★★★
Read: "Merchant Kings: When Companies Ruled the World, 1600-1900" by Stephen R. Bown. This is the history of 6 great companies, some would say infamous, but these monopolies pushed the envelope for better or worse. Even tho these companies represented their countries they had almost complete control on how they carried out their business. There is the Dutch East Indian Company, English East Indian Company, Dutch West Indian Company, The Russian American Company, Hudson Bay Company, and the British South Africa Company. A great story of the men who built these companies and their ability to overcome problems on the road to glory. A perfect example of "no pain, no glory". Highly Recommended.
"Maritime Supremacy & The Opening of the Western Mind: Naval Campaigns that Shaped the Modern World" by Peter Padfield. This book covers this naval history from the Spanish Armada to the American Revolution. The author's theme is Maritime Powers have always prevailed over Land Empires in modern times because, within these naval nations, there is a greater degree of freedom in all areas. This is also a top reason Democracy developed in Western Nations. There is a detailed telling of the main naval battles of this time period covered. GMT should make a prequel to their "Flying Colors" game covering these naval actions. I'd buy it in a heart beat. Highly Recommended.
Read: "Nathaniel's Nutmeg" by Giles Milton. The true and Incredible adventures of the spice trader who changed the course of history. This history is about the island of Run, in the East Indies, and Manhattan island in North America. The author sets the stage, by traveling all over the globe, for the climax at the end. It takes awhile to arrive at this climax but well worth the trip. Very Good and Recommended.
"A Thirst For Glory: The Life of Admiral Sir Sidney Smith" by Tom Pocock. A bio on Sidney Smith who with Nelson would defeat Napoleon and the French at sea. Smith, in fact, faced Napoleon at Acre in Israel and stopped his dreams of being another Alexander the Great. Very Good and Recommended.
"Commander: The life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain" by Stephen Taylor. Orphan at the age of eight Pellew fought his way from the bottom of the Royal Navy to fleet command. One of his greatest exploits was defeating a French 74 of the line. A scenario for GMT's "Flying Colors". Very Good and Recommended.
Read: " The Iran-Iraq War" by Pierre Razoux. "War is a godsend" by Ayatollah Khomeini. Appropriate words coming from "butcher of Iran" but then his rival, Saddam Hussein, was the same, "the butcher of Baghdad". These two would take their respective countries into a 8 year war that would drag the rest of the world along for the ride. This book covers this war in great detail, with plenty of maps and battle reports. The Ayatollah ran rings around a impotent West that continues to this day. Everything is here: the war, politics, double deals, back stabs, kidnappings in Lebanon, muhammadan bombings in France, America, etc.. The appendixes in the back of the book give detailed time lines, orders of battle, losses, and financial/economic costs. Excellent and highly recommended.
Read:" Medieval Maritime Warfare" by Charles D. Stanton. This covers from the Fall of Rome in the West , 476 A.D. to about 1500A.D. The book is split up into geographical sections, The Med, English Channel/North Sea, and the Baltic Sea in this order. Covers the evolution from galleys(lots of types) to the beginnings of Gun Powder Weapons. Very Good and Recommended.
"Byzantine Warship vs Arab Warship: 7th-11th centuries" by Angus Konstam. This is a Osprey book. The title explains it all. Very Good and Recommended.
"Escape Clause" by John Sanford. A Virgil Flower's novel. Two rare tigers are stolen from the zoo, could be animal rights people or for their body parts in herbal meds to be sent to China. Then there is Virgil's girlfriend's younger sister who is researching illegal aliens. This could be dangerous for her health. A Fun ride of a story. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "Rome Versus Carthage: The War at Sea" by Christa Steinby. This is the epic struggle between Rome and Carthage for domination of the Western Med. As the title states, this is on the their duel at sea till Carthage was destroyed. Covers the history from the first contact, through the battles, tactics, tech,strategy, and leadership of both sides. Very Good and Recommended.
"The World of the Neo-Hittite Kingdoms: A Political and Military History" by Trevor Bryce. These kingdoms were established as provinces of the Hittite Empire under Suppiluliuma I(1344-1322 B.C.). The main centers were Aleppo and Carchemish in Northern Syria. After the home country was destroyed by the so-called Sea Peoples, these states carried on for centuries until conquered by the Assyrians. Has some similarities to the present: refugees fleeing wars, disasters, etc. destroying other countries along the way to a "promise land". These Neo-Hittites survived by guile, superior armies, and Luck. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco Da Gama" by Nigel Cliff. In 1498, Vasco Da Gama of Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies. With this epic voyage and others, the wealth of the East would give Western Europe the resources to free themselves from the domination of the brutal muhammands and change the course of World History. It was the longest sea voyage of its day, 24,000 miles of dangers beyond imagination. In spite of the religious bigotry of the author, this book is Very Good and Highly Recommended.
"The Kingdom of the Hittites" by Trevor Bryce. This books presents a comprehensive history of the Late Bronze Age Kingdom of the Hittites and the role it played within the world of the Middle East of its day, the interactions with the other Great Powers: Egypt, Babylonia, Mitanni, and Assyria. This book covers 500 years of history. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "Babylon's Ashes" by James S. A. Corey. The 6th novel in the SF Expanse series. 3 more to go. Also, on the SF network. The Belters, people of the Asteroid Belt and the Jovian planets, cripple Earth and Mars, so they can set up control of the Solar System and milk it to their hearts content. They control access to the Alien Stargate at the outer edge of the solar system. The heroes of the story continue to try and save humanity from itself. Not as good as the previous 5 books, but still recommended. I'm more interested in the mystery of the "Aliens", creators of the stargate than the petty squabbles of humanity.
"Empires of the Monsoon: A History of the Indian Ocean and its Invaders" by Richard Hall. Starts with this Ocean's invaders from the muhammandans, with their slave colonies on the East African and the West Indian coasts, and their gaining total control of the trade of this ocean. The Chinese send great Fleets into this Ocean and to East Africa to show the flag and trade but disappear as fast as they came. Then in the late 15th Century, the Europeans arrive, trying to find a way to bypass their mortal enemies, the muhammandans. The author concentrates on the coastal areas of this Ocean but gives histories as needed on the muhammandan brutal invasions of the Indian interior, their pushing into "Darkest Africa" for gold, ivory, leopard skins, but most of all Black Slaves. The Europeans would be "good learners" from the muhammandans and follow in their footsteps. The book has the great European explorers of the African interior, their trying to stop the slave trade by everyone which has been mostly successful but the muhammadans still continue to this day. The story ends with the end of European control in the late 20th Century. Very Good and Recommended.
"The Revolt of the African Slaves in Iraq in the 3rd/9th Century" by Alexandre Popovic. This revolt of African slaves in Iraq from 869-883 A.D., known as the revolt of the Zanj, was one of the greatest rebellions of world history and the first major uprising of the African diaspora. The Zanj were black slaves shipped from East Africa to work in the salt mines and plantations under the harshest conditions in the muhammandan world. Like the Spartacus revolt, it threatened a world power, in this case the Abbasid Empire. The revolt also signified a unique instance of solidarity among Africans in the diaspora, when black soldiers of the Caliph deserted and joined the revolt. Hard to follow at times but Recommended. A COIN game from GMT.