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David Kilcullen's THE DRAGONS AND THE SNAKES: HOW THE REST LEARNED TO FIGHT THE WEST. Well-written explanation of how both states (labeled dragons) and non-state actors (labeled snakes) have evolved their methods of conflict to blur together--dragons are able to fight more like snakes and the snakes are able to fight more like dragons. Striking in Kilcullen's discussion is the Western inability to get out of its military strategic paradigms and adapt in like manner.
Yuri Pines's translation of Shang Yang's THE BOOK OF LORD SHANG APOLOGETICS OF STATE POWER IN EARLY CHINA. Recent archeological evidence and scholarship both in China/Taiwan and Japan have given reason to relook at this oft-studied and translated work (I have two other English translations on the shelf besides this one). This is perhaps the best known work of the legalist philosophical tradition of government in China, at least in the West, and can be shocking to liberal Western sensibilities. For those interested in theories of state governance, this is a must!
Read: "The Death of the Universe:Hard Science Fiction" by Brandon Q. Morris. For many billions of years, humankind having conquered aging, has spread throughout the Milky Way galaxy without finding any other sentient life. Now the universe is dying, entropy has set in. Hardly any new stars are being born and the old ones are dead or dying. Sol has already gone this way. There is one possible hope, feeding the giant Black Hole at the center of the galaxy with with lots of matter; stars, planets, black holes, etc. to jump start it into a Quasar. This will furnish Humankind with the energy source needed to survive. But then Murphy's Law hits with a bang which changes everything. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "Miracle At Midway" by Gordon W. Prange. A most suspenseful and moving story of this great victory by America that with the Solomons turn the tide in the Pacific. This shows both sides of the story in a most riveting manner. It was Hubris that brought the Japs down from the pinnacle of victory to defeat. Some of the Japanese themselves agreed by calling this "Victory Disease". Outstanding and Most Highly Recommended.
Read: "Masked Prey" by John Sandford. The latest Lucas Davenport novel where pictures of Congress-men's children at play and school are found on the web. Is someone stalking these children or what? Possibilities are blackmail for their votes or something else. Taking public pictures is not illegal so the Feds can do nothing. But Lucas, a US Marshall, can take a look see. Started out with an old plot, I'm tired of, but took a new twist, but with a disappointing ending. So, recommended with a grain of salt.
"A Connecticut Yankee in the 8th Gurkha Rifles: A Burma Memoir" by Scott Gilmore with Patrick Davis. America was still neutral when Scott Gilmore joined the American Field Service(AFS) as an ambulance driver. It was the start of an adventure that took the author throughout the Middle East, the fall of Tobruk and the Battle of El Alamien. The contract expires and Mr. Gilmore with some other AFS drivers sign up as Emergency Commission Officers in the India Army . Regular officers looked down on these ECOs. Mr. Gilmore would be assign to the 8th Gurkha Reg. and would see action in the Burma Campaigns of the 14th British-Indian army. He would rise to company commander by wars end. This is a memoir, not a history of the Burma fighting. Very Good and Highly Recommended.
Read: "The Art of Renaissance Warfare: From the Fall of Constantinople to the Thirty years War" by Stephen Turnbull. Tells the story of the rise of gunpowder weapons and the demise of the knight into just a horseman, but still necessary on the battlefield. Covers the wars in Italy, Dutch Revolt, muhammandans in the Balkans, and Eastern Europe with Moscow, Poland, and Sweden. Very Good and Recommended.
Read: "The Men of Barbarossa: Commanders of the German Invasion of Russia, 1941" by Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. This book tells the story of Operation Barbarossa by describing the expertise, skills,and decision making powers of the men who directed it(German perspective). From div. commanders all the way up to Hitler, their personalities and conflicts among themselves on the best way to achieve victory against Russia. The author does this by pausing to introduce a new commander with Bio, then continuing with the narrative. The last chapter describes what happened to all these men after Barbarossa was over. Very Good and Recommended.
"Slaughter on the Eastern Front: Hitler and Stalin's War 1941-1945" by Anthony-Tucker Jones. This book covers the carnage that was the Eastern Front in WWII. Covers the casualties of battle to the slaughter of civilians on a scale not seen before. The only comparable slaughter might be the carnage by the Japanese against China in this same war. The book has in the end notes the best estimates, not just for Germany and Russia, but allies of both sides, both soldiers and civilians deaths. This is compared to the losses in the West and Med by the Western Allies. No comparison. Very Good and Recommended.
Asia Times top ten war films on the Eastern Front, WWII.
Read: "Serpent's Reach" by C.J. Cherryh. A SF novel on humans forming a symbiotic relationship with a sentient alien species know as the Majat, giant Ants. This is in the constellation Hydri, known as the serpent. They have something everyone wants: immortality and goods that all humanity would die for. Humanity has quarantine this off and no one goes in or out. But one planet is open for trade, just like Nagasaki, Japan was for the Dutch in the 17th Century, etc. The humans that came here first have control of this trade. This is the story of Raen, last of her family massacred. She wants revenge, the next best thing to winning. She is linked to the Blue Majat Ants. A great tale of what kind of culture humans and Aliens can form together. Outstanding and Most Highly Recommended.
Read: "Mazurka" by Campbell Armstrong. A political thriller novel. Mazurka (n.) A Slavic dance in triple measure. A Scotland Yard Inspector loses a Soviet Diplomat on his watch, to murder. From that moment the inspector's life becomes a nightmare that just keeps on growing. With the help of a Estonian woman the inspector makes an incredible discovery, an international plot that moves between Moscow, London, Washington and Eastern Europe to the deathbed of a dying KGB mastermind. Now the inspector is running for his life with an unknown assassin after him. He is racing against time to destroy a worldwide conspiracy of evil that began because of a single word: glasnost. Published in 1988. Very Good and Highly Recommended.
Read: "Satan's World" by Poul Anderson. A SF novel in the future history of the Polesotechnic League. A rogue planet frozen for a billion years, now waking up, with mysterious beings trying to keep the League from finding it and its resources. The stakes are nothing less than the survival of Humanity and its' allied sentients. Very Good and Recommended.
"Eaters of the Dead" by Michael Crichton. A historical novel on the Arab Ibn Fadlan's experiences with the Northmen in 922 A.D. An adventure of mystery, history and horror. Very Good and Recommended. "The 13th Warrior" is a movie based on this book with Antonio Banderas in 1999. Very Good, also.
Read: "Germany 1945: From War to Peace" by Richard Bessel. 1945 was the most pivotal year in Germany's history. The final months of WWII brought the German people face to face with what they had caused and how to survive as a people into the future. These last months of war made the German people think of themselves as the victims despite the crimes they had committed. The book explores this crashing down into oblivion by the German people and their rebirth. I met a couple of these "Fake" victims in West Berlin in Dec. 1989. They did not enjoy the meeting. Very Good and Recommended.
"Personal" by Lee Child. A Jack Reacher novel where Jack is called back to assist the State Department and CIA. Someone has tried to assassinate the President of France. It is believed that it is an old acquaintance of Jack's whom he put in jail 16 years ago. The killer is on his way to the UK for a G8 summit to do what? Jack never gets to close but the killer makes it Personal. Very Good and Recommended.
I am reading NORMANDIEFRONT: D-Day to Saint-Lo Through German Eyes by Vince Milano and Bruce Conner. It is about the German 352nd Infantry Div. experience. So far it is very readable and entertaining.
Read: "Masters of the Battlefield: Great Commanders From The Classical Age To The Napoleonic Era" by Paul K. Davis. 15 great leaders/commanders from Epaminondas to Wellington and the qualities/talents that made them highly successful as generals of their nations or armies. Very Good and Recommended.