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Obras de Christopher Othen


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Othen, Christopher



Excellent book on a very troubling period in Africa. Author's style is very interesting and keeps you glued to the pages until the very end.

Highly recommended.
Zare | Jan 23, 2024 |
Excellent book on Spanish Civil War and little known foreign volunteers (or better said volunteers outside Condor Legion, Italian Fascists and Spanish Foreign Legion), their motivation and finally how they ended up in life (post civil war and post WW2). It shows Franco enjoyed great popularity in the west (that was feared by rise of the Red's) and that many were willing to give their lives fighting for Franco's cause - or walk over their compatriots bodies to achieve their own goals of personal glory.
Book gives a great insight into behind-the-scenes manipulations of Franco's volunteers and how he used them to forward his goals and discard them at the first opportunity when they were of no further use.

1917 October revolution and events after it, rise of Stalin's despotism and oppression in the Europe's east gave rise to equally terrifying fascism and nazism on Europe's west but with one big difference - for majority of Western Hemisphere in the beginning nazism/fascism was publicly ignored at worst [heavy resistance to it will come later]. These ideologies were seen as defenders of everything that Bolsheviks were against (and what was held dear by wealthy in all countries endangered by Stalin's encroachment). Impoverished on the other hand sought refuge in Stalin's ideas and enrolled into fighting fascism/nazism but soon figured out that they were just used by Stalin's regime - nevertheless they continued fighting for the very ideal until finally betrayed by Stalin at the end of Spanish civil war. Very same thing Franco did to his volunteers.

It took WW2 to push all the tyrants into same basket - Stalin and his henchmen, Franco, Mussolini's Fascists and Hitler's Nazis and all the other oppression regimes. But still hysteria of menace-from-the-east (or menace-from-the-west for the Russians) remains alive and this provides means for revival and consolidation of very dangerous ideologies even today.

Clash of ideas started in 1917, sent tremors in 1936 and finally shook the world from 1939-1945 but still remains in hearts and minds of millions. And unfortunately tensions are still very much alive and used by politicians to stir the hearts of those that will pay for the politicians mistakes. Hope remains that people will get smart [although history does not back this with many examples].

Highly recommended.
… (mais)
Zare | 1 outra resenha | Jan 23, 2024 |
Very much like all Othen's books, this one is about all weird [and not so weird, aka professional military] types that get drawn to a conflict like moths to fire. Here we follow the group of unlikely mercenaries (some of them being just plain fakes) as they find their way in the Ethiopian conflict - and if there was the most confusing conflict ever on planet Earth this one was it (and this was especially true of the political orientation of mercenaries fighting for Ethiopia).

Ethiopians themselves are a very interesting bunch - rather merciless in combat (not just against the Italians but in general - I loved the way shock was described in the group of Swedish mercenaries when they saw Ethiopians taking prisoners, everybody was like "Oh s**t, this ain't good, they never take prisoners") and working in extremely feudal political framework. Entire Ethiopia seems to be on the verge of apocalyptic collapse at all times and Italian invasion did not help it stabilize.

Italians are .... well Italians I guess, rather operatic and seeking revenge for the battle of Adwa where Ethiopians triumphed and slaughtered almost entire Italian royal army.
I think that level of brutality and overall casualty list Italians inflicted was unsurpassed until Spanish Civil War. Ethiopians died in thousands and especially dangerous was the use of poison gas (mustard gas) by Italians they extensively used when Ethiopian victory started to come up as a possibility. Later when Ethiopian government fell and brigands started roaming the fields everything spiralled to hellish nightmare-like state.

The only issue I had with the book is [extremely] slow start (around 1/3 fo the book) - this part took me considerable effort to finish because it read like Rashomon, the same thing reiterated from the perspective of every new mercenary [true or wanna-be]. But after that, when actual combat with Italians begins, Christopher Othen writes in his fashion that is very familiar to all who read his books on Spanish Civil War and Congo in the 60's.

Highly recommended.
… (mais)
Zare | 1 outra resenha | Jan 23, 2024 |
Of late, I've been conducting a purge of various TBR lists, as the books keep on coming and anything that's been hanging fire for more than five years is arguably not that relevant. I'm glad that I made an exception for this book, as it answered questions that I didn't realize I had, such as that many Moroccans fought for Franco out of the sense that they might be fighting for independence. Besides that, apart from the German Legion Condor and the Italian CTV, the "meta" issue that Othen winds up tracing is how the foreign anti-communist volunteers had their own journey of disillusionment that is comparable to the experiences of those who fought in the International Brigades, as the parallel revolutions consumed their young. Ultimately, though they couldn't have realized it at the time, many of those who thought they were involved in a crusade against International Communism came to bad ends in Hitler's great war of conquest.… (mais)
Shrike58 | 1 outra resenha | Jun 7, 2023 |



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