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The Opium War intermingles military history with large doses of well written Qing history, the author's preferred topic. I hope that the engagements will be described in more details than the one-liners/paragraphs on Wikipedia.
Finally, a short read about the Japanese-Soviet encounter in 1939, Nomonhan, 1939. I would have wished a more detailed description of the engagements which are told at a quite abstract level. There must be more eyewitness accounts, or not? One gem is WWII's Forrest Gump, the Korean Yang Kyoungjong who was fighting for the Japanese and captured by the Soviets, then in their army captured by the Germans and later captured by the Americans in Normandy. If he had joined the US military too, he could have completed the round trip in 1950 and be captured again in Korea.
I found the author's claim about the primordial importance of the border clash at Nomonha, better known as the battles of Khalkhin Gol, not really convincing. For both the Soviets, the repeated border engagements were an unnecessary sideshow. In my view, Stalin wanted to gain time to build up his army and maybe even see his opponents in the West kill each other rather than feeling menaced by Japan. At that time, Stalin was basically the only one who propped up the Chinese army. On the Japanese side, it was pure madness (like Pearl Harbour). Given the strains of the war in China, the Japanese could never commit the necessary forces against the Soviets in a full war and had little to gain but a bloody nose.
The new radio episode of In Our Time is/will be about the battle of Lepanto. Most books about the battle do not go deep as into the tactics and actions of the battle as I wished. Granted the source material is sketchy and fragmented into multiple languages, but one may still hope.
The kind of Festschrift of the Swiss 500th anniversary committee is beautifully illustrated with high quality photographs but mostly kept the 1970s basic maps (at that time, they were ecstatic about having an aerial photo of the battlefield site).
I see on http://marignano1515.ch that the Italian conference papers have now been published as well (Atti del simposio 2014 e del congresso «Marignano» 2015), of which I am interested in reading one article about the often neglected Venetian part in the battle. Now only the German Landsknechte (in French service) at the battle still deserve their own coverage.
Die Heere der Hussiten is splendid booklet illustrated in full color and sourced - a German improved take on what a good Osprey should be. A second volume is in preparation. Some small questionable statements occur from time to time such that pinning a handgonne under the arm would not allow for targeted shoots, whereas with practice shooting from the hip, so to say, can be quite accurate as your eye and hand learn to coordinate. Just ask Lucky Luke or any other pistolero (the word pistol has Czech roots).
Just started Lincoln's Autocrat.
The book was published in 1939, very soon after the Nazi takeover of Czechoslovakia. Dupuy was a U.S. Army major and the publisher was "The Military Service Publishing Company." As Dupuy concludes his Preface, "In the light of what has happened, in the light of what we may be urged to do again, it will be well to recall the past." So the book was certainly timely when published, but it will be interesting to see whether Dupuy had any sort of interventionist point to make mixed in with his history.
The book is listed in only two LT libraries, mine being one.
p.s. I had to look up the word "anabasis," which you all probably know but which was new to me. According to Wikipedia, the word comes from the title of a classic text by the Greek writer Xenophon (431–355 BC), about the expedition of the Persian prince Cyrus the Younger against his brother, King Artaxerxes II. More generally, however it means "an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country."
HBO should really produce a mini-series about it. It could be filmed cheaply in Spain as there is no need for expensive Rome-style sets. Robin Waterfield has written a good introduction in Xenophon's Retreat but reading the text itself is not difficult (though a commented edition is recommended).
The Czech Legion is featured prominently in the Czech army museum in Prague (highly recommended) and also covered in an Osprey MMA. Post WWI era Russia was a weird jamboree of international forces, like 16th century Italy or Syria today. It is interesting that Osprey has switched the cover from pedestrian WWI troops to Siberian exotics to promote the title.
Alistair Horne's Hubris is a great read of the battles of Tsushima, Nomonhan, Moscow 1941 and Midway with funny character sketches of the foibles of the commanders and a tribute to the enduring soldiers on both sides. Unfortunately, this breaks down completely in the last jumbled part about Korea and Dien Bien Phu where he hardly presents the opposing Asian commanders and their soldiers at all. I would also not classify the Korean, Indochina and Vietnam Wars as hubris. These were blunders in far away places that did not receive the attention they deserved. I would have preferred an account of the Chinese-Japanese War of 1894 but commercial interests probably clamored for more US-centric content.
I finished the Dupuy book Perish by the Sword, last night (see Post 12), by the way. Well worth reading, I thought, although not as in-depth as one would like. Dupuy also spends a good amount of time describing both AEF adventures, in Archangel/Murmansk and in Siberia. The point is made quite strongly that, in Eastern Russia, the ultimate success of the Bolsheviks can be attributed as much to the wanton savagery and sadism of the White Russian generals than to any attraction the populace had to Bolshevism. As to the Northern expedition, the American forces were part of a multi-national force, originally there to try to encourage a second front and keep the Germans from building a submarine base. They stayed after the Armistice, however (as did the Siberian AEF) in part in support of the Czechs and in part in support of the White Russians. The Northern Russian force was under the command of a British general whose doomed attempts to drive south and actually unseat the Bolsheviks Dupuy labels "inane."
The book is clearly written, and as well researched as possible for the time, I guess. At one point Dupuy says that he has no idea how the Czech forces, spread out as the became more or less across the length of the Trans-Siberian rail lines, maintained communication with each other, but evidently they did. There are quite a few fascinating photographs. There are also a couple of maps, but these are much too sketchy to be of much use.