Current Reading - April 2016

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Current Reading - April 2016

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Abr 7, 2016, 7:19pm

Finished A Rain Of Lead: The Siege and Surrender of the British at Potchefstroom by Ian Bennett, a very interesting and well written history of the siege during the First Boer War.

Editado: Abr 9, 2016, 4:17am

Tonio Andrade, an expert on the interaction of China and the Dutch in Taiwan, has written a sort of follow up book about The gunpowder age : China, military innovation, and the rise of the West in world history, which offers fascinating details on the Chinese origins of gunpowder (or "fire medicine"). Andrade covers a lot of territory (medieval China to early modern Chinese-Dutch relations). His knowledge about European medieval history is not as deep as the book's claim actually requires. Historians unfortunately are still very reluctant to set up research teams to tackle these complex topics.

As always with exotic subjects, it is hard to get further information. Andrade writes: "The official Song History has a more interesting story. A few days after the battle, it says, “a corpse came floating upstream, covered in armor and gripping a bow-and-arrow.… It was Zhang Shun, his body pierced by four lances and six arrows. The expression of anger on his face was so vigorous it was as though he were still alive. The troops were surprised and thought it miraculous, and they made a grave and prepared the body for burial, erected a temple, and made sacrifices.” Other sources suggest that Zhang Shun was indeed killed in battle.38 He was later immortalized in the famous novel The Water Margin (水滸傳)."

Incidentally, I am just reading The Water Margin, so want to follow-up on historic/novel Zhang Shun but am quickly stopped by my limited language skills. Swiss history also has a famous insertion/transposition of a later warrior into an old story/national epic: Winkelried.

I have to track down an Austrian copy of Krieg und Krieger im chinesischen Mittelalter, as my book budget has been fully absorbed by an expensive fan printing of the Great Northern War Compendium.

Abr 10, 2016, 7:59pm

Just finished up Targeting the Third Reich (A), which I found to be a fascinating overview of the operational intelligence side of the Allied strategic bombing effort over Western Europe; my main caveat is that the more familiar you are with this campaign the more you're likely to get out of it.

Abr 13, 2016, 2:45pm

Finished a short but interesting V-bombers by Robert Jackson.

Abr 20, 2016, 6:47pm

Finished Sovereigns of the Sea: The Quest to Build the Perfect Renaissance Battleship by Angus Konstam. It was OK, but too much of an overview to be really interesting.

Abr 22, 2016, 8:29am

Just finished Camden 1780: The annihilation of Gates' Grand Army; our typical Osprey Campaign volume. A recent visit to South Carolina restarted my interest in the Revolution in the South, for other works of interest see my:

Abr 22, 2016, 9:36am

Needham's Gunpowder Epic, about the history of gunpowder and gunpowder weapons in China.

Editado: Maio 4, 2016, 7:40am

Knocked off the Osprey booklets World War II Glider Assault Tactics (B+) & Kriegsmarine Coastal Forces (B-); the first was par for the course whereas the second probably tried to cover too many different ships in too short a space.

Maio 1, 2016, 11:05am

Finally (finally!), getting around to reading The Ordeal of Captain Roeder; a Hessian officer's memoir of the Russian campaign.

Maio 1, 2016, 1:30pm

Just finished The Last Soldiers of the King: Life in Wartime Italy, 1943-1945 by Eugenio Corti . While it was a good book on an obscure subject (in English), I preferred his Few Returned: Twenty-Eight Days on the Russian Front, Winter 1942-1943 .