Current Reading - October 2017

DiscussãoMilitary History

Entre no LibraryThing para poder publicar.

Current Reading - October 2017

Este tópico está presentemente marcado como "inativo" —a última mensagem tem mais de 90 dias. Reative o tópico publicando uma resposta.

Out 5, 2017, 8:07am

Guess I'll get the ball rolling this time.

First out of the gate is The American Army and the First World War (A+) which really impressed me for its overall integration of political, strategic, operational and tactical concerns. About the only thing that I might mark it down for is that is really doesn't mention the impact of the "Spanish" Flu on the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Makes me look forward to reading other books in the series.

Out 5, 2017, 12:08pm

>1 Shrike58: Thanks for posting about this book! It is now on my various wish lists.

Out 5, 2017, 8:31pm

Just received:
Conquerors of the Roman Empire: The Goths
by Simon MacDowall (Author)

Out 11, 2017, 6:41pm

Finished a most excellent Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America by David J. Silverman. Well written academic study of how Native Americans obtained, traded and used firearms. Very readable and highly recommended.

Out 12, 2017, 11:12am

"This is my Boom Stick!"

Editado: Out 13, 2017, 7:32pm

I just finished Hussey's Waterloo book and loved it! Can't wait for Volume 2 to come out in January!

Out 14, 2017, 7:34am

I know that I was highly impressed with it.

Out 14, 2017, 7:55am

In what's been a productive reading month so far I've also finished Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865 (A), The Kaiser's Battlefleet (A) and Elvis's Army (A-).

The first is an examination of how the extra-legal methods used by Missouri's secessionists to finance their military force blew up in their collective faces, meaning that the planter class in Missouri didn't just lose their slaves, but they also lost their lands, though not before they went down fighting ugly. This is more economic and political history than anything else.

The second is a comprehensive overview of the heavy ships of the Second Reich; how force structure and doctrine came together, how these ships performed in action, and a technical overview of the lot on a class-by-class basis (including line drawings of all the options for each class).

The last is maybe a little bit less then it looks, as what you really have here is a personnel history of how the U.S. Army coped (or more often than not didn't) with all the turbulence it went through from Korea to just before the Vietnam involvement ramped up. While I think Linn was trying to write a general history it's probably not the first book one should read on the topic, as he really presumes that you've mastered a galaxy of American military personalities and issues. I know that I was impressed though with how little secondary and how much primary research went into the work.

Out 15, 2017, 10:04pm

>9 Shrike58: That book on Missouri's Civil War sounds interesting, I'll have to give it a look.

I just finished Engineering Victory: The Union Siege of Vicksburg by Justin S. Solonick. It looks at the siege engineering and implementation activities of the Union army. As a different approach it is satisfying, but the author tends to repeat himself a bit and the writing is a bit overblown too. However, those are minor nits, the book is a pretty interesting narrative otherwise.

Out 17, 2017, 12:42pm

Finished listening to (an Audible book) Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's Defeat by Giles Milton. Pretty interesting book by itself and even better narrated by the author who has a great delivery.

Out 19, 2017, 7:16am

Passchendaele: A New History by Nick Lloyd

Interesting and readable. While recognising the appalling cost and the suffering of soldiers on both sides, the author tries to steer a bit of a middle road through controversies about the battle, at times choosing the label Third Ypres as being less emotionally charged than Passchendaele.

Also I've just re-read The Dam Busters by Paul Brickhill for the first time in maybe 40 years. I'd forgotten what an enjoyable read it is. When it was written the details of the bouncing bomb were still secret, and it's interesting how the author skirts round that, letting us know how different and special the bomb was, needing adaptations to the aircraft, had to be released at low level, ended up right up against the dam wall so that the explosion's shock waves would destroy the dam, unaffected by torpedo nets, etc, but without giving any hint what the bomb actually was nor how it achieved all this. The book was written soon enough after the war that many of the protagonists were still alive (those who hadn't been killed in action, that is) and the author had spoken to a lot of them, which adds a human touch to the book. Wallis comes over as a charming old gent from an age when there were still polymaths, and the author was clearly very impressed wth Cheshire, both during and after the war.

It jumped out at me that every time he referred to a WAAF, the adjectives "pretty" or "little" or both appeared before it, but then that's how people actually spoke in the forties when the action took place and the fiftes when the book was written.

Out 27, 2017, 10:39am

I finished Land of Frozen Laughter: a Community Development Volunteer in the Vietnam War, 1967-1969 by John Lewallen. This is an extremely well-written and gripping book. It is full of compelling episodes of his struggles to help the people in the villages he's assigned to while navigating ethnic rivalries, governmental bureaucracy and, of course, his desire not to get himself killed, especially during the infamous Tet Offensive, of which Lewallen provides a first-hand description. By "help the people," I mean practical matters like trying to finagle beat up old generators to help individual villages get electricity. Lewallen was neither a pacifist (at least at that time) nor an angel, and he picked up a gun when necessary. Part of what's most interesting about the book is his descriptions of the remote villagers' uneasy but sometimes necessary interactions with the Viet Cong, and the villagers' various reasons for their overall resistance against them. Lewallen also provides clear descriptions of the different ethnic groups he comes across during his stay, and their sometimes strained relationships with each other.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in what life in the rural villages of Vietnam was like during the late 1960s. Lewallen wrote his memoir of that time immediately upon returning to the U.S. in late 1969, but didn't publish it until last year. It's self-published, so you'll have to find it on Amazon or the like. Full disclosure: John is a friend of mine, but I would honestly feel the same about this book if I'd never met him.

Out 30, 2017, 10:25pm

The forced march continues with Soviet T-10 (A), Warriors and Wizards (A), Warship 2016 (B+) and The Best Station of them All (C+). I was most impressed with the second as the author does a good job of pulling together the story of the German use of guided weapons against ships and the allied counter-measures taken. Next most impressive was the Osprey book on the final Soviet heavy tank to enter production, which represents a step up for the publisher. This year's edition of the long-running naval history annual was fine if you've been following the work over time, though I'm not sure that I'm pleased with the new production values.

This leaves Maurice Melton's account of Confederate naval operations in and around Savannah, which I found to be a rather odd work. The backbone of the narrative is the rise and fall of the ironclad ram "Atlanta," but Melton takes you from the formation of Georgia's state navy to the surrender of the officers & men associated with the unit in the wreckage of the Confederacy. What you won't find is any sense of what Melton thinks about this whole adventure. No thesis is offered. No attempt is made to suggest what these events signified. The book simply ends with a quote from one of the Confederate officers that taking the loyalty oath to the federal government was worse than an emetic. One can only speculate what the author's intent is. That this book has three five-star ratings on Amazon suggests that the author put several friends up to making the book look good. That said I actually found this work readable and informative, but only because this is not the first time I've been to this rodeo.