Current Reading - December 2017

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Current Reading - December 2017

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Dez 12, 2017, 11:27pm

And in the same vein, also completed Warfare in the Ancient World by Brian Todd Carey.

Dez 22, 2017, 1:46pm

Just finished Volokolamsk Highway by Aleksandr Bek, a novel based on the author's interviews of a Soviet infantry battalion commander of Panfilov's division which was successful in holding back the German drive on Moscow in October 1941. Extremely well written and hard to put down.

Dez 24, 2017, 8:37am

India's War (A-) and Battle of Dogger Bank (B+) will wrap up my year. The first book essentially tracks how the total mobilization of the Britain's empire in India made that country unfit for empire, and laid the foundations of the violence of the Great Partition. The second, while it does give you the cut and thrust of the first battle between modern battleships, it's more a consideration of how the the Anglo-German naval race essentially produced navies that had very limited utility in what was supposed to be the area of decision.

Editado: Dez 29, 2017, 3:14pm

I recently finished Washington and his Generals by J.T. Headley. According to Wikipedia, "Joel Tyler Headley (December 30, 1813 – January 16, 1897) was an American clergyman, historian, author, newspaper editor and politician who served as Secretary of State of New York." Full Wikipedia entry here.

In Washington and his Generals, Headley provides a biographical sketch of Washington, every man to serve in the American Army during the Revolution above the rank of Brigadier, plus Admiral John Paul Jones. The chapters are of varying length, depending on the importance and activity of the individual. Washington himself checks in at 90 pages. The book was published in 1875, a mere 99 years after the Declaration of Independence. In many cases, certainly in Washington's case, Headley presents a hagiography. Brows are noble, resolution is firm, bravery and sense of purpose is unwavering. There are some few cases where pride and venality come into play, of course. Benedict Arnold gets that full treatment. The bulk of each chapter deals with each subject's actions during the Revolution and I don't want to give the idea that failures are not treated here as well as successes, as they are.

There are many detailed and quite vivid battle descriptions included. These make the best reading of the book. However, I am far from being a Revolutionary War scholar so I don't have any idea how accurate those accounts might be. For me the most intriguing aspect of this book was its own historical quality, the window it provides into the attitudes about the American Revolution as they would have existed (at least among white males) in the late 19th century.

My copy of the book is a first edition, so it is 142 years old.

I also recently read Grunt: the Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach, which I think many in this group would find interesting.

Editado: Dez 30, 2017, 6:41am

Reading Guerrillas of Tsavo by James G Willson, about the World War I East African campaign. Like many self-published books it's not too polished and could do with some robust editing, but it's a fascinating account of the campaign with plenty of local knowledge and context. Also plenty of rare photos. It helps that at the moment I'm actually staying in the Taita Hills area where much of the early action took place.