Current Reading - December 2019

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Current Reading - December 2019

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Editado: Dez 4, 2019, 2:43pm

Finished listening to the Audible version of Under Pressure: The Final Voyage of Submarine S-Five by A. J. Hill. Very good book, aside from a few errors by the author in nautical matters and the narrator's lack of familiarity with nautical pronunciations.

Dez 8, 2019, 9:07am

Finished The Path to Blitzkrieg (A-) this morning, one of the author's early monographs which details how much doctrinal work was done by the German army of the Weimar period to create what has been colloquially referred to as 'lightning war.'

Dez 11, 2019, 3:36pm

Finished A Small But Spartan Band (A) this afternoon, what turned out to be a quite sharp little monograph about the Army of Northern Virginia's Florida Brigade. I had feared antiquarian dreck.

Dez 14, 2019, 11:54am

Gave up about half way through Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. There is an awful lot of padding in the book to grind through. Additionally neither author seems to have a good grasp on nautical and naval details so there are a quite a number of small but annoying errors in the book. It make one wonder if they mess up on the small stuff whether they have really gotten the big stuff right.

Dez 15, 2019, 7:57am

The Battle of Alcazar by E. W. Bovill. As old-school as as can be expected from its 1912 original publication date, it's a decent popular history - and remarkably enough apparently the most recent book on the battle in English.

The 1578 battle - which saw the defeat of a Portuguese intervention in Morocco - is also known as that of Alcazarquivir, of Alcacer Quibir, of El-Ksar el-Kebir, or of the Three Kings; the last because Sebastian of Portugal and the rival Moroccan kings Mulay Muhammad and Abd al-Malik all found their deaths there.

Dez 16, 2019, 2:10pm

I finished Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion by Charles Townshend. This is a fascinating, detailed (to the extent possible) and well written history. Townshend does an admirable job of assembling the history of the rise of the fractured Irish separatist movement at the beginning of the 20th century. There was a strong party urging Home Rule for Ireland as a first step toward independence, and several groups urging for a more immediate and total independence from Great Britain, obtained through arms if need be. The history moves through the decision for a country-wide armed rising, the damaging confusion caused when a countermanding order was sent across the counties that caused a day-long delay and sent many potential insurrectionists home, never to re-engage. In the end, the fighting took place mostly, and certainly most famously, in Dublin itself, with the most important and memorable (and horrific) action centered around the Dublin General Post Office. He also discusses quite cogently the effects of the event on Irish history, both in the years immediately following and then in later decades. Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the subject matter.

Dez 19, 2019, 12:32am

Finished an excellent The Roman Cavalry: From the First to the Third Century A.D. by Karen R. Dixon and Pat Southern. This is an academic study and covered quite a lot of ground. Items common to all Roman soldiers, like recruitment, basic training, pay, retirements and other aspects are covered. Also covered in great detail are items pertaining to cavalry, such as deployment, weapons, organizations and again many other aspects. Additionally there is quite a lot about the types of horses, how they were fed, housed, trained, exercised and even how they were disposed of after death. There are quite a lot of conclusions which are based on sketchy sources or on comparative data gathered from more modern cavalry practices and the authors are very upfront with identifying what is provable, what is conjecture and what is purely speculatively. Highly recommended.

Dez 19, 2019, 1:03am

>6 rocketjk: I liked your description so much I went and chased it up online, thanks.

Dez 19, 2019, 1:10am

It has some military aspects to it so I'm hoping it qualifies. I'm reading Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy by Nicholas Reynolds at the moment which among other episodes describes Hemingway's adventures during the Spanish Civil War and World War 2. It's interesting the passion he had for his politics and the measures he felt were justifiable to defend his beliefs. I'm quite enjoying it.

Dez 19, 2019, 2:24am

>8 bernsad: You're welcome. I hope you like the book. Townshend had a tough time of it, because there was precious little written down by the principles at the time about the events, and many of their actions, particularly from a military perspective, are somewhat inexplicable. I've written more about these aspects of the book on my more in-depth review, which I've posted on the book's main work page. All in all, though, quite a fascinating work.

Dez 21, 2019, 12:38am

Finished another short book, U-Boats Under the Swastika by Jak. P. Mallmann Showell. This is an overview of U-boat construction and operations in WW2 but is very well done.

Dez 21, 2019, 11:03pm

Finished South Africans versus Rommel (A) this evening; a South African treatment of the South African participation in World War II. The focus is on more than North Africa as the author deals with the wartime histories of the 1st & 2nd South African Divisions in general, besides command turbulence between the British and the South Africans.

Editado: Dez 22, 2019, 6:05pm

Completed yet another short book (building up my count for the end of the year!), From Waterloo to Balaclava Tactics, Technology, and the British Army, 1815-1854 by Hew Strachan. A short but well written book, very interesting and informative. The period was quite active in terms of discussions, experiments and debates over changes versus traditions.

Dez 25, 2019, 9:24am

Because nothing says the holidays like the death throes of the Third Reich I finished up Slaughter at Halbe (C-) yesterday evening. Though the author has the reputation of being "Mr. Berlin" a few personal accounts of the battle was insufficient substance for a monograph.

Dez 25, 2019, 10:37am

>15 Shrike58: "Because nothing says the holidays like the death throes of the Third Reich"

Gave me a good laugh this Christmas morning!

Editado: Dez 26, 2019, 7:01am

My pleasure! I'm at that stage of my yearly reading program where I'm very unsentimental about zipping through books if they're not all that and, in this case, Le Tissier has done better. I have a couple novels to knock off to finish up for the year and then it will be time to storm my 2020 pile of doom.

Dez 29, 2019, 6:23pm

Finished a fairly poor The Tegetthoff Class: Austria-Hungary's Dreadnoughts (1909-1925) by Andy South. This is the Kindle version and there are quite a number of scanning errors. Also the narrative is jumbled and contains numerous errors. Not recommended.