Current reading - October, 2020

DiscussãoMilitary History

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Current reading - October, 2020

Out 2, 2020, 7:34am

First up with Waffen-SS: Hitler's Army at War, which does an impressive job of synthesizing a lot of new literature on Himmler's field force; the emphasis being on the stresses between the pretensions to being a military and racial elite with the never-ending struggle to keep the increasing number of units up to strength.

Out 7, 2020, 1:11am

Finished The Other Custers: Tom, Boston, Nevin, and Maggie in the Shadow of George Armstrong Custer by Bill Yenne. Rather interesting look at the lives and careers of the other members of the Custer clan, although George still forms an important part of the story. Recommended.

Out 14, 2020, 1:37pm

I finished Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic, which I found to be very powerful. There's nothing dated about it now, and it's easy to see why it gained such attention then. The memoir begins with the moment Kovic is wounded during a firefight and immediately loses all feeling from the middle of his chest downward. The horrors of life in a VA hospital and the darkness that descends on Kovic as he grapples with the realization that his condition is permanent are graphically and powerfully rendered. Kovic also flashes back to his (in the telling) idyllic Long Island middle-class upbringing that led him to the patriotic "God and Country" perspective that drew him to the Marines and to enthusiasm for the war in the first place. He details his life for the first decade after his wound, including his evolution into a strong anti-Vietnam War activist, in often compelling fashion as well. As an anti-war statement and a chronicle of personal darkness and perseverance, this memoir stands up very well.

Out 15, 2020, 10:41pm

Finished Invasion: Defending Britain from Attack by Dan Cruickshank. It covers a lot of time, but it is interesting in parts, the earlier eras rather than the latter ones.

Out 19, 2020, 4:43pm

Completed E-Boat Alert: Defending the Normandy Invasion Fleet by James Foster Tent. Quite a good book, going into the design of the E-boats and their operations as well as RAF Bomber Command which was the force that finally defeated them.

Out 21, 2020, 7:40am

Finished up Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front yesterday evening, a close analysis of German army practice when fighting the Soviets, with the main conclusion being that while Nazi racial ideology played a role, the real foundation of the mistreatment of Soviet civilians was the German military's practice of "military necessity." You can be as dead from having been looted of your food, clothing and shelter in the depths of winter as being lynched as an example to other would-be partisans, or being executed with your whole village by a firing squad. This is a very good study but having been reading the works of David Stahel it didn't have quite as much impact as it might have otherwise.