Current Reading, Nov. 2020

DiscussãoMilitary History

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Current Reading, Nov. 2020

Nov 19, 2020, 7:19am

Been a light month for specialized military reading but I did just finish up Iron Arm, which still has value 40-years after the fact.

Nov 21, 2020, 11:15pm

Just finished the exhaustive 591 page "For God and Kaiser: The Imperial Austrian Army", by Richard Bassett, Yale University Press, c 2015. Bassett chronicles the Habsburg Dynasty Armies from the early 1600's to the downfall of the Empire in October and November of 1918. Particularly valuable are the seven maps of various battles ... from the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683 to battles with Frederich the Great and Napoleon, but one that surprised was the siege of the Western Legations in Peking, c 1900.

Somewhat confusing were the many references to unfamiliar places in Europe, which a good overall map might have made clear. The Austrian Empire was so large, and so changeable over the years, and we today are so familiar with what are now individual countries that even references to names such as Silesia, Bohemia, etc. require one to search out maps to discover what part of Europe is being discussed, and how it relates to what is now Austria. For instance, the Austrian Empire once stretched from what is now Holland and Belgium, to Venice and to the lower Adriatic ... Austrian WWI battles in Albania and Montenegro illustrate the point.

Basset also had little good to say about President Wilson, to wit: "The final catalyst was the Entente's vocal and open inclination towards the dismemberment of the Dual Monarchy, stimulated by the American President's unhappy focus on the 'sacred' idea of self-determination."

Nov 22, 2020, 11:15am

>2 Rood: Considering the results it's hard to make much of a pitch for Wilsonianism these days...particularly when you weren't letting the German portions of the A-H empire vote on adhesion to Germany or not. The French would have gagged on that development but if the goal was one rule for all that's where you had to go.

Nov 22, 2020, 2:42pm

Who is defending Wilson? Not me. He's the Southerner who segregated US government offices, after he became President.

Editado: Nov 23, 2020, 12:53am

Der Deutsche Orden im Dreizehnjährigen Krieg, which as the title says is about the Teutonic Order in the Thirteen Years' War (1454-1466). It's a nicely illustrated popular history in the style of an Osprey.

Editado: Nov 24, 2020, 9:32pm

>4 Rood: In general, not me either! For me, Wilson is one of those people the more I know about him the less I like him.

Nov 24, 2020, 9:31pm

I also finished up Beyond the Beach this week, which looks at the scale of civilian casualties inflicted on the French by the Anglo-American air campaign in 1944. About the only good thing you can say about the situation is that it could have been worse; particularly when the trade-off doesn't seem to have been worth it.

Nov 24, 2020, 9:37pm

>7 Shrike58: That's an interesting sounding book, a subject I've never really heard much about.

Nov 25, 2020, 10:40am

>8 jztemple: Which is the author's point. Even the French didn't want to deal with this matter for a generation or so, but in the last 10-15 years there's been a wave of serious interest in revisiting this particular past and the cost is being documented.