Current Reading - December 2020

DiscussãoMilitary History

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Current Reading - December 2020

1jztemple
Dez 7, 2020, 5:25pm

I'm been reading a real gem of a book I picked up at a Goodwill book store, To the Bitter End: A Photographic History of the Boer War 1899-1902 by Emanoel Lee. While it does have quite a number of photographs and a few maps, it is also a shorter but still excellent history of the war. It is unique in some aspects. The author was a Consulting Surgeon in Britain when the book was published in 1985, but he grew up in South Africa so he not only had a local's interest in the war, but also access to sources such as the photographs and he also interviewed some of the surviving participants of the war.

The introduction to the book discusses the state of photography leading up to the war, especially regarding the equipment available to amateurs. As the author notes, the Crimean War and the US Civil War have a great photographic record, but the Boer War was the first to have so many photographs taken by amateurs using various Kodak cameras, including the newly released Brownies, plus those of other manufacturers. Most of the photographs in the book were taken by amateurs and hadn't been seen in published works before.

In the book the author discusses not only the military operations, but also the political and social implications in South Africa and also back in Britain. With the author's interest in medicine, he also discusses areas such as the wounds and their treatment, the medical establishments of the sides and also the instances of epidemics that struck the British army in the field.

It seems to be a very evenhanded look at the war without any obvious bias or antagonism. I highly recommend it.

2Shrike58
Editado: Dez 28, 2020, 7:56pm

Knocked off "Vigilante!" by Robert "Boom" Powell over the past few days. While there's a lot of cool stories and images in this book, the reality is that you'd be better off with the author's Osprey booklet on the topic if you want a concise history of the operational use of this plane.

3Shrike58
Dez 28, 2020, 7:59pm

Finished Kearny's Dragoons Out West, which I'd been intending to read for awhile but which proved to be a bit "meh."

4jztemple
Dez 28, 2020, 10:28pm

>3 Shrike58: I recently read a bio of Kearny which mentioned the formation of the 1st Dragoons. I've put your book on my Wishlists. Thanks for posting about it!

5bernsad
Dez 28, 2020, 10:51pm

Reading Breaker Morant, the latest by Peter FitzSimons, as usual it seems well researched and a pretty good yarn.

6jztemple
Dez 29, 2020, 1:01am

Finished Florida in the Spanish-American War by Joe Knetsch and Nick Wynne. A relatively short book, which despite its title is probably only half about the activies in Florida during this time, the rest being about the lead up to the war. Still, there is some interesting information about the camps set up around the state for the departing troops and the conditions encountered in the overcrowded city of Tampa which was the main departure point. There is also a good discussion of the impact of the immigration of Cubans into the Sunshine State prior to the war.

7Shrike58
Editado: Dez 29, 2020, 9:58am

>4 jztemple: I don't think that the Oklahoma U. Press did the authors any favors; Kansas or Texas A&M would have insisted on more rigor whereas Nebraska (via its Potomac Books imprint) has more experience publishing for the serious general reader. You will really learn a lot about the regiment, but it's a one damn thing after another kind of book. As I noted, I think that the authors wanted to tell a story about the transition from Jacksonian amateurism to a more professional U.S. military, but I suspect that they lacked the theoretical foundation to transition from antiquarianism to scholarship; they certainly did the footwork. I look forward to hearing your reaction.

8Karlstar
Dez 31, 2020, 10:41am

Working on Grant by Ron Chernow, it is excellent.

9jztemple
Editado: Dez 31, 2020, 10:52am

>8 Karlstar: Good to know that you like it. I read the Grant biography by Jean Edward Smith back in 2016 and so I might be ready for another one.

10Shrike58
Dez 31, 2020, 10:22pm

I could stand to read a good Grant bio; that one might be on some TBR list or another. I have lists, that feed into lists, that then actually feed into the list of what I intend to read in the immediate future! Say, the forthcoming year or so!