Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 41 to 60 of 105

Thread: What Are You Currently Reading? 2008

  1. #41
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,099

    Default

    Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder After 1914, by Martin Thomas.

    This book is a history of British and French colonial rule in the Middle East and North Africa (with bits of sub-Saharan Africa discussed in context) interwoven with the history of the the evolution and development of the colonial security services.

    The book starts off as if its going to be very dry and pedantic, but the narrative shakes itself off and loosens up a bit as it goes along. Overall, it makes for a very interesting read - the narrative about leveraging support of experts in the social sciences at the turn of the century to focus and drive intelligence collection makes for a good comparison to how we are currently using such support (and for those who pay attention to such things, you can also compare the both to Vietnam-era social science efforts at SORO etc.).

    The time period focused on by the author also traces the development of SIGINT and IMINT as companion disciplines to the traditional spectrum of HUMINT collection - the book describes challenges as the countries shift employment of the emerging intelligence fields from the conventional high-intensity warfare of WWI to supporting counterinsurgency and suppression of dissent in colonial territories. The struggle in attempting to maintain population control in tribal socities with extremely small force numbers as well as operational conflicts between the use of lethal and non-lethal means of control reflect - in a very different context - some of the same problems we see in today's operations.

    The solid narrative is also supported by extensive source notes and a good bibiliography. This includes leads on several obscure but potentially useful articles, papers and books related to intelligence in support of counterinsurgency and the suppression of dissent in tribal societies. This, by itself, gives the book value in my eyes.

    Definitely a recommended read for any intelligence professional working in today's challenging environment.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 02-18-2010 at 02:56 PM. Reason: Edit to add an actual review; forgot I never finished this post.

  2. #42
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Roswell, USA
    Posts
    540

    Default

    Alamo in the Ardennes

    Same quality as the author's two books on D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

    I also recently read Kaputt, which is sort of a weird book but recommended to me by a young Italian woman vacationing in America. I generally will always check out what a young Italian woman recommends.
    Last edited by Culpeper; 06-26-2008 at 03:45 AM.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


  3. #43
    Council Member Chris Albon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    37

    Default

    Just finished "The Use of Force" by Art and Waltz.

    Reading for qualifying exams... one book down, infinite more to go.
    -----------

    Chris Albon,
    Ph.D. Student / UC Davis
    Blogger / War and Health

  4. #44
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    3,195

    Default

    Going back through "Mars Learning" and have Linn's "Echo of Battle" and a couple of Vietnam works (Stanton and Nolan - research for a project) waiting in the wings.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  5. #45
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    903

    Default

    I recently started The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmed Chalabi by Aram Roston and the novel My Life as a Fake by Peter Carey. Both very good so far. Recently purchased and standing on-deck: Know Thine Enemy: A Spy's Journey Into Revolutionary Iran (1997) by Edward Shirley (pseudonym for Reuel Marc Gerect), and Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia (2008) by Ahmed Rashid.

    Two books I recently finished and thoroughly enjoyed are: Storming Las Vegas: How a Cuban-Born, Soviet-Trained Commando Took Down the Strip to the Tune of Five World-Class Hotels, Three Armored Cars, and Millions of Dollars by John Huddy and a novel The Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow. While neither are of the intellectual nature of the books discussed in this thread, they are of great entertainment value.

    Storming Vegas is the story Cuban man who as teenager was sent to the Soviet Union for schooling and military training and becomes an officer in Cuban special forces who fights in Angola and also a stint in Afghanistan with Soviet Spetznaz. He is only leave home in Cuba at the time of the Mariello boat lift and hops ship to the US (there is some reason to believe, as the author does, that he was a sleeper agent), only to escape death as his ship gets caught in deadly storm. Arriving in the US and setting down in Las Vegas, he rises in the narcotics world only to get locked up by the FBI. Upon release he tries make an honest living for his family and eventually gets back into the world of crime, this time utilizing his commando background to rob armored cars and casinos.

    Dawn Patrol is crime novel set around an ex-cop turned PI and his five surfing buddies, set in the backdrop of San Diego. I cant speak highly enough of the author Don Winslow. Though most of his novels are set in Southern California and Mexico he is a native Rhode Islander from a time when the state was a wholly owned subsidiary of La Cosa Nostra, by way of his research and the neighborhood he grew up in he knows a great deal about organized crime. His novel The Power of the Dog is fantastic, and while fiction it is based on real events in the 80's and 90's like the contra war and resupply efforts, the rise of and restructuring of Mexican drug cartels and DEA ops in Mexico at the time, infighting in New York organized crime, ect. And he ties it all together in a magnificent way (they all kind of did touch each other in reality), it is fiction but hits too close to reality.

  6. #46
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    1,099

    Smile Have to admit, have gone somewhat Retro

    Just about done with DUMBOLOGY (Goeff Tibbals) its amazing what you learn about history that you never saw in the Lessons Learned sections
    (Brits and a bunch of indian troops upset to the point of rioting over a lack of consideration for the animal fat used in rifle lubricants)

    Crawling my way through Hazard Adam's Critical Theory Since Plato
    (gonna be a long yet informative trip)

    And partially started on B.H Liddell Hart's Strategy second revised edit.
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

  7. #47
    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NYS
    Posts
    389

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
    The Utility of Force by General Rupert Smith (I was too cheap to buy it until it came out in paperback)

    My initial impression (after reading preface, intro, and chapter 1) is that I will probably go back and read the introduction again after I finish the book. I found the intro to be packed full of good observations - nothing Earth-shattering, but good wisdom expressed with clarity and brevity.
    Did you get to see his interview on C-SPAN?

    Adam L

  8. #48
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    Posts
    175

    Default dreams and shadows

    "Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East" by Robin Wright just arrived. Been looking forward to its arrival. Suppossed to be an optimistic assessment of Middle East and its future. More to follow...

  9. #49
    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Kabul
    Posts
    325

    Default Recently finished...

    -The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace By Ali A. Allawi
    A pretty insightful look into the inner-workings of the formation of the first Iraqi Govt and Constitution. Although, remember who is writing it and what faction he represents

    -War Crimes by LTC Buzz Patterson
    An interesting read, but one could easily get too fired up...maybe a bit of fearmongering on Patterson's part


    -What's the Matter with Kansas by Thomas Frank
    I'm from Kansas, so it was a must. I didn't find all of Frank's observations about KS politics completely accurate, but some of it was compelling

    Working on...

    Great Speeches by Native Americans by Bob Blaisdell
    Learning to Eat Soup by LTC Nagl
    US National Security, 4th ed. by Sarkesian, others

    Front of the bookshelf...

    Cobra II by Gordon & Trainer
    The Crisis of Islam by Lewis
    U.S. Army and USMC COIN FM

    Someday I'll get to:
    Lone Survivor by Luttrell
    A Time to Fight by SEN Webb

  10. #50
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Posts
    1,127

    Default

    Had a productive day at CARL yesterday -

    Finally found a copy of "The Praetorians" by Jean Larteguy! Yay. Been looking for months since reading the "Centurions". I started to read it and got depressed at the plot - good, but a downer. Why aren't the "Centurions" and "Praetorians" in print? I would think there would be a resurgence of demand - it's kind of the "Once an Eagle" of COIN, except the characters are French.

    Also picked up C.E. Callwell's "Small Wars", Kitson's "Bunch of Five", and "Why men rebel"

    Just finished a series of business management books, Hacksaw recommended the book "The Goal", which is an operations management textbook in novelized form. Certainly more interesting than my COB 340 Production and Operations Management class!

    Also finishing reading an advance copy of Bing West's forthcoming book on Iraq, my company is talked about for 3 pages. Good stuff.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  11. #51
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Sierra Vista, AZ
    Posts
    175

    Default centurions

    Sir, Hailer Publishing, http://www.hailerpublishing.com/index.html, has the Praetorians, but no Centurions. I asked them why, and they stated that a few years ago they had a chance to publish it, but it was too expensive to get the rights. Every Algeria/Foreign Legion memoir seems to mention Beau Gueste and the Centurions, so I've been searching for both (found Gueste). Still, no affordable Centurions luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    Finally found a copy of "The Praetorians" by Jean Larteguy! Yay. Been looking for months since reading the "Centurions". I started to read it and got depressed at the plot - good, but a downer. Why aren't the "Centurions" and "Praetorians" in print? I would think there would be a resurgence of demand - it's kind of the "Once an Eagle" of COIN, except the characters are French.

  12. #52
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Newport News, VA
    Posts
    150

    Default

    I finished Cobra II, and have Shield of Achilles about 2/3 of the way through (though I think he made his point already, maybe the book needs some editing), and have Marcus Luttrell's book waiting to be read.

    Are we only interested in military-themed books? I am currently also reading "The Heresy of Formlessness," by a German writer named Martin Mosebach, who argues for the return of the Latin Mass in the Catholic Church. Interesting stuff if you are a Catholic like me, but even if not, I think interesting in his meditation on how aesthetics affect belief, cultural and religious formation, and how ideologies express themselves in aesthetics.
    He cloaked himself in a veil of impenetrable terminology.

  13. #53
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Every Day Jihad - Bernard Rougier

    Brave New War - John Robb (just finished)

    Inside Hamas: The Untold Story of the Militant Islamic Movement - Zaki Chehab

    Political Islamism: The Algerian Tragedy - Zahrah bin 'Arus, Amqaran Ait Idir, and Fallah Mijak (in Arabic)

    And God Knows the Soldiers - Khaled M. Abou El Fadl

  14. #54
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    The Green Mountains
    Posts
    356

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    Dawn Patrol is crime novel set around an ex-cop turned PI and his five surfing buddies, set in the backdrop of San Diego. I cant speak highly enough of the author Don Winslow. Though most of his novels are set in Southern California and Mexico he is a native Rhode Islander from a time when the state was a wholly owned subsidiary of La Cosa Nostra, by way of his research and the neighborhood he grew up in he knows a great deal about organized crime. His novel The Power of the Dog is fantastic, and while fiction it is based on real events in the 80's and 90's like the contra war and resupply efforts, the rise of and restructuring of Mexican drug cartels and DEA ops in Mexico at the time, infighting in New York organized crime, ect. And he ties it all together in a magnificent way (they all kind of did touch each other in reality), it is fiction but hits too close to reality.
    Awfully nice guy too, his son was a student on a summer course I taught on a couple of years back, Mr. Winslow gave a speech to my class about total vs. limited war in the American context, looking at the Revolution and Vietnam, very well done and the class loved it. Been meaning to read his books for ages, will check out The Power of the Dog as soon as I have time.

    Finished American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day last week. Inspiring story, though the author laid it on a little thick for my taste. Disappointed to learn that Colonel Day supports torture (thankfully, no euphemisms) in the war on terror.

    Just started Defeat Into Victory, really enjoying it, especially since a 14th Army veteran in my church said he is going to correct a couple of minor errors in it for me when I'm done.

  15. #55
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    499

    Default

    Hamburger Hill: The Brutal Battle for Dong Ap Bai, May 11-20, 1969 by Samuel Zaffiri.
    "Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper

  16. #56
    Council Member Wildcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Inside your OODA loop
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Taking a break from nonfiction. Just finished Steven Pressfield's Killing Rommel, currently halfway through Tides of War (Pressfield), and about to start The Virtues of War (also Pressfield). Thinking about picking up Statecraft by Dennis Ross.

  17. #57
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    3,189

    Default

    I'm reading "Brassey's Encyclopedia of Land Forces and Warfare".
    It's a 1996 book with dozens of chapters, written by dozens of authors, reprinted in 2000.

    It looks to me as if it should have been obligatory reading for journalists in the late 90's if they wanted to cover defense issues (together with Dunnigan's "How to make war").

    I didn't read much of it so far, but the chapters that I read are on the one hand good, on the other hand always wrong on the future trends.
    The international authors were experts, but they completely failed to anticipate trend changes. One chapter even concluded that the past trends will go on.
    They failed not only to expect LIC conflicts, but they failed in expecting new technological trends (not even stating that such things happen even though they don't know yet what exactly will change).
    The book is merely 12 years old, the oldest articles are probably 14 years old, yet the failure to anticipate the quite near future was total. Their expectations became invalid within less than ten years.

    That's quite shocking (though not very surprising), especially if one keeps in mind the many assumptions about the future in military-related affairs that are held as almost certainty by many people. The long duration of efforts to reorganize and re-equip is horrible in this light.

  18. #58
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SOCAL
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Albon View Post
    Just finished "The Use of Force" by Art and Waltz.

    Reading for qualifying exams... one book down, infinite more to go.
    Was that pleasure reading? That was undergrad stuff for me many moons ago.

  19. #59
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,352

    Default Big Wars and Small Wars

    Taken two weeks to read, mainly on the daily train commute to work: Big Wars and Small Wars - The British Army and The Lessons of WAr in the 20th Century, edited by Hew Strachan and pub. 2006 by Routledge.

    Based on a 2003 conference at Oxford University, on the relationship betweens lessons learnt from immediate past wars and ideas developed in preparation for the next war. Starts with the Boer War and ends with Gulf War One.

    Publishers link: http://www.routledge.com/books/Big-W...n9780415361965

    Google Books: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=u...ummary_s&cad=0

    Not my usual reading matter, but excellent and lots of "nuggets".

    davidbfpo

  20. #60
    Council Member zenpundit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    262

    Default Just finished

    Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds

    All of you military ppt commandos need this one - especially if you sometimes brief normal humans outside the world of DoD jargon. The book itself walks Reynold's talk. Four stars

    Globalization and it's Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz

    Heavy bias and polemical sleight of hand but valuable insights into international economic flows in the developing world by a Nobel prize winner

    Next up, I'm going with:

    The Second World by Parag Khanna

    A Savage War of Peace by Alistair Horne

Similar Threads

  1. Brave Rifles Reading List
    By DDilegge in forum Strategic Compression
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 11-18-2005, 04:59 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •