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Thread: What Are You Currently Reading? 2008

  1. #21
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODB View Post
    Just started reading "Marching Toward Hell America and Islam After Iraq", by Michael Scheuer. I would like to know others thoughts on this book if any have read it or why you would or would not read it. Thanks!
    I'd like to get to it at some time. I've appreciated Mike's past books. I'm chairing a panel he's on at the Army War College this summer and would like to read it before then. (The panel will also include John Robb and possibly John Nagl. That's more johns than the New York governor's office!)

  2. #22
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post
    Low Intensity Conflicts in India by LTCOL Vivek Chadha, Hew Strachan's biography of Clausewitz' On War and re-reading Beaufre's An Introduction to Strategy

    For fun (as opposed to work) I have some texts I picked up on leave in Jo'Burg. I am half way through 'Assignment Selous Scouts' by Jim Parker and have 'Executive Outcome's by Eeben Barlow in the queue.

    And the daily BUA..
    Hmmm... outstanding choices, with the exception of the EO book. Not sure I'd trust the source on that one. I suspect the real story is in what's not been put on the page!
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  3. #23
    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Hmmm... outstanding choices, with the exception of the EO book. Not sure I'd trust the source on that one. I suspect the real story is in what's not been put on the page!
    I definitely regard the EO book as 'pulp fiction' - but who doesn't like a 'ripping yarn' every now and then to distract from reality?

    Cheers

    Mark

  4. #24
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default Chesty Puller's aide-de-camp, Lt. Norton

    Quote Originally Posted by Rifleman View Post
    Currently:

    - Chesty: The Story of Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, USMC by LTC Jon T. Hoffman, USMCR
    - Police Sniper by Craig Roberts

    In the queue:

    - A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens by Lawrence E. Babits
    - Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crimes by Dr. Henry C. Lee
    I have two in person exposures to guys who worked for up close Chesty Puller.

    One was a Marine Corp. Lieut. Norton (cannot reliably recall Norton's first name) who was his aide-de-camp in Korea, after he, Lt. Norton was shot seven times and left for dead at the Yahlu Reservoir. A company of retreating Turks who had run out of ammo picked up still alive body of Lt. Norton and using bayonettes only fought their way through the Chinese surrounding them and saved Lt. Norton's life. Mr. Norton who then earned a law degree from Vanderbilt, was my Nashville, TN Woodmont Baptist Church Sunday School teacher when I was in about the 6th grade as best I can recall.

    The other Marine I knew well was retired USMC Major General Big Foot Brown (Wilbert S Brown) who was a legend in the Marine Corp. Dr. Brown (he earned his incomplete from Annapolis, where he was kicked out for blowing up the Admiral's commode) BA, then his MA and PhD, all in History, also my major, at the Univeristy of Alabama where he also taught me history.

    One story on General Brown (a USMC artillery school building at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma today is named after Brown). He commanded as a Brigadier General a Marine outfit sent to destroy a RR train full of US weapons and ammo abandoned by the Nationalist Chinese as Communist Chinese Army advanced along the coast of Mainland China. He was told under NO circumstances to engage the Communist Chinese Army.

    However...then B/Gen. Brown while blowing up the train full of US weapons saw the approaching Communist Army, turned his men around and chased the Communist troops for miles, killing many of them.

    Ordered by to the US to what he was a sure court martial, B/Gen. Brown was met at the DC area USAF base where he landed by his Uncle by Marriage, Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Commandant of the US Marine Corp, who promoted Big Foot Brown on the spot to Major General. Brown then retired from Pentagon duty a few years later.

    George Singleton
    BA in History and Political Science
    College of A&S, Univeristy of Alabama, 1962

    PS - Excuse spelling and grammar errors. George.

  5. #25
    Former Member George L. Singleton's Avatar
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    Default CORRECTION re M/Gen. Wilbert S. Brown, USMC, Ret. Dec.

    CORRECTION: Colonel (06) Wilbert S. [Big Foot] Brown, USMC, was spot promoted at the DC Air Base where he landed to 07, Brigadier, following the incident in China. He was tomb stoned as an 08, Major General, USMC. My memory error. Sorry. George.

  6. #26
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Canada in WW2

    Taken from another thread contributed by George S., regarding books by Canadians in WW2:

    The late Canadian Brigadier General Denis [Denny] Whitkaker [Toronto area] was my late first cousin, Jim Singleton's, father in law. Have you, Rex, read any or all of Denis Whitaker's six books on his experiences in WW II? As you know, Whitaker as a Captain, Canadian Army was involved in and managed to somehow escape from the fiasco at Dieppe on the French coast in 1942.

    Here are B/G Whitaker's six books in case any other SWJ followers may be unaware of or interested in reading all or some of them:

    - Normandy: The Real Story of How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler by Denis Whitaker, Shelagh Whitaker, and Terry Copp

    -Victory at Falaise: The Soldier's Story by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker with Terry Copp

    - Tug of War: The Allied Victory That Opened Antwerp by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker

    - Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker

    - Rhineland: The Battle to End the War by Denis Whitaker and Shelagh Whitaker

    - The Battle of the Scheldt by Denis Whitaker

  7. #27
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default I must take exception with SteveÖ

    First off we lean more towards dating sheep.

    Second, we can write poetry that has no reference to Nantucket in it. To whit:

    Steve Metz, an expert on insurgents

    His writing it borders on pure vents

    He penned quite a book

    Itís sure worth a look

    To see the extent of his dissents

    Anyways, to get back on thread

    Just finished:

    How Can Man Die Better: The Secrets of Isandlwana Revealed
    by Col Mike Snook

    Zulu Victory: The Epic of Isandlwana and the Cover-up by Ron Lock

    Working through:

    The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta, 1930-1975 by David Elliott

    The Battle of Ap Bac, Vietnam: They Did Everything but Learn from It by David Toczek

    Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965 by Mark Moyar
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  8. #28
    Council Member Spud's Avatar
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    Finally got round to starting Afghanistan & the Troubled Future of Unconventional Warfare. Nice to see a SOF guy focus on the meat and potatos stuff rather than the importance of DAs on HVTs.

    Recently finished The Looming Tower ... now that's a book that just makes you shake your head. Also knocked off Life in the Emerald City ... it predates my Green Zone tour by about a month but is a pretty good reflection of the frustatrions anyone in uniform had with the civvy side of things over there.

  9. #29
    Council Member Kreker's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone read....

    "Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam" by Mark Bowden, author of "Blackhawk Down." Am lokking for some feedback
    Best

  10. #30
    Council Member LawVol's Avatar
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    Default Chechen Jihad

    by Jossef Bodansky.

    I picked this book up because it sounded interesting and I wanted to get a non-Iraq/Afghanistan view of the terror movement. The author's creds looked good but in the first 100 pages or so he briefly mentions that Chechen terrorists help Al Qaeda acquire nuclear suitcase bombs in 1998. My thinking on this is that if AQ had those we'd all know because they would have used them by now. Now I'm thinking maybe the rest of the book is BS. Any thoughts?
    -john bellflower

    Rule of Law in Afghanistan

    "You must, therefore know that there are two means of fighting: one according to the laws, the other with force; the first way is proper to man, the second to beasts; but because the first, in many cases, is not sufficient, it becomes necessary to have recourse to the second." -- Niccolo Machiavelli (from The Prince)

  11. #31
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Kreker. Sorry, I missed this somehow when you posted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kreker View Post
    "Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam" by Mark Bowden, author of "Blackhawk Down." Am lokking for some feedback
    Best
    Read it and passed it to my son (or maybe he passed it to me -- we get confused sometimes). It's pretty good and I think fairly accurate. I was stationed in Tehran for a couple of years, still have some acquaintances from there I swap e-mails with and it seems to be pretty well on the mark. I'd recommend it.

  12. #32
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    Some readings from the Master's Program:

    Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East by Daniel Bates and Amal Rassam
    The Shi'is of Iraq by Yitzhak Nakash

    Also:

    Superclass by David Rothkopf - this is mandatory reading for anyone involved with strategic planning in my opinion. I'll let you read it and see for yourself
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

  13. #33
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LawVol View Post
    by Jossef Bodansky.

    I picked this book up because it sounded interesting and I wanted to get a non-Iraq/Afghanistan view of the terror movement. The author's creds looked good but in the first 100 pages or so he briefly mentions that Chechen terrorists help Al Qaeda acquire nuclear suitcase bombs in 1998. My thinking on this is that if AQ had those we'd all know because they would have used them by now. Now I'm thinking maybe the rest of the book is BS. Any thoughts?
    Bodansky does have a mixed reputation. That said, I've also bought that book (but not yet read it). I'm doing a paper on high value targeting in counterinsurgency for the RAND Insurgency Board, and Chechnya is one of the case studies I'm going to use.

  14. #34
    Council Member Sergeant T's Avatar
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    Default Finished Chechen Jihad a Few Weeks Ago

    That was an endurance trial. The suitcase nukes thing was the first flag. Later he briefly mentions a shoe bomber (a la Richard Reid) bringing down American Flight 587 in November of 2001. (NTSB disagrees with Bodansky.) He also glosses over the Nord Ost and Beslan hostage incidents. For a guy that makes a lot of claims about who said what and who's got nukes he doesn't cite too much in the way of sources. It wasn't quite a strategic overview, nor was it a quite a tactical outline. I kind of reminded me of reading the Old Testament: So and So begat So and So, then So and So begat So and So, repeat ad infinitum. I wanted a refund on my time when I finished. Terror at Beslan gave me a better understanding and overview of the Chechen conflict than Bodansky's 300+ page paperweight.

  15. #35
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    Finally getting to read Andrew Birtle's U.S. Army Counterinsurgency and Contingency Operations Doctrine, 1860-1941. I've used the parts of it for research on indigenous forces in the Philippine Insurrection, but I'm finally getting a chance to read it cover to cover. It presents a number of interesting cases on U.S. military small wars operations before any kind of formal doctrine was developed.

    Anyone's thoughts on it would be appreciated.

  16. #36
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    Default Robert Ludlum's Bourne Ultimatum

    Milton Friedman's Free to Choose is in the queue...
    I can't help myself... I still love the AMRAAM.

  17. #37
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    I'm just starting Dan Byman's The Five Front War: The Better Way to Fight Global Jihad. Most excellent; highly recommended.

  18. #38
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    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.

  19. #39
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Silent Accomplice

    The Untold Study of France's Role in the Rwandan Genocide by Andrew Wallis

    I started this one this weekend. So far it is a journalistic essay that borders on a rant. I was hoping that he might have some details beyond my own personal knowledge. So far that has not surfaced but I will see.

    Just ordered:

    "A Thousand Hills: Rwanda's Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It"
    Stephen Kinzer

    and

    "The Bishop of Rwanda" John Rucyahana

    I will do a consolidated review once I get done with all three

    Tom

  20. #40
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Erich von Manstein "Verlorene Siege"

    Needs to be read with some care and background knowledge to interpret, but it's so far the most interesting operational-level books that I've read.

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