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Thread: What Are You Currently Reading? 2009

  1. #241
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zack View Post
    Ayn is a bit of a crazy person, but can (sometimes) be fun to read nonetheless. The recent book of her Q&As was particularly interesting to me. You should check it out if you are interested in some of her philosophy.
    I haven't started atlas shrugged yet. I want to read it b/c it has profoundly impacted many of our current heads of business and politics. From a short biography that I read about her, she seems to write her philosophies to justify her own lifestyle- similar to Immanuel Kant. We'll see. The other two books are really good. Cox and Forshaw have written a prose book to explain modern physics to laymen like me .

  2. #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    I haven't started atlas shrugged yet. I want to read it b/c it has profoundly impacted many of our current heads of business and politics. From a short biography that I read about her, she seems to write her philosophies to justify her own lifestyle- similar to Immanuel Kant. We'll see. The other two books are really good. Cox and Forshaw have written a prose book to explain modern physics to laymen like me .
    I'm not really a huge fan of reading fiction for philosophy, as you often have to wade though a whole bunch of nonsense to elicit a view that in any case isn't explicitly spelled out. Her nonfiction philosophical works like Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, the Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism the Unknown Ideal (or for a good overview her "For the New Intellectual") provide a much denser explanation for her views, and allow you to avoid reading a dreadful behemoth like Atlas Shrugged (1200 pages of bliss it is not). But if you enjoy pain, then you may well love it

  3. #243
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    I haven't started atlas shrugged yet. I want to read it b/c it has profoundly impacted many of our current heads of business and politics. From a short biography that I read about her, she seems to write her philosophies to justify her own lifestyle- similar to Immanuel Kant. We'll see. The other two books are really good. Cox and Forshaw have written a prose book to explain modern physics to laymen like me .
    Mike a better Ayn Rand book for you and shorter is her collection of essays called Philosophy: Who Needs It? It starts with an address she gave to the cadets at West Point, which I posted on here a few years back.
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 11-02-2009 at 11:01 PM. Reason: Added link.

  4. #244
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zack View Post
    I'm not really a huge fan of reading fiction for philosophy, as you often have to wade though a whole bunch of nonsense to elicit a view that in any case isn't explicitly spelled out. Her nonfiction philosophical works like Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, the Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism the Unknown Ideal (or for a good overview her "For the New Intellectual") provide a much denser explanation for her views, and allow you to avoid reading a dreadful behemoth like Atlas Shrugged (1200 pages of bliss it is not). But if you enjoy pain, then you may well love it
    Note to self- consult the council prior to buying new books .

    Thanks for the advice Slap/Zack.

  5. #245
    Council Member Spud's Avatar
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    Just finished Dexter Filkin's The Forever War. Easily one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year. For a journo he does a bloody good job at describing the lunacy of half the things that happen.

  6. #246
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default An alternative view on AQ

    A review by an academic expert of a book The Third Alternative: Between Authoritarianism and Surrender (by an AQ author; NT Google):http://www.carnegieendowment.org/arb...&article=24121

    The book is the latest development in what can be called a second wave of modern Islamist de-radicalization.

    The new body of literature, which is composed of more than 30 books, mainly deconstructs the eight major arguments of jihadism: al-hakimmiyya (God’s exclusive right to legislate), al-riddah (apostasy, mainly of ruling regimes), al-jihad/qital (fighting) for the Islamic state, jihad al-daf‘ (defensive jihad), ahkam al-diyar (rules of conduct in the “abode of Islam” and the “abode of infidelity”), methods for sociopolitical change, the inevitability of confrontation, and the “neo-crusader” arguments.

    (Concludes}Most post-jihadist literature does not take a clear stance on democracy. But accepting the “other,” moderating rhetoric and behavior, and participating in electoral politics may be the only viable options for these groups if they want to remain politically significant. In other words, if jihadism heralded the inevitability of armed confrontation, post-jihadism might well entail the inevitable acceptance of democratization.
    The review author has written on Ending Jihadism: the transformation of Armed Islamist Groups:http://www.carnegieendowment.org/arb...&article=23805

    Will copy this to the 'What are you reading' thread.

    davidbfpo

  7. #247
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Worth reading

    Hat tip to Steve Coll, who has written a short commentary on new writing on the Taliban:http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...w-taliban.html I have picked one sentence:
    It is an outstanding and important collection—just the sort of locally specific, openly debatable, scholarly analysis about the diverse structures and leaders of the Taliban that will be required more and more if the international community is ever to understand the insurgents and divine how to prevent a second Taliban revolution.
    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...#ixzz0WgkGhQdS

    The book's website is:http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-2...he-new-taliban

    davidbfpo

    PS Copied to the 'What are you reading' thread.

  8. #248
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    I finally got around to reading the Small Wars Manual, USMC 1940 version. It is the remarkable work it was cracked up to be. I kept thinking to my self "Gee, we knew all this stuff in 1940." In parts of it, each sentence seemed to deserve an essay unto itself. The Strongest Tribe was like that too.

    Now I am interested in the various small wars that caused the Manual to be written. Does anyone have recommendations beyond the two listed in the SWJ reading list-Banana Wars and With the Old Corps in Nicaragua?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  9. #249
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    Carl,

    I would recommend Keith B. Bickel, Mars Learning: The Marine Corp’s Development of Small Wars Doctrine, 1915-1940 (2000) as possibly of interest to you. Focus's more on the institutional learning than on the 'small wars' themselves, and lessons derived from those wars, though.

    TT

  10. #250
    Council Member slapout9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I finally got around to reading the Small Wars Manual, USMC 1940 version. It is the remarkable work it was cracked up to be. I kept thinking to my self "Gee, we knew all this stuff in 1940." In parts of it, each sentence seemed to deserve an essay unto itself. The Strongest Tribe was like that too.

    Now I am interested in the various small wars that caused the Manual to be written. Does anyone have recommendations beyond the two listed in the SWJ reading list-Banana Wars and With the Old Corps in Nicaragua?
    carl, something I wanted to pursue but don't have the time to do was trying to find the operations log books that were kept per the recomendation in the Small Wars Manual. I believe these still exist because a while back I found a link at some Marine Corps history site that kept AAR's from past operations they went back a long time. Not all were online but many were. I don't have the link anymore but it had something to do with the Marine Corps Museum site as I remember.

  11. #251
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Carl, try these...

    The Marine Corps Search for a Mission, 1880-1898 by Jack Shulimson gives a good background to how the Marines reinvented themselves for the challenges of “colonial” warfare in the 20th Century.

    Marines in the Dominican Republic 1916-1924 by S. M. Fuller and Graham A. Cosmas

    The United States Marines in Nicaragua by Bernard C Nalty

    Garde d'Haiti, 1915-1934: Twenty years of organization and training by the United States Marine Corps by James H McCrocklin

    The United States Marines: A History by Edwin Howard Simmons

    Semper Fidelis: The History of the United States Marine Corps by Allan R. Millet

    Fix Bayonets! And Other Short Stories by John W. Thomason Jr. while technically “fiction” is more like an anthology of Thomason’s Marine Corps experiences. Several stories on Nicaragua and Haiti form the “And Other Short Stories” portion (the original Fix Bayonets! is WWI).

    If you can access the Marine Corps University Library at Quantico there are a couple of decent Marine Corps histories written before WWII that cover the Banana Wars to some extent.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  12. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by TT View Post
    Carl,

    I would recommend Keith B. Bickel, Mars Learning: The Marine Corp’s Development of Small Wars Doctrine, 1915-1940 (2000)
    2nd that recommendation.

    Also Jon Hoffman's bios of Chesty Puller and "Red Mike" Edson have excellent sections on USMC operations in Haiti and Nicaragua.
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

  13. #253
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    Default Counter-factual history

    Though not a fan of alternate/counter-factual histories in general I picked up P. G. Tsouras (Ed), Cold War Hot: Alternative Decisions of the Cold War Pub. 2003and to my surprise actually found it quite interesting. There are excellent short articles on the invasion of North Vietnam by US forces; the destruction of the Red Army in Operation Red Lightning (an ingenious plan to drop sub-munitions containing alcohol from rockets fired by MLRS launchers) which renders the Krasnaya Armee completely immobile/legless (literally); also chapters on the Sino-Soviet nuclear exchange of the 60s; and the Soviet DPRK victory in the Korean Conflict. Of particular interest to SWC readers wll be the article on Soviet Victory in Afghanistan which leads to an Indo-Pakistan war and an article on how the US could have won Vietnam. Fascinating if only to remind us of what B. H. Liddel-Hart called 'the personal factor in war'. (Also, there's a rather witty footnote regarding powerpoint...'How did Patton manage Cobra without it?")

    Links added:http://www.amazon.com/Cold-War-Hot-A.../dp/185367530X or http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cold-War-Hot...8235872&sr=8-1
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-14-2009 at 10:00 PM. Reason: Moderator added pub. date and links

  14. #254
    Council Member Umar Al-Mokhtār's Avatar
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    Default Carl, another book is...

    U.S. Marines and Irregular Warfare, 1898-2007 (Anthology and Selected Bibliography) by Stephen S. Evans.
    "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women."

  15. #255
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Gentlemen:

    thank you for the recommendations. and thanks in advance if there are more.
    now i must get busy and send money to amazon.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  16. #256
    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    Default even more Carl

    When you're middle-aged with four kids, Saturday nights are kinda slow, so thanks for the research project Carl.

    Check out this website: sandinorebellion.com

    As well as this 1967 American Heritage article

    and lastly, you can search the USMC Gazette archives for a variety of small wars articles, to include a 1928 contribution written by then CAPT Mike Edson on his conduct of the Coco River patrol. Articles are $4.00 a pop; however you choose from a variety of levels of access which allow you to pay less per article.

    Also, George Clark's With the Old Corps in Nicaragua.
    Last edited by CR6; 11-15-2009 at 03:26 AM. Reason: more info
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

  17. #257
    Council Member Van's Avatar
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    Al-Qa'ida's Doctrine for Insurgency: Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin's "A Practical Course for Guerrilla War" by Norman Cigar.

    Interesting stuff. Norman Cigar's analysis of the document, the contextual elements of the document, and discussion of the implications of on-line insurgency doctrine is thought provoking. Al Muqrin's taxinomy of wars is intriguing (Conventional, Total, Cold, and Unconventional), and merits further consideration also.

    Al addresses war from strategic to tactical levels, and provides a look at the opposition's perceptions of conflict.

    Also reading Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series.

  18. #258
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    A productive week as far as reading goes...

    S. C. Tucker, Vietnam. An excellent and succint analysis of Vietnam's wars from anciet times to the conflict with the South and US to the occupation of Cambodia.

    S.C . Tucker, The Great War, 1914-18. Again, a succint military history with a useful bibliography.

    R. C. Hall, The Balkan Wars, 1912-13. A good short historial and military analysis marred by the author's anti-Serb inclinations (book was published in 2000).

    A. C. Cook, Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sidney Reilly.

    And last but not least M. R. Izady, The Kurds: A Consise Handbook (1992). It contains valuable information from a variety of sources and methodological apporaches. Unfortunately it was written in 1992 and I have failed to find an updated edition. Noetheless the book has chapters on the following subjects, many of which are still highly relevant in comprehending the Kurds;
    Chapter 1. Geography (inc. distribution of Kurds by state)
    Chapter 2. Land and Environment (Terrian, Geology, Climate, Ecology, etc)
    Chapter 3. History (from 3000BC to 1992AD)
    Chapter 4. Human Geography (Tribes, Demography, Diasporas, etc.)
    Chapter 5. Religion (Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Cult of Angels/Yezidism, Paganism, etc.)
    Chapter 6. Language, Culture and Literature (Karmanji, Pahlawani, Laki)
    Chapter 7. Society (Identity, Mountain vs. Low lands, women)
    Chapter 8. Cont. Political. Issues (states, regionalism, parties, tribe-leaders)
    Chapter 9. Economy (oil, textiles, agriculutre by location, etc.)
    Chapter 10. Culture (Folk, Popular, Costumes, Styles of Dress, Fabrics).

    Chapter 4 is especially valuable for those interested in tirbal dynamics as it contains a detailed list and pictorial depicition of Kurdish tribes and their geographicl districubtion (correct as of 1992).
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 12-03-2009 at 10:37 AM.

  19. #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tukhachevskii
    ....And last but not least M. R. Izady, The Kurds: A Consise Handbook (1992)....
    Izady's book is significantly flawed. Not to say that there isn't some content of value in there, but the author's substantive bias coupled with his ambitious scope resulted in a book that isn't exactly the most accurate reference piece on the Kurds. Much like how those Complete Idiot's Guide to....books tend to be exactly that.

    If you wish to learn about the Kurds, a much better broad overview is David McDowell's A Modern History of the Kurds. With regard to socio-cultural dynamics, Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan by Martin van Bruinessen is very highly recommended.

  20. #260
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post

    If you wish to learn about the Kurds, a much better broad overview is David McDowell's A Modern History of the Kurds. With regard to socio-cultural dynamics, Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan by Martin van Bruinessen is very highly recommended.
    Thanks for the heads up! I actually found much of what you said to be quite true having read through some of the chapters that interested me which contradicted much of what I had learnt at Uni. However, some of the maps, lists and bibliography are quite good. Nonetheless, I luckily didn't buy it. Thanks for the tip.

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