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Thread: What Are You Currently Reading? 2014

  1. #61
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default going down into the garden of nuts

    The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

    Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz

    "I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world." Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

  2. #62
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    "Who will teach the wisdom" by Tim Bax. Outstanding... current COIN decision makers obviously have never read this book. They should have.

    (Added)http://www.amazon.com/Who-Will-Teach.../dp/0615842755
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-13-2014 at 06:02 PM.

  3. #63
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Un anno sull'altipiano ( A year on the high plateau) by Emilio Lussu. As a sardu he served in the Great War with the Sassari Brigade. If you know the area you can sometimes walk mentally along to the same slopes and ridges. Some scenes seem grotesque but the Italian officer corps and military leadership was perhaps the most arrogant and inept in Western Europe. In some instances you truly feel like laughing out and crying at the same time.

    Don't know how good the English translation is. His Italian is both a child of those era and is own, as descriptive as sarcastic. The title reveals how little that front is know in the English speaking world.

    *This 'High plateau' is of course the one fought over. Ironically it was for a long defended by it's German speaking population in alliance with Venice against the Holy Roman Empire, while in the book Italian speaking soldiers of the Empire hold a ridge against the attacking Sardinians.
    Last edited by Firn; 07-13-2014 at 06:37 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  4. #64
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default games without frontiers

    Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis by Eric Berne, M.D.

    Psychological Warfare by Paul M.A. Linebarger

    "And will you," asked Dr. Sen, quite unable to resist the opportunity, "get rid of your empire when the time arises?"
    "Without the slightest hesitation." replied the Inspector.
    Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End

  5. #65
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Darwin and International Relations: On the Evolutionary Origins of War and Ethnic Conflict

    Just started. I will let you know if it is worth the effort.
    "I can change almost anything ... but I can't change human nature."

    Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan
    ---

  6. #66
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default the ceremony of innocence

    A Dangerous Friend by Ward Just

    Without Honor: Defeat in Vietnam and Cambodia by Arnold R. Isaacs

    "In each dream the locality was totally new to me, and I had an entirely fresh detachment." E.D. Swinton, The Defence of Duffer's Drift

  7. #67
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Un anno sull'altipiano ( A year on the high plateau) by Emilio Lussu. As a sardu he served in the Great War with the Sassari Brigade. If you know the area you can sometimes walk mentally along to the same slopes and ridges. […]
    Do you know if there is a decent history of the Great War and the vie ferrate, Firn?
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  8. #68
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    Audiobooks while PCSing cross-country:

    - War, Junger: Pretty good, got something out of it on psychology and combat stress. I wish I'd had maps for a couple of the tactical vignettes, curious to check the hardback for them when I can dig it out of storage. Might be the rare case where seeing the movie first was better.

    - Quartered Safe Out Here, Fraser: Fantastic. Neck-in-neck with With the Old Breed for my favorite combat memoir. The audiobook is the way to go, because the actor who reads it does an excellent job with all the Cumbrian/Cockney/posh accents, and you quickly get a handle on Fraser's section mates. I've gotta find time for the last six Flashman books.

    - Blink, Gladwell. I'm a little skeptical of Gladwell because I think some of his stuff is facile, but this was solid. It's good sociology lite on decision-making and intuition. Especially liked the part on LtGen Van Riper in Vietnam.

  9. #69
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default British Muslims: who are they, what do they think?

    Innes Bowen after seven years research and writing has written a short, exceptional book 'Medina in Birmingham Najaf in Brent Inside British Islam':http://www.amazon.co.uk/Medina-Birmi...ds=innes+bowen

    Perhaps there is an American equivalent? Here is my review.

    This 230 page book is simply an exceptionally useful guide to who British Muslims are and what they think (about their religion). They are a minority, which is growing, spreading out of the inner cities, are increasingly found in the professions and can often have differences with the rest of us – they need to be understood better. So read this book!

    Loyalty to the nation, not a cricket team, regularly features in public discussions. In a 2011 survey by Demos they showed that Muslims were more patriotic than other Britons (83 per cent said they were proud to be British as opposed to 79 per cent of the general population).

    The vast majority of urban English British Muslims have been here for at least fifty years, traditionally supporting the Labour Party. Alongside smaller groups like the (now growing rapidly) Somali and Yemeni for far longer - often in port cities. Not all British Muslims have an overseas origin, there are growing numbers of converts, black youths in London and white English academics – all of them have a place in the book.

    Rightly the book concentrates on Muslims of South Asian origin (60% of all British Muslims). The book helps to explain that often their faith is expressed via mosques and community organisations that are sectarian, with strong South Asian / Saudi Arabian links. One consequence is that these groups produce very conservative clerics – not the externally desired British “moderate” ones.

    In the media British Muslims appear to come in from small vocal minorities. What better example than the columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown; she is an Ismaili, one of fifty thousand. Or the Muslim Brotherhood whose main influence is in London's Arab community and control just seven mosques out of over sixteen hundred. Then there are the angry, shouting “radicals”.

    One hopes that those in national and local government, the politicians and bureaucrats, read this book too. It should be on the desk of those responding to British Muslims as individuals and communities, such as community workers and the police.

    Contrary to Amazon.com the book has been published.
    davidbfpo

  10. #70
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default 'Uncle Bill' Slim: the authorised biography

    Now available in paperback I read the hardback edition of Russell Miller's 'Uncle Bill: The Authorised Biography of Field Marshal Viscount Slim', thankfully I'd not purchased the tome.

    It is a long time since I read another biography and his own book. Being 'The Authorised Biography' I hoped it would cast new light on Britain's best modern general.

    Sadly there is not a single campaign map, not even of the Burma-Indian front. Nor a table of organisation for the Fourteenth Army, I suppose the author and editor forgot.

    Yes the use of Bill Slim's letters to his children added value and the author has collected new material. Then one reads that the Japanese used Stuka divebombers! Some characters appear before their entry to the narrative, Wingate in particular, which would be confusing to a reader not aware of them.

    UK Link:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Uncle-Bill-A...+viscount+slim

    US link:http://www.amazon.com/Uncle-Bill-Aut...+viscount+slim
    davidbfpo

  11. #71
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    Do you know if there is a decent history of the Great War and the vie ferrate, Firn?
    Missed that post. Never read an English book about the Italian front and specificially the ferrate, so I can not recommend one. While I don't go mountaineering to explore military history you can easily combine it in some cases. Certain military roads and routes have become actually rather famous.

    I plan to get 'Storia della Grande Guerra sul fronte italiano', but only as a reference as I just don't have the time to read as much as I would like.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  12. #72
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post

    - Quartered Safe Out Here, Fraser: Fantastic. Neck-in-neck with With the Old Breed for my favorite combat memoir. The audiobook is the way to go, because the actor who reads it does an excellent job with all the Cumbrian/Cockney/posh accents, and you quickly get a handle on Fraser's section mates. I've gotta find time for the last six Flashman books.
    Read the McAuslan books and stories too. They are as good as Quartered Safe Out Here.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  13. #73
    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv View Post
    Do you know if there is a decent history of the Great War and the vie ferrate, Firn?
    I don't know if this counts but in Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War a lrge part of the story deals with Alpine fighting. And it was a superb book too.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  14. #74
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default a miracle of rare device

    The Travels by Marco Polo (Penguin Edition)

    English Lessons: The Pedagogy of Imperialism in Nineteenth Century China by James Hevia



    'No one knows who they were. Or...what they were doing. But their legacy remains..." Spinal Tap, Stonehenge

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    Friedrich Engels. Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State
    Haeresis est maxima opera maleficarum non credere.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror

    The Soviet Biological Weapons Program: A History

    Intelligence Elsewhere: Spies and Espionage Outside the Anglosphere
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
    Oh yes, the wonderful Yasmin Alibhai-"Brown" who once said there weren't enough "brown faces" (whatever that means) in her doctors surgery and was lauded by the liberal maggot heads as a luminary. If Nick Griffin (leader of the BNP) had said there weren't enough "white" faces he would have been called a racist. So much for Common sense.

  18. #78
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    Missed that post. Never read an English book about the Italian front and specificially the ferrate, so I can not recommend one. While I don't go mountaineering to explore military history you can easily combine it in some cases. Certain military roads and routes have become actually rather famous.

    I plan to get 'Storia della Grande Guerra sul fronte italiano', but only as a reference as I just don't have the time to read as much as I would like.
    Been meaning to get to this one, but haven't yet. The reviews look promising:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-White-War-.../dp/0465020372

  19. #79
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Been meaning to get to this one, but haven't yet. The reviews look promising:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-White-War-.../dp/0465020372
    Thanks, Tequila. Just checked that one out from the local library.
    If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. – Mark Twain (attributed)

  20. #80
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Been meaning to get to this one, but haven't yet. The reviews look promising:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-White-War-.../dp/0465020372
    There is actually very little in it about the 'White War' or the high-alpine front. For good reasons, one should add, as that area wasn't the Schwerpunkt of the war apart form the Austrian offensive also often called 'Strafexpedition' in Italian even if this wasn't the official Austrian name. Sounds suitably Germanic and can still be roughly correctly pronounced. I did download it for my tablet after the question and glanced over the book so far.

    One of the most impressive aspects of the Dolimite front was the military engineering, especially from the Italians. The Strada delle 52 gallerie is worth a (bike) trip. Perhaps not so much know is the clever use of the cooling water for the rock drills, which were so incredibly important to 'drill in', to provide in some locations the troops with warm water in the barracks right against (or in) the walls.



    Last edited by Firn; 08-10-2014 at 10:20 AM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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