Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 562024 times)

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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5115 on: July 05, 2020, 03:47:15 PM »
Got through Churchill's two chapters on the rise of Lenin and Bolshevism, in The Aftermath this weekend.

I had been a little puzzled why he hadn't said much about them yet, even in his extended commentary addendum on The Eastern Front volume; but I finally realized that Churchill had decided to focus on what happened with Russia during the War -- thus also explaining why his East Front volume just sharply stops upon the fall of the Czar.

The Aftermath really backfills some details for the final couple years of the war, including what was happening in Russia from March 1917 (when the revolutions started) onward.

Currently I'm on the chapter about Wilson and the Fourteen Points.
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Offline airboy

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5116 on: July 05, 2020, 06:31:09 PM »
Just started The Pope and Mussolini - The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe by David Kertzer.

Pius XI died before the start of WW2.  Pius XII was the wartime Pope.  His papers were scheduled to be unsealed in March, 2020 - but I don't know if the plague changed that timetable.

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5117 on: July 05, 2020, 06:38:02 PM »
Right, this is the story of the relationship between Pius XI and the rise of Mussolini's fascist Italy, from 1920 through the 1930s.
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Offline Toonces

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5118 on: July 06, 2020, 10:24:10 AM »
I really liked Dan Jones' Wars of the Roses.  I found it much easier to follow than Alison Weir's version.  I was bummed, though, that it ended with little baby Henry VIII...he's the best part!  Although, I get it, the wars were over at that point, but still.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5119 on: July 15, 2020, 02:33:51 PM »
The Pope and Mussolini was a fantastic book, highly recommended to any of you guys.

Now about to start Tower of Skulls - A History of the Asia-Pacific War July 1937 - May 1942 by Richard B. Frank. Been looking forward to this one.
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Offline airboy

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5120 on: July 15, 2020, 06:16:10 PM »
The Pope and Mussolini was a fantastic book, highly recommended to any of you guys.

Now about to start Tower of Skulls - A History of the Asia-Pacific War July 1937 - May 1942 by Richard B. Frank. Been looking forward to this one.

What was your take on the Pope & Mussolini?

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5121 on: July 15, 2020, 08:54:37 PM »
David Kertzer is a great writer. It is my understanding that most of his books before The Pope and Mussolini were strictly for academics and historical specialists. This book was obviously very niche but it read very smoothly and even had some funny moments in dealing with topics that are so heavy.

It really gave me an understanding of what the Church was going through in the 20s and 30s and gave some great insights on Mussolini, in addition to Hitler and Pius XI as well as his advisors. I had no info on these relationships and now have a greater understanding of these things as well as the Church's relationship with Jews in that era.

It was a real eye opener for me, especially as a Jew and as someone who tries to ignore this history most of the time because of the painful direct connection I have to it.
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Offline Destraex

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5122 on: July 16, 2020, 12:13:52 AM »
Men Women and War - Do women belong in the front line
Martin Van Creveld

Just finished it. Gives the history and myths of women at war. I just found it interesting given all the PC stuff that goes on these days. Lot's of good info on the proportions that served and why.
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Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5123 on: July 17, 2020, 08:19:48 AM »
Just finished Prit Buttar's The Splintered Empires: The Eastern Front 191721

https://www.amazon.com/Splintered-Empires-Eastern-Front-1917-21/dp/1472819853/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1594994560&sr=8-8

I enjoyed the book overall, and it filled in many gaps in my knowledge.

For example:
-The Czarist Russian Army still had some hitting power even into the Summer of 1917, and could make limited gains against the Austrians.
-The involvement of German "Freikorps" in keeping the Bolsheviks out of Latvia in 1919.
-The involvement of the British Navy in supporting Estonian independence in 1919. Including some running fights with Russian cruisers and destroyers.
-Possibly the last cavalry against cavalry charge (Polish Uhlans vs Bolshevik Cossacks) during the Russo-Polish War, 1920.

I don't know that I would recommend the book for everyone. It does drag a bit in parsing out the confusing political mess that was Russia during this period. But for anyone with an interest in the period and region, it is certainly a very good overview. 

 
« Last Edit: July 17, 2020, 10:50:41 AM by ArizonaTank »
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Offline WallysWorld

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5124 on: July 17, 2020, 08:40:53 AM »
I read Buttar's entire series on WW1's Eastern Front and enjoyed them very much. A few sections get bogged down in a lot of details, but overall I'm glad I read all.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5125 on: July 17, 2020, 08:41:49 AM »
^Sir Slash kindly sent me the first book in that series (Clash of Empires 1914) but I have not read it yet. Prit Buttar has a solid reputation and I have always been fascinated by WWI and the Eastern Front, so I want to eventually read all of his books. Even the WWII books.
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5126 on: July 17, 2020, 01:56:46 PM »
I've read them all and especially enjoyed the East Front WWI series. I also learned a lot by reading them, there's lots of newer info in them. I was especially impressed with Brusilov after reading about he pulled-off his successful offensive in 1917. Or was it 16? Can't recall, but it was quite impressive. And, Gus I still have the last 3 in the series if you're interested.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5127 on: July 19, 2020, 11:29:30 AM »
IIRC it was 1916. And I was wrong Slash you sent me Clash of Giants...WWII Eastern Front.

I bought Collision of Empires - 1914 on my own. Still need to read it.

Yes Slash are looking to sell the rest of your Buttar send me a pm and I will happily take them off your hands.
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Offline twitter3

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5128 on: July 30, 2020, 12:55:27 PM »
I just started this e-book on the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment (part of the 10th Mtn. Division). My Great Uncle was in company H throughout the Italy campaign.

http://deesdesktop.com/descendants/87th/

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5129 on: July 30, 2020, 06:22:17 PM »
Just finished Fire in the Lake by Frances Fitzgerald. This book is a socio-political overview of the war in South Vietnam in the mid-1950s through the 1960s. This was a Pulitzer Prize winning book back when it was written in the early 70s. The book almost exclusively covers the social and political aspects of the war, while military operations are barely mentioned. While the book certainly enlightened me in several areas, overall I would only give it a guarded recommendation.

On the positive side, it is probably the best book I have read about how the Vietcong established and maintained control of the country side. I really enjoyed that part of the book. The book has an almost grudging admiration for the Vietcong's approach. The book does call out the Vietcong for their brutal murder campaigns against government officials, and mass murders such as the killing of 3000 Catholics in Hue during the Tet Offensive. Still overall, the book makes the point that the Vietcong presented the farmers a much more stable, principled face than the South Vietnam government with its haughty, venal representatives. The book also made it seem that the US approach to solving the problem of Vietcong control was oblivious to the reality of the war...bulldoze the village and send the farmers to a refugee camp. The old, 'we had to destroy the village to save it.'

On the negative side, much of the book meandered from topic to topic and the timeline was sometimes hard to follow. Every once in a while, it would saunter back to a previous point and repeat the same information with different words. The book also often engaged in some socio-political navel gazing. Again, circling around the same points with different words. At one point the philosophical mish-mush almost had me putting the book down. 

Certainly the book has value for someone who is doing a period deep dive. Also, as I said, if you want to understand more about the nuts and bolts of the Vietcong's control of the country-side, I have read nothing better. But for those who just want a good overview of the war...I don't recommend Fire in the Lake as the book does not touch much on military operations.

https://www.amazon.com/Fire-Lake-Vietnamese-Americans-Vietnam/dp/0316159190/ref=sr_1_2?crid=17XIJOSDMVPIH&dchild=1&keywords=fire+in+the+lake+by+fitzgerald&qid=1596152551&sprefix=fire+in+the+lake%2Caps%2C207&sr=8-2 

   

 
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 11:01:56 AM by ArizonaTank »
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