Author Topic: What are we reading?  (Read 713979 times)

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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5535 on: September 19, 2021, 07:43:14 AM »
I never got the whole bathroom reading thing. The toilet isn't a comfortable chair. My mission is to get in and get out. Hanging out doesn't make sense to me. I'm 53 so I don't think it's just a matter of understanding when I'm older.

You must not have small children in the house. It’s the only quiet time I get to myself.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5536 on: September 19, 2021, 09:17:40 AM »
^That. And sometimes you just have to be...patient...until things, er - come out as planned.
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5537 on: September 19, 2021, 01:18:18 PM »
Now reading The Invited by Jennifer McMahon.
"I'm not even dead and I'm rolling over in my grave."

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Offline Toonces

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5538 on: September 19, 2021, 06:57:46 PM »
I've read Storm over Iraq.  Agreed, it is quite good.  I gave my copy to Mirth a few years ago.
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Offline fran

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5539 on: September 25, 2021, 10:06:50 AM »
Rorke's Drift and Isandlwana: Minute by Minute
Chris Peers

Offline Uberhaus

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5540 on: September 25, 2021, 01:49:19 PM »
Mine would laugh at me for saying, "Mess-er Shits". Then tell Grandma I said a bad word. That's why I keep a secret stash of Snickers for bribery purposes.  ^-^

Old skit about foreign pilots in the Battle of Britain:

BBC announcer,  "we will remind our audience that Focke, of course refers to the Focke Wulf 190."

Polish pilot, "Dem Fockes were Messerschmidts!"

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5541 on: September 25, 2021, 08:36:52 PM »
 :2funny:
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Pete Dero

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5542 on: September 26, 2021, 03:03:38 AM »
Mine would laugh at me for saying, "Mess-er Shits". Then tell Grandma I said a bad word. That's why I keep a secret stash of Snickers for bribery purposes.  ^-^

Old skit about foreign pilots in the Battle of Britain:

BBC announcer,  "we will remind our audience that Focke, of course refers to the Focke Wulf 190."

Polish pilot, "Dem Fockes were Messerschmidts!"

Posted this before but it stays funny !


Offline W8taminute

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5543 on: September 27, 2021, 04:39:36 PM »
^Too funny!
We battle not against flesh and blood...

Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5544 on: September 29, 2021, 09:45:57 AM »
Just finishing "Sea of Thunder" by Evan Thomas

https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Thunder-Commanders-Campaign-1941-1945/dp/0743252217/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1632925143&sr=8-1

The book takes a first hand view of the battle of Leyte from the perspectives four commanders, two Japanese and two American (Japanese admirals Kurita who commanded the Japanese strike force and Ugaki who led the battleships, Admiral Halsey and Commander Ernest Evans of the destroyer USS Johnston).

The book is an exciting telling of the battle that at times feels more like a novel than a history book (I mean this in the best possible way; the book is very entertaining). 

The book explains how botched communications and a bit of a personality cult around Halsey combined to have him leave the back door open for a Japanese attack on light naval forces supporting the Leyte landings. The book has a great 'you are there' feel when it describes the Japanese battle line descending on the surprised group of US destroyers and "Jeep" carriers (CVEs).

One of the commanders covered, Commander Ernest Evans, reacted immediately to the surprise attack and took his destroyer and charged the Japanese battle line. He fired all of his torpedoes, hit a cruiser, and then came back to attack again with his pop guns. The USS Johnston was sunk after three hours of fighting. Evans went down with the ship and the survivors would float in shark infested waters for three days. Evans, a Cherokee from Oklahoma and Annapolis graduate, was given a posthumous Medal of Honor.   

The battle was the only time that the Japanese super battleship Yamato fired its guns at American ships.

Halsey blundered terribly at Leyte, and combined with his botched seamanship during two later hurricanes, he was nearly sacked. It was only the bravery and fighting spirit of individual American battlegroups, and a generous helping of overwhelming American firepower that won the day.

The choice of Japanese commanders covered by the book is interesting. Ugaki, was a die-hard bitter-ender, who would lead and die in the last kamikaze mission. This flight of 20 or so kamikaze aircraft, flew off after the Emperor had already declared surrender; they disappeared and their fate is uncertain. Kurita, on the other hand was a sailor's admiral, and a humanist. For example, he refused to let his men kill American seamen in the water. After Leyte, he was put in charge of the Japanese naval academy. There he encouraged his cadets to learn English and withheld them from combat ship duty so that they would be able to help the Japanese nation in what he knew would be a hard post-war existence.

During the battle, Kurita 'pulled his punch' at Leyte and retreated before doing much damage to the surprised Americans. For this retreat, Kurita has often been criticized. While the reason for the retreat has never been fully understood, according the the book, at the end his life Kurita admitted that he just did not want to waste the lives of the sailors under him. 

Despite the surprise, the battle of Leyte was a tremendous loss for the Japanese. The cream of the Imperial Navy was nearly wiped away, and the brief success of the Japanese battle line, did not counter the tremendous losses the Japanese took overall.

If the book has any faults, it does start a little a slow, and some of the background discussion it has is a little uninspired.   

Still, if you want a good first person views of the War in the Pacific, I recommend the book.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2021, 10:52:34 AM by ArizonaTank »
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Offline Tripoli

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5545 on: September 29, 2021, 02:44:34 PM »
Just finishing "Sea of Thunder" by Evan Thomas

https://www.amazon.com/Sea-Thunder-Commanders-Campaign-1941-1945/dp/0743252217/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1632925143&sr=8-1

...
During the battle, Kurita 'pulled his punch' at Leyte and retreated before doing much damage to the surprised Americans. For this retreat, Kurita has often been criticized. While the reason for the retreat has never been fully understood, according the the book, at the end his life Kurita admitted that he just did not want to waste the lives of the sailors under him. 
...

Kurita's actions at Leyte are a fascinating study (Halsey?  Notsomuch.  He screwed up.  FWIW, Halsey's poor performance at Leyte is studied at the Naval War College, so at least the USN tries to learn from its mistakes.... >:D)  A good article on Kurita was written by Evan Thomas in Naval History in 2004.  Thomas begins by quoting   Winston Churchill, who writing of Kurita, said “It may well be that [his] mind had become confused by the pressure of events. . . . Those who have endured a similar ordeal may judge him.”   I think those are an appropriate warning when discussing Kurita.  When the Central Force sighted TAFFEY 3, it had been under almost constant attack for over 24 hours.  First, Kurita was suffering from  a persistent case of dengue fever.  Second, on 23 October Kurita’s flagship, the Atago took four torpedoes from USS Darter (SS-227), and sank in 18 minutes, forcing Kurita to  literally swim for his life.  Also lost in the same attack were heavy cruisers Maya (sunk) and Takao (crippled). 

The next day, his force was hammered in San Bernardino Strait by Halsey's aircraft, which sunk the "unsinkable" battleship  Musashi, achieving 17 bomb and 19 torpedo hits.  CA Myōkō was also crippled.

Within hours of engaging TAFFEY 1, 2, and 3, the fierce resistance of the USN aircraft and vessels had  moderately damaged Nagato and Kongō.  Heavy cruisers  Chōkai, Chikuma and Suzuya were sunk and  Kumano had her bow blown off by a torpedo.  So by the time Kurita ordered the Center Force to withdraw, he was sick, tired, and likely highly stressed from 48 hours of combat, the previous 20 hours which had be particularly intense. 

I personally think that this is a case study in battlefield psychology, and also an argument for the importance of unrelenting resistance, even in the face of overwhelming odds (assuming the strategic situation justifies such resistance).
« Last Edit: September 30, 2021, 04:51:56 AM by Tripoli »
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5546 on: September 29, 2021, 08:56:36 PM »
I've always believed that Japanese admirals viewed the fleet as such a national asset that none of them wanted to be the one responsible for loosing it. That would explain Kurita's decision to turn for home rather than continue into Leyte Gulf and go after the Invasion Force there. It might have wrecked the invasion but would have meant the end of the most precious fleet.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5547 on: October 05, 2021, 07:40:37 AM »
Now reading Death on the Devil's Teeth: The Strange Murder That Shocked Suburban New Jersey by Jesse Pollack and Mark Moran.
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Offline ArizonaTank

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5548 on: October 05, 2021, 09:24:43 AM »
Half way through "Burton" by Byron Farwell

This is a biography of Richard Burton, the Victorian explorer (not the 20th century actor).

I am enjoying the book more than I thought I would. Burton was an archetype of the Victorian adventurer, but at the same time an iconoclast. Some of his exploits sound like one of Kipling's barrack ballads.

For example, Burton sometimes managed to get himself in trouble over women. Either pursuing the daughter of a high official, or in one case trying to run-off with a willing Catholic nun from a Goa convent. He broke into the convent in the middle of night to help the nun escape. In the darkened halls of the convent, he entered the wrong room and accidently grabbed the wrong nun. Burton's plans were dashed when the nun he grabbed started screaming. After that, the local Portuguese garrison put the convent on lockdown and Burton never saw the nun who was the target of his affections again. 

At the same time, Burton had a scholarly serious side.

Along with John Speke, he discovered the lakes Tanganyika and Victoria, the source of the Nile.

His ability to learn languages and study customs was prodigious. This ability came in handy when he famously went on the pilgrimage to Mecca, disguised as an Afghani doctor, at a time when being caught as an English "Nazarian" would have meant death.

He was a master swordsman, a poet, a translator (he translated the Arabian Nights and the Karma Sutra), a soldier, a keen student of religion (but was an atheist himself), and an adventurer.

But Burton was probably too curious for Victorian sensibilities. His open discussion of sexuality among the cultures he studied put him on the fringe of polite society (some aspects of his studies are still cringe-worthy today). Also, he seemed to have trouble with authority. As a subaltern in the East India Company he sometimes clashed with his superiors. Later in life, as the British Consulate General in Damascus, he spent most of his time in the desert, exploring, and meeting with tribesmen. This made his superiors uncomfortable, and he was recalled. 

Burton also had some very dark aspects to his character. For example, he said he was anti-slavery, but he still allowed members of his expeditions in Africa to buy and sell slaves. Burton befriended Arab slavers. Also while he seemed to admire many aspects of the cultures and people he came into contact with, he still exhibited the patronizing racism seen in many British Victorians.

Anyway, I am still reading. But I can say that if Victorian adventurers are of interest, this is a very good book. It is particularly good because the book does not engage in hero worship, but talks about the good and bad.

https://www.amazon.com/Burton-Biography-Sir-Richard-Francis/dp/0670813338/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1633445144&sr=8-4
« Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 08:22:45 AM by ArizonaTank »
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Offline Gusington

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Re: What are we reading?
« Reply #5549 on: October 05, 2021, 10:54:56 AM »
I personally always enjoy reading about Victorian explorers/adventurers...even the saucy parts in the convents.
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