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  #31  
Old 05-17-2009, 05:34 PM
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3 Para wasn't bad, but there is a similar one about the marines (can't remember the title off hand) which I thought was better.
Ooh! Royal Marines? You gotta tell me what it's called.

Also, a couple of Cornelius Ryan books have been mentioned, all of them great. My favorite, though, is A Bridge Too Far- an all-time classic of the genre.

I also like Max Hastings. Overlord, Armageddon, and Retribution (all WWII) are all great, as is The Falklands.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:20 AM
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Ooh! Royal Marines? You gotta tell me what it's called.

Also, a couple of Cornelius Ryan books have been mentioned, all of them great. My favorite, though, is A Bridge Too Far- an all-time classic of the genre.

I also like Max Hastings. Overlord, Armageddon, and Retribution (all WWII) are all great, as is The Falklands.
Could be 3 Commando Brigade by Ewen Southby Tailyour. I've come close to buying it a few times, but as I currently have a backlog of books to get through decided to wait until the paperback comes out. The author is a former Royal Marine officer who saw active service in the Falklands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ewen_Southby-Tailyour

Also, Patrick Bishop has just released a sequel to 3 Para entitled Ground Truth, which focuses on 3 Para's return to Afghanistan in 2008.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:20 AM
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Recommendations for Hornfischer, Max Hastings and Cornelius Ryan-- I concur with all of those.

Eisenhower's lieutenants / Russell Weigley- is a nifty look at the higher commanders in WW2.

Guadalcanal / Richard B. Frank- was awesome. His later one (forget the title-- Downfall?) on the projected landings in Japan, 1945-46 was scary. The Japanese had slipped one by Magic-- there were going to be a lot more on or near the beaches than we knew.

If ya can't guess, I'm mostly a wargamer at the "operational" level.

General Kenney reports / George Kenney- is very likely a biased book, but a fun read.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:52 AM
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@Rael - 3 Cdo is the one I was talking about. Good read. Anyone read Excursion to Hell by Vince Bramley? Another Falklands book, very very good.
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:27 PM
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I'll second anything by Beevor or Atkinson. Beevor's new one about D-Day is coming out soon. Woo-hoo!
Actually Beevor's D Day book is out now in the UK - I bought an airport edition at Luton's WH Smith on a 4 for 3 deal on Friday morning (unfortunately my friend who took great care of my wife and I over the weekend lusted after it so obviously that I weakened and gave it to him as a "thank you").

However I can now second An Ordinary Soldier, A Million Bullets and Phoenix Squadronas being jolly good (Phoenix Squadron finished and the other two half read - my wife packed the one I'd started in my case so I had no option.....)

I also thought of another two books Hitler's U-Boat War:The Hunters 1939 - 1942 and Hitler's U-Boat War:The Hunted 1942 - 1945 both by Clair Blair. These are pretty much the definitive story of the real Cruel Sea in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Highly detailed you can't come out of these without feeing a great deal of respect for the men on both sides.
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Old 05-28-2009, 11:02 AM
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I also thought of another two books Hitler's U-Boat War:The Hunters 1939 - 1942 and Hitler's U-Boat War:The Hunted 1942 - 1945 both by Clair Blair. These are pretty much the definitive story of the real Cruel Sea in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Highly detailed you can't come out of these without feeing a great deal of respect for the men on both sides.
That reminds me of his also excellent one-volume book on the Pacific sub campaign-- Silent victory, IIRC. And back on dry land, I really liked his Forgotten War. It covered the opening year of the Korean War, with special emphasis on US Army leadership, battalion-level on up, and on the integration of African-Americans.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:03 AM
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I'm currently reading House to House by David Bellavia and John Bruning which is about US Army Infantry Staff Sgt Bellavia's experiences during the Battle of Falluja in November 2004. I'm really enjoying this book, very gritty and conveys well the nastiness of close-in urban warfare. One aspect I particularly enjoy is that Bellavia is quite self-depricating, and he doesn't pull any punches.

Sorry if this book has previously been mentioned in this thread, I am at work and don't have time to go back through the posts to check.
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Old 07-06-2009, 07:35 AM
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(kato13 edit moved here since I felt the thread needed a bump and it fits better in this thread)

I just bought a copy of "Glen Beck's 'Common Sense'" tonight when i went to walmart to get my disability check cashed. I would recommend it to everyone to read. it is very good from what i have just gotten to read... it's not left, nor right... it's just plan common sense that people really should look at and... welll, when i get this finished, and anyone wants to borrow it, let me know and i will send it your way.

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  #39  
Old 07-24-2009, 09:44 PM
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I am currently reading "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why" by Amanda Ripley, published by Arrow Books. It is very interesting. The book's subject is pretty well explained by its title. The author has conducted hundreds of interviews with accident, combat and disaster survivors from all over the world and has also used dozens of academic papers in her research.

Reading this book has given me food for thought in a number of areas related to T2K but especially about Coolness Under Fire, Initiative, leadership and panic. In one chapter there is some very interesting information about how the structure of some peoples' brains make them more susceptible to suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It seems that people who have a larger than average hippocampus are much more resistant to PTSD. There is also some interesting stuff about the differences in brain chemistry between your average soldier and special forces-type personnel, and hundreds of examples of accidents, combats and disasters and how those interviewed dealt with them.

In keeping with the rating system introduced in the Fiction Books thread I rate this one 4.5 out of 5 mushroom clouds.
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Old 07-25-2009, 09:45 AM
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Band of Brothers - Stephen Ambrose

Citizen Soldiers - Stephen Ambrose

Both good books about soldiers in WWII
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  #41  
Old 12-16-2009, 05:57 AM
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Bumping this thread as Christmas is coing up and there's a few new books out there that might be of interest.

A couple I've read lately or am reading at the minute

1. Finest Years by Max Hastings. reading this at the moment - an account of the premiership of Sir Winston Churchill during the War Years. Up to Hastings' usual excellent standard. Highly recommended.

2. Danger Close by Colonel Stuart Tootal. Another of the Afghanistan books on the market in the UK, and about 3 Para in Helmand in 2006. Written by the Battalion's Commanding Officer at the time.

3. Attack State Red by Colonel Richard Kemp. Like Danger Close, written by a former Battalion Commander in Helmand, in this case the CO of the 1st Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment.

4. The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 by Christopher Andrew. A good read for anyone interested in how an Intelligence Service operates.

Cheers
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  #42  
Old 12-16-2009, 01:05 PM
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I'm interested in those Afghan books by battalion commanders. About a month ago, I read "Apache" by a British chopper pilot, after his 2nd tour there, supporting the Royal Marines. I liked it.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:39 PM
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I'm interested in those Afghan books by battalion commanders. About a month ago, I read "Apache" by a British chopper pilot, after his 2nd tour there, supporting the Royal Marines. I liked it.
Thats the one by Ed Macy, isn't it? He has a second book out this year called (I think) 'Hellfire'.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:34 AM
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Thats the one by Ed Macy, isn't it? He has a second book out this year called (I think) 'Hellfire'.
Yes, thank you-- I couldn't remember the author OTTOMH. Second one? Hmm, have to keep my eyes on it.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:19 AM
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How to Make War: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare in the Twenty-first Century 4th Ed. - good theoretical basis for warfare and the issues encountered by combatants in high intensity to low intensity conflict... has become my bible of sorts... have every edition released since the 1st...
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  #46  
Old 12-18-2009, 12:04 AM
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This one may be of most interest to our Australian posters but it was an excellent book: The Tiger Man of Vietnam. I was so impressed by the book I bought two extra copies, one for my dad and one for my future father in law. The following is lifted from the back cover:

"In 1963 Australian Army Captain Barry Petersen was sent to Vietnam. It was one of the most tightly held secrets of the Vietnam War: long before combat troops set foot there and under the command of the CIA, Petersen was ordered to train and lead guerilla squads of Montagnard tribesmen against the Viet Cong in the remote Central Highlands.

Petersen succesfully formed a fearsome militia, named "Tiger Men". A canny leader, he was courageous in battle and his bravery saw him awarded the coveted Military Cross and worshipped by the hill tribes.

But his success created enemies, not just within the Viet Cong. Like Marlon Brando's character in Apocalypse Now, some in the CIA saw Petersen as having gone native. His refusal, when asked, to turn his Tiger Men into assassins as part of the notorious CIA Phoenix Program only strengthened that belief. The CIA strongly resented anyone who stood in their way. Some in US intelligence were determined Petersen had to go. He was lucky to make it out of the mountains alive."


Petersen had previously fought in the Malaya Emergency with the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The Montagnard people he formed the Tiger Men with were the Rhade and they ended up declaring him to be the earthly embodiment of their war god. An excellent book.
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:14 AM
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Targ that story reminds me of others: Lawrence of Arabia and, later, Major-General Orde Charles Wingate.
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  #48  
Old 12-18-2009, 04:41 AM
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This one may be of most interest to our Australian posters but it was an excellent book: The Tiger Man of Vietnam. I was so impressed by the book I bought two extra copies, one for my dad and one for my future father in law. The following is lifted from the back cover:

"In 1963 Australian Army Captain Barry Petersen was sent to Vietnam. It was one of the most tightly held secrets of the Vietnam War: long before combat troops set foot there and under the command of the CIA, Petersen was ordered to train and lead guerilla squads of Montagnard tribesmen against the Viet Cong in the remote Central Highlands.

Petersen succesfully formed a fearsome militia, named "Tiger Men". A canny leader, he was courageous in battle and his bravery saw him awarded the coveted Military Cross and worshipped by the hill tribes.

But his success created enemies, not just within the Viet Cong. Like Marlon Brando's character in Apocalypse Now, some in the CIA saw Petersen as having gone native. His refusal, when asked, to turn his Tiger Men into assassins as part of the notorious CIA Phoenix Program only strengthened that belief. The CIA strongly resented anyone who stood in their way. Some in US intelligence were determined Petersen had to go. He was lucky to make it out of the mountains alive."


Petersen had previously fought in the Malaya Emergency with the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The Montagnard people he formed the Tiger Men with were the Rhade and they ended up declaring him to be the earthly embodiment of their war god. An excellent book.
Cracking read - my brother got me a copy for Christmas last year
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  #49  
Old 12-31-2009, 03:54 PM
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Just finishing Company Commander (Charles Macdonald) based on a rec here. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Pros:

It really helps someone who hasn't been in the service (i.e. me) understand how a rifle company works.

Gripping descriptions of combat.

Cons:

No maps. It's really easy to get confused when reading the author's description of firefights. Even scratch pencil maps would have helped a lot.

Macdonald makes some questionable judgement calls. He seems to have no problem with his men shooting prisoners, even slightly wounded ones. A couple of times, his men tell him that escorted prisoners didn't make it to the rear ("he tried to escape, you know...") and once, it appears that he did nothing to stop the rape of a German civilian girl ("the noise of a few men from the squad 'forcefully propositioning' a German girl") by some of his men. Those two instances really bothered me.
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:07 PM
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I haven't finished it yet but, based on what I've read so far, I'd like to recommend Victory Was Beyond Their Grasp by Douglas Nash. It's a profile/history of the 272nd Volksgrenadier Division, focusing on its assault company.

It's reinforcing my belief that the VGDs are a pretty good model of late Twilight War infantry divisions, in terms of their composition (lots of men culled from the crippled air force and navy, wounded soldiers rushed out of hospital, men at either end of the latest draft bracket, etc.), equipment (plenty of small arms but not always a lot of ammo, a handful of whatever AFV was available at inception, few, if any trucks), training (very brief, often rushed into the front line), and leadership (a cadre of experienced officers from shattered divisions; inexperienced NCOs due to attrition).

It's also raised some ideas that I hadn't thought of, like the use of "press gangs" (can't remember the term the Germans used for this) and reducing the time spent convalescing by wounded men to fill the ranks of combat units.

Anyway, so far, it's well written and very informative. I've also read Hell's Gate (by the same author) about the Cherkassy Pocket battle on the Ostfront and enjoyed it as well.
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  #51  
Old 01-01-2010, 08:06 AM
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Only marginally on topic but a jolly good read nevertheless is a book I just finished:

"Three Cups Of Tea" by Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin - 'Here we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything - even die' - Haji Ali, Korphe Village Chief, Karakoram mountains, Pakistan.

"In 1993, after a terrifying and disastrous attempt to climb K2, a mountaineer called Greg Mortenson drifted, cold and dehydrated, into an impoverished Pakistan village in the Karakoram Mountains. Moved by the inhabitants' kindness, he promised to return and build a school. "Three Cups of Tea" is the story of that promise and its extraordinary outcome. Over the next decade Mortenson built not just one but fifty-five schools - especially for girls - in remote villages across the forbidding and breathtaking landscape of Pakistan and Afghanistan, just as the Taliban rose to power. His story is at once a riveting adventure and a testament to the power of the humanitarian spirit."

Actually that info is pretty out of date - it's now 131 schools and rising. What is interesting is that Mortensen was in the right place at the right time - his schools have a standard secular Pakistani curriculum, they make an effort to involve the villagers who donate land and labour while Mortensen's charity donates materials and pays the teachers (the going rate - $2 or $3 a month). His schools are free for the children - which means they are the only alternative most of these kids have to an "education" in a Saudi funded wahhabi madrassa, many of which teach terrorism at the same time. Mortensen is fighting the battle for hearts and minds in the remotest areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan one kid at a time...

As you can tell, I've become something of a fanboy over the course of the past week:

https://www.ikat.org/

Happy New Year
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:35 AM
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Happy New Year folks.

In a lighter thinking on the lines of recovery, rather than from a war footing, I have several that are worth the read on how-to.

Carla Emery's Encyclopeida of Country Living

Any of the older books by John Seymour, which are unfortunately out of print, including these. The Forgotten Arts is especially interesting IMO.
Farming for Self-Sufficiency - Independence on a 5-Acre Farm (1973).
Self-Sufficiency (1970).
The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (1976).
The Self-Sufficient Gardener (1978).
The Forgotten Arts (1984).
The Forgotten Household Crafts (1987).


The Traditional Bowyer's Bible All four volumes. How to build bows, arrows, make arrowheads, string, etc etc and history of archery around the world. Very interesting, esp for someone interested in the subject.

Grae
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  #53  
Old 01-01-2010, 07:36 PM
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A friend gave me for Christmas a copy of Throwing Fire - Projectile Technology Through History by Alfred W Crosby. Just started reading it, very interesting. Footnoted all through, starts in pre-history with the physics of the thrown rock.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:28 PM
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Good- Baghdad at sunrise: a brigade commander's war in Iraq / Peter R. Mansoor. Col. Mansoor commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division from June 2003-July 2004 in Iraq. His brigade had some of western Baghdad, and succeeded in quieting its area, and then moved to the Karbala fight against Sadr on their way out in 2004. It's a good read, especially if you want to learn how to do counter-insurgency. He went on to be a staffer to Gen. Petraeus when he led MNF-Iraq, but has now retired to teach history at Ohio State.
I may have met him way back when-- he started his doctoral program at OSU when I was finishing my bachelor's in military history, and took a few grad-level courses (summer 1990). His thesis was published: The GI offensive in Europe : the triumph of American infantry divisions, 1941-1945, and that was a really good book, too. The US infantry usually gets a bad rap, but he brought out that they had their good qualities, and it was those that won the war in the ETO.

Bad- Wings of Gold: the US Navy's air offensive in the Pacific by Gerald Astor. I think the author did a cut & paste job with a bunch of oral histories, and slapped together the connecting text, which was full of technical errors. I admit to being unusual, but I was in grade school when I could tell the difference between SBD and SB2C dive-bombers, and I knew that the IJNS Yamato had 18.1" guns, not 17"! Especially disappointing, since his biography of "Terrible" Terry Allen was pretty good.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:14 PM
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I found this one at the library yesterday. It seems like a T2k-style thing to do:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...orth-dying-for
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:41 PM
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I found this one at the library yesterday. It seems like a T2k-style thing to do:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...orth-dying-for
Unfortunately, I'd have to sign up for Farcebook to read it; I'm not that trusting of Facebook.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:49 PM
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Unfortunately, I'd have to sign up for Farcebook to read it; I'm not that trusting of Facebook.
Why would you have to sign up to Facebook? I thought that link was to a review of the book at a non-Facebook site.

Anyhow, it looks like a good read. I'd like to get a copy. I'll have to look around the bookshops here in Australia and see if it is available.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:54 AM
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Unfortunately, I'd have to sign up for Farcebook to read it; I'm not that trusting of Facebook.
Try again, I edited it to go to Goodreads instead.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:03 PM
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Closing With The Enemy: How the GIs fought the War in Europe 1944-45: I've read and re-read that book about a dozen times. It also explodes the myth "The GIs stank as infantrymen." and it showed that when doctrine failed, the American GI was flexible enough to improvise solutions, and how the Army as a whole became a clearing house in dispensing the information on said solutions throughout the Army. It also demonstrates how the Army began to realize that it needed to teach junior officers some sense of self-preservation, as too many of them were exposing themselves needlessly...

http://www.michaeldoubler.com/Closing.htm
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:17 PM
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I just finished The Siege of Budapest by Hungarian historian Krisztian Ungvary. It was sad but pretty good. I think it would be helpful for a GM trying to recreate a city siege or describe its aftermath. I would have like more detailed info about the relief operations but overall it was a quick and worthwhile read.
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