Jump to content
tanknet.org

The Book Topic


Guest Hans Engström

Recommended Posts

Right now I am jumping back and forth between The Lessons of Terror by Caleb Carr and Thunder Run by David Zucchino. So far, so good but I just started them.

136529[/snapback]

 

Thunder Run is amazing. Even more amazing is how little has really come about about that battle- som eheroic, desperate stuff.

 

Just got His Excellency , about George Washington, by Jospeh P. Ellis. Also got The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. Picked up Theodroe Rex, but read that after the first book.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 210
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Another excellent book on GW is Washington: the Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner

136775[/snapback]

 

Yup, true. I read that a while back. Kind of on a presidential kick the past few months I guess

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thunder Run is amazing. Even more amazing is how little has really come about about that battle- som eheroic, desperate stuff.

 

Just got His Excellency , about George Washington, by Jospeh P. Ellis.  Also got The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. Picked up Theodroe Rex, but read that after the first book.

136766[/snapback]

 

Slightly over 24 hours after I bought Thunder Run I finished it on the plane tonight. It was really amazing, highly recommend it to everyone. Riveting. You're right, so little has been publically discussed about the battle, given what really happened there I find it surprising. Maybe because it reflects well on American troops... in any case, I remember the run on the news and the reports of the frenzied battles along Highway 8 but nothing did justice what really happened. It was really desparate and there were many heroes during that battle.

 

A sort of side issue from the book, the troops were all suspicious of drug use by the Iraqis, nothing else seemed to explain the insane willingness to die combined with the utter stupidity of the way they fought. I wonder just how widespread this practice has become amongst the jihadis? Hashisheen all over again, it seems.

 

Now it's on to The Lessons of Terror.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thunder Run is excellent. The author does a great job covering the many aspects of the Brigade fight.

 

Right now reading a rather splendid little book by Kein Dockery, Weapons of SEALS. From their knives to their explosives. Really very interesting.

 

I'm thinking a swimming pool and M3A2 'offensive' grenades to loosen tongues.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Masters of Chaos, Linda Robinson, The Secert History of the Special Forces".

I've read through Desert Storm. Interesting look behind the scenes and their training / missions. So far it's holding my interest. Only have time for a chapter a night.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree Thunder Run was amazing I couldn't put it down. I also had a rather jarring moment when I came across the name of guy I knew back when he first came into the Army. It was strange to read about a guy I remembered as a geeky annoying private leading a platoon in combat as a platoon sgt.

 

I'm just starting to read I Will Bear Witness by Victor Klemperer. It's a translation of the journals of a German Jew who thanks to his non-Jewish wife and service in the first world war managed to avoid being sent to the camps and was able to keep a journal through the whole third reich period. The first volume starts in 1933 and concludes in 1941. So far it is quite interesting, and yes he is related to the guy who played Col. Klink in Hogan's Heros.

 

Finally I recently finished Brothers in Arms by Kareem Abdul Jabar, it's about an all black independent tank battalion that was part of the 3rd army. It is quite good, although it is a bit Belton Cooperish in places. I'd recommend checking it out from the library as opposed to buying it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Icewine" by John Schriener - a book about what the Germans call eiswein, and what the English speaking world calls Icewine. A rare wine in the best of cases, icewine is formed by letting grapes stay on the vine until the temperature hits -7 Celsius. The grapes are then picked and squeezed while still frozen. The grapes are often as hard as marbles. I've had eiswein a few times, and it is truly one of the most unique and delicious drinks in the world. It is served cold, which only enhances the natural viscosity of the wine, and is usually served alone, or with a dessert that is less sweet than the wine itself (an apple tart is usually a magnificent accoutrement). Although reisling is the main grape used for eiswein, any grape can be used for the wine. The book gets into great detail about the discovery of eiswein and how it has become a much desired wine, as well as the numerous winemakers throughout the world who try and make the drink.

 

"An Encyclopedia of The Wines and Domaines of France" by Clive Coates - a massive tome that describes every appelation and growing district of France in detail. I mainly bought this book to figure out how and where wines are produced in Burgundy. Burgundy has literally hundreds of seperate appelations (appelations are the actual vineyard designations - in the US, there may be a wine from Napa, which is the district, but the appelation is Stags Leap, or Howell Mountain. In Burgundy, you may have a wine from the Village of Vosnee-Romanee, but the wine is from Richebourg, or Eschezaux, or Grands Escheaux, or Cloe du Vougout, etc...) Good overview of all French wine regions, with recommended producers of the specific winemakers in the specific districts.

Link to post
Share on other sites
"Icewine" by John Schriener - a book about what the Germans call eiswein, and what the English speaking world calls Icewine.  A rare wine in the best of cases, icewine is formed by letting grapes stay on the vine until the temperature hits -7 Celsius.  The grapes are then picked and squeezed while still frozen.  The grapes are often as hard as marbles.  I've had eiswein a few times, and it is truly one of the most unique and delicious drinks in the world.  It is served cold, which only enhances the natural viscosity of the wine, and is usually served alone, or with a dessert that is less sweet than the wine itself (an apple tart is usually a magnificent accoutrement).  Although reisling is the main grape used for eiswein, any grape can be used for the wine. The book gets into great detail about the discovery of eiswein and how it has become a much desired wine, as well as the numerous winemakers throughout the world who try and make the drink.

 

"An Encyclopedia of The Wines and Domaines of France" by Clive Coates - a massive tome that describes every appelation and growing district of France in detail.  I mainly bought this book to figure out how and where wines are produced in Burgundy.  Burgundy has literally hundreds of seperate appelations (appelations are the actual vineyard designations - in the US, there may be a wine from Napa, which is the district, but the appelation is Stags Leap, or Howell Mountain. In Burgundy, you may have a wine from the Village of Vosnee-Romanee, but the wine is from Richebourg, or Eschezaux, or Grands Escheaux, or Cloe du Vougout, etc...)  Good overview of all French wine regions, with recommended producers of the specific winemakers in the specific districts.

139521[/snapback]

Rubberneck,

I first read about icewine a short time ago and would like to give it a try. My only concern is that I am not a fan of "overly sweet" wines such as mead. My favorite white wine is Reisling and I was wondering what vineyard, name you would

recommend. Thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rick,

 

Icewine is sweet, so I don't know what that would do for you. And it's really, really expensive.

 

Donnhoff, JJ Christoffel, Emrich-Schoenleber, Gunderloch, Robert Weil, Egon Muller, Willi Schaefer and JJ Prum are the best producers of German Reisling IMO, so I would look for something from any of them.

 

Your wallet will be much lighter, I assure you.

 

If you are in the US, Dee Vine wines in San Fransisco has the best selection of German wines in the country. They have a website that you can order of off as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've bought quite a few bottles of 2001 Sauternes, Jeff. It's an excellent vintage.

 

I have bottles from Rieussec, Chateau Climens, Chateau Suidaurut, Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, La Tour Blanche, and a few others. Chateau D'Yquem 2001 will not be released until later this year or early next year. They are the last house to put their wines on the market.

 

D'Yquem is so bloody expensive, I bought a 750 of the 1999 vintage which is considered average. Even with a mediocre vintage, on sale, the bottle cost me $125.

 

I also love German beerenauslese, but the trockenbeerenauslese are often too sweet for my palate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to books -- imagine that...Tony actually being the one to bring a thread back on track; let me take a deep breath here -- The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors (Hornfischer, J. D.). This book covers the Battle Off Samar, 25 October 1944. Like all popularizations, there are some obvious errors, but not too many. A pretty good look into the event. Think of it as The Men of the Gambier Bay from the destroyermen's point of view, written in the style of Thunder Run.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chat. Rieussec is an excellent cheaper alternative to Yquem. My 1990 375ml bottle of Yquem was $125 at wholesale price (was one of the great advantages to owning an establishment with a liquor license). We had Rieussec on the by-the-glass menu. Not many places do that but we enjoyed sauternes personally and it's so seldom that enough people want it at a table to make even a half-bottle worth it. Plus then I was able to snitch some from time to time! I'd kill for a good vintage port as well. I have a decent Fonseca and a Warre's buried in the basement as well. Along with 5 bottles of '88 Mouton. They're the last of my collection from the innkeeping days. Those were the days when the family would do a verticle tasting of Latour, '55, '66 and '85. Amazing to see the progression of the wine over time.

 

[i now return you to the regularly scheduled book discussion]

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've bought quite a few bottles of 2001 Sauternes, Jeff.  It's an excellent vintage.

 

I have bottles from Rieussec, Chateau Climens, Chateau Suidaurut, Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, La Tour Blanche, and a few others.  Chateau D'Yquem 2001 will not be released until later this year or early next year.  They are the last house to put their wines on the market. 

 

D'Yquem is so bloody expensive, I bought a 750 of the 1999 vintage which is considered average. Even with a mediocre vintage, on sale, the bottle cost me $125.

 

I also love German beerenauslese, but the trockenbeerenauslese are often too sweet for my palate.

142453[/snapback]

 

My mother's neighbour has a bottle of 1930s Chateau d'Yquem. It's supposed to be worth more than £3000, but would you drink or sell it?

 

Personally, I confess to making do with a Monbazillac - I'm a pauper. :lol:

 

David

Link to post
Share on other sites
My mother's neighbour has a bottle of 1930s Chateau d'Yquem. It's supposed to be worth more than £3000, but would you drink or sell it?

142993[/snapback]

 

Depends on your preference. Sauternes has a pretty long life and might be just fine though the risk gets bigger and bigger as time goes by. You might get to taste a very old and interesting wine or you might have crap. At that age for my situation, I might sell it. If I was rich with an extensive cellar, I'd give it a drink if the occasion was right. A question on the selling side is can they confirm it was stored properly for the whole time. If they can't then that might cut the price. A 1930's sauternes stored in a cellar will have a much better chance of surviving than one stored in the attic.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished The Regulars : The American Army, 1898-1941 by Edward M. Coffman. It is a social history of the Regular Army, starting in 1898 when it was a tiny frontier constabulatory about to take on an imperial role with the Spanish-American War and subsequent occupations, and ending with the massive mobilization immediately prior to WWII. It describes a military that would be barely recognizable to anybody who has served in the American military in the modern era, along many dimensions (in war and peace, in CONUS and overseas, officer and enlisted, servicemen and families, different branches, traditional technologies such as horses vs. the emerging technologies of tanks and airplanes, blacks and whites, etc.).

 

One thing that was striking to me was the many similarities between the campaign against Filipino insurgents at the turn of the century and the campaign against Iraqi insurgents almost exactly a century later.

 

The author believes that the seeds of the victory in WWII were sown in the pre-war Regular Army. I am not sure that I agree. I think that a strong argument can be made that the pre-war Regular Army was a insular, reactionary, complacent organization, that although it had its bright spots it had tremendous amounts of incompetence and mediocrity, and that the strengths of American society were employed to create essentially a new Army starting in 1940.

 

However, I do not have to agree with the author of a book to recommend it. The book is both a brilliant piece of scholarship and extremely well written. The portraits of people and life in the Regular Army of this period are vivid. It is simply one of the best books I have ever read. If the subject interests you, it is a "must read".

Link to post
Share on other sites
The author believes that the seeds of the victory in WWII were sown in the pre-war Regular Army. I am not sure that I agree. I think that a strong argument can be made that the pre-war Regular Army was a insular, reactionary, complacent organization, that although it had its bright spots it had tremendous amounts of incompetence and mediocrity, and that the strengths of American society were employed to create essentially a new Army starting in 1940.

145141[/snapback]

 

Insular and reactionary I might agree with, but complacent doesn't jibe with the professional development of men like Eisenhower, Patton, Collins, etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No, clearly the pre-war Regular Army had some outstanding officers: the ones you named, Marshall, and the Army Air Corps was a cutting edge organization which attracted and retained some truly great officers. But were people at this level typical or where the samples on the far right tail of the curve? WWII certainly showed that the pre-war Regular Army had a large share of duds; furthermore many of those duds managed to reach and maintain high rank and do a great deal of damage. What is worse, World War II clearly did not act to clear out the deadwood because 5 years later the Army got thrashed again in Korea, whereas the USMC which was subject to the same post-WWII budget did not have these problems.

 

My hypothesis (just a hunch at this point, no serious scholarship to support it) is that the USAF and USN have generally been pretty competent because merely to operate (fly, sail) in peacetime is not that far removed from what they do in combat. The USMC is a small organization which tends to result in it keeping the eye on the ball even in peacetime, ditto for the USCG which has the additional advantage that every day is "war time" for them. In contrast, my theory is that the Army can get slack in peacetime, but that the US Army managed to institutionalized excellence after Vietnam.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that left me shaking my head in this book is that in the 30s, even into 1940 the US Army is still playing around with horse cavalry whereas anybody who took a look around the United States of that era could not have missed the motorization of society and the economy. It's like the Army was in its own little world. Also, not one mention of the Spanish Civil War comes up in the book -- apparently the US Army simply wasn't paying attention. Compare that to the obsessive study of the Yom Kippur War by the US military in 1973 which had enormous and positive implications for the US military of the late Cold War and afterwards.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The thing that left me shaking my head in this book is that in the 30s, even into 1940 the US Army is still playing around with horse cavalry whereas anybody who took a look around the United States of that era could not have missed the motorization of society and the economy.

The German Army was still "playing around" with horse cavalry throughout WW2. The British were the only ones to fully abandon horses, and they did so more because they were out of horses (Ireland no longer being a horse supplier and many English breeders going TU) than because of the virtues of motors.

 

There is terrain where horses are very valuable (the US Army had to improvise mounted and pack units in Italy), and a lot of it is in the US - the 1930's road net being what it was, there was a lot more percentagewise then. Given the Constabulary role of the BTW Army maintaining some horsed units made sense, especially as cavalry takes a lot longer to train.

 

Actually it was shipping considerations (transporting fodder mostly) that led to 1st Cav division being used as infantry in the PTO and 2nd Cav being broken up in North Africa after their "screen Spain" role vanished.

It's like the Army was in its own little world. Also, not one mention of the Spanish Civil War comes up in the book -- apparently the US Army simply wasn't paying attention. Compare that to the obsessive study of the Yom Kippur War by the US military in 1973 which had enormous and positive implications for the US military of the late Cold War and afterwards.

145191[/snapback]

That's fair, but it should also be noted that "their own little world" included developing doctrine at the unit level, mobilization planning, and training techniques that enabled them to rapidly produce a modern army when they were called upon to do so.

 

The Spanish Civil War is more recognizable as a precursor of modern warfare with the benefit of our hindsight than it was then. It was nothing different than any other revolution or things like the Chaco War. Comparing it to the reaction to the '73 war makes little sense. The '73 War was largely a 'proxy war' fought by client states of the superpowers, with modern equipment on both sides. People wanted to see how (if) the new stuff worked. There was very little earth-shakingly new about the Spanish Civil War, and the US had no pig in that stew. In fact, it was the Spanish Civil War that led to most of the US laws embargoing sales of war materials. It was very unlikely that the US Army would go to Europe again; fighting Japan in the Pacific was much more likely; that's what was planned for and studied - and it happened.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...