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Guest Hans Engström

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Currently reading "There will be war", a collection of mil-fi/mil-sci-fi short stories by various authors.  Editor is Pournelle.  I always see his name in this forum but can't recall his "standing" - is Pournelle a good sci-fi author?  How'd you rate him?

 

Enjoying said book.  Some of it are not short stories but rather excerpts of articles on missile defense.  Book is quite old - mid-80s IIRC.  But reading the articles on missile defense reminded me of the current one.

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Geez, I bought that 20 years ago. Still have it in a box somewhere. Is yours an old one or a new printing?

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Currently reading "The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800" by Geoffrey Parker, a great synthesis of Military advances that lead to the rise of the West in said years. A military history classic that is quite readable imo.

 

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Guest aevans
Currently reading "The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500-1800" by Geoffrey Parker, a great synthesis of Military advances that lead to the rise of the West in said years. A military history classic that is quite readable imo.

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Kind of dated material, isn't it, especially considering more recent work on the cultural factors leading to a dichotomy between war as intraspecific aggression (what was going on in Europe at the time) and war as predatory aggression (what Europeans were doing to the rest of the world)?

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Kind of dated material, isn't it, especially considering more recent work on the cultural factors leading to a dichotomy between war as intraspecific aggression (what was going on in Europe at the time) and war as predatory aggression (what Europeans were doing to the rest of the world)?

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Yes but

 

(1) A professor gave me the book to read for future studies because

 

(2) It's No 16 on Duke University's "Hot 100" Military History book list...

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Guest aevans
Yes but

 

(1) A professor gave me the book to read for future studies because

 

(2) It's No 16 on Duke University's "Hot 100" Military History book list...

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I've seen the list -- I wouldn't exactly call it "hot". It contains only one book more recent than 1990, and relatively few more recent than 1980 (Thucydides and Clausewitz don't count, just because the listed edition was published in the 80's).

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I've seen the list -- I wouldn't exactly call it "hot". It contains only one book  more recent than 1990, and relatively few more recent than 1980 (Thucydides and Clausewitz don't count, just because the listed edition was published in the 80's).

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I posted to H-WAR recently about the *updated* 1999 list and got no response. Of course, if you ask some professors, they act like military history should stay that way because there are more "pressing" concerns regarding research. Of course, I disagree, but that's another thread to get into...

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Guest aevans
I posted to H-WAR recently about the *updated* 1999 list and got no response. Of course, if you ask some professors, they act like military history should stay that way because there are more "pressing" concerns regarding research. Of course, I disagree, but that's another thread to get into...

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Don't get me wrong -- the 1995 version of the list has some good stuff on it, but judging by the frequency of appearance of books within the decade prior to 1995, I wouldn't expect much more current scholarship on the 1999 list. And I personally believe that there has been much profitable shucking of old prejudices (not in the postmodern sense, but in the tradition of good scholarship) in the last 10 to 12 years.

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Guest Murph

I am trying to find a book on photography in Japan:

 

Japan: The Living Gardens ISBN 4-07-976439-1 Shufunotomo Co, Ltd Author Johnny Hymas. His website is Johnny-Hymas.net

 

I cannot get it in the US, there is an english and a Japanese version, I am looking for the English one.

 

His other book Japan: The Four Seasons is spectacular.

 

TIA!

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Currently reading "The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad" by Harrison Salisbury, makes you kind of glad of a warm bed and a full stomach...

My copy was published in 1965 (I'm a second-hand book store junkie) and I see there has recently been a reissue. Not sure if it has any added material though.

 

Before that I finished "Stalingrad" by Antony Beever, which encouraged me to pick up "Berlin: The Downfall" by the same author and "Armageddon" by Max Hastings. I'm not usually particularly interested in the Second World War but my interest has been piqued.

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Aevans, thanks for the correction about Jerry Pournelle's service.

 

The "There Will Be War" anthology has several volumes. I think I have all of them boxed around here somewhere.

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Geez, I bought that 20 years ago. Still have it in a box somewhere. Is yours an old one or a new printing?

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Ye olde one.

 

Thanks for the info on Pournelle. Really nice reading. Done with the "There Will Be War" book. Now reading "The Man-Kzin Wars" Vol. 1. Other titles "inherited" are:

 

Mercenaries

Janissaries

The Man-Kzin Wars 2

Footfall

Bolo

Rogue Bolo

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I recently completed Castles of Steel and Dreadnought after purchasing them on the recommendation of Tank-Net. Excellent books that are very readable and fairly through in their coverage. I found the flavor of the two books different. Dreadnought, which covers the pre-war period, focuses more on the political developments between the countries/families, with less technical & tactical information. I did feel that the Kaiser/Chancellor pairings were given a bit too much coverage for, while I understand that Imperial Germany was very much an autocracy, the development of the naval officers who would fight the Great War wasn't as clearly defined. This makes the German fleet a bit more enigmatic, an issue that is carried through the second book. Also, I would have liked to have seen a bit more coverage of the USN and the effects of Mahanian thought on the various powers and the naval race's effect on the USN. While this is partially my nationality bias, Massie does reference Mahan as being a strong influence on the Germans and, while the US was isolationist, the USN was very much affected by the actions of the great powers.

 

Castles of Steel, which covers World War I, is the book that covers the tactical and technical aspects of the naval race/conflict. As noted above, the political/personal workings of the High Seas Fleet isn't given the depth of coverage that the Grand Fleet receives. Still, Massie does an excellent job with his descriptions. I found it very easy to follow the naval actions in my head, without having to resort to drawing maps--not every author can do this. The book is not a replacement for solid knowledge of naval construction techniques of the various powers as there are few pictures, very limited technical descriptions of ship classes, and no discussion of naval architecture beyond the very barest of minimums.

 

Overall, I highly recommend both of these books for anyone interested in this period of history, but warn that one should not expect to learn a great deal about the technical/tactical history of the navies involved.

 

Douglas

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[snip]

Overall, I highly recommend both of these books for anyone interested in this period of history, but warn that one should not expect to learn a great deal about the technical/tactical history of the navies involved.

 

Douglas

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I've just about finished The Rules of the Game, by Andrew Gordon, Pub. John Murray

 

This book concentrates on the effects of a long-term peace on the nature of the senior officers of the RN. It bases its premise on the division of personality types into authoritarian and autocrats, and tries to prove that extended periods of peace favour authoritarians for promotion, whereas autocrats are more-or-less required for decisive success during wartime in general, and Jutland in particular.

 

The influence of the Royal Family on the RN is discussed, the dominant (and probably malignant) influence of the Signal Book is also focussed upon. Add in a touch of the Craft and you begin to wonder how on earth the UK managed at all.

 

The author is a Beattyite, but acknowledges the failings of that man, whilst explaining what he considers to be the failings of the Jellicoe school. Interesting stuff on Tryon, also.

 

It's not an easy read, and perhaps the emphasis on the Royal Family's influence is belaboured, but I was satisfied that I purchased it.

 

David

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Guest aevans
The author is a Beattyite,

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Guessed it before you said it.

 

but acknowledges the failings of that man, whilst explaining what he considers to be the failings of the Jellicoe school. Interesting stuff on Tryon, also.

 

Does he credit Mahan at all, and if so, does he recognize that under the circumstances, the Mahanistic policy of Jellicoe was obviously the correct one?

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I just finished "The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology during the Machine Age, 1870-1918" by Eric Dorn Brose. I highly recommend this book as a relatively unique look at the internal struggles of the German Army to deal with technological change and its potential impact on the modern battlefield. Brose reveals a German military dominated by backward looking senior officers who impeded the adoption of modern weapons and tactics until the 1900s. For all his supposed failings, von Moltke the Younger comes off better than von Schlieffen as a leader who managed to push forward new ideas despite opposition and finally began to achieve some uniformity in tactical practice throught the army (which, contrary to the popular image of the German Army, often deviated substantially from doctrine). Unfortunately for the Kaiser and company, these last-minute efforts came a little too late and the onset of war in 1914 found the German Army still lacking in some areas. Antiquated infantry tactics led to heavy losses for the Germans in the early battles, not just the French, and the French 75 consistently outdueled its somewhat outmoded German counterpart. Finally, in September the Germans found they had run out of artillery shells before the French (poor prewar planning) and realized that the concentration of heavy artillery that battered the forts of Liege to pieces in a number of days would require weeks or months to smash through the French fortress line. Of course those weeks or months weren't feasible because the shells were used up and the guns already wearing out. A classic case of the assigned task being beyond the practical capabilities of an Army, even when the opposing force does nearly everything possible to bring about its own defeat.

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I had to rush reading before school started so I ended up reading a total of 5 sci-fi books in a bit over two weeks. The last one was really great IMO. "The Proteus Operation". Doubtless some of you have read it already. Very good read IMO.

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Any opinion in this book and author?

 

Countdown to Crisis : The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran

by Kenneth R. Timmerman

 

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/140...1905699-2556655

 

Review

“Ken Timmerman delivers another blockbuster, this time on Iran and its clandestine nuclear program. Few things are more relevant to today’s world than what happens in the Middle East—especially in Iran, a major player in the ‘axis of evil.’ Read this book, be warned, and then equip yourself for battle.” —Cal Thomas, nationally syndicated columnist

 

“With so many amateur intelligence experts clouding the public dialogue, it is a pleasure to read the work of an author of real professionalism. Timmerman adds texture and clarity to the gross failures of our intelligence establishment and new visibility to the role of Iran in the Islamist war against America.” —John f. Lehman, 9/11 Commission member and former Secretary of the Navy

 

Book Description

In his chilling new book, New York Times bestselling author Kenneth R. Timmerman blows the lid off the greatest threat America faces: the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

Using his exclusive access to previously classified documents, Iranian defectors and officials, and high-level sources in the U.S. government and intelligence community, Timmerman blows the lid off previously unreported threats and our intelligence community’s failure to deal with these dangers.

 

And now it could be too late.

 

To get the complete story on Iran’s radical Islamic regime, Timmerman crisscrosses the globe, taking the reader into secret terrorist gatherings in Tehran, into tense meetings in the White House, to debriefings at an obscure CIA outpost in Azerbaijan, to diplomatic face-offs in the Kremlin, and to many other spots along the way. His extensive investigative reporting allows him to lay bare the true nature of the Iranian threat.

 

For Americans interested in the truth about Iran, Countdown to Crisis may amount to a call for action–or even a case for war.

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Guessed it before you said it.

Does he credit Mahan at all, and if so, does he recognize that under the circumstances, the Mahanistic policy of Jellicoe was obviously the correct one?

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Sorry, Tony - missed this.

 

Having read this book (as an adjunct to Jutland 1916 by Steel and Hart) I now have to conclude that I know less about what was going on than I thought I knew before.

 

He certainly does not make Beatty out to be flawless - one of the major criticisms is that after the attachment of the 5th BS to the BCF, Beatty apparently made no attempt to brief Evan Thomas on his fighting orders. This seems like a major omission. He also highlights Beatty's post-Jutland attempts to influence the various reports in his favour, the complete omission of the 5th BS track from his own report and his insistence that his ship had not performed a full circle...

 

He criticises Jellicoe for being of the authoritarian school (compared to the autocrat school, which encompasses the initiative and delegation of authority that we associate with "Nelsonian", but which he calls "Tryonite" in nature), emphasising Jellicoe's perpetual complaints of an absence of information on which to make decisions, but acknowledges the failures of Beatty to keep the Grand Fleet informed.

 

In spite of various flaws in the book, I believe that the author does manage to make the major point - that extended periods of peacetime are really bad for military organisations in that they can lead to promotion based on competencies that are measureable during peacetime, and that for various reasons the competencies that are generally chosen to be measured during peacetime are poor measures of the capabilities of a commander during war.

 

Mahan and the Fleet in Being vs. the German "Risk Fleet" is discussed frequently.

 

David

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Currently reading Max Hastings ARMAGEDDON:  The Battle for Germany 1944-45

 

So far like it very much.

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Updated. Max heaps praise on the German Army. But then we knew that from OVERLORD didn't we?

 

Critical of the Alies and especialy hard on the British as far as slugishness on the battlefield 1944-45. Thesis is that Allied strategy and tactics designed to avoid casulties lenghned the war.

 

Nothing much good to say about the Russians. Portray them as bad as the Nazis for atrocites, though admires their offensive optempo.

 

Critical of Bomber Harris and his strategy of City devestation, should have focused on oil production more.

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Just finished reading "Boyd : The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War"

 

I highly recommend it.

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Read it a few months ago. Pretty good. As a biography, not really my cup of tea, nor as an exposition of what American airpower really ought to be about, but as a case history for career advancement and organizational behavior it is excellent.

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