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aiden12

What's the last book you read?

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the Manfredi book is proving very very interesting.. I usually don't like first person.

 

I think it is quite obvious what happens with 10,000(as the army is called) and why. but I am only half way through the book...

 

I almost read the end to see if I was right but didn't

Edited by Artimi

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Found a 2nd hand copy of Eagle in the Snow recently and enjoyed it immensely, especially the last few chapters. Very emotionally written and gripping account of war and sacrifice.

 

Currently a few chapters into "Rome's Last Citizen: The Life and Legacy Of Cato, Mortal Enemy of Caesar". Easy to read and concise account of everybodys favourite stoic (though he was never against breaking his own rules for the good of the republic).

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The grandeur that was Rome : a survey of Roman culture and civilization  (1912)  Stobart, John Clarke

 

Available free from http://archive.org/details/grandeurthatwasr00stobuoft or http://archive.org/search.php?query=grandeur%20that%20was%20rome (I like the epub version on the first link, but other suggestions welcome)
 

Athens and Rome stand side by side as the parents of Western civilization. The parental metaphor is almost irresistible. Rome is so obviously masculine and robust, Greece endowed with so much loveliness and charm. Rome subjugates by physical conquest and government. Greece yields so easily to the Roman might and then in revenge so easily dominates Rome itself, with all that Rome has conquered, by the mere attractiveness of superior humanity. Nevertheless this metaphor of masculine and feminine contains a serious fallacy.

 

I was drawn to this book not just because it's expired copyright allows free download, but because Robert Garland (perhaps the world's best lecturer on Rome and Greece) named it as his childhood inspiration for his career. It is of course dated in facts and style, but that age allowed the author to write with frank enthusiasm and gripping narrative that would have to be inhibited and tediously nuanced today. So it is an entertaining big-picture book (follow-on to his "Glory that was Greece") that can set the stage to more mundane  but correct works of today. Read a few samples (past the lengthy intros).

 

Hitler and the power of Aesthetics

acclaimed historian Frederic Spotts presents a startling reassessment of Hitler's aims and motivations.

 

This book is the perfect way to explore the dramatic WW2 period minus most of the gore. It's simply amazing how much that dictator focused on micromanaging public display, ritual, and art in order to gain power and seek legacy. A very unusual and rewarding book about a bohemian artist wannabe playing warlord (or the reverse? echos of Nero anyway).

 

The Hitler Book by Henrik Eberle, Giles MacDonogh, Matthias Uhl

 

This is a terrible book of doubtful veracity and ethics, but with useful elements. As I understand, it's a private report to Stalin about Hitler that was virtually beaten out of reluctant prisoners of war who were once on household staff, etc of Hitler. It includes various interjections by western commentators about wrong facts, which makes you wonder about the other parts that can't be fact checked.

 

Anyway it gives chilling details such as Hitler ordering various killings of civilians for minor things, such as that they had seen construction of his Ukrainian bunker. Usually this view of Hitler has been mainly inferred due to lack of records (leaving open the possibility of overzealous underlings), but here you see him badgering underlings to be more brutal and less sentimental

Edited by caesar novus

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I just loaded up .... the first 3 books in Marius' Mules ...  and Gladiatrix       

 

Starting in on two at once, I'm a glutton for Roman stories.

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I just loaded up .... the first 3 books in Marius' Mules ...  and Gladiatrix       

 

Starting in on two at once, I'm a glutton for Roman stories.

 

I've read Gladiatrix and the sequel Roma Victrix a few years back. I've been waiting for Russ Whitfield to write up third book for sometime now but there is no news anywhere, not on Amazon or his own website. Here's hoping he gets to conclude the series.

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Yes - so far I like it - I am 1/2 way in .... this is more like what I wanted from a historical fiction.

 

All kudos to the Falco series for being set in a nice time, but I am not a fan of the style.

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Finished reading Herodotus Histories again. This time I read through using three different translations alternating chapters--the Landmark, Oxford Classics and Penguin versions. I'd recommend any of them, the Landmark's maps and notes being outstanding but the book itself the size of a brick.

Rereading Thucydides using the Landmark, Oxford and Barnes & Noble versions. All three are very good. Since T is a far more complex thinker & writer the translations matter a lot more I think. The Oxford is the most modern English while the Landmark & B&N use the same Crawley translation each 'updated' by their respective editors.

In the last week I've bought hard copies of: Stalin's General- The Life of G Zhukov; Sertorius and the Struggle for Spain [by UNRV poster Maty]; Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942; Shock Doctrine--The Rise of Disaster Capitalism; In Fed We Trust; Bernake's War on the Great Panic & The Origins of the Peloponnesian War.

I have no idea when I'm going to get to any of these...

Edited by Virgil61

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(reply to above)

 

"Herodotus"... All previous translations are claimed to be obsolete with the new release by Holland, according to http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/9097452/the-histories-by-herodotus-review/

 

"Zhukov"... The excessive attrition rate he inflicted on his own army mars his great record, and I hope he had some regrets about this even though virtually mandated by Stalin.

 

"Bernake" [sic]... Bernanke was maybe the only real adult in the room among all leaders of this century so far, with economic lifesaving realism that benefited the globe. His detractors fail to recognize that more ideal reformist solutions were infeasible due to populist politics (Greek rather than Roman style democracy = two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner).

 

Loaded on my new kindle: Now that I no longer even try graphics-rich pdfs that freeze or crash the thing, I am progressing mainly on history titles from the 1930's and 40's, I loaded older books, but it can be so tedious to get past their typically lengthy preliminaries because my kindle is slow to turn pages.

 

One is Mussolini's Rome which claims the present appearance of medieval and ancient Rome is more influenced by his regime than just a few new roads and facades. Also the first 1936 Fodor tourist guide of Europe (free amazon download) gives a prewar view of, say, charming Antwerp just before it was accidentally pulverized by the Luftwaffe. Italy is depicted as being sort of a exasperating banana republic.

 

"Air to Ground Battle for Italy" promises to give a U.S strafing-eye-view of maybe too much collateral cost for the damage they actually did to Kesselring. "Hitler's Hangman" puts a different spin on "plucky Czechs kill a monster". The Czechs overwhelmingly did not want to risk retribution for this assassination, which was pushed by the Brits with suggestions of leaving them Nazi occupied post-war. I guess the respected author promises to show Heydrich was less an inherent monster and more a product of his environment, but we'll see.

 

From the Pacific theatre I have a Japanese principles of war, and a "I-boat Captain" memoir. The latter shows how "peacenik" Yamamato pushed for Pearl Harbor attack against wide opposition, and how the attack almost fell apart due to many last minute challenges. Author is fairly unrepentant and puts various attacks in a defensive spin (what's that term for attacking to prevent their attack?).

 

Well, I've got Roman empire for dummies and idiots... with the auto bookmarking I can sample then flit on elsewhere on a whim. Maybe I should increase the quality of reading by spending on some 99 cent titles that hold my interest longer.

 

I was creeped out by an apple computer highlighting the music I last loaded on my Kindle from an independent Windows system. Who is monitoring this even with 3g off? Anyway, since Kindle doesn't shuffle I have to load music that stands up to heavy repeated playing of the first few titles.

Edited by caesar novus

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Principles of War is downloadable on an army web page of Ft Leavenworth KS pamphlets from Combat Studies Institute. Seems to be a translation (by Joseph West) of a Japanese guidebook only slightly modified beyond ww2 to include one cold war issue. At first glance, looks pretty cool. Brief, eccentric, and to the point. I haven't read much because it is a type of pdf that my ink type kindle is sloooow to render. maybe here http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/PrinciplesOfWar.pdf

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(reply to above)

 

"Herodotus"... All previous translations are claimed to be obsolete with the new release by Holland, according to http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/9097452/the-histories-by-herodotus-review/

 

"Zhukov"... The excessive attrition rate he inflicted on his own army mars his great record, and I hope he had some regrets about this even though virtually mandated by Stalin.

 

"Bernake" [sic]... Bernanke was maybe the only real adult in the room among all leaders of this century so far, with economic lifesaving realism that benefited the globe. His detractors fail to recognize that more ideal reformist solutions were infeasible due to populist politics (Greek rather than Roman style democracy = two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner).

 

From the Pacific theatre I have a Japanese principles of war,

 

I've read the reviews of Holland. I'd be interested in reading it someday but I can't imagine it making any other translations obsolete. The Landmark & Oxford classics translations are less than a decade old. Holland himself said in one interview I remember that he slanted towards readability rather than exactness [although he's said in the article to be closer than the current Penguin classics edition]. But whatever translation they all read fairly similar to each other --Herodotus is apparently much, much easier to translate than Thucydies--Histories is probably the most interestingly written and I'd even say fun to read ancient history you'll come across. 

 

I think the whole Zhukov/Stalin massacred their people via tactics is a bit of a relic of cold-war historians [edit: I should add this is the theme I 'grew up' with as well]. I think the current crop of military historians of the eastern front--Glanz & Overton to name two I've read--would be less inclined to say that. Whatever else you can say about Stalin--psychopath, murderer, etc.--he learned after the first few months to not shoot combat commanders who failed and he let his generals do the grunt-work on planning the attacks unlike Hitler who took command of Army, corps, division and even brigades away from his field commanders.

 

Not to say they weren't brutal but they punched back as well. To use Wikipedia #s the Soviets lost 8.7-13.8 million soldiers while the Germans lost 4.3 - 5.5 million soldiers [the overwhelming majority of those on the eastern front]. When you figure overall population rates of 168m to 69m respectively both sides took a beating. If I remember correctly a large chunk of the Soviet deaths [2-3m] came in the first few months of the war while IIRC Ian Kershaw says that 1/2 of all German combat deaths came on the eastern front  in '44-45.

 

Bernake ignored the more conservatives because he's a student of Keynes, he wrote an influential paper on the Great Depression. Avoidance of populist backlash was maybe the very least of the reasons he acted in the manner he did, of course in doing what he did he incurred the wrath of the Austrian school & Tea Party types.

 

The Japanese manual looks somewhat like their version of an FM-3.0 and FM-90 manual.

Edited by Virgil61

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Eh... not worth it then.

 

Was hoping for something written by a mastermind strategist, not by the japanese version of TRADOC for majors pretending to be part of a functional bureaucracy where everything works and makes sense. It never does, and if it is, I become suspicious as to why, its never the culture of group think.

Edited by Onasander

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I'm warming up to the Japanese I-boat/sub commander story the most http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/77669087 . I think our view of the Pacific theater is weakened by less dialog with the enemy actors post war. That and a language problem leaves us with one dimensional view vs the Euro get togethers of US/Brit/German for post mortem analyses.

 

This author has got a big ego and he's in the right places at the right times with the best equipment, but accomplishes almost nothing. Besides his direct accounts of key battles, and sharing what almost happened (how we unknowingly dodged bullets) he networked with other commanders and consulted postwar documentation (not translated yet?) to give his spin on the history. He has quite an anti-US and anti-prewar-FDR bias that is stimulating to unpack. Watch as he just misses opportunities to shell SFO and torpedo various carriers.

.

I think the whole Zhukov/Stalin massacred their people via tactics is a bit of a relic of cold-war historians

 

[...]

 

Bernake ignored the more conservatives because he's a student of Keynes, he wrote an influential paper on the Great Depression. Avoidance of populist backlash was maybe the very least of the reasons he acted in the manner he did, of course in doing what he did he incurred the wrath of the Austrian school & Tea Party types.

.

My impressions of Russian waste of their own lives was based on anecdotes from early and late periods, such as Zhukov racing peers towards Berlin and spending double the lives if it saves him a day. If he was more careful of lives in the middle periods, that's fine. But if the attrition ratio is comparable to Hitler in retreat, that is no point in Zhukov's favor. Hitler had that crazy scheme of no-retreat fortresses, and liked to starve experienced units of supplies in favor of inexperienced ones to give the opportunity of Darwinian survival of the fittest (punish the experienced troops who may have wasted too much ammo). Also Goebbels arranged to have great numbers of retreating soldiers hung, EVEN when this demonstratedly included innocent and vital couriers.

 

As for Bernanke, I rejoiced when he was appointed... even with no knowledge of what challenges he would face and with what policy bias he would apply. He not only studied the depression in depth (anyone can do that), but moved the state of understanding of it with rare insight. I don't rejoice for the elderly Berkeley professor-ess that will replace him with the same current policy - she seems stuck on that for the wrong reasons and may give us another repeat of the Carter admin inflation.

 

I didn't mean Bernanke had anything to do with populism... he is mostly independant of that, but has to set policy on the basis of counteracting stupid populist elected gov't measures that have strangled growth in the name of employee entitlement or bank bashing etc. It's like being on a boat where the mob has a big rudder pointed in a self destructive direction. Bernanke has only a little steering oar to dip in and counteract it a bit. His policies may look backwards in the abstract, but in the context of what he is dealing with and his small leverage, his most every move has turned out amazing in hindsight.

Edited by caesar novus

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I'm warming up to the Japanese I-boat/sub commander story the most http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/77669087 . I think our view of the Pacific theater is weakened by less dialog with the enemy actors post war. That and a language problem leaves us with one dimensional view vs the Euro get togethers of US/Brit/German for post mortem analyses.

 

This author has got a big ego and he's in the right places at the right times with the best equipment, but accomplishes almost nothing. Besides his direct accounts of key battles, and sharing what almost happened (how we unknowingly dodged bullets) he networked with other commanders and consulted postwar documentation (not translated yet?) to give his spin on the history. He has quite an anti-US and anti-prewar-FDR bias that is stimulating to unpack. Watch as he just misses opportunities to shell SFO and torpedo various carriers.

.

I think the whole Zhukov/Stalin massacred their people via tactics is a bit of a relic of cold-war historians

 

[...]

 

Bernake ignored the more conservatives because he's a student of Keynes, he wrote an influential paper on the Great Depression. Avoidance of populist backlash was maybe the very least of the reasons he acted in the manner he did, of course in doing what he did he incurred the wrath of the Austrian school & Tea Party types.

.

My impressions of Russian waste of their own lives was based on anecdotes from early and late periods, such as Zhukov racing peers towards Berlin and spending double the lives if it saves him a day. If he was more careful of lives in the middle periods, that's fine. But if the attrition ratio is comparable to Hitler in retreat, that is no point in Zhukov's favor. Hitler had that crazy scheme of no-retreat fortresses, and liked to starve experienced units of supplies in favor of inexperienced ones to give the opportunity of Darwinian survival of the fittest (punish the experienced troops who may have wasted too much ammo). Also Goebbels arranged to have great numbers of retreating soldiers hung, EVEN when this demonstratedly included innocent and vital couriers.

 

As for Bernanke, I rejoiced when he was appointed... even with no knowledge of what challenges he would face and with what policy bias he would apply. He not only studied the depression in depth (anyone can do that), but moved the state of understanding of it with rare insight. I don't rejoice for the elderly Berkeley professor-ess that will replace him with the same current policy - she seems stuck on that for the wrong reasons and may give us another repeat of the Carter admin inflation.

 

I didn't mean Bernanke had anything to do with populism... he is mostly independant of that, but has to set policy on the basis of counteracting stupid populist elected gov't measures that have strangled growth in the name of employee entitlement or bank bashing etc. It's like being on a boat where the mob has a big rudder pointed in a self destructive direction. Bernanke has only a little steering oar to dip in and counteract it a bit. His policies may look backwards in the abstract, but in the context of what he is dealing with and his small leverage, his most every move has turned out amazing in hindsight.

 

Re Zhukov/Stalin/Hitler, well it was war of course & not a tea party. The other extreme is the US & UK aversion to casualties. I'm convinced we never could have taken the brutal beating the Soviets did.

 

We certainly don't agree on economic approaches. I'm not sure what 'populist' gov't measures you use but in the U.S. the least unionized, less-regulated & taxed states have the lowest per capita income & least educated populations. Or to put it bluntly, Red states are poorer and dumber than Blue states and Blue state taxes tend to subsidize Red states with the federal largess.

 

Considering that the bottom 50% of the population owns less than 5% of the U.S. wealth the mob ain't been doing much a good job at controlling anything. They certainly couldn't prevent the bail-out to the banking sector which should have been far more punishing and come with a lot more requirements. JP Morgan and Jamie Diamond certainly came away big winners, not what a mob would push for I think.

 

I've read several studies of the financial crisis--I'd recommend starting with the Fin Crisis Inquiry Committee report if you haven't--and bank behavior was atrocious. Their leveraging of derivatives & horrid risk-assessment was almost criminal, certainly reckless and showed the weakness of unregulated capitalism. To top it off many of the financial media tried to push the [now-discredited-by-most-economists] blame on Clinton's CRA. In hindsight a laughable attempt if it weren't so repulsive in its manipulation of ignorance.

 

Some of the financial crisis books I've read are Sorkin's Too Big To Fail, Henry Paulson's On the Brink, Michael Lewis' The Big Short (very entertaining), A Colossul Failure of Common Sense (by a Lehman insider) and Crash of the Titans.

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