Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by crabby, Oct 22, 2006.

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  1. Right, basically I'm looking for the best book on each of the following subjects, as I don't have time to become an expert on all:

    The Troubles in Ireland (already have "the IRA, provos and Sein fein" but looking for another side or just something written differently)
    The suez crisis
    Burma in WWII, especially Kohima if possible
    Che Guevara
    The Ottoman Empire - possibly leading into Palestine/Irsrael, the break up into iraq, iran etc, - as many of those in one book possible.
    The British Army in the Middle East in WWI (already have gallipoli and salonika - looking for mesopotamia etc)
    The Unknown - about the unknown soldiers of WWI - is it any good?
    Dunkirk - is that book any good?
    Africa 1939 til we kicked rommel out - seriously lacking in knowledge there.

    Any and all suggestions gratefully received

    My suggestions from what I've read:
    The forgotten army at Salonika
    The Somme
    Dusty Warriors
    The Rise and Fall of the British Empire
    The Falklands War
    100 Days
    Battle for the Falklands
    All three volumes of A History of Britain
  2. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    Vietnam: "The French Foreign Legion" by Douglas Boyd is a good read and looks at FFL operations in Vietnam throughout the existence thereof.

    Not, I am guessing, what you had in mind when you asked about Vietnam.
  3. Big Boys' Rules: SAS and the Secret Struggle Against the IRA by Mark L. Urban - Northern Ireland

    Michael Collins and the Troubles: The Struggle for Irish Freedom, 1912-1922 by Ulick O'Connor

    The Imperial War Museum Book of the War in Burma 1942-1945 by Julian Thompson - Burma and the far east

    Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser - Burma and the Far East

    The Road Past Mandalay (Cassell Military Paperbacks) by John Masters - Burma and the far East

    The Unforgettable Army: Slim's XIVth Army in Burma by Colonel the Viscount Slim and Michael Hickey
  4. also:

    Behind Enemy Lines: An Australian SAS Soldier in Vietnam by Terry O'Farrell

    Last Out: 4RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion's Second Tour in Vietnam by Jerry Taylor

    A Good Clean Fight by Derek Robinson - Desert pre El Alamain
  5. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    Mate, that book was sensationalist crap and admitted to be so by the author (well, the sensationalist bit with some lies).

    Supergrass, I think, was a good story of an IRA Quartermaster for 20 years or so who was actually a Gardai informer nearly all the time.
  6. was it really? Never heard anything about it. I read it years ago. Oh well, scrub that one then
  7. Whilst it might be a bit right of arc (looking at your other reading material) I recommend 'They Called It Passchendaele: The Story of the Third Battle of Ypres and the Men Who Fought in It' by Lyn MacDonald.
    I used many whilst researching 3rd Ypres and this was the best.
    However, if you can get it from the library service, 'Letters from Two World Wars: A Social History of English Attitudes to War 1914-45' by Dr Ernest Sanger is excellent and readable. It's also balanced, which is something you don't get from much of the sh1te.
  8. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Mespot: Battles on the Tigris: Ron Wilcox Pen and Sword
  9. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    The Unknown - about the unknown soldiers of WWI - is it any good?

    You are on about the 'The Unknown Warrior' by Neil Hanson?

    Top stuff, very informative and blows a few myths away as well.
  10. Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sager(sp) About an alsatian WWII soldier and his whole experience of WWII. Fantastic read.
  11. Re. Che, Jon Lee Anderson's biography is big but excellent. A door-stopper but one you romp through. Convincing, exhaustive and meticulously referenced.

    I was surprised how unsympathetic a character Che turned out to be. He subsumed Ernesto into the revolutionary persona of Che and, arguably, repressed his basic humanity in the process of dedicating himself to (as he saw it) mankind's greater good.

    The detail about his athsma gets a bit tiresome but particularly interesting is the circumstantial evidence about US help for Castro up until 1959. Not as far-fetched as you might think: the US stopped helping Batista because he was such a bad advert for capitalism, Castro presented himself as a progressive so appeared as a possible alternative to communism. Che and Raul Castro were the only avowedly communist big hitters on Castro's team and they were suttled to odd places at odd times to keep their profiles low.

    Castro knew that looking like a Communist from the start was no-go for the States. The historiographical debate has him either as a secret communist all along who only showed his true colours when in power or, perhaps more likely, as a populist who inadvertently went too far for the US, provoking their ire and forcing him to drape himself in the red flag to get Soviet support.

    Had Che not become the subject of an iconic photograph you wonder if his revolutionary record alone would have gained him his place in posterity as he was a key figure in insurrectionist cluster f@~:s in Congo and Bolivia.
  12. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    Is this a book writtten by a dog?
  13. That's the one, thank you
  14. Mr Happy

    Mr Happy LE Moderator

    For Vietnam, my recommendation would be Chickenhawk by somebody mason IIRC. Excellent book, talks about his experiences and what he saw around him. Mason was the pilot of a Slick.
  15. For anecdotal stuff on Vietnam try 'Nam' by Mark Baker: based on interviews with vets after the war, it does give a flavour of what the GI's experience was like.

    Chickenhawk (David Mason) is superb, as is Quartered Safe Out Here (George Macdonald Fraser).

    Not specific to Passchaendale, but The Old Contemptibles tells the story of the BEF, and I found Mud, Blood and Poppycock good for the Western Front generally.