What are you reading right now?

Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K Ullman. The author was former USN officer who then held a number of positions doing research for the Pentagon. He appears to have been a policy advisor to a number of administrations and now does private consultancy work.

The book is divided into chapters based around the Presidencies from Kennedy onwards to Obama. It was written after Trump's win but aside from one or two references he does not look at anything substantive from the current occupant of the White House. The book is essentially looking at the strategic policy failures that have led to the US losing every substantive military confrontation it has engaged in since WW2. I am up to the conclusion of GHW Bush's administration and, ironically, it is the one that he is most complimentary of for getting the big issues right.

Also reading the collected editions of Preacher. The graphic cartoon novel about the Reverend Jesse Custer's attempt to track down God, who has fled heaven, to ask why He has let things get into such a mess. Along the way he runs into a drunken Irishman who can't be killed but must stay out of the sunlight because it causes him to burst into flames. The writing is truely witty and contains some glorious insults and abuse. However, the volumes must be kept away from those of weak constitutions or are of a suggestive mentality; it contains some graphic violence and some of the characters are less than salubrious (their favourite reading is **** Rampage).
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K Ullman. The author was former USN officer who then held a number of positions doing research for the Pentagon. He appears to have been a policy advisor to a number of administrations and now does private consultancy work.

The book is divided into chapters based around the Presidencies from Kennedy onwards to Obama. It was written after Trump's win but aside from one or two references he does not look at anything substantive from the current occupant of the White House. The book is essentially looking at the strategic policy failures that have led to the US losing every substantive military confrontation it has engaged in since WW2. I am up to the conclusion of GHW Bush's administration and, ironically, it is the one that he is most complimentary of for getting the big issues right.

Also reading the collected editions of Preacher. The graphic cartoon novel about the Reverend Jesse Custer's attempt to track down God, who has fled heaven, to ask why He has let things get into such a mess. Along the way he runs into a drunken Irishman who can't be killed but must stay out of the sunlight because it causes him to burst into flames. The writing is truely witty and contains some glorious insults and abuse. However, the volumes must be kept away from those of weak constitutions or are of a suggestive mentality; it contains some graphic violence and some of the characters are less than salubrious (their favourite reading is **** Rampage).
It could be argued that the US won in Korea in the sense that it saved SK from NK at the time, and that it won the Cuban missile crisis by the timely and effective deployment of sea power, and that it won GW1 in the sense that Kuwaiti sovereignty was restored.
 
It could be argued that the US won in Korea in the sense that it saved SK from NK at the time, and that it won the Cuban missile crisis by the timely and effective deployment of sea power, and that it won GW1 in the sense that Kuwaiti sovereignty was restored.
Korea, stalemate restored after nearly having the NK out of the picture - hardly a victory.

Cuban missile crisis - you will need to read the book for the precise reasons but the argument (very basically) is that by forcing the backdown by the Russians it extended the Cold War by about 30 years. It has all to do with what Khrushchev was trying to do in Russia compared with what the US was doing viz-a-viz nuclear arms.

GW1, agreed and the author agrees with you also. As I said in my post the author regards Bush the elder with the most respect.
 
Having finished Timothy Hallinan's 'Queen of Patpong' I have moved north and I'm well into M.J. Lee's 'Death in Shanghai'. It features an English-speaking (fortunately) White Russian detective in the Shanghai Police in 1928.

death-in-shanghai-an-inspector-danilov-historical-thriller-book-1.jpg
 
image.jpeg

The Battalion by Richard W Black.
An in depth history of the 2nd Ranger btn from its activation in 1943 to its deactivation in 1945,its training and battles from Pointe de Hoc and Omaha all the way to czeckoslovakia.
Very good.
 
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''All quiet on the home front'', an oral history of life in Britain during the first world war.
I had no idea that the home front in WW1 was sometimes so bad. As a child i often heard tales of rationing and Doodle bugs in WW2 but i was totally unaware of how bad things were in WW1 rationing ,Gotha raids etc.
How ''typically British'' to make the same mistake twice with under estamating the U boat threat.
 
The Storm Before The Storm, Mike Duncan


A history of Rome set in a specific period: 146 - 78BC, which covers the start of the decline of the Republic, or, rather, the set of players, arenas and circumstances that made it so much easier for Pompey, Caesar and Crassus to fatally undermine the Republic so much so that Caesar could become Dictator for Life eventually leading to the first Princeps of Octavius/Augustus and all that followed..

It's a colloquial read and refreshing for all that. If you've listened to Duncan's podcasts then you'll know what to expect. I'm halfway through and thoroughly enjoying it, particularly as this period doesn't get the attention that post-Caesar does.
 

It's probably an Amazon one. This site is aggressively bad at showing those, particularly if you are using the Chrome browser.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
TODAY Mrs BHP bought her regular Family Tree magazine for just under £6 but lo and behold is came with: a free copy of
Tracing Your Secret Service Ancestors by Phil Tomaselli. ( Amazon £12.00 this evening )
Did you have a spy in the family, an ancestor who was involved in espionage at home or abroad? If you have ever had any suspicions about the secret activities of your relatives, or are curious about the long hidden history of Britain's secret services and those who served in them, this is the book for you. Phil Tomaselli's fascinating guide to over 200 years of British spies and spying takes the reader on a journey through the twilight world of the secret intelligence organizations Britain has run since the time of the French Revolution to the modern day, and it shows where their records can be found.
I have only skimmed thorough it so far but it seems spot on. I had to do some research on MI9 a few years back and would have found this book handy to have. It was published in 2009 by like all good history books it is still up to the mark .
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Margaret Thatcher - 'The Path to Power', 1995, prequel to 'The Downing Street Years'. Chronicles the lady's life, her becoming an MP, minister and shadow minister, Leader of the Opposition and finally winner of the 1979 GE. The eerie thing is that many of today's issues, from Europe to immigration and welfare dependency, were hot in the seventies and have got worse. As Leader of the Conservatives MT knew what needed to be done - and in the case of Trades Unions (who had brought us close to collapse with mining strikes & the 3-day week) and privatisation largely succeeded - but was undermined by senior pseudo-Tories at every step, cowardly liberal wets with a yearning for the same old solutions that didn't work like prices and incomes policies which instead only produced galloping inflation. MT explains everything in great detail including the economic idiocies and failures of the Socialist and crypto-Socialist post-war governments with a focus on Wilson, Heath and finally Callaghan where the whole delusion - and the country - collapsed into the Winter of Discontent. Part Two reviews the 90s after MT was betrayed and forced out and discusses what 1996 was likely to look like. The whole thing is a fascinating and privileged insight into our history 1955-1979.

Hardback with dust cover £2 in a charity shop, with autograph from some book-signing session. Mrs S found a similar signed copy going on e-bay for £30. 600+pp.
 
I've had two books on the trot for the past few months which now merit some comment. ''Lines in the Sand' and 'Pour me a Life' both authored by AA Gill. They're companion books in a manner of phrase, an author in his professional world of earning while the other unequivocally gives a good measure of insight to his families and his part in their worlds.

I have an especial regard for this wordsmith. To me, he's a Victor Hugo, Kipling, Wodehouse encyclopaedia of descriptive turns of phrase ; pathos and humour in perfect harmony. He has the camera eyes of a McCullin and an Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

He's a commentator on life that the @Gimp would aspire to be :)

A 'Line in the Sand' is about his journalist efforts for his income support, covering only the years 2011 > Dec. 2016 when he died of cancer. A myriad of heart rendering and side splitting anecdotes of professional contracts over this particular phase, from the Rohingyas to the Magpie Cafe in Whitby - ( "Whitby appears like a William Blake doodle over the North York Moors")

A 'Pour me a Life' covers wot it says on the tin. Elegiac and forthright. Je ne regrette rien. Stunning!
 
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In an end of line Bookshop today and just could not resist this ....

2018 WW! Tank WL.jpg


.... had a quick look at the contents before buying and it obviously seemed interesting .... but for £6 even if it just gives a couple of hours enjoyment before it gets given to a Charity Shop a snip .
 
I've had two books on the trot for the past few months which now merit some comment. ''Lines in the Sand' and 'Pour me a Life' both authored by AA Gill. They're companion books in a manner of phrase, an author in his professional world of earning while the other unequivocally gives a good measure of insight to his families and his part in their worlds.

I have an especial regard for this wordsmith. To me, he's a Victor Hugo, Kipling, Wodehouse encyclopaedia of descriptive turns of phrase ; pathos and humour in perfect harmony. He has the camera eyes of a McCullin and an Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

He's a commentator on life that the @Gimp would aspire to be :)

A 'Line in the Sand' is about his journalist efforts for his income support, covering only the years 2011 > Dec. 2016 when he died of cancer. A myriad of heart rendering and side splitting anecdotes of professional contracts over this particular phase, from the Rohingyas to the Magpie Cafe in Whitby - ( "Whitby appears like a William Blake doodle over the North York Moors")

A 'Pour me a Life' covers wot it says on the tin. Elegiac and forthright. Je ne regrette rien. Stunning!
I've always loved his bit in his column about shooting a Baboon. Couldn't remember word for word so I've had to resort to Wikipedia but still...

"I know perfectly well there is absolutely no excuse for this", he wrote, and that he killed the animal to "get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone, a stranger". He went on to state, "[T]hey die hard, baboons. But not this one. A soft-nosed .357 blew his lungs out"
 

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