What are you reading right now?

I've reverted to Tom Sharpes Wilt series for some light and fun reading.

I'm in the process of printing and reading the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Green manifestos.

No point dripping about politics without reading what the cæntbags have to say I suppose
 
I'm reading 'Elizabeth 1st - a novel" by Margaret George. It's written in the first person with most of the chapters voiced by Elizabeth but there's the occasional chapter by Lettice Knollys who Elizabeth dislikes a lot for marrying Robert Dudley.

It's one of those books that draws you in and makes you feel that you're there. A good read.
 
Rereading two of the best war memoirs I've read. Part of what makes the so notable is the human element in each and the fact that they corroborate each other as the authors were in the same actions in the Far Eat until Singapore fell and their paths took drastically different roads.

The books are

"Alarm Starboard!: A Remarkable True Story of the War at Sea" by Geoffrey Brooke.

"Course for Disaster: From Scapa Flow to the River Kwai" by Richard Pool.
 
Having finished (finally) The Sword and the Shield, the Mitrokhin Archive, I've started a new non-fiction book (ebook actually). It is:

spider-zero-seven.jpg


Proving that I can copy and paste, here's the synopsis:
Silver Cross recipient, Mike Borlace is considered to be one of the most experienced combat helicopter pilots of recent times. Now he collates his experiences in this compelling wartime memoir set against the backdrop of the civil war fought in Rhodesia during the 1970s.

Helicopters were a vital component of the small Rhodesian Defence Force and as part of special forces, Borlace and his fellow aircrew soon became key weapons in the counterinsurgency operations. Adopting new flexible tactics and blending stealth with courage, they carried the fight by air to the heart of the enemy, establishing a fearsome reputation. In this vivid history, Borlace chronicles the story of airmen, soldiers and leading figures such as Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe’s communist backed guerillas from the perspective of a professional officer at the sharp end.

In Spider Zero Seven, Borlace humorously recounts the training, living conditions and hardships of his time in the forces. He also touchingly depicts the human side of the military through his portrayals of his fellow pilots, technicians, medics, nurses and flying with his dog Doris.

Out of the 1096 days he served as a pilot in 7 Squadron, Borlace spent 739 days on combat operations. During his 149 contacts with the enemy he was shot down five times and wounded twice. He is one of only five recipients of the Silver Cross, the highest gallantry award given by the air force. With this authority he gives a powerful insight into the violent events of a brutal conflict, in a book that will appeal not only to those interested in military history, but also to a wider readership who enjoy a personal, true-life adventure.
 
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An excellent book covering the formation of 27 Brigade with the Middlesex and Argyles from Hong Kong and 3RAR from Japan,utterly reliant on U.S. Transport and Fire support the book follows the brigade from the Pusan perimeter up to within touching distance of the Yalu and the desperate rearguard action as the Chinese tumbled the UN forces back down the peninsula.
It also covers 41 Commando on their raids with the USMC and the near disastrous reinforcement in the Frozen Chosin.
 
The Vulcan Boys by Tony Blackman. History development and operational history of the Vulcan bomber. Read the Victor, Buccaneer, Jaguar, Lightning and Valiant boys so his should be good as well. Phantom and Harrier boys waiting in line.
 
Picked this up for ££ at the Works a while ago. Its a nice tome for spitfire lovers with stacks of anecdotes some unpublished before. It is, however, very light on firm facts & figures & is also written in something of a Boys Own style which is great. Just don't expect anything worldly & authoritative.





I got this from the local library having a current interest in delving deeper into Bletchley & the Lorenz stuff theydid there. I wanted to know more about Tommy Flowers & Bill Tutte. Tbh its pretty badly written as it was compiled by Capt Harry Roberts' death in 2014. I can't remember who did the editing but i think his wife was involved. It doesn't detract from the book as its packed with technical & interesting info but there is a lot of repetition throughout. As though separate series of notes have been simply typed up, not tidied & simply published.





At the same time I found this on the same shelf as the Lorenz book. Its a very lovely book collecting a load of personal stories together sorted into chapters related to particular areas (social aspect, etc) than solely focussing on the Enigma side of things. There is also a nice short chapter on the Lorenz work with at last some correct info on the purpose of Collosus rather than the usual media guff. The author does, however, fail to mention the work of the Testery prior to the Newmanry & its use of Colossus.

 
"Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man" by Siegfried Sassoon for the umpteenth time although not for some years. It is one of a trilogy, loosely known as Sherston's Progress which is the title of the third volume (the second being Memoirs of an Infantry Officer), that is semi-autobiographical and covers the years from circa 1900 to 1918.

"Memoirs" is the first volume of the trilogy and is a delightful account of a sheltered child being quietly mentored into becoming a young gentleman by his guardian aunt's groom. It describes a rural England that will never be seen again despite Brexit and countless replays of Midsommer Murders; where one's world lay within the radius that one could cover in a pony and trap while dropping off your card, on journeying up on the milk train to London; on reading the county newspaper to find out where the next hunt would be held. There is an almighty sting in the tale though as the book concludes with Sherston as an army officer in the muddy hell that were the trenches in Flanders in WW1 describing how his world has been torn apart.

For anyone who knows the story of Siegfried Sassoon, the following two volumes of the trilogy will not be a surprise. They describe how his life was fundamentally altered by his experiences in the trenches and the conclusions that he reached and the actions he took as a result. They are written in the same gentle style of self-deprecation that marks the first volume but with an underlying bleakness. Despite that I recommend the trilogy as good reading.
 
@retread2 good work on finishing The Mitrohkin Archive. Sometimes feels as difficult to read as it must have been to exfiltrate him and his material!

I might be in trouble with SWMBO when this turns up in the post.

Folio society edition, with introductions by Wilfred Thesiger (of Arabian Sands) and Michael Asher (Arabist, Desert-ist and biographer of Lawrence - he also would write Thesiger's biography and his obit for The Guardian).
 
Recently polished off Mick Herron's 'London Rules' as a holiday read;
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"London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one. Cover your arse. Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's under attack: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist; from the PM's favourite Muslim, who's about to be elected mayor of the West Midlands; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner. Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse. It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves."

I picked it up 1/2 price at the airport and it was very satisfying in a dirty sort of way. He's got a wicked ear for dialogue, and some of the "slow horses" acutely remind me of some of the people I actually work with. Since I've finished it I've googled his other works which I'll now have to read through.
 
@retread2 good work on finishing The Mitrohkin Archive. Sometimes feels as difficult to read as it must have been to exfiltrate him and his material!

I might be in trouble with SWMBO when this turns up in the post.

Folio society edition, with introductions by Wilfred Thesiger (of Arabian Sands) and Michael Asher (Arabist, Desert-ist and biographer of Lawrence - he also would write Thesiger's biography and his obit for The Guardian).
The Mitrohkin Archive was not a hard read, quite enjoyable in fact. Just very long. Chapter 22 (Special Tasks) in particular sparked my interest, illustrating how the KGB has tried to exact revenge on those it sees as traitors (Tito, Nureyev and others). 'According to Marcus Wolf, head of the HVA (Stasi foreign intelligence) from 1952 to 1986, the Centre offered its allies lethal nerve toxins and poisons which were fatal on contact with the skin for use during 'special actions'.' Although such operations (by the KGB) declined, recent events in Salisbury indicate that the GRU copied their big brothers.

Your book looks like a worthy purchase - and hard to conceal when it arrives. Thesiger had two young guides for his crossing of the Empty Quarter, bin Kabina and bin Gubaysha. In my time at Thamrait (75 - 77) bin Gubaysha would appear from time to time, usually on the scrounge. He would introduce himself as 'bin Gubaysha, I'm in the book' meaning his picture was in Thesiger's book, Arabian Sands. I would try to get those being introduced to feign ignorance of the book, and say 'book? What book?'
 
Finished the last book in the Merrily Watkins series, #15 All of a Winter's Night. #16 isn't out until March.

I've started #1 in the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman. It's called When the Bough Breaks. I read a few of Kellerman's books donkeys years back and enjoyed them. Delaware is a psychologist in early retirement who is enlisted by the LAPD to help them solve murders.

I need to get motoring on them as I'm five books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. I've got three history books lined up after that,
 
Recently polished off Mick Herron's 'London Rules' as a holiday read;
View attachment 353051
"London Rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one. Cover your arse. Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's under attack: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist; from the PM's favourite Muslim, who's about to be elected mayor of the West Midlands; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner. Over at Slough House, the crew are struggling with personal problems. But collectively, they're about to rediscover their greatest strength - that of making a bad situation much, much worse. It's a good job Jackson Lamb knows the rules. Because those things aren't going to break themselves."

I picked it up 1/2 price at the airport and it was very satisfying in a dirty sort of way. He's got a wicked ear for dialogue, and some of the "slow horses" acutely remind me of some of the people I actually work with. Since I've finished it I've googled his other works which I'll now have to read through.
I'm reading this at the moment - thoroughly enjoyed this whole series
 
Having rattled through Thirty Three Teeth fairly quickly, tonight I start a new fiction read:

the-fear-artist.jpg


Synopsis:
An accidental collision on a Bangkok sidewalk goes very wrong when the man who ran into Rafferty dies in his arms, but not before saying three words: Helen Eckersley. Cheyenne. Seconds later, the police arrive, denying that the man was shot. That night, Rafferty is interrogated by Thai secret agents who demand to know what the dead man said, but Rafferty can't remember. When he's finally released, Rafferty arrives home to find that his apartment has been ransacked. In the days that follow, he realizes he's under surveillance. The second time men in uniform show up at his door, he manages to escape the building and begins a new life as a fugitive. As he learns more about his situation, it becomes apparent that he's been caught on the margins of the war on terror, and that his opponent is a virtuoso artist whose medium is fear.
 
Well I've finished Mike Borlace's Spider Zero Seven and, at the end of the book it was clear that there has to be another volume as this volume only covers his time in the Rhodesian Air Force. At random I have selected this as my next non-fiction read:

labour-and-the-gulag.jpg


Judging by the introduction this synopsis doesn't do it justice:

The Labour Party welcomed the Russian Revolution in 1917: it paved the way for the birth of a socialist superpower and ushered in a new era in Soviet governance. Labour excused the Bolshevik excesses and prepared for its own revolution in Britain.

In 1929, Stalin deported hundreds of thousands of men, women and children to work in labour camps. Subjected to appalling treatment, thousands died. When news of the camps leaked out in Britain, there were protests demanding the government ban imports of timber cut by slave labourers.

The Labour government of the day dismissed mistreatment claims as Tory propaganda and blocked appeals for an inquiry. Despite the Cabinet privately acknowledging the harsh realities of the work camps, Soviet denials were publicly repeated as fact. One Labour minister even defended them as part of 'a remarkable economic experiment'.

Labour and the Gulag explains how Britain's Labour Party was seduced by the promise of a socialist utopia and enamoured of a Russian Communist system it sought to emulate. It reveals the moral compromises Labour made, and how it turned its back on the people in order to further its own political agenda.


Bugger, it's 747 pages . . .
 

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