What are you reading right now?

I finished Philip Kerr's The One from the Other last night, and made a start on this:

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Synopsis:
A New York Times Notable Book and Winner of The Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Neville's debut remains "a flat-out terror trip" (James Ellroy) and "one of the best Irish novels, in any genre, of recent times" (John Connolly).

Northern Ireland’s Troubles may be over, but peace has not erased the crimes of the past. Gerry Fegan, a former paramilitary contract killer, is haunted by the ghosts of the twelve people he slaughtered. Every night, at the point of losing his mind, he drowns their screams in drink. But it’s not enough. In order to appease the ghosts, Fegan is going to have to kill the men who gave him orders.

From the greedy politicians to the corrupt security forces, the street thugs to the complacent bystanders who let it happen, all are called to account. But when Fegan’s vendetta threatens to derail a hard-won truce and destabilize the government, old comrades and enemies alike want him dead.
 
Apologies. The cover of "Counter Strike from the Sky" that you posted says there's a DVD. Perhaps your copy doesn't have that.
My 'copy' might be a bootleg eBook . . . there's a lot of stuff about Rhodesia on YouTube, it might be in amongst that.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
£1, ppbk of Albert Speer's autobiography 'Inside the Third Reich' (English translation 1970).

From the time he was catapulted from being Hitler's tame architect to Minister for Armaments in February 1942 Speer used his extraordinary natural talent for organisation to keep the war going, in spite of knowing from 1944 that Germany was losing. Some fascinating insights in this book, for instance regarding the bombing campaign: hundreds of thousands of men and ten thousand guns kept back from the Eastern Front, halving its effectiveness against tanks, and half of Germany's optical and electronics industries focused on air defence. Meanwhile informed comment on how our targets selection could have been done better. But much more than this including Hitler's personality (and, subliminally, Speer's) and one-liners that brought me up all-standing.

Reflecting in Spandau, Speer did begin to see that he had got things wrong, but only for himself was he sorry, and his eventual disobedience to Hitler was only in terms of helping Germany and the Germans. There is no word of apology for the tens of thousands of deaths in his slave empire, PoWs and civilians worked to death or just casually murdered by the German thugs who were doing his dirty work for him. None of that can ever be forgiven and must never be forgotten. He played a leading part in staining the character of Germany to the end of time.

766pp but very ARRSE-worthy.
 
A Year in Provence rattled past quickly, so it's back to Rhodesia:

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Well, that's read - and pretty good it was too. A couple of things I found interesting: the high threshold for honours and awards, and the fact that when troops returned to Rhodesia from Ops in Mozambique/Zambia they were met by military police who searched them for loot. Welcome home.

Anyway, now for something completely different:

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I'm sure you all know the story, but here's the synopsis anyway:

Christine Keeler's name is as synonymous with the sexual revolution as the Pill. Her short affair with the Minister for War, John Profumo, led to the downfall of Harold Macmillan's government and was at the epicenter of the social and political earthquake that followed. What she can now tell with mature insight will shatter all preconceptions. This is the life's journey of a woman whom history had refused to let go, who can never escape being Christine Keeler. She is a headline forever. This is a compulsive account of her enormous personal sacrifice, her unstinting resolve and her triumphant survival. What Christine Keeler has finally found herself brave enough to tell rewrites history. Setting the record straight and revealing the truth about all the misconceptions that have amassed over the years Christine Keeler tells her side of events in her own words.• Set to grab the headlines once again the 'Profumo affair' has captivated people across the generations who are fascinated by the how the actions of one woman could bring down an entire government.
 
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This book serves as a fascinating guide to 100 war films from 1930 to the present. Readers interested in war movies will learn surprising anecdotes about these films and will have all their questions about the films' historical accuracy answered.
* Applies an internationalist perspective to the war film through entries from countries including Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Australia, Japan, Poland, Finland, and Latvia
* Defines great war films as the most artistically accomplished, politically subversive, and thought-provoking, not merely as the most popular or commercially successful, and is therefore a relevant reference for students and film and history buffs
* Provides clearly written and informative histories of the films themselves as well as of the cultural context surrounding the making and reception of them
* Recounts critical controversies and analyzes the ideological biases implicit in these films in its examination of how the films shaped their source material and what they included, distorted, and added or left out.
 
I finished the book I was reading about the life of Dick McCreery , The Last Great Cavalryman by Richard Mead. While I knew the basic outline of McCreery's career and that he was well-respected by pretty much everyone ( except Montgomery, who prevented him from becoming CIGS) , I had no idea of the trials and tribulations he had been through. Educated at Eton and Sandhurst , his father was an American businessman who spent most of his life in the U.K. but retained companies in the States and in fact one of McCreery's brothers moved there to work in the 1920s. McCreery was shot through the femoral artery at Arras in 1917 and if ( almost incredibly) the bullet hadn't lodged in the artery he would almost certainly have died. He returned to service with the 12th Lancers for the last three months of the war , as a troop leader, when they were finally able to operate in their mobile role ( previously they had spent much of their time supplying dismounted coys to relieve the infantry in the trenches ), and won an MC.

Post-war he managed to revive his sports career in hunting , steeplechasing and polo, all of which he excelled at, despite having lost several toes when he was wounded . The docs had actually wanted to take his whole leg off but he had refused , saying he would rather die than not be able to ride again . The 12th Lancers served in Ireland after WW1 and McCreery's brother Bob, also now with the regiment , was killed by the IRA in 1921. This was followed shortly by the death of their father; another brother ( clearly gay though Mead is rather subtle about this ) committed suicide in the 1930s. He married a much more outgoing woman ( McCreery was often rather shy and introverted) and had five children. His military career continued onward and upward - adjutant , Squadron OC, staff college , brigade major, service in Egypt as CO of the now mechanized 12th Lancers, chief of staff of 1st Infantry Div under Alexander.

McCreery's service in WW2 was equally distinguished as both a commander and staff officer - brigade commander in France in 1940 under extremely trying circumstances, raised and commanded the 8th Armoured Div in UK, then sent out to the Middle East as adviser on Armoured Fighting Vehicles. Here he clashed with Auchinleck and Dorman-Smith over the organization of brigades and divisions and was eventually sacked. Alexander promptly took him on as his chief of staff when he took over Middle East Command just days later , and McCreery continued in this role for Alex with 18th Army Group in Tunisia. This was followed by a brief return to the U.K. as GOC VIII Corps.

Now came the " meat " of McCreery's wartime career , starting with the Salerno landings commanding X Corps. It was he, imperturbable as always , who played the biggest part in stopping Mark Clark's's panic. His planning was always precise but he was willing to very quickly exploit opportunities too. His orders were given in a low, sometimes almost inaudible voice ( he was certainly no showman ), but woe betide those who didn't carry out those orders , for they would find themselves on the receiving end of a rather fierce temper. Once the fighting started , as both a Corps and army commander, he would often be found up front in his Dingo scout car or on foot. He also often flew over the battlefield in an Auster AOP aircraft.

McCreery took over 8th Army in October 1944 . His offensive in Italy in 1945 is regarded by many as one of the best prepared and executed of the war. Post-war he commanded the British troops in Austria and then BAOR before his final , pretty nothing job as British military representative at the UN. He retired in 1949 at the age of only 51. His retirement was an active one with many regimental and sporting activities. Unfortunately there was more tragedy to come - his son Michael , who had served briefly with his beloved 12th Lancers but was by now a communist, died young of cancer in the 1960s. McCreery never rejected him.
 
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I finished the book I was reading about the life of Dick McCreery , The Last Great Cavalryman by Richard Mead. While I knew the basic outline of McCreery's career and that he was well-respected by pretty much everyone ( except Montgomery, who prevented him from becoming CIGS) , I had no idea of the trials and tribulations he had been through. Educated at Eton and Sandhurst , his father was an American businessman who spent most of his life in the U.K. but retained companies in the States and in fact one of McCreery's brothers moved there to work in the 1920s. McCreery was shot through the femoral artery at Arras in 1917 and if ( almost incredibly) the bullet hadn't lodged in the artery he would almost certainly have died. He returned to service with the 12th Lancers for the last three months of the war , as a troop leader, when they were finally able to operate in their mobile role ( previously they had spent much of their time supplying dismounted coys to relieve the infantry in the trenches ), and won an MC.

Post-war he managed to revive his sports career in hunting , steeplechasing and polo, all of which he excelled at, despite having lost several toes when he was wounded . The docs had actually wanted to take his whole leg off but he had refused , saying he would rather die than not be able to ride again . The 12th Lancers served in Ireland after WW1 and McCreery's brother Bob, also now with the regiment , was killed by the IRA in 1921. This was followed shortly by the death of their father; another brother ( clearly gay though Mead is rather subtle about this ) committed suicide in the 1930s. He married a much more outgoing woman and had children. His military career continued onward and upward - adjutant , Squadron OC, staff college , brigade major, service in Egypt as CO of the now mechanized 12th Lancers, chief of staff of 1st Infantry Div under Alexander.

McCreery's service in WW2 was equally distinguished as both a commander and staff officer - brigade commander in France in 1940 under extremely trying circumstances, raised and commanded the 8th Armoured Div in UK, then sent out to the Middle East as adviser on Armoured Fighting Vehicles. Here he clashed with Auchinleck and Dorman-Smith over the organization of brigades and divisions and was eventually sacked. Alexander promptly took him on as his chief of staff when he took over Middle East Command just days later , and McCreery continued in this role for Alex with 18th Army Group in Tunisia. This was followed by a brief return to the U.K. as GOC VIII Corps.

Now came the " meat " of McCreery's wartime career , starting with the Salerno landings commanding X Corps. It was he, imperturbable as always , who played the biggest part in stopping Mark Clark's's panic. His planning was always precise but he was willing to very quickly exploit opportunities too. His orders were given in a low, sometimes almost inaudible voice ( he was certainly no showman ), but woe betide those who didn't carry out those orders , for they would find themselves on the receiving end of a rather fierce temper. Once the fighting started , as both a Corps and army commander, he would often be found up front in his Dingo scout car or on foot.

McCreery took over 8th Army in October 1944 . His offensive in Italy in 1945 is regarded by many as one of the best prepared and executed of the war. Post-war he commanded the British troops in Austria and then BAOR before his final , pretty nothing job as British military representative at the UN. He retired in 1949 at the age of only 51. His retirement was an active one with many regimental and sporting activities. Unfortunately there was more tragedy to come - his son Michael , who had served briefly with his beloved 12th Lancers but was by now a communist, died young of cancer in the 1960s. McCreery never rejected him.
Excellent and very interesting write-up. Thanks. What was Monty's problem with him? Was he too good?
 
Excellent and very interesting write-up. Thanks. What was Monty's problem with him? Was he too good?
McCreery had criticized Montgomery's handling of the armour at Alamein, and particularly his sacking of McCreery's friend and fellow 12th Lancer , Herbert Lumsden. He also could not stand Montgomery's egotistical style of command and unilike Alex wouldn't simply let him do what he wanted. He actually wrote in his diary as early as December 1940 " What an unpleasant man Monty is ! " ( McCreery kept extensive diaries and was working on his memoirs before he died ).

From the book

Charles Miller, Maj Gen Administration Middle East - " Dick's characteristic loyalty and singlemindedness caused him to show outspoken resentment at Gen Montgomery's disloyalty to Gen Alexander - but these were brushed aside by Gen Alexander's tact- ' keep your eye on the ball ' was a favourite remark .'

Still , when Horrocks was wounded in a German air raid , Monty agreed with Brooke and Alex that McCreery should succeed him at X Corps .

Another review:

H-Net Discussion Networks - Review: (SWWMORG) Dando on Mead. The Last Great Cavalryman: The Life of Richard McCreery-Commander Eighth Army
 
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McCreery took over 8th Army in October 1944 . His offensive in Italy in 1945 is regarded by many as one of the best prepared and executed of the war.
Was McCreery the old, stuffy guy who took over the 8th Army wearing knickers and knee socks? Or am I thinking of someone else?

Cheers,
Dan.
 
No that was Oliver Leese, one of Monty's yes men...
Yes, Oliver Leese. I recall reading that he wasn't too popular with the Canadians. Although in Leese's defence, Monty was well liked and anyone would have had a hard act to follow.

Cheers,
Dan.
 
Yes, Oliver Leese. I recall reading that he wasn't too popular with the Canadians. Although in Leese's defence, Monty was well liked and anyone would have had a hard act to follow.

Cheers,
Dan.
Leese was sent to the Far East and tried to remove Slim from command of 14th Army as he thought that Slim was worn out. Slim was to get command of 12th Army to clear up Burma and Christiansen was to get 14th Army as he had experience of amphibious warfare.
The phrase that I remember was Leese saying to Slim "You're not sacked. I am." Although frankly it seemed more like a case of misunderstanding and miscommunication.
 
I've never been much of a book reader but er indoors has bought me a couple over the years.
For Christmas 2004 she bought me Inside Out by Pink Floyds drummer Nick Mason.
I've just found it in a cupboard still in new condition.
I've started reading it and it's a fascinating insight into the early years of the band from Nick's perspective.

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Random Writings on Rifle Shooting by A. G, Banks, Lieut. R.E. (T.) B.Eng., A.M.Inst.C.E. to give him his full title. I presume the (T.) is "Territorial" but awaiting enlightenment on that. It is a modern reproduction of the 1948 edition of the book which is mostly a collection of the author's articles published in "The Rifleman" magazine.

The book was recommended to me by a still active 80+ year old after I watched him score a 49 out of 50 possible with 7 inner bulls at 600 metres with a 15 to 20 kilometre wind at the butts. He advised that it was the best introduction to shooting accuracy that he had read.

Many of the chapters were written in the lead-up to WW2 and the author was in no doubt as to what was going to happen. Some chapters were written in 1940 when the author was responsible for teaching shooting to the Home Guard units being formed at the time. He is very blunt in his opinion that shooting at known ranges, prone and at conventional targets was not going to be sufficient if push came to shove; one of his chapter headings is, "Wake Up Britain". Much of the book is written around the use of .22RF LR cartridge which he argues had been overlooked. I am finding it very informative and interesting so far and have still to get to the technique section.

This is now the second book on shooting that have purchased that is a reproduction of an out-of-print book. This one was done by Lightning Source UK Ltd., Milton Keynes UK.
 
Depending on the toss of a coin a coin later today I will start either
Ian Rankin In a house of lies- latest Rebus or
Bernard Cornwell War of the Wolf- latest in the story of Uthred
 
I've never been much of a book reader but er indoors has bought me a couple over the years.
For Christmas 2004 she bought me Inside Out by Pink Floyds drummer Nick Mason.
I've just found it in a cupboard still in new condition.
I've started reading it and it's a fascinating insight into the early years of the band from Nick's perspective.

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I enjoyed it.
 
I've finished The Ghosts of Belfast which is apparently the title it was published under in the US. It is properly called The Twelve. A gripping read, particularly if you have served in NI.

I have now started the next book (for me) by Byron Bales:

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Synopsis:
The story begins in Brazil's Mata Grosso, and takes Roth from a web of deceit and treachery in Manhattan to the new killing grounds of Cambodia. The Valhalla Society's extracurricular activities stop at nothing short of fanatic as inner-clique lodge members wager on the outcome of mortal combat among egotistic die-hards of extreme sports and challenges, according to well-defined rules of engagement. A risk in this illegal and immoral enterprise whose venue is international are unlimited wagers amongst odds-takers, many of whom are well known personalities.
 

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