What are you reading right now?

I have just started this:

missing-in-rangoon.jpg


Synopsis:
As foreigners rush into Myanmar with briefcases stuffed with plans and cash for hotels, shopping malls and high rises, they discover the old ways die hard. Vincent Calvino’s case is to find a young British-Thai man gone missing in Myanmar, while his best friend and protector Colonel Pratt of the Royal Thai Police has an order to cut off the supply of cold pills from Myanmar used for the methamphetamine trade in Thailand.
As one of the most noir novels in the Vincent Calvino series, Missing in Rangoon plays out beneath the moving shadows of the cross-border drug barons. Pratt and Calvino’s lives are entangled with the invisible forces inside the old regime and their allies who continue to play by their own set of rules.


I'm a fan of Christopher G. Moore novels, and the Calvino series in particular.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
'The Navy's here!' as the sailors of Vian's Cossack scramble aboard the Altmark in a Norwegian fjord to free British merchant Navy prisoners of the Germans that the Norwegians had said were not there.

All this and more in 'Action This Day' by Admiral of the Fleet Sir Philip Vian, GCB, KBE, DSO & two bars (1894–1968). This is his war memoir of six years of continuous command at sea including Norway, the Bismarck chase, the Mediterranean and 1st & 2nd Sirte, Sicily, Salerno, D-Day (his flagship mined) and carrier operations against Japan, during which he survived the sinkings of HMSs Afridi and Naiad. He is frank about mistakes he made, and makes light of the difficulties of trying to think with six 5.25s blasting off only feet away. It is clear that at the end of some Command spells he was really not well at all but Duty drove him onward. He finds time to mark the courage of several much more junior officers and ratings, and also to record the careers of some subordinates who survive, and what we as a nation (not just the navy) lost in some of those who didn't.

This was a re-read after a visitor pointed out that it was an expensive book - I had bought it in 2003 and unlikely I paid more than £3 or so for it; find one on the net for less that £40 and you're doing well.

Vian.jpg
 
'The London Cage - The Secret History of Britain's WW2 Interrogation Centre' by Helen Fry.

There has been previous publications on 'London Cage' however, this author has now updated via previously redacted detail on the workings of this particular centre. It does address the moral argument of excessive 'duress' deemed to be necessarily practised in a total war environment.

As such, 6, 7, 8 8a Kensington Palace Gardens (London Cage) did not appear on any official documents of POW camps under British jurisdiction. The International Red Cross were not informed of it's existence until 1946.

Under the Colonelship of Alexander Paterson Scotland, a nephew of George Bernard Shaw, a robust regime of interviewing techniques was enacted by our Intelligence Services, both military and civilian in tandem to good effect.

Yes, he was a character, who passed in 1958. Jack Hawkins played him in the film 'The Two Headed Spy' in 1958. His sanitised memoirs were published in 1957.

Col Scotland, with others of his generation in related sensitive activities (consider Masterman's XX Committee) was determined to tell the 'warts and all' story of his leadership of London Cage and it's situation and standing within the other eight 'cages' in the London conurbation. This, quite understandably, as with Masterman's threat of going to our Cousins to publish, brought the wrath of the system into his world.

Ms Fry's tome benefits from the passing of time and a forensic research of the detail yet as revealed, and most meticulously listed, including unpublished material from the Intelligence Corps museum at Chicksands and Naval Intelligence sources.

To my discredit, I first considered it another 'Graunid' historically researched piece of work, but I feel I'm very wrong. It's a light into a collection of souls who had to address the Geneva Conventions and the then designed a code of practice based on WW1 ( modern war?) experiences . The medical fraternity in all of it's guises were co-opted.

Make your own mind up about Col. Scotland and his teams. Ms Fry lays it out and I'm impressed with the manner that she has. For the record, I'm very much on Col. Scotland's approach, though the ' Zero Dark Thirty' approach via rendition has troubled me. But do read it, especially if you are in that line of business or considering it so.
 
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'The London Cage - The Secret History of Britain's WW2 Interrogation Centre' by Helen Fry.

There has been previous publications on 'London Cage' however, this author has now updated via previously redacted detail on the workings of this particular centre. It does address the moral argument of excessive 'duress' deemed to be necessarily practised in a total war environment.

As such, 6, 7, 8 8a Kensington Palace Gardens (London Cage) did not appear on any official documents of POW camps under British jurisdiction. The International Red Cross were not informed of it's existence until 1946.

Under the Colonelship of Alexander Paterson Scotland, a nephew of George Bernard Shaw, a robust regime of interviewing techniques was enacted by our Intelligence Services, both military and civilian in tandem to good effect.

Yes, he was a character, who passed in 1958. Jack Hawkins played him in the film 'The Two Headed Spy' in 1958. His sanitised memoirs were published in 1957.

Col Scotland, with others of his generation in related sensitive activities (consider Masterman's XX Committee) was determined to tell the 'warts and all' story of his leadership of London Cage and it's situation and standing within the other eight 'cages' within the London conurbation. This quite understandably, as with Masterman's, despite the threat of going to our Cousins to publish, brought the wrath of the system into his world.

Ms Fry's tome benefits from the passing of time and a forensic research of the detail yet known, most meticulously listed, including unpublished material from the Intelligence Corps museum at Chicksands.

To my discredit, I first considered it another 'Graunid' historically researched piece of work, but I feel I'm very wrong. It's a light into a collection of souls who had to address the Geneva Conventions and then designed a code of practice based on WW1 ( modern war?) experiences . The medical fraternity in all of it's guises were co-opted.

Make your own mind up about Col. Scotland and his teams. Ms Fry lays it out and I'm impressed with the manner that she has. For the record, I'm very much on Col. Scotland's approach, though the ' Zero Dark Thirty' approach via rendition has troubled me. But do read it, especially if you are in that line of business or considering it so.
Thanks @Alec_Lomas It is definitely going on my reading list.
Considering your last paragraph - this may be of interest (apologies if already aware of it):
 
Thanks @Alec_Lomas It is definitely going on my reading list.
Considering your last paragraph - this may be of interest (apologies if already aware of it):
Thank you for the attachment. I wasn't aware of this detail.

Suffice to add, I worked as an attached arm for three Int. Corps Colonels who governed this skill on the military front and who were ethically outstanding as I will now comment without hesitation.

Military units attempting to 'Proffer ' their view as to how prone to capture troops under training should really experience the preliminaries prior to R.to I , found themselves at the sharp end of a Court Martial.

It's a very structured world from the time of capture / pick -up and best left to the cognoscenti to evaluate.
 
Thank you for the attachment. I wasn't aware of this detail.

Suffice to add, I worked as an attached arm for three Int. Corps Colonels who governed this skill on the military front and who were ethically outstanding as I will now comment without hesitation.

Military units attempting to 'Proffer ' their view as to how prone to capture troops under training should really experience the preliminaries prior to R.to I , found themselves at the sharp end of a Court Martial.

It's a very structured world from the time of capture / pick -up and best left to the cognoscenti to evaluate.
They had (and still have) to be. And just as well considering the fact that essentially in both Iraq and Afghanistan we were junior partners in coalition with our transatlantic cousins and everyone knows how they performed in places such as Abu Ghraib.
 
Recently finished Thackeray’s “Barry Lyndon”. Quite good fun.
Written in the 1840s and serialised, it tells the story of the above in the first person. Born in Ireland to a poor family but convinced he is of noble blood, Lyndon ultimately flees some reckless debts by enlisting in the army. After seeing some action (none heroic, and much fabricated), he deserts and finds himself dragooned into the Prussian army. From there he becomes a spy, gambler and high-living man-about-town before finding a rich widow to marry in his determination to live as a gentleman ought.
Very funny in parts, this is the story of a cad, bounder and adventuring scoundrel. Think Flashman without the shagging.
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Recently finished Thackeray’s “Barry Lyndon”. Quite good fun.
Written in the 1840s and serialised, it tells the story of the above in the first person. Born in Ireland to a poor family but convinced he is of noble blood, Lyndon ultimately flees some reckless debts by enlisting in the army. After seeing some action (none heroic, and much fabricated), he deserts and finds himself dragooned into the Prussian army. From there he becomes a spy, gambler and high-living man-about-town before finding a rich widow to marry in his determination to live as a gentleman ought.
Very funny in parts, this is the story of a cad, bounder and adventuring scoundrel. Think Flashman without the shagging.
Quite well serialized on BBC Radio 4Extra recently.
 
They had (and still have) to be. And just as well considering the fact that essentially in both Iraq and Afghanistan we were junior partners in coalition with our transatlantic cousins and everyone knows how they performed in places such as Abu Ghraib.
Touché , I have no answer.

If 'Zero Dark 30' is a truism.' I do recoil in horror. There's more tried and sophisticated means of understanding opposing ideologies such as ISIS / Boko Harem without resorting to such barbarity.
 
Recently finished Thackeray’s “Barry Lyndon”. Quite good fun.
Written in the 1840s and serialised, it tells the story of the above in the first person. Born in Ireland to a poor family but convinced he is of noble blood, Lyndon ultimately flees some reckless debts by enlisting in the army. After seeing some action (none heroic, and much fabricated), he deserts and finds himself dragooned into the Prussian army. From there he becomes a spy, gambler and high-living man-about-town before finding a rich widow to marry in his determination to live as a gentleman ought.
Very funny in parts, this is the story of a cad, bounder and adventuring scoundrel. Think Flashman without the shagging.
Uniquely for it's filming presented challenges for the cinematographers. The candlelit scenarios were regarded and techniques in prisms evolved to give the scenes a better 'lit' ambiance.
 
Also just finished “The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War” by Halik Kochanski. Very informative. A good overall view of the war from a Polish perspective. Despite the author’s intentions to stay on the fence, she has little good to say about the allies, who treated Poland rather shabbily. With such a massive subject, lots of stuff is covered briefly, but a terrific book for anyone wanting to get a good overview of Poland’s war.
 
Also just finished “The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War” by Halik Kochanski. Very informative. A good overall view of the war from a Polish perspective. Despite the author’s intentions to stay on the fence, she has little good to say about the allies, who treated Poland rather shabbily. With such a massive subject, lots of stuff is covered briefly, but a terrific book for anyone wanting to get a good overview of Poland’s war.
I have a close interest in Polish issues due to my background and heritage. The book is is my collection (unfortunatley still boxed in the basement of the recently purchased house in the Borders. Regretably the library is the last on the prioritised to-do list for the property. I had managed to cram about 7,000 volumes into our London flat, but ripped out all the shelves when it was renovated for rental purposes.

As I recall @RangdoOfArg is correct in summarising it as a good overview of Poland's war, though it did have some minor errors that could have been rectified with better editing.

I would recommend "Trail of Hope" by Norman Davies:
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It explains how I ended up being born in the UK and not in Poland (or not at all).
 

diverman

LE
Book Reviewer
1566215558344.png


This is a book that will have you in tears, of anger at what people are able to do to other people and at the barbarity of the human race plus it will make you sick to the stomach. Sarah Helm spoke to survivors of Ravensbruck to try and elucidate their experiences before age caught up with them. Helm describes the day to day brutality of the camp, of the deaths and worse inflicted on the prisoners including graphic sickening descriptions ofthe medical experiments on wmen in the camp. They were described by many as 'rabbits', that some survived is a teatimony totheir strength and luck of the draw.

I have had to read this book in very small doses due to the nature of the book and dscriptions related by the author.
 
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I have a close interest in Polish issues due to my background and heritage. The book is is my collection (unfortunatley still boxed in the basement of the recently purchased house in the Borders. Regretably the library is the last on the prioritised to-do list for the property. I had managed to cram about 7,000 volumes into our London flat, but ripped out all the shelves when it was renovated for rental purposes.

As I recall @RangdoOfArg is correct in summarising it as a good overview of Poland's war, though it did have some minor errors that could have been rectified with better editing.

I would recommend "Trail of Hope" by Norman Davies:
View attachment 411435
It explains how I ended up being born in the UK and not in Poland (or not at all).
Thanks I'll look out for it
I just finished Through the Wheat by Thoams Boyd, the fictional tale of 1-6th Marines. It compliments the true story of 2-6th Marines as told by Peter F Owen in To the limits of Endurance…
The sjt shooting himself in the foot after a dear john letter, Japanese truck drivers(actually french vietnamese) the main marine losing his moral compass sinking into a dark state of mind.

Unlike Coy K Boyd stuck with his main marine fleshing out others in the platoon and coy.
 
I have a close interest in Polish issues due to my background and heritage. The book is is my collection (unfortunatley still boxed in the basement of the recently purchased house in the Borders. Regretably the library is the last on the prioritised to-do list for the property. I had managed to cram about 7,000 volumes into our London flat, but ripped out all the shelves when it was renovated for rental purposes.

As I recall @RangdoOfArg is correct in summarising it as a good overview of Poland's war, though it did have some minor errors that could have been rectified with better editing.

I would recommend "Trail of Hope" by Norman Davies:
View attachment 411435
It explains how I ended up being born in the UK and not in Poland (or not at all).
Thanks for the recommendation, I will chase this one down.
Bad drills on not sorting the library out. Much to The Mrs intense annoyance, I tend to prioritise books over tedious stuff like ensuring the cooker works when we move house.
 

Lacking Moral Fibre

Old-Salt
Book Reviewer
Vietnam: The Australian War by [Ham, Paul]


I've just started reading this book. Saw it for sale on holiday in Aus and ordered it from the good people at Amazon. Max Hastings recent book on this war has a chapter on the Australian army and as like ever other war they've taken part in the Australian's are superb. I've bypassed the first couple of chapters on the history of Vietnam as its been covered in several other books I've read on this subject, and gone straight to the first deployment.
A number of Brits served in the Australian army and many of the troops had served in Malaya,
the Australian top brass clashed with the American brass from the get go over tactics and strategy.
Hastings book mentions how disciplined the diggers were especially when dug in at night with little radio traffic and how they desperately tried to minimise civilian casualties.
However the Australians did allow any local civilian labour to work in their base camps for security reason.
From what I've read so far even from the first troop ship leaving, at night with only navigation lights showing, the Australian public are not whole heartedly behind the deployment. This growing anti war sentiment and the very left leaning unions are a major factor within the story.
I must say I do like the cover picture with "that" rifle laying waste to vast hordes of commies.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
1963 189pp Penguin of George Orwell's 'Down and Out in Paris and London' (1933). The Paris part relates to 1928/29 (see Wiki) and the London part is I think a mishmash of separate adventures. Nevertheless the sheer filth, degradation* and misery of existence at the bottom of the pile comes across very forcibly as does the filth behind the scenes of smart restaurants and I wonder if that has completely disappeared even after 90 years.

Like all Orwell, a compelling and very good read.

* You've read of 'indescribable' filth and degradation? Well, Orwell does describe it.
 
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seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
Also just finished “The Eagle Unbowed: Poland and the Poles in the Second World War” by Halik Kochanski. Very informative. A good overall view of the war from a Polish perspective. Despite the author’s intentions to stay on the fence, she has little good to say about the allies, who treated Poland rather shabbily. With such a massive subject, lots of stuff is covered briefly, but a terrific book for anyone wanting to get a good overview of Poland’s war.
1963-5 I served under a Polish captain, often a strange experience. He had escaped at the start of the war and qualified for permanent RN afterwards, I was given to understand, by speaking English (he worked hard at that), having a British decoration (a DSC), and a British wife to whom my sympathy. Earlier in his career he ended up in Hugh Willis' 'The Bosun's Call' which is a very funny read. In between my chum Iain told me that the stress of serving under him cured his warts.

Scuttlebutt but somebody told me that the Polish-manned destroyer HMS Garland once came into Scapa with dead Germans hanging from her yardarms.
 

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