What are you reading right now?

I rattled through Painting the Sands by Kim Hughes pretty rapidly - a great read. and thought provoking. Was it all worth it?

I'm following that with this:

View attachment 426271

Synopsis:

The first ever true story told by an MI5 officer - an explosive, shocking and honest account revealing never-before-seen detail into MI5's operation.

'I do it because it is all I know. I'm a hunter of people and I'm damn good at it.'


Recruited after the 7/7 attacks on London, Tom quickly found himself immersed in the tense world of watching, following and infiltrating networks of terrorists, spies and foreign agents.

It was a job that took over his life and cost him dear, taking him to the limit of physical and mental endurance.

Filled with extraordinary accounts of operations that saved countless lives, Soldier Spy is the only authentic account by an ex-MI5 officer of the round-the-clock battle to keep this country safe.
A decent read. Barely mentions his military career, though by the end of the first chapter one could make an intelligent guess.
He remarks quite prominently that he got clearance from Box500 to proceed with his tome.

He has a second book now on the market, joining the Andy Mac, Chris Ryan vanguard of faction authors. He's popped up on the radio a few times. Seems a decent lad. Good luck to him.
 
Just finished the latest Harry Gilmour novel called See you at the bar by David Black. The series is as good as ever and he's not fighting the war on his own in this novel if anything he's a little war weary. No more spoilers as I know there's a few on here who enjoy the novels as well.
 
This has taken a while, both in reading it and writing it up as I have been somewhat ill recently. A grazed lower leg while gardening in shorts ended up as excruciating cellulitis, a massive swelling, high fever and intravenous antibiotics for quite a while.

However, I recently read a history book which I immensely enjoyed:
1572388249464.png


Poisoned Peace 1945 - The war that never ended. By Gregor Dallas.

First published in Great Britain in 2005 by John Murray. ISBN: 0 7195 5478 0

I picked this book up in a charity shop earlier this year and took my time reading it (636 pages without preface, appendices, glossary, notes bibliography and index).

Due to my recent Polish ancestry, I have always been interested in the conduct of WW2 and how it affected the subsequent geopolitical arrangements. On a personal basis, I very much doubt that my parents would have got together and started a family in UK, were it not for the vicissitudes of this war. I thought that I was well informed about WW2 in general and in particular on the topics that that piqued my interest the most. This book corrected my hubris.

Eye openers for me in particular were:
  • The breadth and depth of American geopolitical naivety and simple-mindedness which viewed the Soviet Union as a potential equal super-power partner in a democratic and egalitarian post-war world co-dominium. Leading to the USSR achieving in 1945 far in excess of its 1939 war aims as outlined in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
  • The extent of American distrust of the United Kingdom and its deliberate use of the wartime constraints on it to ensure its post-war economic downturn and the dissolution of the British Empire.
  • The extent of American support of the Vichy French government as the legitimate government of France to be co-opted under the (American) Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories after France was liberated in order to minimise any resurgence of France and her empire.
  • The extent of British political support to the Free French under De Gaulle in order to re-establish a viable Western European Power which could help the UK rebuild a democratic Europe of nation states.
  • The extent of the undeclared civil war in France of the Communist Party against the Gaullist Free French and the outmanoeuvring of the Communists by De Gaulle after D-Day when it became apparent that the Soviet Army was not going to “liberate” Paris in the same way as it had done in Warsaw.
  • The extent and high level of wartime hostile Soviet intelligence penetration not only in Britain but also in the USA and the way in which this influenced several major policy decisions.
  • The complete lack of any Allied (US and UK) intelligence networks targeting the Soviet Union in WW2.
  • The continuation of Nazi German and Soviet diplomatic contacts post-Barbarossa including negotiations on a potential peace deal right up to 1943.
  • The ineptness and lack of analytical forethought of American strategic, operational and tactical planning, deployment and manoeuvre in Europe, particularly from Overlord to VE Day. Which directly led to the post-war Cold War situation by allowing the Soviet Union to annex half of Europe.
  • The impact of the US electoral process on the conduct of the end of the war.

Others may be surprised and intrigued by several other topics of which I (like most Poles and descendants of the Polish diaspora) have been aware.

  • The Soviet Union did not consider the USA and the UK as allies in a common struggle post-Barbarossa. The USSR was fighting its own war for its own aims from the start (one could argue that this had been the case since 1917). The Soviet Union considered all other Powers as hostile. It had carved up the world with Nazi Germany in 1939 and it continued to operate on those lines after the German betrayal of that alliance in 1941.
  • The disparate levels of resistance offered by Poland and France to German attack and occupation during the war (and the disparate conditions of occupation in both countries) and the difference in post-war outcome for both countries. With one achieving restoration of much of its pre-war status, a free democratic government, an economic reconstruction and a central part in the rebuilding of Europe; while the other continued to be ground down by its other attacker and occupier of 1939, which in 1944 conquered the rest of its territory, “ethnically cleansed” and fettered its people and exploited it until 1989. All due to where the Armies stopped their advance in 1945. The Free French were essentially enabled to achieve their aims; the Free Poles were not so enabled.
  • The fact that Churchill and the UK struggled to convince the Americans that it was not in the interest of the “Free World” to allow the Soviet Union to occupy half of Europe and that this could be averted by a strategic focus through the Balkans to the North.
  • The unfathomably high levels of support to Soviet (Stalinist) Russia in the UK population. This was encouraged by leftist academia, unions, media, politicians, etc. There was a curious willing myopia to ignore the obvious cruelties of the system and the despotic parallels with National Socialism even on the production of evidence.

All in all a very well-written and readable book. There are some minor editorial or typographical errors that I have noticed (e.g. the anachronistic mention of a B-52 bomber aircraft) possibly amended in later editions. Otherwise there is every effort to maintain accuracy with copious notes, references and a large bibliography. The prose is good and easy to follow. Biographical pen-pictures are very well done. An excellent addition to my library and one that I would thoroughly recommend. Online, the positive reviews considerably outweigh the negative ones, some of which show considerable bias and ignorance.
 
This has taken a while, both in reading it and writing it up as I have been somewhat ill recently. A grazed lower leg while gardening in shorts ended up as excruciating cellulitis, a massive swelling, high fever and intravenous antibiotics for quite a while.

However, I recently read a history book which I immensely enjoyed:
View attachment 426475

Poisoned Peace 1945 - The war that never ended. By Gregor Dallas.

First published in Great Britain in 2005 by John Murray. ISBN: 0 7195 5478 0

I picked this book up in a charity shop earlier this year and took my time reading it (636 pages without preface, appendices, glossary, notes bibliography and index).

Due to my recent Polish ancestry, I have always been interested in the conduct of WW2 and how it affected the subsequent geopolitical arrangements. On a personal basis, I very much doubt that my parents would have got together and started a family in UK, were it not for the vicissitudes of this war. I thought that I was well informed about WW2 in general and in particular on the topics that that piqued my interest the most. This book corrected my hubris.

Eye openers for me in particular were:
  • The breadth and depth of American geopolitical naivety and simple-mindedness which viewed the Soviet Union as a potential equal super-power partner in a democratic and egalitarian post-war world co-dominium. Leading to the USSR achieving in 1945 far in excess of its 1939 war aims as outlined in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
  • The extent of American distrust of the United Kingdom and its deliberate use of the wartime constraints on it to ensure its post-war economic downturn and the dissolution of the British Empire.
  • The extent of American support of the Vichy French government as the legitimate government of France to be co-opted under the (American) Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories after France was liberated in order to minimise any resurgence of France and her empire.
  • The extent of British political support to the Free French under De Gaulle in order to re-establish a viable Western European Power which could help the UK rebuild a democratic Europe of nation states.
  • The extent of the undeclared civil war in France of the Communist Party against the Gaullist Free French and the outmanoeuvring of the Communists by De Gaulle after D-Day when it became apparent that the Soviet Army was not going to “liberate” Paris in the same way as it had done in Warsaw.
  • The extent and high level of wartime hostile Soviet intelligence penetration not only in Britain but also in the USA and the way in which this influenced several major policy decisions.
  • The complete lack of any Allied (US and UK) intelligence networks targeting the Soviet Union in WW2.
  • The continuation of Nazi German and Soviet diplomatic contacts post-Barbarossa including negotiations on a potential peace deal right up to 1943.
  • The ineptness and lack of analytical forethought of American strategic, operational and tactical planning, deployment and manoeuvre in Europe, particularly from Overlord to VE Day. Which directly led to the post-war Cold War situation by allowing the Soviet Union to annex half of Europe.
  • The impact of the US electoral process on the conduct of the end of the war.

Others may be surprised and intrigued by several other topics of which I (like most Poles and descendants of the Polish diaspora) have been aware.

  • The Soviet Union did not consider the USA and the UK as allies in a common struggle post-Barbarossa. The USSR was fighting its own war for its own aims from the start (one could argue that this had been the case since 1917). The Soviet Union considered all other Powers as hostile. It had carved up the world with Nazi Germany in 1939 and it continued to operate on those lines after the German betrayal of that alliance in 1941.
  • The disparate levels of resistance offered by Poland and France to German attack and occupation during the war (and the disparate conditions of occupation in both countries) and the difference in post-war outcome for both countries. With one achieving restoration of much of its pre-war status, a free democratic government, an economic reconstruction and a central part in the rebuilding of Europe; while the other continued to be ground down by its other attacker and occupier of 1939, which in 1944 conquered the rest of its territory, “ethnically cleansed” and fettered its people and exploited it until 1989. All due to where the Armies stopped their advance in 1945. The Free French were essentially enabled to achieve their aims; the Free Poles were not so enabled.
  • The fact that Churchill and the UK struggled to convince the Americans that it was not in the interest of the “Free World” to allow the Soviet Union to occupy half of Europe and that this could be averted by a strategic focus through the Balkans to the North.
  • The unfathomably high levels of support to Soviet (Stalinist) Russia in the UK population. This was encouraged by leftist academia, unions, media, politicians, etc. There was a curious willing myopia to ignore the obvious cruelties of the system and the despotic parallels with National Socialism even on the production of evidence.

All in all a very well-written and readable book. There are some minor editorial or typographical errors that I have noticed (e.g. the anachronistic mention of a B-52 bomber aircraft) possibly amended in later editions. Otherwise there is every effort to maintain accuracy with copious notes, references and a large bibliography. The prose is good and easy to follow. Biographical pen-pictures are very well done. An excellent addition to my library and one that I would thoroughly recommend. Online, the positive reviews considerably outweigh the negative ones, some of which show considerable bias and ignorance.
Thanks for the heads-up on this book, @Condottiere . It's a subject area which fascinates me.

I hope you're well on the mend now.
 
This has taken a while, both in reading it and writing it up as I have been somewhat ill recently. A grazed lower leg while gardening in shorts ended up as excruciating cellulitis, a massive swelling, high fever and intravenous antibiotics for quite a while.

However, I recently read a history book which I immensely enjoyed:
View attachment 426475

Poisoned Peace 1945 - The war that never ended. By Gregor Dallas.

First published in Great Britain in 2005 by John Murray. ISBN: 0 7195 5478 0

I picked this book up in a charity shop earlier this year and took my time reading it (636 pages without preface, appendices, glossary, notes bibliography and index).

Due to my recent Polish ancestry, I have always been interested in the conduct of WW2 and how it affected the subsequent geopolitical arrangements. On a personal basis, I very much doubt that my parents would have got together and started a family in UK, were it not for the vicissitudes of this war. I thought that I was well informed about WW2 in general and in particular on the topics that that piqued my interest the most. This book corrected my hubris.

Eye openers for me in particular were:
  • The breadth and depth of American geopolitical naivety and simple-mindedness which viewed the Soviet Union as a potential equal super-power partner in a democratic and egalitarian post-war world co-dominium. Leading to the USSR achieving in 1945 far in excess of its 1939 war aims as outlined in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
  • The extent of American distrust of the United Kingdom and its deliberate use of the wartime constraints on it to ensure its post-war economic downturn and the dissolution of the British Empire.
  • The extent of American support of the Vichy French government as the legitimate government of France to be co-opted under the (American) Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories after France was liberated in order to minimise any resurgence of France and her empire.
  • The extent of British political support to the Free French under De Gaulle in order to re-establish a viable Western European Power which could help the UK rebuild a democratic Europe of nation states.
  • The extent of the undeclared civil war in France of the Communist Party against the Gaullist Free French and the outmanoeuvring of the Communists by De Gaulle after D-Day when it became apparent that the Soviet Army was not going to “liberate” Paris in the same way as it had done in Warsaw.
  • The extent and high level of wartime hostile Soviet intelligence penetration not only in Britain but also in the USA and the way in which this influenced several major policy decisions.
  • The complete lack of any Allied (US and UK) intelligence networks targeting the Soviet Union in WW2.
  • The continuation of Nazi German and Soviet diplomatic contacts post-Barbarossa including negotiations on a potential peace deal right up to 1943.
  • The ineptness and lack of analytical forethought of American strategic, operational and tactical planning, deployment and manoeuvre in Europe, particularly from Overlord to VE Day. Which directly led to the post-war Cold War situation by allowing the Soviet Union to annex half of Europe.
  • The impact of the US electoral process on the conduct of the end of the war.

Others may be surprised and intrigued by several other topics of which I (like most Poles and descendants of the Polish diaspora) have been aware.

  • The Soviet Union did not consider the USA and the UK as allies in a common struggle post-Barbarossa. The USSR was fighting its own war for its own aims from the start (one could argue that this had been the case since 1917). The Soviet Union considered all other Powers as hostile. It had carved up the world with Nazi Germany in 1939 and it continued to operate on those lines after the German betrayal of that alliance in 1941.
  • The disparate levels of resistance offered by Poland and France to German attack and occupation during the war (and the disparate conditions of occupation in both countries) and the difference in post-war outcome for both countries. With one achieving restoration of much of its pre-war status, a free democratic government, an economic reconstruction and a central part in the rebuilding of Europe; while the other continued to be ground down by its other attacker and occupier of 1939, which in 1944 conquered the rest of its territory, “ethnically cleansed” and fettered its people and exploited it until 1989. All due to where the Armies stopped their advance in 1945. The Free French were essentially enabled to achieve their aims; the Free Poles were not so enabled.
  • The fact that Churchill and the UK struggled to convince the Americans that it was not in the interest of the “Free World” to allow the Soviet Union to occupy half of Europe and that this could be averted by a strategic focus through the Balkans to the North.
  • The unfathomably high levels of support to Soviet (Stalinist) Russia in the UK population. This was encouraged by leftist academia, unions, media, politicians, etc. There was a curious willing myopia to ignore the obvious cruelties of the system and the despotic parallels with National Socialism even on the production of evidence.

All in all a very well-written and readable book. There are some minor editorial or typographical errors that I have noticed (e.g. the anachronistic mention of a B-52 bomber aircraft) possibly amended in later editions. Otherwise there is every effort to maintain accuracy with copious notes, references and a large bibliography. The prose is good and easy to follow. Biographical pen-pictures are very well done. An excellent addition to my library and one that I would thoroughly recommend. Online, the positive reviews considerably outweigh the negative ones, some of which show considerable bias and ignorance.
Fascinating - and thanks for the synopsis. I can't find it out there in eBook land, so I might have to look for a hard copy.
 
Fascinating - and thanks for the synopsis. I can't find it out there in eBook land, so I might have to look for a hard copy.
Nothing like the feel and smell of a real book in your hand!
 

Gout Man

LE
Book Reviewer
I started to read a book by Earnest Hemingway. I failed to finish it.
Got a third of the way through and took it to the charity shop the next day.
Has anyone else read this author? He is so well known yet I found his style rather boringly slow and lacking in any sort of enjoyment.
Jeez I’ve even forgotten the title.:scratch:
 
True, but eReaders are light and mine contains over 700 books. that aid, I've just found and bought the book in question on eBay.
Enjoy.
 
Indeed. As we all know, Herford is yellow.

Sent from my S41 using Tapatalk
PIRA didn't, and drew their own conclusions when they went through the wallet of Cpl. Woods. :(
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I started to read a book by Earnest Hemingway. I failed to finish it.
Got a third of the way through and took it to the charity shop the next day.
Has anyone else read this author? He is so well known yet I found his style rather boringly slow and lacking in any sort of enjoyment.
Jeez I’ve even forgotten the title.:scratch:
The only Hemingway I have ever read through was 'The Old Man and The Sea', and only because that was the only book in English in the jail in Havana. I probably read it 8 times and have hated it ever since. His writing style is very odd, punctuation seems to be applied as an afterthought - when it is applied - and the author is very sel-indulgent. I can only assume that he attained his literary icon status as either a joke or by an application of the Eperor's New Clothes syndrome.
 
The only Hemingway I have ever read through was 'The Old Man and The Sea', and only because that was the only book in English in the jail in Havana. I probably read it 8 times and have hated it ever since. His writing style is very odd, punctuation seems to be applied as an afterthought - when it is applied - and the author is very sel-indulgent. I can only assume that he attained his literary icon status as either a joke or by an application of the Eperor's New Clothes syndrome.
I've never ventured into any of Hemingway's writing to be honest. Something I do find a challenge to relax into is anything by Ismail Kadare. I love the plot lines of his works, I just find his style difficult
 
I started to read a book by Earnest Hemingway. I failed to finish it.
Got a third of the way through and took it to the charity shop the next day.
Has anyone else read this author? He is so well known yet I found his style rather boringly slow and lacking in any sort of enjoyment.
Jeez I’ve even forgotten the title.:scratch:
As per my above post, I've never read any Hemingway but I have often wondered if maybe it becomes fashionable to like certain writers and their work and to rave about them..... Even if, without realising it, you don't actually like them or absorb what you are reading.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
As per my above post, I've never read any Hemingway but I have often wondered if maybe it becomes fashionable to like certain writers and their work and to rave about them..... Even if, without realising it, you don't actually like them or absorb what you are reading.
Much as the 'Islington' set raved about Salman Rushdie. Or, James Joyce and 'Ulysses'
 
Much as the 'Islington' set raved about Salman Rushdie. Or, James Joyce and 'Ulysses'
Or the blind devotion to Ayn Rand that so many people have held.

Hell, I got more notions of how a society should behave and how people should treat eachother from the raft of brilliant, and often awfully underappreciated, British Sci Fi authors I loved when younger. Especially Gemmel, Peter F. Hamilton etc
 
Or the blind devotion to Ayn Rand that so many people have held.

Hell, I got more notions of how a society should behave and how people should treat eachother from the raft of brilliant, and often awfully underappreciated, British Sci Fi authors I loved when younger. Especially Gemmel, Peter F. Hamilton etc
Robert Heinlein !
 
I started to read a book by Earnest Hemingway. I failed to finish it.
Got a third of the way through and took it to the charity shop the next day.
Has anyone else read this author? He is so well known yet I found his style rather boringly slow and lacking in any sort of enjoyment.
Jeez I’ve even forgotten the title.:scratch:
I found “For Whom the Bell Tolls” unreadable. One of the few books I have abandoned. Lots of his other stuff is great, including “A Farewell to Arms”.
 

Dubb_al_Ibn

War Hero
Robert Heinlein !
I read a lot, and I mean a lot, of Moorcock when I was at university (more years ago than I care to remember). I had been brought up on Robert Heinlein and John Wyndham (a favourite of my father) who were obviously pre -New Wave (ie pre 1967/8) but Moorcock opened my eyes to a different world out there. Or, in his case, a "multiverse" out there with his blend of Science Fantasy and Fiction.

I liked the first Peter Hamilton books and also some of Gemmel, as Grim Squeaker mentions, but I would suggest that Gemmel is rather more Sci Fantasy than Sci Fiction.

Anyway, after thirty odd years, I'm still reading Sci-Fi and have just finished Thin Air by Richard Morgan. We've mentioned this in the dystopian thread with regards to the Kovacs trilogy and Market Forces by the same author. I was a bit disappointed with Thin Air. Some good constructs and environment building with regards to Martian colonisation and political corruption but it was one of those books that at the 2/3 point I was wishing that there was some indication that we were getting to the end. A lot more graphic violence than is usual in the Morgan books and some gratuitous/unnecessary sex scenes that reminded me of those badly written readers' letters in 1980s Penthouse magazine. Not one of his best but if you like a bit of Chandleresque wisecracking mixed in with frontier Martian politics and violence, it passes the time.
 
Robert Heinlein !
Hamilton's 'Fallen Dragon' is brilliant and rather a shot at the whole thing around corporate giants stripping places and cultures of all that is of value and then buggering off.

As well as the importance of hope and having a code. Gemmells work is similar on the morality and ethics sort of line.

Especially the Druss, Waylander and Shannow novels.
 

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