What are you reading right now?

I’m sorry old chap but are you sure of that? That cheeky invasion by Argentina did seem to catch out almost the entire cabinet, MOD and Uncle Tom Cobley et al.

You must have been a very astute paperboy in 1982. Certainly more astute than I at the time (a 15 year old paperboy)!
Because my voice hadn't broken at the time I was more interested in the news than Page 3. Obviously this was soon to change.
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On the day after Halloween, in the year 1327, four children slip away from the cathedral city of Kingsbridge. They are a thief, a bully, a boy genius and a girl who wants to be a doctor. In the forest they see two men killed.

A good book but the characters and plots are too similar to the first book.
Far too similar for me and made me think "money spinner for Follett"

Far too similar for me and made me think "money spinner for Follett"
And made into the most execrable television drama I have ever had the misfortune to watch.

And now for something completely different.

Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage. Published in 1998 it follows US attempts to use submarines for spying on Russian activities from its beginning in 1949 to the fall of the Soviet Union and the shift to spying on other nations.

It details some of the triumphs and tragedies along the way; documents all known collisions between US (and one UK) subs and Soviet vessels; the attempt to lift a Golf class sub from the Pacific floor; and the internecine fighting between the CIA and Office of Naval Intelligence over access to funding and resources.

The book also looks in some detail at Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, the person who single-mindedly drove the US nuclear submarine program but who could not stand being excluded from knowing what his boats were doing when tasked with intelligence gathering missions. His volatility at being denied information cost the careers of several officers most unfairly. However, I did like one officer's response when being interviewed for a position on one of Rickover's nuclear subs and was told to "Piss me off if you can." Without saying a word the candidate lifted his arm and with one motion swept Rickover's desk clean. He got the job.

"The Spy in Black", Kindle edition.
available as a filum on youtube which is excellent also:

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One of only two survivors of the famous Cockleshell Hero raid, Bill Sparks' war and post-war career has never before been told in full. In this gripping book, he describes not only his part in Operation Frankton, the daring Gironde raid, and his escape back to Britain, but how he fought with the Greek Sacred Squadron thereafter. Always something of a military maverick, Bill's memoir is truly action-packed. Sadly this great character has now died.

A decent book but I was disappointed with the raid only being covered by the first chapter.
If you haven't already, try 'A Brilliant Little Operation' by Paddy Ashdown. A very good offering on the same subject.
I have finished the second book in Stephen Leather's Spider Shepherd series, Soft Target. I was prepared to be a bit underwhelmed after the first book, but this was a gripping read, preventing me from getting easily to sleep over several nights.

Looking for something more restful, even trashy, I have started this:



All Norton wanted was a quiet coffee and Sacher cake at the Hakoah Club in Bondi, and to be left alone to sort out his troubled love life. How he let notorious conman Kelvin Kramer talk him up to Surfers Paradise for five days, Les will never know. Supposedly to mind KK and his massively boobed girlfriend, American model Crystal Linx, in Australia to promote her latest record. Though it did seem like a good idea at the time - apart from the President of the United States arriving and Norton's domestic problems, there wasn't much keeping him in Sydney. Norton went to the Gold Coast expecting some easy graft in the sun, an earn and possibly a little fresh romance. Les definitely got the earn. He certainly got the girl. But what Norton mainly got in Surfers Paradise was trouble-in a size 40 Double-D cup.
I’m currently reading, The Burma Campaign, disaster into triumph 1942-45 by Frank MClynn, one of the more revealing insights was on Orde Wingate, about whom I had some basic knowledge. If Mclynn is accurate, it seems that Wingate was seriously deranged, probably suffered from narcissistic personality disorder and should have been court martialled early on in his career.

no f in beer

War Hero
Just finished Soul Music, taking Interesting Times on Holibobs next week.

Also taking the first of the Gengis Khan books by Conn Iggulden. Another re-read, but it is several years since i first read them, so with my memory being thingy whatsit, it will be like reading for the first time.

Sexton Blake

Finished this a couple of days back. I have read a few of Ewen Southby-Tailyour's books before and this is (like his others to date) exceptional. Was amazing to read about pers I had flown with from the Hercules community that I had no idea were so embroiled in such clandestine Ops .

Could not put this one down and I cannot recommend it highly enough for any Falkland war buffs out there who have not read this.


Sexton Blake

Managed to do this book in 3 sittings about a Royal Army Dental Corps Sgt and Pte who in 1942 stole a few pistols and grenades, went AWOL, and sailed to Nazi occupied France to conduct a 'raid'. They wrote to Churchill before setting off (as you do) to explain what they were doing. A film was also produced based on this called 2 Men Went to War.

I have my reservations about their accounts but a proper Boys Own adventure with interesting facts about their lives after WW2. Go to Wikipedia for the summary of course.


Edited to add that you may very well know of all this and I am not some sort of oracle! Apologies if patronising.
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Sexton Blake

Another book almost speed read by me last week. Made me realise that E&E doesn't always have to involve being dressed like a scarecrow with string holding your trousers up and living on turnips. I am glad that men of this calibre existed in WW2. Brave, brilliant and with an unexpected twist at the end.

Just finished 'Nothing of Importance. A Record of Eight Months at the Front With a Welsh Battalion, October 1915 to June 1916' by Bernard Adams.

Bernard Adams was educated at Malvern College and Cambridge. He commissioned into the RWF in Aug 14.

A cracking read, written from the worm's eye view of a Pl Comd (then Coy Comd) in 1 RWF describing life in and out of the trenches; initially in the Bethune area of Flanders and subsequently the Bois Francais sector opposite Fricourt down in the Somme area.

It was written in the autumn of 1916 and is a very good primary source as it illustrates the thinking and feelings of the time: no 'lions led by donkeys' here! I found it fascinating because it describes incidents already written about by Robert Graves in 'Goodbye To All That' and Siegfried Sassoon in 'Memoirs Of An Infantry Officer', who were both fellow subalterns of Adams. In his book Adams has changed the names so it is an interesting exercise to work out who was who! His initial tour in France (described in his account) commenced just after the Battle of Loos and ended after he was wounded about three weeks before the Battle of the Somme: and he perceived it to be nothing major when compared to those two events; hence the self-deprecating title.

He returned to France on 31 Jan 17 and was gravely wounded near Serre on 26 Feb 17. He died of his wounds the following day.

This is a must for anyone with an interest in the British Army during WW1.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
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just finished re-reading this in my series of books I last read as a teenager. The Dirty Dozen, the original novel by EM Nathenson. Was it good?, yes, did I enjoy it?, yes I did, Did I understand it better or differently 40 plus years later with the benefit of My own military and life experiences? well The whole premise of taking 12 prisoners convicted of murder rape robbery and using them on a pre-invasion mission, seems petty and ridiculous. Reiseman, the character assigened by OSS to train and Qualify the prisoners then lead them on the mission, with the latest reading comes across as a wise ass, Colonel Everitt Dasher Breed, the baddy in the story, comes across to me as the true soldier and hero, even though he's not written that way, I found myself rebelling against the storyline dictated by the author, in the same way Victor Franco rebells against the whole storyline ploy. The only realistic line is at the end in the description of the attack against the German Kriegspiel Chateau, in the form of a combat report.....
"it is recommended that nothing like project amnesty be attempted ever again"

The book is a character development story, this is it's strength and main play, the in depth stories of Captain Reisman's men, Napoleon White (Jefferson in the movie) Maggot, Sawyer, Posey and a character not in the film, Myron Dell, a psychotic individual not in the least suited to combat let alone an important operation)
it's these individual character build ups we get the true insight into the 40's generation that made up the misfit GI's that came to England and messed up, and faced the hangman at Marston Tyne.
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started reading this, gave it up as a waste of reading time, the first opening scene's of two off duty Marines (their most important identification, ie which Marine Division to which they belonged is not mentioned by the author, a sign of things to come.) they swam and watched as Pearl is attacked, and P38s and Mustangs get up to attack the Japanese aircraft formations. P38's & Mustangs!
what can I take from this book after five pages?
we take WW2 accuracy far more seriously now than they did in the 1950-60s, mainly due to the efforts of those who demand the truth and finally listen to the men who were there. The rest is just crap.
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