Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

What are you reading right now?

Just finished Treachery by Chapman Pincher (2nd read) and into Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer. Frightening stuff. You really, really want to boil your water and well cook your meat.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Just finished Antony Beevor's Stalingrad.

I have to say it's the first time I've ever felt sorry for Germans in WW2. I found it a most uneasy and depressing read, man's inhumanity to man, etc. If you haven't read it I do commend you do, if only to help understand the hatred each side had for the other, and to understand the events of that period of WW2.

Has anybody got any suggestions for light, preferably humorous, reading to help take my mind off those things?
Yellowthread Street (A Yellowthread Street Mystery Book 1) eBook: Marshall, William: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store
 
Just finished reading Gun Control: What Australia Got Right (And Wrong) by Tom Frame.

For a book of 181 pages (excluding bits 'n bobs) it doesn't get into the meat of the title until about page 150. You get an awful lot of background filler as to how the Australian National Firearms Agreement came into being; the constitutional arguments against it; the politics surrounding it; the lobby groups both pro and con; and the foreign praise (and condemnation) of it.

By way of background, on 28 April 1996 a mentally unstable young man took two semi-automatic rifles to a popular tourist attraction in Tasmania, the former convict penal settlement of Port Arthur. Starting in the cafe he murdered 35 people and injured another 23 before taking hostages and securing himself in a house just outside the grounds of the historic area. He was arrested the following day when the house was set ablaze forcing him to flee.

The PM of the day, John Howard, was appalled by this and vowed to fix what he saw was Australia's lax gun laws. His problem was that under Australia's Constitution the Federal government has no responsibility for those laws. However, he did have the bulk of the Australian population behind him and despite political opposition from within his own party he went ahead and basically demanded that the States enact legislation in basic accordance with the NFA that he drafted. If a State wouldn't play ball it was going to get its funding cut. He basically applied the old Nixon adage that when you have them by the testicles, their hearts and minds will follow.

The NFA is all things wonderful and disastrous depending on which side you are on and this book does eventually get around to looking at those issues but it could have done so in more depth and without the massive back story that the author gives. However, to be fair, it wouldn't have been a book but an essay or article in length then.

Because of the intransigence of both sides the NFA will never be reviewed or amended to iron out the problems and inconsistencies contained within the document and the author contends there are more than a few. For many who are opposed to it the lesson is to get real, you are not going to get your semi-automatic rifles back and a loosening of the registration and storage laws and the constant harping about it is also going to prevent sensible amendments like allowing the use of moderators. The NFA is not a model for any other country than Australia and it only worked here because of the national outrage at what happened at Port Arthur.

In summary the book is a good look at what happened, why it happened and the who thought it was the dogs doodads and who didn't and their opposing thoughts on the matter. It is only a brief look at what is good and what is not about the NFA itself.
 
This is a book that is utterly hilarious (albeit rather sureal) and I think very cleverly done. Ii have done a couple of searches and very surprised it has not appeared on this site to date.

On the cover it looks like a genuine guide book of London pubs and indeed every pub is real, and on the whole still in existence, however the author of this 'guide' gets booted out of just about everyone he visits.

You can pick it up (paperback) for about £5 on Ebay.

Try it if you can, something to possibly make you laugh out loud. I used to read it on the tube and get lots of looks from folk wondering why I was cracking up.

Amazon product

2168993.jpg
 

Whining Civvy

War Hero
Was it any good? I'm half thinking of buying a copy
Must admit, not overly impressed.

I was hoping the stories would be based on 'old squaddies tales' or folklore, you know? Like the ones that are spun in the Lamp and Sandbag on this site for example. Not even the Angel of Mons is covered in the book but a story loosely based on it.

The 13 stories contained within (ranging from Napoleonic to Korea in the 1950's) are still good short stories penned by some very talented authors but for me it will be a book that will be read in stages as part of my 'on the throne collection'.

However, here is a 1st edition, Hardback with dust cover going for £3.89 inc P&P!!! What have you got to lose!


Edited to add, if the link doesn't work there is a copy on Ebay.
 
Last edited:
Fry The Brain: The Art of Urban Sniping and its Role in Modern Guerrilla Warfare by John West.

No, just don't. The author should know what he is talking about (ex special forces, multiple tours of sandpit hot spots, instructor in guerrilla warfare and academic quals.) but the book is a mess and appallingly laid out and the writing is difficult to read easily. It picks up on every unverified tale and conspiracy theory doing the rounds and expands on it. If the author's views on the assassination of Kennedy were correct Dealey Plaza would have resembled the OK Corral. He has sniper teams in 8 positions drawn from the Mafia, Cuba and probably the kindergarten just down the road.

The book could have been an interesting addition to the bibliography on the subject of sniping but it misses its target and shoots itself in the foot. This one won't be making my library shelves.
 
Fry The Brain: The Art of Urban Sniping and its Role in Modern Guerrilla Warfare by John West.

No, just don't. The author should know what he is talking about (ex special forces, multiple tours of sandpit hot spots, instructor in guerrilla warfare and academic quals.) but the book is a mess and appallingly laid out and the writing is difficult to read easily. It picks up on every unverified tale and conspiracy theory doing the rounds and expands on it. If the author's views on the assassination of Kennedy were correct Dealey Plaza would have resembled the OK Corral. He has sniper teams in 8 positions drawn from the Mafia, Cuba and probably the kindergarten just down the road.

The book could have been an interesting addition to the bibliography on the subject of sniping but it misses its target and shoots itself in the foot. This one won't be making my library shelves.
ISWYDT.
 

endure

GCM
Test of Greatness: Britain's struggle for the atomic bomb by Brian Cathcart.

As the tile suggests it's the story of our atomic bomb development and testing in Oz.

Because the yanks shut us out of atomic research immediately after the war all the scientists had to go on was a copy of the Smyth report and what they could remember if they'd been part of the Manhattan Project.

Apart from that we developed it from the ground up.

Good story - worth reading.
 
Test of Greatness: Britain's struggle for the atomic bomb by Brian Cathcart.

As the tile suggests it's the story of our atomic bomb development and testing in Oz.

Because the yanks shut us out of atomic research immediately after the war all the scientists had to go on was a copy of the Smyth report and what they could remember if they'd been part of the Manhattan Project.

Apart from that we developed it from the ground up.

Good story - worth reading.
Read Chapman Pincher's book 'Treachery'. The whole background story about Klaus Fuchs and other traitors is explained and how they were protected by high levels moles in MI5 and MI6. The effect on UK/US relations was devastating causing us the repeat development and subsequent costs.
 

endure

GCM
Read Chapman Pincher's book 'Treachery'. The whole background story about Klaus Fuchs and other traitors is explained and how they were protected by high levels moles in MI5 and MI6. The effect on UK/US relations was devastating causing us the repeat development and subsequent costs.
And allowing us to develop a bomb of our own rather than playing second fiddle to McMahon

E2A the Yanks were determined to shut us out long before Fuchs was discovered. They were just being Yanks as demonstrated by the Tizard mission where they took our freebies and made profits from them after the end of the war.
 
Last edited:
If it’s similar to the one by Vasily grossman I’d book a year off. Russian authors seem to delight in setting the picture so much they describe every blade of grass before moving on with the story. In fairness you can see how it was re written so many times to fit communist doctrine but when it finally does get to the battle it’s a captivating read.

Grossman was a good writer, to be serialised twice on R4 helps. His books are worth collecting.
 
The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson, VC.

The autobiography of the first awardee of the VC of Australia and the first since Australian to be awarded the VC since 1969. It is a fascinating read detailing the journey from a young man that was heading nowhere but into trouble into someone who sprinted 80 metres under sustained Taliban fire to rescue a badly injured Afghani interpreter and then support/carry/drag him back over those 80 metres to get him into cover.

The title reflects those times in his life, including the action for which he was awarded the VC, when he could have gone in a different direction due to the conditions in which he found himself; a father who had served in Vietnam and was certainly suffering from PTSD, the death of his father while still relatively young, a loving mother who was murdered (the alleged perp committed suicide) and whose body has to this day not been found. Donaldson credits her memory and spirit for much of what now drives him.

The book was written before the allegations of war crimes by the SASR were raised and to be fair, Donaldson was in 3 Squadron, not 2 which appears to be the source of much of the allegations. However, I would be interested to know of Donaldson's views on the matter as he has a lot of praise for the SASR throughout the book. There are also hints of some of the underlying causes of the problems as Donaldson writes about the desire within the SASR to change from its traditional deep reconnaissance role to a more warry upfront in your face tactical role and the satisfaction when that occurred.

For the military minded there are long sections on the SASR selection process, the Reinforcement Cycle training that follows as well as descriptions of the engagements he was in while in Afghanistan. It all makes for a fascinating book that I wished I had purchased earlier. Highly recommended.

1607739106493.png
 
The Crossroad by Mark Donaldson, VC.

The autobiography of the first awardee of the VC of Australia and the first since Australian to be awarded the VC since 1969. It is a fascinating read detailing the journey from a young man that was heading nowhere but into trouble into someone who sprinted 80 metres under sustained Taliban fire to rescue a badly injured Afghani interpreter and then support/carry/drag him back over those 80 metres to get him into cover.

The title reflects those times in his life, including the action for which he was awarded the VC, when he could have gone in a different direction due to the conditions in which he found himself; a father who had served in Vietnam and was certainly suffering from PTSD, the death of his father while still relatively young, a loving mother who was murdered (the alleged perp committed suicide) and whose body has to this day not been found. Donaldson credits her memory and spirit for much of what now drives him.

The book was written before the allegations of war crimes by the SASR were raised and to be fair, Donaldson was in 3 Squadron, not 2 which appears to be the source of much of the allegations. However, I would be interested to know of Donaldson's views on the matter as he has a lot of praise for the SASR throughout the book. There are also hints of some of the underlying causes of the problems as Donaldson writes about the desire within the SASR to change from its traditional deep reconnaissance role to a more warry upfront in your face tactical role and the satisfaction when that occurred.

For the military minded there are long sections on the SASR selection process, the Reinforcement Cycle training that follows as well as descriptions of the engagements he was in while in Afghanistan. It all makes for a fascinating book that I wished I had purchased earlier. Highly recommended.

View attachment 528248
I got the book a couple of years ago. A very good book. He comes across as a very unassuming guy. He was in the same Sqn (3sqn) as the alleged execution of the guy with the red prayer beads, although there is no evidence he was there or knew about it. He mentions the dog 'Qauke' which was killed on that tour. He also mention's at the start of that tour their OC telling them that he was going to work them very hard for the next four months taking out the Taliban infrastructure.

He is out of the army now working for some sports team and has his own blog.
 
Just finished Jarhead in 5 sittings. Got it on Monday for £1.50.

I must be one of the last to have read this, seeing as how it was released way back in 2003. And I also know that it gets very mixed reviews here on Arrse and elsewhere.

However, I thought it was brilliant and will now go and get the DVD too. In time.

VhefRpkISTG8IZX+NcVlYw.jpg
 
Finally got around to "Lords of the Desert" by James Barr, about Anglo-American competition for influence in the Middle East between 1940ish to 1967.


I have read already his "Setting the Desert on Fire" (the wider British secret war in Arabia 1916-18), and the seminal "A Line in the Sand" (a history from which no-one emerges with any real credit to their names!)

Just getting through the awkward bit about Palestine, and have this next on the pile


I have to clear these and the others on the reading pile, before allowing myself to get -


The topic is a Brit who roamed Saudi Arabia, and was a key advisor until being killed during a battle. The author sounds like a top bloke, 12 years in the Royal Marines and then switched to Foreign Office.

Just what a boy wants for the lockdowns to come in 2021.
 
Just started The Sergeant Escapers. Absolutely brilliant and I will probably smash it by Monday.

Perhaps like many of us on this site/thread I never cease to be amazed and inspired by the bravery of blokes such as this. Also a tadge ashamed as I would never have the minerals to do what they did by flying sortie after sortie into NW Europe yet alone escaping and E&E.

BPpJcl3vTteuZpEtz47Mqg.jpg

The book is dedicated to a certain George Grimson. If you have a moment, and this topic interests you, google the brave man up.
 
Last edited:
I am starting this tonight, the next (for me) book in John Lawton's Frederick Troy series:

a-lily-of-the-field.jpg


Synopsis:

Vienna, 1934. Ten-year-old cello prodigy Meret Voytek becomes a pupil of concert pianist Viktor Rosen, a Jew in exile from Germany.

The Isle of Man, 1940. An interned Hungarian physicist is recruited for the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, building the atom bomb for the Americans.

Auschwitz, 1944. Meret is imprisoned but is saved from certain death to play the cello in the camp orchestra. She is playing for her life.

London, 1948. Viktor Rosen wants to relinquish his Communist Party membership after thirty years. His comrade and friend reminds him that he committed for life...

These seemingly unconnected strands all collide forcefully with a brazen murder on a London Underground platform, revealing an intricate web of secrecy and deception which Detective Frederick Troy must untangle.
 

Latest Threads

Top