What are you reading right now?

Do you still refer to Spurs supported as Yids? It might be a good read however you semi acknowledging the evils conducted, whilst simultaneously saying nah let’s skip that part says a lot about how your mind works.
Still utterly crack brained I see Tinners. I suggested nothing about skipping over WW2 and what occurred. I referred to it being a work of fiction rather than truth and 'Guy Sajer' never having actually existed as portrayed.

Go away, there's a good chap. You really are a toxic individual, back on block you go.
 

TamH70

MIA
Currently reading the illustrated version of Stephen King's "'salem's Lot". It's still one of his best books decades after first publication.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
I can recommend Timothy Hallinan's Everything but the Squeal, very hard to put down. There is one thing though, I need to go back to the first book in the series because for some reason in my mind's eye I see the main character, Simeon Grist, as looking like Alan Davies. Which cannot be right.

Meanwhile, I have now started the next book in the Yellowthread Street Mystery series:

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Synopsis:
Postman Lawrence Shang was watching a film called The Axeman of Shanghai when his life abruptly ended. Carpet trader Edward Peng was enjoying The Last Picture Show. Death in both cases was instantaneous, caused by a small calibre handgun used at a range of two feet.

With their deaths begins a series of apparently motiveless murders in one cinema after another across the Hong Bay district of Hong Kong – and a nightmarish investigation for Harry Feiffer, Detective Chief Inspector, Royal Hong Kong Police Force, and his staff at the Yellowthread Police Station.

The Hatchet Man’s next victim is a sailor off an American ship. Then a German is shot in an auction room. There’s an unaccountable killing on a train near the Chinese border. And the crazy old Mrs Mortimer from the Old People’s Home steps in front of a tram . . . and for Harry Feiffer, time is running out.

Full of real police procedure, suspense and fine irony, but with whole extra dimensions of the surreal and the poignant, the Yellowthread Street novels have no real compare. For those open to their charms, this series is a hidden masterpiece of crime fiction.
Lovely book, love the writing style. Humour and mystery together. However I must tell you it was ..........................Arrrrgh!
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Just finished reading -again- 'Sealord' by Bernard Cornwell. I'd forgotten what a cracking book it was, even though heavy on sailing stuff. I think we tend to forget that he wrote some decent thrillers apart from his historical epics.
 
Lovely book, love the writing style. Humour and mystery together. However I must tell you it was ..........................Arrrrgh!
Agree, it is definitely the sort of book that makes you want to read just one more chapter before falling asleep.

Anyway, I've started John Lawton's penultimate Inspector Troy book:

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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.
 
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The Crew, based on interviews with Ken Cook, the crew's sole surviving member, recounts the wartime exploits of the members of an Avro Lancaster crew between 1942 and the war's end. Gloucestershire-born bomb aimer Ken Cook, hard-bitten Australian pilot Jim Comans, Navigator Don Bowes, Upper Gunner George Widdis, Tail Gunner 'Jock' Bolland, Flight Engineer Ken Randle and Radio Operator Roy Woollford were seven ordinary young men living in extraordinary times, risking their lives in freedom's cause in the dark skies above Hitler's Reich.

Superb.
 
Just started this and already I know it will be one of my 'can't put it down' reads.

The book covers how all the 'main players' such as the Russians, Germans, Brits and Japs fed their military and people, or not!

One of the pictures inside (I like books with pictures) shows a couple of Aussie Navy blokes chuffed with their plate of soup, steak and onions, fresh peas, potatoes, bread and butter, strawberry ice cream and coffee that they were served by being on a US Destroyer. (if I can locate the photo on-line I may stick it on another thread)

Circa 1940's and getting the type of food on a warship that (without knocking the ACC/RLC) I never got in the 1980's!

Reminds me of my old primary school teacher who in WW2 was sent by an American transport unit to somewhere in North Africa and couldn't believe that he was served steak and eggs every solitary morning.

He was on a troop train.

A bloody train in WW2 and getting steak and eggs! You have to admire our American cousins sometimes.


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My current, day-time, non-fiction read is this:

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I'm sure that I got the tip to read it on here, but I can find no mention of it. It is going very well and I knew I was onto a winner when on page 10 I read as part of a description of TCH:

From humble origins (the son of a railway worker), Hoon perfectly fitted the mould of the archetypal New Labour politician: the unembarrassed covetous socialist, keen on self-advancement.

Now I have a question, who is 'Sallust' - the author of this book, not the Roman bod?
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Tchah, easy - Gregory Sallust is the sardonic, cynical, handsome hero of a series of Thirties novels by Churchill's Adviser on the Occult, - one Dennis Wheatley :)

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I have half a notion that Sallust was Fleming's model for our Mister Bond....

 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Which one ?

I think Dennis Wheatley, writing around the same time as Agatha Christie, will come across as a little dated for most readers these days.

I read a few of his books as a teenager ( fifty years ago !)....I was reading Alistair McLean and Ian Fleming around the same period. What you might describe as ' cracking adventure yarns' (sic )

The difference with Wheatley was his occult books like ' The Devil Rides Out' and 'To the Devil a daughter ' which featured as their hero sardonic, cynical, handsome, titled and exiled French aristo the Duc de Richelieu.

He also wrote a story exploring the Nazi obsession with the Occult called
'They used Dark Forces.'

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Getting a picture here? :)

'Black August' is the Sallust story I recall.

Written in the midst of the Depression and a post Apocalyptic tale of battling for survival against the Bolshevik hordes......etc etc

Probably not on Tony Blair's approved reading list at Dollar Academy.
 

jmb3296

War Hero
Which one ?

I think Dennis Wheatley, writing around the same time as Agatha Christie, will come across as a little dated for most readers these days.

I read a few of his books as a teenager ( fifty years ago !)....I was reading Alistair McLean and Ian Fleming around the same period. What you might describe as ' cracking adventure yarns' (sic )

The difference with Wheatley was his occult books like ' The Devil Rides Out' and 'To the Devil a daughter ' which featured as their hero sardonic, cynical, handsome, titled and exiled French aristo the Duc de Richelieu.

He also wrote a story exploring the Nazi obsession with the Occult called
'They used Dark Forces.'

View attachment 571112


Getting a picture here? :)

'Black August' is the Sallust story I recall.

Written in the midst of the Depression and a post Apocalyptic tale of battling for survival against the Bolshevik hordes......etc etc

Probably not on Tony Blair's approved reading list at Dollar Academy.
thank you

i thought Tony Blair was Fettes (although they don’t like to talk about it, and certainly aren’t proud of him)
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
I expect you're right - one o' they ' Senior Scottish Schools ' anyway.

Where monied people send their horrid small folk so as not to have to endure them.

( Chippy ? Moi ? Oh well I'll fetch my Pacamac..... ) :-D


And after a pleasant refresh of some Kipling short stories, by way of a sudden digression re-reading JK Rowling's ' Harry Potter and The Half-blood Prince ' I am currently grinding my way through the excellent if rather dark

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy​


Reviewed here on Arrse by @Themanwho

 
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Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
I expect you're right - one o' they ' Senior Scottish Schools ' anyway.

Where monied people send their horrid small folk so as not to have to endure them.

( Chippy ? Moi ? Oh well I'll fetch my Pacamac..... ) :-D


And after a pleasant refresh of some Kipling short stories, by way of a sudden digression re-reading JK Rowling's ' Harry Potter and The Half-blood Prince ' I am currently grinding my way through the excellent if rather dark

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy​


Reviewed here on Arrse by @Themanwho

Thanks I hadn't seen the linked interview
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
TBF, she seems like a decent Joe.
 

TamH70

MIA
I have just finished reading William Hjortsberg's book, "Angel's Inferno", his (very belated) sequel to "Falling Angel", which served as the basis for the Alan Parker film, "Angel Heart". It's superb. Hard-boiled stuff throughout, with many murders, and a dissertation of sorts into the origins of Christianity and Devil worship laced into the recipe. Locations in and around Paris, Rome, the Vatican City and New York are all brewed up into a Satanic bouillabaisse.

I highly recommend both the book and also that you forget the film, "Angel Heart", this main character knows who he is and what he is, and has little or no qualms about it. He is the guy who cut out an innocent man's heart and ate it in front of him just to swap souls and carried on trucking. Not the guy who falls to bits minutes before the ending of "Falling Angel" allowing Louis Cyphre to pull the last trick of that book.

It's a pity that Hjortsberg's death a few years ago robbed us of the chance to get another book in the series, but hey, when the Devil laughs, you just have to go along with him.
 
Currently reading The Changing Of The Guard, subtitled The British Army Since 9/11, written by Simon Akam, a journalist but one who held a gap year commission with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. This is a massive book (over 600 pages), dense with footnotes (many referencing the author's interviews) and is devastatingly critical of the politicians, bureaucracy and senior military leaders who allowed it all to happen with such dire consequences.

The genesis of the book was a reception for the launch of "British Generals in Blair's War" which senior officers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed essays describing their experiences. Of course they all knew each other and the event was one of much back-slapping and general bonhomie (excuse the pun). To the author and other journalists there (mostly defence correspondents) it was incongruous. To quote, "What on earth are you doing? You've lost two wars in a row, and here you are slapping each other's backs."

The central theme of the book is that armies have fundamental difficulties in adapting to change due the rigid structures they create. The structures work when in action but make it incredibly difficult to adapt. Again a quote, "By the summer of 2013, I more or less understood already that a gaggle of British generals could really only complete a serious act of self-reckoning if Russian Armata tanks were scraping the Strand outside, the Royal Family had fled to Canada, and men in soft felt boots were knifing the Holbeins in the National Gallery and raping hipsters in Dalston."

Most of the above is drawn from the introduction. The book then progresses to describe the experiences of SDG from 9/11 until its return from Iraq and I am barely 130 pages in. However, already the elements of the author's thesis are beginning to appear; the gross level of unreadiness for actual combat; the shortcuts taken in training; the rolling tasking of British regiments training; the effects of regiment amalgamations and roles. The author does not criticise those at the sharp end, at all. His criticisms are reserved for the higher echelons who allowed it to happen or ordered it to happen, either military or politician.

This is already far longer than I proposed to write but I will close with another quote, this one from one of the blurbs on the cover but by Frank Ledwidge, the author of Losing Small Wars which essentially looks at the same ground. "Put away the self-serving autobiographies and the obsequious histories of in-house academics; this is the definitive account of the British Army in its 21st-century misadventures." As an aside, the book also covers the start-up and effect of the illustrious web-site, ARRSE.
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Currently reading The Changing Of The Guard, subtitled The British Army Since 9/11, written by Simon Akam, a journalist but one who held a gap year commission with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. This is a massive book (over 600 pages), dense with footnotes (many referencing the author's interviews) and is devastatingly critical of the politicians, bureaucracy and senior military leaders who allowed it all to happen with such dire consequences.

The genesis of the book was a reception for the launch of "British Generals in Blair's War" which senior officers who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan contributed essays describing their experiences. Of course they all knew each other and the event was one of much back-slapping and general bonhomie (excuse the pun). To the author and other journalists there (mostly defence correspondents) it was incongruous. To quote, "What on earth are you doing? You've lost two wars in a row, and here you are slapping each other's backs."

The central theme of the book is that armies have fundamental difficulties in adapting to change due the rigid structures they create. The structures work when in action but make it incredibly difficult to adapt. Again a quote, "By the summer of 2013, I more or less understood already that a gaggle of British generals could really only complete a serious act of self-reckoning in Russian Armata tanks were scraping the Strand outside, the Royal Family had fled to Canada, and men in soft felt boots were knifing the Holbeins in the National Gallery and raping hipsters in Dalston."

Most of the above is drawn from the introduction. The book then progresses to describe the experiences of SDG from 9/11 until its return from Iraq and I am barely 130 pages in. However, already the elements of the author's thesis are beginning to appear; the gross level of unreadiness for actual combat; the shortcuts taken in training; the rolling tasking of British regiments training; the effects of regiment amalgamations and roles. The author does not criticise those at the sharp end, at all. His criticisms are reserved for the higher echelons who allowed it to happen or ordered it to happen, either military or politician.

This is already far longer than I proposed to write but I will close with another quote, this one from one of the blurbs on the cover but by Frank Ledwidge, the author of Losing Small Wars which essentially looks at the same ground. "Put away the self-serving autobiographies and the obsequious historic of in-house academics; this is the definitive account of the British Army in its 21st-century misadventures." As an aside, the book also covers the start-up and effect of the illustrious web-site, ARRSE.
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I ordered this book when it was first reviewed by one of the COs some time ago, I haven't got around to reading it yet, mostly due to the daunting size of the tome!
 
After reading @Themanwho 's excellent review of Philip Kerr's, Metropolis, a novel based on the adventure of the German detective/policeman/spy/victim of circumstance Bernie Gunther I decided to dive in and have a read. I started in the order of publication with, March Violets, and rapidly became addicted. I am now on number 8 in the series, Prague fatale, and can only recommend the books if you have not read them. Having, myself, been bought up by, and exposed to an older generation of Germans and their dits I can attest that the style of writing and description of the time period is accurately captured by Kerr.

Also, in the same review where Kerr featured there was mention of Mick Herron and his series of Slough House books. These follow the [mis] adventures of a gaggle of shelved MI5 agents who are under the command of Jackson Lamb. Also a highly recommended series of books to get your head into, Mr Herrons writing style, and language would not be outmof place in our very own NAAFI on a cold, damp, Friday evening.
 
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Stalin's War by Sean McMeekin:
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Almost finished this.

In general no huge new revelations about anything that wasn't known before (just not publicised much or brushed under the carpet by leftist academics and various fanboys of Moscow). Much of what was known or suspected to be true about Stalin's active pursuit of a European war to weaken his adversaries and prepare the ground for expansion already having been actively denounced by Moscow and its fellow travellers and fanboys. However, the level of detail in this book that McMeekin has laid out with his extensive archival research is very difficult to denounce

I must admit that I have been quite blown away by the amount of aid that was provided by the USA to the USSR (even before Barbarossa commenced) on terms far more generous than those given to the UK. Not only that but the free hand given to Soviet war materiel requisitioners in the US was truly shocking. Completely unreciprocated by Stalin.

It's amazing the combination of altruistic naivety and Soviet penetration and influence that affected Roosevelt's decision making and US policy in general and the largesse and confidence bestowed respectively on and in the Soviets; especially vis-a-vis the stringent conditions applied to UK lend-lease and the mistrust of Churchill and Britain in general by the USA despite our so-called "special relationship".

There is a clear and logical, continuous direction and thrust to Moscow's policies and aims before 1939, in the periods 1939-41 and 1941-45 and thereafter, despite its shifting alliances. Maximum territorial aggrandisement, maximum control over adjacent countries. Minimum actual cooperation with erstwhile allies unless under duress. Nothing was viewed as mutually beneficial, everything was viewed through the lens of greatest potential benefit to Moscow.

Churchill comes across as having his freedom of action curtailed and boxed in comprehensively by Roosevelt agreeing with Stalin, despite his strenuous efforts to set the agenda. But several of his policy decisions are also exposed as dangerously accommodating to Stalin, some of this was due to direct Soviet penetration of British Intelligence and indirect Soviet influence through naive fellow-travellers.

One of the genuine revelations of the book, is the very near possibility of Britain and France going to war against the Soviet Union in early 1940, due to Moscow's huge economic assistance to Germany. McMeekin demonstrates that the Blizkrieg against France was fuelled by Soviet oil from the Caucasus fields. Had the western allies bombed Baku as per drawn-up plans, this may have completely changed the Battle for France.

All in all a very interesting book and one which is highly relevant to taday as the current neo-Tsar (and huge fan of Stalin) ratchets up the tension from Moscow.
 
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