Book recommendation/request thread

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TC Pilot
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-05-05 09:01am

Protip: this is the history sub-forum.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-05-05 09:03am

Well, now we know who does not pay attention to forum titlse. :lol:
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby edaw1982 » 2012-05-05 09:27am

Oh crap :oops:

I just saw 'Book Recommendation' an...well :banghead:
...and anywho I suppose raptors don't count as it's less history and more 'pre-history'.
[quote=]Put book front and center. He's our friend, we should honour him. Kaylee, find that kid who's taking a dirt-nap with baby Jesus. We need a hood ornment. Jayne! Try not to steal too much of their sh*t![/quote]

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby General Mung Beans » 2012-05-08 11:49pm

El Moose Monstero: That would be the winning song at Eurovision. I still say the Moldovans were more fun. And that one about the Apricot Tree.
That said...it is growing on me.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-05-09 10:28am

Pop history, full of mistakes and errors. Good reads, but not good history. When you manage to confuse the enemy tribe within the same paragraph (franks =/= alamanni)....
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby edaw1982 » 2012-05-09 10:49am

Aside from 'All Along the Western Front', are there any good WWI novels?
[quote=]Put book front and center. He's our friend, we should honour him. Kaylee, find that kid who's taking a dirt-nap with baby Jesus. We need a hood ornment. Jayne! Try not to steal too much of their sh*t![/quote]

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-05-09 11:04am

There is Ernst Jünger, but he is somewhat peculiar and right-wing to modern eyes.
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby edaw1982 » 2012-05-09 12:44pm

A good series is The Grail Quest, which focuses on the Archer's Point of View, around fourteenth century Europe, from a raiding of Hookton by French soldiers, the Scottish invasion of 1347 and even the battle of Crécy and the fall of Calais.
It's by Bernard Cornwell, who does do character-inserts into famous battles. Although Thomas unlike Sharpe, doesn't play the walking Deus Ex Machina to whom one wonders how those battles could've been won were it not for the protagonist.

Yes it's 'Fictional' in the account of there being a Thomas of Hookton (and the majority of stuff he does), but it's still historical in that there was the battle of Crécy and a Scottish invasion and Calais fell (and raiding of coastal villages more than likely happened every now and then).
[quote=]Put book front and center. He's our friend, we should honour him. Kaylee, find that kid who's taking a dirt-nap with baby Jesus. We need a hood ornment. Jayne! Try not to steal too much of their sh*t![/quote]

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-05-09 12:59pm

A) Cornwell is not above bending the historical record in favor of making the british look heroic, aka the entire Sharpe series. I've got issues with his archer series as well.
B) This is not a novel recommendation thread.
Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-05-10 04:51pm

Anyone know of any good histories of the Great Depression, either overall or regionally? I've sadly lost access to JSTOR, so I can't easily tell if the books I've looked at are particularly good or just "FDR made things worse" revisionist garbage.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby MrDakka » 2012-05-11 01:13am

I'm currently taking a class on the history of the American Revolution and one of the required books for reading is The Unknown American Revolution by Gary Nash. It explores the events and people that high school US history neglected. It gives a broader picture of the American Revolution and its rather easy to read, compared to some other books we were assigned.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Haruko » 2012-05-11 08:27pm

Does anyone know of any recent, decent history of the United States written by someone who is not American? Maybe even not European?
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Lord_Of_Change 9 » 2012-05-15 06:57am

Anybody know of a good book on Alfred the Great?

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Bernkastel » 2012-08-06 03:04pm

Hi.

I've been thinking of buying Russia in the Age of Peter the Great by Lindsey Hughes. Before I do so, I would like to know if anyone else has read it and can give me their opinion of it.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Fire Fly » 2012-08-06 07:15pm

I have found myself with ample time this summer and I have been on a reading binge of the later Roman Empire (4th to 6th century) with a focus on the western half. What sparked this sudden interest? First, in the discussion of U. S. politics this subject comes up quite often and I thought that I would educate myself in this subject since it seems to be so popular in political circles. History, to some people, is repeating itself and this time Rome is America. After having read these books, I have to say, many of the people who make these allusions and allegories seem to be rather wrong and are stretching the known facts to suit their own political ideology. Second, many lay people know of Caesar and the gladiatorial games but know rather little about the later centuries, myself included. Since so many facets of the Medieval Age (Dare I say, even the modern age?) find roots from the later half of the western Roman Empire, reading up on the history of the later Roman Empire would improve my understanding of the evolution of Western history. I would like to recommend the following books for your consideration on the subject of late Roman antiquity.

The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History by Peter Heather. For those who would like a fairly brief overview of the the political and military history of the later Roman Empire, I would like to recommend this book as a starting point. The language is kept fairly simple, it is not too academic that a lay person could not read and understand it, and the author makes several compelling arguments using what evidence there exists from this period. Moreover, the author includes a lot of small pieces of history and minutiae that a lay person might never know or encounter such as the Palladus and Lepcis Magna incident or that senators would salute and hail the emperor en masse for up to 30 minutes or more at a time. The author presents the last struggles of the western Roman Empire in a somewhat tragic light. They had many opportunities to fix the problems which ailed them yet with each crisis solved, new trouble always arose. One can only wonder what would have happen to history if the joint West-East Roman invasion of Vandal-occupied Africa, the former economic engine of the West, had succeeded.

The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins does not necessarily explain how the western Empire fell but rather describes the economic ramifications of said event and briefly touches on the Germanic successor states. One of the early views on the fall of the western Roman Empire has been one of great calamity and chaos, an event that ushered in the so called Dark Age. It was as if the barbarian tribes greedily looked at a gilded statue and toppled it, destroying a work of art that took centuries to build and claimed the broken pieces for themselves. Well, much of modern scholarship no longer accepts this view but rather sees the period as one of change and not catastrophe. Ward-Perkins does not necessarily accept the fairly peaceful transitional argument (he does not accept the traditional view as stated above, either) and instead argues that the period was indeed quite chaotic, contrary to some modern historians. He pieces together ancient contemporary accounts, archaeological evidence, and many other disciplines of different sciences to support his thesis. Reading this book, one begins to understand what it means when a government fades away from civilian life. Some of the more interesting parts of the book touches on the post-western Roman Empire life where the Roman emperor as leader is replaced by Germanic kings. The transitionalists are right with regards to one thing: Much of Roman culture and life continued as it had always done (at least in the more stable parts) under the Germanic kings with the Germanic tribes acknowledging the superiority of the Roman way. Many of the Germanic élite would eventually become Romanized, such as the Ostrogoth queen Amalasuntha.

The Logistics of the Roman Army at War (264 B.C. - A.D.235) is a fascinating book that discusses the daily needs of soldiers and how they were supplied. Several years ago, I had read Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army and since then, I have wanted to read how the Romans dealt with the actual tasks of waging battle. War, like theater, has many players involved: the producer, the director, the main actors, and the secondary actors. But these people cannot do their job without the help of the technicians, the musicians, the stage handlers, and the plethora of people behind the curtain who make it possible to physically run a show. Much of ancient history is full of accounts of great armies clashing but the mundane tasks of war making is overlooked. This book offers some possible explanations on how the Romans were able to wage war. Reading this book, one is reminded that in many battles of the medieval period, many armies that fought are often quite small (in the range of thousands) compared to armies in classical Roman times (tens of thousands). We can see plainly just how important logistics can be. This book helps the reader to conceptualize how ancient armies waged war in an age where the lack of telephones and the internet greatly limited the speed of communication and the ability to command, where computers did not exist to help in managing enormous amounts of matériel, and where traveling speeds were limited. One has to wonder how ancient peoples could accomplish so much with relatively so little.

A Companion to Late Antiquity is a series of essays written by multiple authors and is edited by Philip Rousseau. This is not really a history book surveying and narrating the events of the later Roman Empire but rather is a book that seems to describe the evolving historiography of the late antiquity, a history of The History of Late Antiquity if you will. While a bit dry, it offers the reader a picture of how historians have viewed and have come to view this period and if you are interested in such things, I would recommend this book. It is not an in depth book and only lightly touches on the surface of various aspects but it at least allows a lay person to get some sense of direction on late antiquity, a field that is described as fairly nascent.

In reading the above books, one book that seems to stand out is The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey by A. H. M. Jones. This book is quite academic and is seemingly daunting in the size and scope of the topic that it discusses but it has been described as still accurate even today, impressive in detail, and one of the earliest books to discuss later classical Roman history in such depth. I highly recommend this book if anyone can access it as it touches on just about every aspect of later Roman culture, daily life, governance, religion, economics, and war. In reading this book, I am amazed and in awe at how much written literature and material culture has survived from Roman times such that an accurate narrative of this period of history can be constructed. The corollary of this is that, like that of dinosaur fossils, for so much to have survived so much must have been produced and scattered over an enormous area of land to evade the ravages of time. Here we can get a feel at just how long lasting and large the Roman Empire that was.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Shadow6 » 2012-08-09 09:19pm

Is Antony Beevor's latest book The Second World War worth picking up? I liked his previous works (Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day), but I'm not particularly informed on how well regarded he is as an author.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Thanas » 2012-08-10 08:03am

Fire Fly wrote:I have found myself with ample time this summer and I have been on a reading binge of the later Roman Empire (4th to 6th century) with a focus on the western half. What sparked this sudden interest? First, in the discussion of U. S. politics this subject comes up quite often and I thought that I would educate myself in this subject since it seems to be so popular in political circles. History, to some people, is repeating itself and this time Rome is America. After having read these books, I have to say, many of the people who make these allusions and allegories seem to be rather wrong and are stretching the known facts to suit their own political ideology. Second, many lay people know of Caesar and the gladiatorial games but know rather little about the later centuries, myself included. Since so many facets of the Medieval Age (Dare I say, even the modern age?) find roots from the later half of the western Roman Empire, reading up on the history of the later Roman Empire would improve my understanding of the evolution of Western history. I would like to recommend the following books for your consideration on the subject of late Roman antiquity.


I can personally recommend all those books, but would advise a new reader to start with A.H.M Jones first, because it is the best general overview. I'd also suggest one should take a look at Alexander Demandt, Stephen Mitchell and of course Peter Brown.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby TC Pilot » 2012-08-10 09:40am

Shadow6 wrote:Is Antony Beevor's latest book The Second World War worth picking up? I liked his previous works (Stalingrad, Berlin and D-Day), but I'm not particularly informed on how well regarded he is as an author.


I haven't read it myself, but I generally find that a good way to judge a WW2 history is to look at the section on Barbarossa and see if the author claims Stalin went AWOL in the first couple days. If so, you're likely going to get general pop-history. If not, you might have yourself a good one.

I've read Beevor's Spanish Civil War history, and was impressed by the work. Unless there's some hideous drop in quality with this new one, you shouldn't have any problems.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2012-08-25 04:14am

Does anyone have any recommendations on the roots of World War two in Japan?

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby Junghalli » 2012-09-09 03:27am

Does anybody know of any good books they would recommend on the caste system in India, how it works, its historical origins, how it legitimizes itself ideologically, stuff like that?

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby jollypillager » 2012-09-14 01:37pm

I'm looking for good books on the following topics:

1: In depth analysis of the strategies that would be used in a full nuclear exchange between the US and USSR, bonus if it gave evaluations for different time periods during the Cold War to reflect changing Geopolitical, Technological and Doctrinal realities.

2: A good book in English from the Dutch point of view on the ABDA Command and the fall of the Dutch East Indies.

3: ANY book on Vietnam that is an actual military history and not a personal account, historical drama, or focused on things that aren't military campaigns / history.

I would recommend the following books:

Shattered Sword http://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Sword-U ... 1574889230 - An excellent analysis of the Battle of Midway from a mostly Combined Fleet perspective.

Neptune's Inferno http://www.amazon.com/Neptunes-Inferno- ... 055380670X - I really like Hornfischer's writing style as it is almost novel-like in its delivery but is also accurate and well researched in its facts. Covers all surface actions in and around Guadalcanal from late '42 through '43 including several actions that are not particularly well known.

Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Stand-Sa ... 0553802577 - More Hornfischer covering the Battle off Samar and focusing on Taffy 3 vs. Kurita.

To the Last Cartridge http://www.amazon.com/Last-Cartridge-Ro ... 0380772124 - A collection of short historical military events focusing on stories demonstrating honor, courage and defiance in the face of heavy odds (as well as a great story about a British officer in the Raj and a dinner party...), this collection includes stories about the Foreign Legion, Americans, Russians, the fall of Constantinople and a great many others.

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby thejester » 2012-09-15 12:08am

jollypillager wrote:3: ANY book on Vietnam that is an actual military history and not a personal account, historical drama, or focused on things that aren't military campaigns / history.

How big a scope do you want? There's no single volume that covers 55-75. Most (understandably) concentrate on 65-72, and from a heavily American perspective. Shelby Stanton's The Rise And Fall of an American Army is a good mixture of combat operations, organisational issues within the US Army and OOB - although it's getting long in the tooth. Outside of that, the US Army's Centre for Military History has been digitising a ton of stuff, including their official histories on the Vietnam period. Sadly only two volumes covering up to late 1967 in the 'Combat Operations' series have been published and digitised, but there are also histories of the advisory effort and individual campaigns/branches available. But none of that stuff covers other combat operations like the air campaign against North Vietnam or MACVSOG operations - or, as I said, Vietnamese operations from either a RVN or Communist perspective (or indeed a 'Free World' one - ANZAC, ROK, Thai etc).
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby jollypillager » 2012-09-15 01:28am

I really want something that addresses doctrine, tactics and their effectiveness on the battlefield with analysis of individual encounters being probably neccessary. It seems every book I pick up on the subject is basically a personal biography or a political big picture discussion.

I'll see if I can find Stanton's book, thanks for the suggestion :)

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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby thejester » 2012-09-17 03:48am

jollypillager wrote:I really want something that addresses doctrine, tactics and their effectiveness on the battlefield with analysis of individual encounters being probably neccessary. It seems every book I pick up on the subject is basically a personal biography or a political big picture discussion.

I'll see if I can find Stanton's book, thanks for the suggestion :)

OK, that narrows it down slightly.

For an analysis of tactical effectiveness, see if you can get your hands on Paddy Griffith's Forward Into Battle or any of the work of Dr Bob Hall. Griffith was (sadly died a couple of years ago) a lecturer and wargamer at Sandhurst; his website is still operational and is pretty interesting for a brief read. Some of his work on the tactics of the American Civil War is pretty controversial, but I haven't seen his central thesis on US small-unit tactics in Vietnam contradicted. Hall's work (along with Andrew Ross) is based on a database that records every contact experienced by units of 1 Australian Task Force in and around the province of Phuoc Tuy between 1966-1971. In particular if you can get "Kinetics in counterinsurgency: Some influences on soldier combat performance in the 1st Australian Task Force in the Vietnam War", Small Wars and Insurgencies, Vol. 21, No. 3, September 2010, 498-518 it gives some idea of the nature of small unit combat in Vietnam, effectiveness of various weapons and the similarities and differences between Australian and American practice.

More broadly, Andrew Birtle has written a book on the development of US Army COIN doctrine between 1945 and 1975 for CMH; not sure if it's been digitised, but worth a read. There's also a CGSC monograph floating around on the development of US Army doctrine in general during the same period, as well as monographs dealing with the development of the airmobile concept and armour tactics in Vietnam etc - see here.

If you also look at the other tab on that page (archival material) it'll link you to some after action debriefs on various small unit actions that could also help answer what you're after.
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Re: Book recommendation/request thread

Postby phongn » 2012-09-17 03:08pm

jollypillager wrote:I'm looking for good books on the following topics:

1: In depth analysis of the strategies that would be used in a full nuclear exchange between the US and USSR, bonus if it gave evaluations for different time periods during the Cold War to reflect changing Geopolitical, Technological and Doctrinal realities.

Much information on this remains, unsurprisingly, classified. That said, there is some extensive material available at GWU's National Security Archives' Nuclear Vault, including histories, if not the actual plans themselves, of SIOP-62 and -63.
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