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What book are you reading now?

Colin Parkinson

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Reading the Naval Memoirs of Sir Roger Keyes the beginning of the book is about his time overseeing the development and deployment of the early sub fleet and the technology challenges they faced. Now I am into the Dardanelles Campaign and it's interesting to hear what they believe would be the political gain of forcing the passage and destroying the Turkish fleet. Written 1934.
 

CBH99

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I know it’s fairly mainstream, and I’m late to read it. But I started Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink on Friday.

So far, enjoying it. Nothing none of us don’t already know, but it’s highlighting things in my life Ive become far too complacent about & didn’t even know it.
 

FJAG

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Okay. I've just started reading Peter Kasurak's A National Force: The Evolution of the Canadian Army, 1950-2000 and am only at page 15 but have already concluded this guy's got a massive hate on for all things British. Mind you I like the one quote he cites when talking about the Commonwealth following a standardized (i.e. British) divisional organization in the 1930s and attempts by a non-Brit to change anything:

Hence, a Dominion officer who feels it is his duty to suggest improvements in military organization must argue the case for a change in all the Empire's forces, taking cognizance of the whole range of the army's duties, from first-class warfare to the suppression of religious maniacs in abominable deserts.

Sounds like what's facing us in the Force 2025 thread and real life.

Notwithstanding this nugget, I have a feeling I'm off on a bit of a wasted journey here. Time will tell.

🍻
 

TCM621

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I just finished Explaining Postmodernism by a Stephen Hicks. It does a very good job explaining the philosophical routes of Postmodernism back the Kant and Hegel. It also pre-dates the current focus on Postmodernism by about a decade so it doesn't seem reactionary.

I have also just started Chaos under Heaven by Josh Rogin about China under Xi Jinping.

Of a less political variety, I just finished The Anarchist's Workbench by Christopher Shwartz. He writes great books on traditional wood working and this book is a great twist on building a traditional style workbench.

I also just started a Woodworker's Apprentice by Roy Underhill from PBS's the Woodwright's shop. He has been teaching traditional woodworking for decades now.
 

FJAG

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"I alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year" by Carol Leonning and Philip Rucker.


A much better book than Woodward's latest effort. This one is well written and well researched. Numerous sources from within the White House contributed and laid open quite a view of the inner workings of what was a highly dysfunctional presidency. I surprisingly ended up with much more respect for William Barr than I thought I'd be able to muster. Clearly one of the few adults in the administration. On the other hand not enough contempt can be flung into the faces of Rudy Giuliani or White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows or Michael Flynn.

This book is a serious cautionary tale. Even when someone is as blatantly and overtly destructive of the basic principles of democracy, there will be enough enablers come out of the woodwork to give effect to his ravings. Leonning clearly demonstrates just how close-run thing Trump's insurrection was, how he was able to and continues to foster mass delusion within the Republican and how just a handful of Republicans, like Pence, Christy, McConnel held the line.

Highly recommended.

🍻
 

dimsum

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To Boldly Go: Leadership, Strategy, and Conflict in the 21st Century and Beyond​



It seems dry by the title, but it's a collection (with one of the editors being Steven Leonard, or "Doctrine Man" as he's better known on the Internet) of short articles by various authors interweaving science fiction and military topics. So, stuff like examining the civil-military leadership relationship using Battlestar Galactica's Adama and Roslyn, or a GBA+ article on why the Rebel Alliance cockpits were only designed for humanoids.

It was a great read (maybe less so for people who hate sci-fi) and highly recommended. Plus, the articles are generally 3-4 pages long so you don't feel the need to spend hours on it at a time. I spaced (ha!) it out over a month and a half.
 

FJAG

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To Boldly Go: Leadership, Strategy, and Conflict in the 21st Century and Beyond​



It seems dry by the title, but it's a collection (with one of the editors being Steven Leonard, or "Doctrine Man" as he's better known on the Internet) of short articles by various authors interweaving science fiction and military topics. So, stuff like examining the civil-military leadership relationship using Battlestar Galactica's Adama and Roslyn, or a GBA+ article on why the Rebel Alliance cockpits were only designed for humanoids.

It was a great read (maybe less so for people who hate sci-fi) and highly recommended. Plus, the articles are generally 3-4 pages long so you don't feel the need to spend hours on it at a time. I spaced (ha!) it out over a month and a half.

I've always been a fan of science fiction, not just because of the great stories, but because it generally challenges the lethargy of bureaucracy by asking the question "what if?". In fact, if you're an old time reader of sci-fi like me you get disturbed by the fact that many of the predictions of what technology would exist in the 24th century are already in the hands of our children, much less the military, today.

It's about time that science fiction became part of the reading curriculum of professional military schools to largely augment military history. History runs in two directions and while I don't discount the lessons of the past, the predictions for the future should guide our way even more so. Can you imagine what the future could hold if we let some of the many concepts of Scalzi's Old Man's War guide our research and development - BrainPals; SmartBlood; MP-35 high-density, nano-robotic ammunition blocks?

:unsure:
 

dimsum

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It's about time that science fiction became part of the reading curriculum of professional military schools to largely augment military history.
Books like Starship Troopers and Ender's Game are already part of the USMC Commandant's reading list, and some others as well.

Not sure about newer stuff, but I heard about this book through NavyCon, so I have a feeling that some professional military schools are doing this already.

Funny enough, the CAF is cited in this book's foreword as one of the original leaders in this vein of thought with "Crisis in Zefra". The RAF, US Army, USMC, and others followed suit.
 

Weinie

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I am partway through reading "The Tiger's Prey' by Wilbur Smith, who unfortunately died today at 88. I have read about 25 of his books. Good yarns all. RIP Wilbur, and thanks.
 

FormerHorseGuard

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Has anyone started the new WEB Griffin book written by Brian Andrews and Jeffery Wilson

ROGUE ASSET

one of the Presidential Agent Novels.
I really enjoy reading the books, but always leery of new authors taking over a series of books.

any opinions yet?

Opie
 

dimsum

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Finished Leviathan Falls, the last book in the Expanse series.

I wasn't sure how it would go, but they seemed to wrap things up nicely. Too bad the TV series won't go as far as the books.
 

FSTO

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Just about finished Margaret MacMillan's "War, how conflict shape us". Will then tackle Bruce Jones "To Rule the Waves"
 

dangerboy

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Logistics in the Falklands War
By Kenneth L.Privratsky
Genre: Military History

I will be the first to admit that I don’t pay enough attention to military logistics as I should. It has always been black magic, where stuff magically appears when you need it. Now, I know that is not really magic and that it requires work by people to make supplies appear but as I said I never really thought much about it.

This book goes over the challenges that the British Forces had in 1982 when they went to war with Argentina over the fate of the Falklands Islands, deciding if they would remain British Territory or if they would become Argentinian. The book covered these main logistics phases: 1) preparing to move the men, equipment, and supplies 2) Shipping the men, equipment, and supplies. 3) The amphibious assault to gain an initial foothold on the East Falklands Islands 4) Suppling the forces as they advanced inland 5) The post-war issues, dealing with the prisoners of war, supplying the civilian population, and restoring the infrastructure of the islands.

This conflict had some unique challenges that the British had not faced in quite a number of years. The primary being the distance, it is roughly 8,000 miles (12,875 km) from the UK to the Falklands Islands with the only staging area being the Ascension Islands which is about ½ way. The second was the fact that the British did not have air superiority, and this fact cost them hard. The Argentinian forces were able to penetrate the British air defence and caused major damage which caused havoc with the logistics effort. Finally, the actual terrain that they were fighting in, the islands are an inhospitable place that with the exception of inside the towns has no road or transportation network so it is hard to move supplies across the territory.

The author does a great job of explaining how the British forces handled these issues and were successful in supplying their forces enabling them to recapture the Islands and force the surrender of the invading Argentinian forces (spoiler 😊). He also explains what is going on in the actual war and some of the background to the conflict so if you are not overly familiar with the conflict you will not be lost reading this book.
If you are like me and not very knowledgeable about logistics issues then I recommend reading this book, I think you will find it quite enlightening. I also recommend it to anyone that is just interested in military history.

Logistics.jpg
 

Blackadder1916

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Logistics in the Falklands War
By Kenneth L.Privratsky
Genre: Military History

I will be the first to admit that I don’t pay enough attention to military logistics as I should. It has always been black magic, where stuff magically appears when you need it. Now, I know that is not really magic and that it requires work by people to make supplies appear but as I said I never really thought much about it.

I hadn't seen that one previously, thanks.

In the same vein, I would recommend "Moving Mountains: Lessons in Leadership and Logistics from the Gulf War" by William G. Pagonis. LtGen (ret'd) Pagonis was the US theater logistics commander during the Gulf War. His book has been on my military/leadership shelf for at least 25 years. Besides a good read, I also had an opportunity to listen to him at a conference a couple of decades ago, an example of his style and message here. And yes, I did use 3x5 index cards for a while.
 

grayzone

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J'ai serré la main du diable -RD

Which I erroniously thought was originally written in french.

Any other Francos find some of the verb tenses off in the FR version?
I was reading aloud and got totally tripped up a few times... now I'm wondering if I accidentally have forgotten my native tongue, or if the translation was just a little off...
 
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grayzone

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"Canada's Army" by JL Granatstein

"Don't Eat this book" by Morgan Spurlock. So far, overly dependant on statistics without details to explain what he is trying to prove.
the "Don't Eat this book" title reminded me of:
"Sex in the Snow" by Michael Adams about Canadian demographics and values, due to it's odd title.

The premise is that though generations have been shown to share values within age groups, these groups are no longer holding to their cohorts, rather their values evolved and transcend beyond their age groups Thus, while one's generation once indicated with some reliability their value-set, this is no longer the case.
 

daftandbarmy

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Kokoda...

Very good in general, although I agree with this review on how long it takes to get tot he actual battle. But I assume that reflects what happened in reality:

This book should be mandatory reading for all Australians.

Nightmares plagued my Grandfather for the rest of his life after serving on the infamous Kokoda Track. Like many veterans, he rarely spoke of it. On the rare occasions he did, he would tell me stories that involved such things as: Japanese killing all his friends (and using them as bayonet practice), everything always being soaked through, and hacking his own path through the jungle because the Japs would hide up in trees and ambush them.

It was time I learned more about the Kokoda campaign and the horrors my Grandfather was unable to speak about. After all, if he hadn’t survived, I simply wouldn’t exist. I could already feel a lump in my throat just reading the prologue, so I know this was going to be an emotionally tough read.

This was my first Peter FitzSimons read, and I was a little concerned I may not enjoy his often talked about writing style (non-fiction in a novel-style). But I did, and found it quite effective in telling multiple stories at once. Kokoda reads a lot like a documentary: it’s filled with loads of historically accurate info from multiple sources, re-enactment type passages that bring battles to life, and some central characters – which you develop personal connections with.

It becomes very apparent, that those in chain-of-command (politicians and military alike), were clueless and mostly incompetent. It’s truly a miracle and testament to the courage of soldiers, that we won this battle at all. It was enough for me to place my head in my hands in dismay at what my Grandfather had been sent into. If it wasn’t “Pig Iron” Bob Menzies forcing Australian workers to ship iron to Japan immediately prior to the war, then it was the debauched insanity of General Blamey or clueless arrogance of General MacArthur. FitzSimons doesn’t hold back in his (just) criticism of these and other muppets. Thank god for the likes of Ralph Honner!

Just a small example of how clueless Robert Menzies was is made evident when he went on a 16-week visit to England in 1941. There, he told an international audience, “not only does Australia have no emerging problem in the Pacific”, but in fact wanted it to “draw closer to Japan and appreciate its problems”. These examples are everywhere in the book.

There was a lot of detailed talk about military command and similar roles away from the frontline. While definitely relevant, it got a little bogged down (no pun intended), with soldiers not getting onto the Kokoda Track itself until page 150. Yet again, I was made to feel frustrated by our troops fighting against our own senior military incompetence, as well as the Japanese (example: no camouflage or jungle clothes available and 60% of air drop supplies never recovered)

It was slow-reading because I kept pausing for amazing pieces of information to sink-in, or just due to how angry situations made me feel. I felt the need to regularly come up for air. The suffocating conditions my Grandfather spoke of were always present in the book. The horrible humidity, mosquitoes, flies, weather, terrain, food going bad in under 3 hours. I couldn’t help but feel my Grandfather was with me while reading, due to specific echoes of him throughout:

- Soldiers using their machetes to hack a walking stick out of the jungle which helped walking the track.

- Soldiers having a dingo’s breakfast (a scratch, a leak and a look around).

- A whole lot of ambushes and people getting lost or making their way off the track.

- The moment the AIF arrived on the track to help out the decimated, yet heroic 39th.

The only time I liked the Japanese perspective being shared in the book, was when it was describing the courage of our Australians:

“If the invasion is attempted, the Australians, in view of their national character, would resist to the end.”

"Though the Australians are our enemies, they must be admired."


The horrific brutality of the Japanese made my stomach churn. I’m glad FitzSimons didn’t hold back on gory details, as the truth needs to be told in such books. The barbaric beheading of men, women, children, nuns, and priests in New Guinea came across like a forerunner to modern-day terrorists - especially when paired with events such as the Rape of Nanking. Cannibalism among the Japanese wasn’t omitted either.

However, due to terrain and supply issues, there was a time when no prisoners and no mercy was shown by both sides. Such was evident in the story of Lik Lik, the native helping the Australians, who disappeared after a battle. Later coming back with a bulging sack containing 13 Japanese heads. When criticized; "But they were not dead when I found them boss, they were only wounded."

The heroism of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels was thankfully displayed throughout the book too, because without them, many Australian mothers would never have had their sons return home. Welcome comedic relief was when they began muttering the English phrase, "bloody awful job that" - because of how often they had heard it. Unfair treatment of them and being unable to drink from a local river for generations (due to the blood once flowing through it) was heartbreaking though.

There were many stories of heroism in Kokoda and it's those which I'll probably remember forever. The book wrapped up with FitzSimons talking about the significance of Kokoda over the likes of Gallipoli in WWI, and I have to agree. Thanks to these brave soldiers, (my grandfather included), Australians can enjoy the freedoms and fantastic way of life we have today. Thanks Peter FitzSimons, for highlighting these brave soldiers' plight.

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them."


Kokoda
 
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