Languish.org

General Category => Off the Record => Topic started by: Syt on March 16, 2009, 01:52:42 AM

Title: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 16, 2009, 01:52:42 AM
In the old thread the question was raised about books about the Seven Years War that are *not* about the British Navy or the French and Indian Wars.

The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763 by Franz A.J. Szabo was mentioned in the context, but I guess I'll leave it be after this reader review on Wargamer:
QuoteJust finished the above book. Let me save you the trouble and summarize: Frederick the great was an incompetent tyrant and , apparently, a coward who routinely fled from battles that his over rated Prussian Army constantly lost.  When prussia won a victory, it was only because of some type of fluke like a weather event, or a junior Austrian officer misunderstanding an order.  Austria routinely dominated the incompetent Frederick whose Prussian Army only survived through sheer luck.  Fredericks reputataion only developed due to Prussian propogandists.

I guess I should have read the author's bio first. Professor of Austrian Studies, native Austrian, and dedicated his book to his two grandfathers who, as he proudly announces, both fought for Austria-hungary during WWI.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 16, 2009, 05:34:56 AM
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James McPherson.

A good read that showed how Lincoln quickly developed strategic insight that far outstripped that of his generals until Grant was put in command.

Next on my list 'Lincoln and his Admirals'
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 16, 2009, 05:49:04 AM
I'm reading Tomasz Cyz's (a Polish writer) "Dionysios's returns" which is a book about Karol Szymanowski, a Polish composer, and his opera "King Roger".
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on March 16, 2009, 07:45:52 AM
Quote from: Syt on March 16, 2009, 01:52:42 AM
In the old thread the question was raised about books about the Seven Years War that are *not* about the British Navy or the French and Indian Wars.

The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763 by Franz A.J. Szabo was mentioned in the context, but I guess I'll leave it be after this reader review on Wargamer:
QuoteJust finished the above book. Let me save you the trouble and summarize: Frederick the great was an incompetent tyrant and , apparently, a coward who routinely fled from battles that his over rated Prussian Army constantly lost.  When prussia won a victory, it was only because of some type of fluke like a weather event, or a junior Austrian officer misunderstanding an order.  Austria routinely dominated the incompetent Frederick whose Prussian Army only survived through sheer luck.  Fredericks reputataion only developed due to Prussian propogandists.

I guess I should have read the author's bio first. Professor of Austrian Studies, native Austrian, and dedicated his book to his two grandfathers who, as he proudly announces, both fought for Austria-hungary during WWI.

With critics like this I always wonder if the book is really so strongly biased or rather the reader was looking for a piece of hero worshipping and can't handle the truth(TM). In this case the 'caveat' applies even more strongly because, to put it bluntly, the entire Kingdom of Prussia survived due to sheer luck. That Old Fritz was reduced to ordering his ministers to get peace at any price is as close to an stablished fact as one can get.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Korea on March 16, 2009, 08:28:41 AM
The Blade Itself - Joe Abercrombia


It is okay. :mellow:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on March 16, 2009, 08:54:35 AM
Is this thread really unified, or is that just a catchy title to get people to post here?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 16, 2009, 09:06:27 AM
Quote from: PDH on March 16, 2009, 08:54:35 AM
Is this thread really unified, or is that just a catchy title to get people to post here?
Are you calling Syt a liar?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on March 16, 2009, 09:42:18 AM
Quote from: Martinus on March 16, 2009, 09:06:27 AM
Quote from: PDH on March 16, 2009, 08:54:35 AM
Is this thread really unified, or is that just a catchy title to get people to post here?
Are you calling Syt a liar?
I believe I was calling him a savvy marketing guru, Mr. "I jump to conclusions."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on March 16, 2009, 09:54:14 AM
Quote from: PDH on March 16, 2009, 09:42:18 AM
I believe I was calling him a savvy marketing guru, Mr. "I jump to conclusions."

I want to pick a conclusion and then jump to it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on March 16, 2009, 10:04:29 AM
Quote from: garbon on March 16, 2009, 09:54:14 AM
I want to pick a conclusion and then jump to it.
Sorry, you have to be faux gay.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on March 16, 2009, 11:18:50 AM
Quote from: garbon on March 16, 2009, 09:54:14 AM
Quote from: PDH on March 16, 2009, 09:42:18 AM
I believe I was calling him a savvy marketing guru, Mr. "I jump to conclusions."

I want to pick a conclusion and then jump to it.

You could market that as a party game: "JUMP to Conclusions!" 

Shameless Office Space reference.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 16, 2009, 11:31:18 AM
Quote from: PDH on March 16, 2009, 08:54:35 AM
Is this thread really unified, or is that just a catchy title to get people to post here?

Brain took away my "What are you listening to now" thread, so I claimed this one.

Besides, I wanted to make a follow up to something from the previous thread/forum/life, and so this presented itself naturally.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: fhdz on March 16, 2009, 12:22:32 PM
I'm reading The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell at the moment; when I finish that, it's on to Steve Erickson's Tours of the Black Clock.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 16, 2009, 12:24:41 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 16, 2009, 11:31:18 AM
Quote from: PDH on March 16, 2009, 08:54:35 AM
Is this thread really unified, or is that just a catchy title to get people to post here?

Brain took away my "What are you listening to now" thread, so I claimed this one.


Punishment for changing your nick, Sytass.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 16, 2009, 12:25:23 PM
Quote from: fahdiz on March 16, 2009, 12:22:32 PMTours of the Black Clock.

Not what I read at first.  :-[
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 16, 2009, 12:26:27 PM
Quote from: The Brain on March 16, 2009, 12:24:41 PM

Punishment for changing your nick, Sytass.

I changed mine waaaaaaaaaaaaay before suckers like Timmy Trollson or Monkeyangerbradycunt.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 16, 2009, 12:27:04 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 16, 2009, 12:26:27 PM
Quote from: The Brain on March 16, 2009, 12:24:41 PM

Punishment for changing your nick, Sytass.

I changed mine waaaaaaaaaaaaay before suckers like Timmy Trollson or Monkeyangerbradycunt.

So you inspired them? Thanks a million, asshole.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: fhdz on March 16, 2009, 01:23:18 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 16, 2009, 12:25:23 PM
Not what I read at first.  :-[

:D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 16, 2009, 04:12:38 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on March 16, 2009, 07:45:52 AM
Quote from: Syt on March 16, 2009, 01:52:42 AM
In the old thread the question was raised about books about the Seven Years War that are *not* about the British Navy or the French and Indian Wars.

The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763 by Franz A.J. Szabo was mentioned in the context, but I guess I'll leave it be after this reader review on Wargamer:
QuoteJust finished the above book. Let me save you the trouble and summarize: Frederick the great was an incompetent tyrant and , apparently, a coward who routinely fled from battles that his over rated Prussian Army constantly lost.  When prussia won a victory, it was only because of some type of fluke like a weather event, or a junior Austrian officer misunderstanding an order.  Austria routinely dominated the incompetent Frederick whose Prussian Army only survived through sheer luck.  Fredericks reputataion only developed due to Prussian propogandists.

I guess I should have read the author's bio first. Professor of Austrian Studies, native Austrian, and dedicated his book to his two grandfathers who, as he proudly announces, both fought for Austria-hungary during WWI.

With critics like this I always wonder if the book is really so strongly biased or rather the reader was looking for a piece of hero worshipping and can't handle the truth(TM). In this case the 'caveat' applies even more strongly because, to put it bluntly, the entire Kingdom of Prussia survived due to sheer luck. That Old Fritz was reduced to ordering his ministers to get peace at any price is as close to an stablished fact as one can get.

That's true, but he survived seven years fighting nearly all of Europe. There's no way that was due to just luck.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on March 16, 2009, 04:44:09 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 16, 2009, 04:12:38 PMThat's true, but he survived seven years fighting nearly all of Europe. There's no way that was due to just luck.

As Napoleon's old maxim goes, "I'd rather fight allies than be one."  Frederick's "luck" of sorts was based rather heavily on the fact that the coalition aligned against him never had a unified goal, never a unified command, always had competing interests and, in many cases, political conflict between the commanders at the front and politicians at the back essentially guaranteed that he was never really all that pressured.

Add in the fact that Russia, at the peak of its success (and when Frederick was probably quite ready to commit suicide) had a few drastic foreign policy shifts from the Czarina dying, then the new Czar allying, then the new Czar being murdered and replaced with a neutral Russia, and you have a recipe for his state's survival.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on March 16, 2009, 04:46:44 PM
As for the book, Syt, the guy who wrote that appears to be after the sort of hero-worship that Alatriste mentioned.  The book is certainly worth reading--especially as it uses a bevy of primary sources in their original language, rather than second-hand materials.

The book is incredibly unflattering about Frederick, but backs everything up with solid research--something not everyone who's a Frederick "The Great" fanboy can tolerate.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on March 16, 2009, 05:00:26 PM
I liked old Fred's psycho daddy.

I mean, how could you not like someone who collected giants as a hobby?  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on March 16, 2009, 05:18:15 PM
Quote from: Malthus on March 16, 2009, 05:00:26 PM
I liked old Fred's psycho daddy.

I mean, how could you not like someone who collected giants as a hobby?  :D

I also like the bit on Wiki that the Prussian treasury surplus was in his basement. All he needed was some coffee cans to put it in.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on March 17, 2009, 08:27:44 AM
Quote from: Cindy Brady on March 16, 2009, 05:18:15 PM
Quote from: Malthus on March 16, 2009, 05:00:26 PM
I liked old Fred's psycho daddy.

I mean, how could you not like someone who collected giants as a hobby?  :D

I also like the bit on Wiki that the Prussian treasury surplus was in his basement. All he needed was some coffee cans to put it in.

All he has to do is detail his giants to yell "get off my lawn!" and he'd be perfect.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on March 21, 2009, 08:39:02 AM
Just received my American-edition copy of The Third Reich at War by Richard Evans yesterday.  :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on March 21, 2009, 08:44:43 AM
Finished End of the Old Order by Frederick Kagan. Pretty good, but his constant use of Caine Mutiny references regarding Mack's leadership was a bit....weird. Also, the constant sniping at other Napoleonic authors in the footnotes was petulant. Just call them a doo-doo head and get it over with.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 21, 2009, 08:56:46 AM
About half-way through The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst. Very delightful read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 03:00:22 PM
Update: Finished The Swimming Pool Library, one of the most gripping, wonderfully and richly written modern books I have read in years. Thanks for an amazing recommendation, guys. I really enjoyed that one - now can't wait to get my hands on Alan Hollinghurst's other books (which, I am led to believe, have received an even greater critical applause than his debut). Delicious.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on March 22, 2009, 03:18:50 PM
Quote from: Malthus on March 17, 2009, 08:27:44 AM
Quote from: Cindy Brady on March 16, 2009, 05:18:15 PM
Quote from: Malthus on March 16, 2009, 05:00:26 PM
I liked old Fred's psycho daddy.

I mean, how could you not like someone who collected giants as a hobby?  :D

I also like the bit on Wiki that the Prussian treasury surplus was in his basement. All he needed was some coffee cans to put it in.

All he has to do is detail his giants to yell "get off my lawn!" and he'd be perfect.
I snorted some water reading this!  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on March 22, 2009, 03:25:06 PM
Currently reading Beevor's book on the Spanish Civil war.  I was surprised how nasty the nationalists were.  I mean they were beating the Republic in warcrimes hand over first.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on March 22, 2009, 04:12:26 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on March 16, 2009, 04:44:09 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 16, 2009, 04:12:38 PMThat's true, but he survived seven years fighting nearly all of Europe. There's no way that was due to just luck.

As Napoleon's old maxim goes, "I'd rather fight allies than be one."  Frederick's "luck" of sorts was based rather heavily on the fact that the coalition aligned against him never had a unified goal, never a unified command, always had competing interests and, in many cases, political conflict between the commanders at the front and politicians at the back essentially guaranteed that he was never really all that pressured.

Add in the fact that Russia, at the peak of its success (and when Frederick was probably quite ready to commit suicide) had a few drastic foreign policy shifts from the Czarina dying, then the new Czar allying, then the new Czar being murdered and replaced with a neutral Russia, and you have a recipe for his state's survival.

If Elizabeth hadn't died precisely when she did, there would have been no Prussia.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on March 22, 2009, 04:15:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on March 22, 2009, 04:12:26 PMIf Elizabeth hadn't died precisely when she did, there would have been no Prussia.

:yes:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Does anyone here ever read fiction?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on March 22, 2009, 04:35:40 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Does anyone here ever read fiction?

What... is... fic-tion?  :o
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on March 22, 2009, 04:40:15 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Does anyone here ever read fiction?

The big difference between, say, me and you, is that I don't read books about fat Russian-American lawyer newlyweds living in Mississippi, whereas you are just aching to read books about closeted homosexual Polish lawyers.  Since none of us here are, in fact Frederick of Prussia, or Elizabeth of Russia, or any of those dead generals, I should think your comparison is inapposite, and in fact, technically speaking, fucking lame.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:43:56 PM
Quote from: Scipio on March 22, 2009, 04:40:15 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Does anyone here ever read fiction?

The big difference between, say, me and you, is that I don't read books about fat Russian-American lawyer newlyweds living in Mississippi, whereas you are just aching to read books about closeted homosexual Polish lawyers.  Since none of us here are, in fact Frederick of Prussia, or Elizabeth of Russia, or any of those dead generals, I should think your comparison is inapposite, and in fact, technically speaking, fucking lame.
Frederick of Prussia didn't have any sex. On the other hand, he was slim and apparently fit. So I can see how you can only partially identify with him.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 22, 2009, 04:44:14 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Does anyone here ever read fiction?
These "obscure" wars effect us to this day, how much do your "gay" books effect us?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on March 22, 2009, 04:46:46 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on March 22, 2009, 03:25:06 PM
Currently reading Beevor's book on the Spanish Civil war.  I was surprised how nasty the nationalists were.  I mean they were beating the Republic in warcrimes hand over first.

I never could finish that book. After about 100 pages of everybody is a dickhead, I just put it aside.

Of course on the internet, I support Franco, because that pisses off the greatest number of Euros.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on March 22, 2009, 04:47:27 PM
Quote from: Scipio on March 22, 2009, 04:40:15 PM
The big difference between, say, me and you, is that I don't read books about fat Russian-American lawyer newlyweds living in Mississippi

Don't be so quick there - the concept there has real promise in a Grisham meets Ignatius J. Reilly sort of way.  You write it and I'll option the film rights.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on March 22, 2009, 04:49:42 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Books about Frederick are gay books about obscure wars.  How bout them apples.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:50:51 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 22, 2009, 04:44:14 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Does anyone here ever read fiction?
These "obscure" wars effect us to this day, how much do your "gay" books effect us?
One of the acknowledged goals of literary fiction is to enrich our vocabulary, make our communication skills more robust and precise.

Of course, judging from your writing skills, I am willing to concede fine prose doesn't "effect" us at all.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:53:42 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on March 22, 2009, 04:49:42 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Books about Frederick are gay books about obscure wars.  How bout them apples.
I'm just disappointed that hardly anyone here (maybe except the gays, Savonarola, Brazen and Malthus) seems to be reading fiction anymore. History books are all fine and dandy, but they are (with some notable exceptions) all about information, rather than literary skills.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on March 22, 2009, 04:58:29 PM
I was thinking of cracking some fiction but since Marti is having a hissy fit, I'll read more non-fiction.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on March 22, 2009, 05:00:15 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:53:42 PM
I'm just disappointed that hardly anyone here (maybe except the gays, Savonarola, Brazen and Malthus) seems to be reading fiction anymore. History books are all fine and dandy, but they are (with some notable exceptions) all about information, rather than literary skills.

I actually just started to read a bunch of fiction for the first time in years.  In large part b/c of the new Kindle.  Luckily I was able to extract recommendations from the old board right before it went down.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 22, 2009, 05:07:18 PM
I read fiction, though I don't have much time to do so anymore. If I have time to read I'm usually reading history in order to prep myself for the next era we're going to go over in class.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on March 22, 2009, 05:10:23 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:53:42 PM
I'm just disappointed that hardly anyone here (maybe except the gays, Savonarola, Brazen and Malthus) seems to be reading fiction anymore. History books are all fine and dandy, but they are (with some notable exceptions) all about information, rather than literary skills.
I get enjoyment out of both fiction and non-fiction, but when walking through a bookstore fiction doesn't attract my eye as much as the other.

I read McCarthy's The Road late last year and absolutely loved it, but I haven't any fiction since.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 05:17:57 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 22, 2009, 05:07:18 PM
I read fiction, though I don't have much time to do so anymore. If I have time to read I'm usually reading history in order to prep myself for the next era we're going to go over in class.
So you are just one chapter ahead of your class? :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on March 22, 2009, 05:19:15 PM
Hide Tim's teacher editions!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 22, 2009, 06:48:26 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 05:17:57 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 22, 2009, 05:07:18 PM
I read fiction, though I don't have much time to do so anymore. If I have time to read I'm usually reading history in order to prep myself for the next era we're going to go over in class.
So you are just one chapter ahead of your class? :D

I'm not reading their text book, I could do that in 5 minutes. I'm reading scholarly works on the subject. I've read at least 4 books on the Civil War in the last two weeks.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on March 22, 2009, 08:00:21 PM
Bought Cammy P's Vamps & Tramps.

One of the first lines in the first chapter:

"The penis. Should we keep it? Or should we cut it off and throw it away?."

:diaryfactory:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on March 23, 2009, 12:06:55 AM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:53:42 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on March 22, 2009, 04:49:42 PM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 04:32:39 PM
It's funny how you guys ridicule me for liking "gay books" whereas all you read apparently are books about some obscure wars.  :D

Books about Frederick are gay books about obscure wars.  How bout them apples.
I'm just disappointed that hardly anyone here (maybe except the gays, Savonarola, Brazen and Malthus) seems to be reading fiction anymore. History books are all fine and dandy, but they are (with some notable exceptions) all about information, rather than literary skills.
Seems more like you are consciously ignoring certain posters.  Besides, this is still a child of Paradox, you'd expect history nuts.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on March 23, 2009, 12:26:28 AM
I just finished Fred Anderson's Crucible of War about the French and Indian War. I thought it was excellent.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on March 23, 2009, 04:18:29 AM
Quote from: Martinus on March 22, 2009, 03:00:22 PM
Update: Finished The Swimming Pool Library, one of the most gripping, wonderfully and richly written modern books I have read in years. Thanks for an amazing recommendation, guys. I really enjoyed that one - now can't wait to get my hands on Alan Hollinghurst's other books (which, I am led to believe, have received an even greater critical applause than his debut). Delicious.

The Folding Star and The Line of Beauty are excellent.  The Spell isn't.

I don't have an issue with gay books, so long as they're well-written and I think Hollinghurst's one of the best prose authors around. 

The best comparison I can think of is someone like V.S. Naipaul.  He's very 19th century in my opinion.

Edit:  And I'm halfway through Dubliners.  So far there's some incredibly poignant stories here, whcih surprises me.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 24, 2009, 04:07:11 PM
I'm reading Berek ("The Game of Tag") by Marcin Szczygielski, a Polish author. The protagonist seems to frequent the same club in Warsaw that I do every Friday, and he seems to be having the same tendecy to fall in love with the wrong kind of men (with his latest 'He-must-be-The One'-who-didn't-call-after-a-one-night-stand having actually the same name as my "failed bf"). I feel bizarre.

Especially as I have already invited my mum to a play based on the book (before I read it).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: AnchorClanker on March 24, 2009, 04:14:14 PM
Marty,

I think you are purposefully ignoring that a good many historians are talented writers.  :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on March 24, 2009, 04:52:19 PM
Quote from: AnchorClanker on March 24, 2009, 04:14:14 PM
Marty,

I think you are purposefully ignoring that a good many historians are talented writers.  :(
I do not deny you are right. I just find fiction more entertaining, despite (or indeed, due to) its frequent incongruence and emotional appeal, whereas any writing, however good, of a non-fiction author (be it a historian or otherwise) always must follow the cold iron logic of facts and is judged from that perspective first and foremost. When art takes the back seat to science, it always suffers, so I prefer to separate the two. Reality is tedious. ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: AnchorClanker on March 25, 2009, 01:43:36 PM
History, well written, can and will equal fiction in elegance and depth of human emotion.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on March 25, 2009, 05:20:13 PM
Quote from: AnchorClanker on March 25, 2009, 01:43:36 PM
History, well written, can and will equal fiction in elegance and depth of human emotion.
Gibbon comes to mind.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on March 27, 2009, 08:20:59 AM
Reading All Quiet on the Western Front again for my Ethics class. Also I've read through some of the beginning of The Third Reich at War.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valmy on March 27, 2009, 08:45:09 AM
Quote from: Martinus on March 24, 2009, 04:52:19 PM
I do not deny you are right. I just find fiction more entertaining, despite (or indeed, due to) its frequent incongruence and emotional appeal, whereas any writing, however good, of a non-fiction author (be it a historian or otherwise) always must follow the cold iron logic of facts and is judged from that perspective first and foremost. When art takes the back seat to science, it always suffers, so I prefer to separate the two. Reality is tedious. ;)

Nonsense.  Fiction is much more predictable and more tedious than history.  The facts of history are very rarely logical.  I mean the King of France giving his army over to a teenage girl?  WTF?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on March 27, 2009, 08:47:53 AM
Quote from: Valmy on March 27, 2009, 08:45:09 AM
Nonsense.  Fiction is much more predictable and more tedious than history.  The facts of history are very rarely logical.  I mean the King of France giving his army over to a teenage girl?  WTF?

I don't know how you can make this statement.  As if illogical things never happen in fiction...

Also, I'd actually say that I hate when historian brings visible emotionality to their works.  Then they aren't even maintaining the pretense of objectivity.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valmy on March 27, 2009, 08:51:17 AM
Quote from: garbon on March 27, 2009, 08:47:53 AM
I don't know how you can make this statement.  As if illogical things never happen in fiction...

Also, I'd actually say that I hate when historian brings visible emotionality to their works.  Then they aren't even maintaining the pretense of objectivity.

Illogical things do happen in fiction, but they often are not believable and tend to be eye-rolling moments 'yeah right'.  You have to accept the bizarre in history because they actually did happen.

But human history is not a tale of coldly objective people, so telling it in a coldly objective way is not an accurate portrayal.   Maybe if you were writing the history of robots that would be an accurate way to relate it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on March 27, 2009, 08:55:32 AM
Quote from: Valmy on March 27, 2009, 08:51:17 AM
Illogical things do happen in fiction, but they often are not believable and tend to be eye-rolling moments 'yeah right'.  You have to accept the bizarre in history because they actually did happen.

Actually if you recognize that people do illogical things...illogical things in fiction (when it is clear that the writer isn't simply a poor writer) should ring a bell. :huh:

Quote from: Valmy on March 27, 2009, 08:51:17 AMBut human history is not a tale of coldly objective people, so telling it in a coldly objective way is not an accurate portrayal.   Maybe if you were writing the history of robots that would be an accurate way to relate it.

You can try to write objectively about tumultuous events.  When you have no horse in the race, so to speak, it gets easier.  I'm not at all sure how that forces historical actors to be cold and objective. :mellow:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on March 27, 2009, 01:28:53 PM
Quote from: AnchorClanker on March 25, 2009, 01:43:36 PM
History, well written, can and will equal fiction in elegance and depth of human emotion.
Yeah.  I'm actually the opposite of Marti.  Because I spend my days reading for my course I enjoy reading non-fiction (mostly history and theology) to relax.

QuoteNonsense.  Fiction is much more predictable and more tedious than history.
I think this is more true of genre fiction because, generally, there are more rules.  I think fiction that's more about the writing than the plotting tends to be less predictable and more fun.  Salman Rushdie seems to me a really good example of that, where the force and skill of the writing carries you on to the degree where you don't really care what happens next to the characters you care what's going to happen to the next sentence.

But they're fundamentally doing different things and trying to achieve different things with the same medium so I don't think any simple comparison will ever work.  Though I love history with a bit of character in it.  I enjoy reading the Robin Lane Fox that I've read because you really get a sense of how much fun he's having recounting all this stuff (same for Suetonius); I love Alastair Horne's books on France because there's a real sense of him loving his subject that comes across time and again.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 30, 2009, 02:18:09 PM
GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! :bleeding:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on March 30, 2009, 02:22:31 PM
 :huh:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 30, 2009, 02:26:20 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on March 30, 2009, 02:22:31 PM
:huh:
Splitting the book into three pieces, just because it's gonna be longer than the Bible, what a bunch Goddamned pussies. It can be done in two.

And the name, how horribly generic, there are so many more interesting lines of prophesy that could be used.

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/article/56/Splitting-AMOL
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 30, 2009, 02:27:15 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on March 30, 2009, 02:26:34 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 30, 2009, 02:18:09 PM
GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!! :bleeding:

Does this have anything to do with Pride & Prejudice & Zombies?
No, I've read the first 200 pages and it's good so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 31, 2009, 11:13:08 AM
Reading Ralph Peters' "Red Army", a novel about WP invading Germany, from the Soviet perspective.

Still in the preliminaries, but high literature this is not (nor meant to be). The situation seems to in the 80s, after the mid-range missiles were removed. Political background is unclear. NATO seems to know WP is preparing something big, but, from comments of characters, seem locked in bickering.

Characters so far are a few privates (a farmboy who likes blues and rock, and a womanizer from Leningrad), the commander of the northern front (facing NORTHAG), a descendant of a long line of officers, various commanders, and a head of intelligence (a descendant of Jews, facing antisemitism in the forces) plus other cliché Russian soldier types. Polish officers look forward to kicking West German ass, East Germans seem unsure. Russian privates look forward tot he adventure of fighting the class enemy.

The book covers the section of NORTHAG. The plan of the Soviets is intriguing:
- the flanks advance to the borders between troops of different NATO nations, trying to exploit the friction there. Goal is to threaten an envelopment of West German forces.
- the center hesitates and when it looks that NATO troops are moved from there to the flanks they strike there in full force
- overall goal is to cause such a crisis in the north that NATO must move troops away from CENTAG where the WP main blow in Germany is scheduled
- the airforce will focus on destroying NATO air assets at first instead of providing ground support
- the picturesque but worthless town of Lüneburg (held by Dutch) is scheduled for total destruction to demonstrate what happens if Germans resist. Other cities where fighting is light are to be left as intact as possible - rationale: West Germans have become comfortable in their prosperity and may be not very willing to see much destruction, therefore easy to be morally beaten

I think the author (former CIA expert on Soviet forces) has a point re: German willingness to fight. The peace movement was strong in the 80s, and I doubt people had much fight in them. Besides, West Germans firing at East Germans is a big unknown in the equation; though by the 80s the countries had grown so much apart that I think most westerners thought the easterners were "foreigners".
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on March 31, 2009, 03:40:23 PM
It's very silly.  The author seems to think that the Germans and Dutch would be lousy soldiers.  Something I do happen to agree with,  though I think they would be poor soliders I don't think they would simply fold with the idiotic Luneburg thingy.  One interesting thing is that the author does not name any military hardware.  We now know what the Soviet Union's plans and it involved lots of nukes.  Nukes never seem to be a major element in these stories of Warsaw Pact vs Nato.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 01, 2009, 09:44:43 AM
Napoleonic books recently:

Fighting Napoleon by Charles J. Esdaile. Supposedly an account of the guerrilla war in Spain, but spends the first 50 pages blabbering about previous works in the field and jabbering that English writers have generally ignored the Spanish viewpoint. CRY ME A FUCKING RIVER, YOU BLOWHARD. I stopped there.

Worst 4.98 spent in the last month.

How Far From Austerlitz?: Napoleon 1805-1815 by Alistair Horne. A generally entertaining read. However, suffers from English writer-itis.

Passable read.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on April 01, 2009, 09:52:15 AM
Quote from: garbon on March 27, 2009, 08:47:53 AM
Also, I'd actually say that I hate when historian brings visible emotionality to their works.  Then they aren't even maintaining the pretense of objectivity.
Actually, it is the pretense of objectivity that makes a lot of history horrible, IMO.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on April 01, 2009, 12:02:53 PM
reading Rawi Hage's http://www.amazon.com/Niros-Game-Rawi-Hage/dp/1581952236 (http://www.amazon.com/Niros-Game-Rawi-Hage/dp/1581952236)"DeNiro's Game". Has nothing to do with Bobby D. different guy. Interesting portrait of Christian neighbourhood in Beirut during war. Apparently smoking and drinking are pretty much all that's left to do. Entertaining read thus far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 01, 2009, 02:52:32 PM
Quote from: PDH on April 01, 2009, 09:52:15 AM
Actually, it is the pretense of objectivity that makes a lot of history horrible, IMO.

I don't. I've no desire to run around Timmy fanwanks.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on April 01, 2009, 05:56:37 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on March 31, 2009, 03:40:23 PM
It's very silly.  The author seems to think that the Germans and Dutch would be lousy soldiers.  Something I do happen to agree with,  though I think they would be poor soliders I don't think they would simply fold with the idiotic Luneburg thingy.  One interesting thing is that the author does not name any military hardware.  We now know what the Soviet Union's plans and it involved lots of nukes.  Nukes never seem to be a major element in these stories of Warsaw Pact vs Nato.

Try the short stories.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: DontSayBanana on April 01, 2009, 07:12:03 PM
I finally started digging through my piles of books that I've been given for various holidays. Michael Scott's "The Magician (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)" might just need to disappear quietly.

The Comte de Saint-Germain as a disco star. Machiavelli in charge of the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure. 'Nuff said. :bleeding:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on April 01, 2009, 07:14:15 PM
Quote from: garbon on April 01, 2009, 02:52:32 PM
I don't. I've no desire to run around Timmy fanwanks.
It is a good thing that there is a range then, that one might be able to read history that is not dispassionate, dry, and still be good history that Tim would hate because it is nuanced and intellectual.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 01, 2009, 10:49:51 PM
Quote from: PDH on April 01, 2009, 07:14:15 PM
It is a good thing that there is a range then, that one might be able to read history that is not dispassionate, dry, and still be good history that Tim would hate because it is nuanced and intellectual.

How about you suggest a "nuanced and intellectual"  history and I'll read it and report back on whether I hate it or like it. I expect it will be the later.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on April 02, 2009, 03:16:58 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on April 01, 2009, 09:44:43 AM
Napoleonic books recently:

Fighting Napoleon by Charles J. Esdaile. Supposedly an account of the guerrilla war in Spain, but spends the first 50 pages blabbering about previous works in the field and jabbering that English writers have generally ignored the Spanish viewpoint. CRY ME A FUCKING RIVER, YOU BLOWHARD. I stopped there.

Worst 4.98 spent in the last month.

How Far From Austerlitz?: Napoleon 1805-1815 by Alistair Horne. A generally entertaining read. However, suffers from English writer-itis.

Passable read.

I have read one Esdaille's book on guerrillas (perhaps the same) and it was really funny. In essence he proceeded to

a) Maintain that English writers have generally ignored the Spanish viewpoint.

b) Maintain that French writers had got all wrong, even those that had fought the guerrillas themselves in 1808-1814.

c) Maintain that guerrillas in fact had been counterproductive and caused more harm to the Allies than to the French.

I found the thesis very weak. Esdaille found easily contemporary sources telling that guerrillas did rob and abuse the peasants, conscript young men against their will, hide in the hills and rarely fight the French, encourage desertion from regular army units that couldn't enforce discipline without causing men to leave ranks and join the guerrillas, etc, etc... but such a view is so unconsistent with French sources from the period that I couldn't take them seriously.

War is a nasty business and guerrilla war is even nastier, but jumping from that nastiness to concluding that guerrillas actually helped the French because they turned the peasants against the Allies and eroded regular army's disicpline, as Esdaille does, is a jump far too long.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 02, 2009, 07:40:51 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on April 02, 2009, 03:16:58 AM


I have read one Esdaille's book on guerrillas (perhaps the same) and it was really funny. In essence he proceeded to

a) Maintain that English writers have generally ignored the Spanish viewpoint.

b) Maintain that French writers had got all wrong, even those that had fought the guerrillas themselves in 1808-1814.

c) Maintain that guerrillas in fact had been counterproductive and caused more harm to the Allies than to the French.

I found the thesis very weak. Esdaille found easily contemporary sources telling that guerrillas did rob and abuse the peasants, conscript young men against their will, hide in the hills and rarely fight the French, encourage desertion from regular army units that couldn't enforce discipline without causing men to leave ranks and join the guerrillas, etc, etc... but such a view is so unconsistent with French sources from the period that I couldn't take them seriously.

War is a nasty business and guerrilla war is even nastier, but jumping from that nastiness to concluding that guerrillas actually helped the French because they turned the peasants against the Allies and eroded regular army's disicpline, as Esdaille does, is a jump far too long.

I didn't even get  to his other 2 theories. The dude's writing was so annoying and whiny, I gave up. I'll give it another try, since the meat of his argument does sound hilarious.

If I still had my 'Cavalcade of Crap" thread, it would go in there.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 03, 2009, 04:41:35 PM
Finished Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Very amusing. I quite recommend it.  :bowler:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 06, 2009, 10:28:58 AM
Bought two more books today. :weep:

McCarthy's The Road
Robert Dallek: Nixon and Kissinger - Partners in Power (I also consider picking up his "John F. Kennedy - an unfinished Life")
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on April 06, 2009, 03:27:57 PM
Quote from: Syt on April 06, 2009, 10:28:58 AM
Robert Dallek: Nixon and Kissinger - Partners in Power (I also consider picking up his "John F. Kennedy - an unfinished Life")

How did he get enough time off from battling the Doctor to write a book?  :unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 06, 2009, 07:38:45 PM
Been reading some college textbooks on the Holocaust. So depressing.  :cry:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on April 06, 2009, 08:16:38 PM
I'm getting ready to read "The Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman", as well as his collected correspondences.
Anyone have any recommendations for Sherman biographies? I'd prefer as balanced or as pro-Sherman as possible.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on April 07, 2009, 12:57:43 AM
Quote from: Savonarola on April 06, 2009, 03:27:57 PM
Quote from: Syt on April 06, 2009, 10:28:58 AM
Robert Dallek: Nixon and Kissinger - Partners in Power (I also consider picking up his "John F. Kennedy - an unfinished Life")

How did he get enough time off from battling the Doctor to write a book?  :unsure:

Any AI worth its salt should be able to find 4 alien civilizations, decypher the structure of 8 complex proteines and calculate the exact value of pi to the 10^45 decimal between one word spoken by the doctor and the next.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Korea on April 07, 2009, 01:02:15 AM
I started reading the 52 series again. One of my favorites!


Um, I forgot to check if we have the comic thread. Oops.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 07, 2009, 01:08:07 AM
Quote from: Savonarola on April 06, 2009, 03:27:57 PM
How did he get enough time off from battling the Doctor to write a book?  :unsure:

:lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 07, 2009, 08:45:38 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on April 06, 2009, 08:16:38 PM
I'm getting ready to read "The Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman", as well as his collected correspondences.
Anyone have any recommendations for Sherman biographies? I'd prefer as balanced or as pro-Sherman as possible.

Sherman is very quotable. My favorite:

Quote"Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other."

:lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on April 07, 2009, 10:57:29 AM
Quote from: Syt on April 06, 2009, 10:28:58 AM
Robert Dallek: Nixon and Kissinger - Partners in Power (I also consider picking up his "John F. Kennedy - an unfinished Life")
Let me know how that is.  I've almost bought it a few times.  I enjoyed the JFK biography.  I think it's fairer than the worship or pseudo-intellectual denigration - which is the historical equivalent of theatre that just tries to shock.

I'm reading 'A History of Histories' at the minute.  At the start of the Christian era (about a third of the way through), an excellent book.  It's problem is that it makes me want to then read the books which is expanding my never quelled amazon wish list :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on April 07, 2009, 05:09:49 PM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on April 06, 2009, 08:16:38 PM
I'm getting ready to read "The Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman", as well as his collected correspondences.
Anyone have any recommendations for Sherman biographies? I'd prefer as balanced or as pro-Sherman as possible.

Wait, there are people who are anti-Sherman?  Good Lord!  Who are they, Iranians?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on April 07, 2009, 05:12:25 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on April 01, 2009, 05:56:37 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on March 31, 2009, 03:40:23 PM
It's very silly.  The author seems to think that the Germans and Dutch would be lousy soldiers.  Something I do happen to agree with,  though I think they would be poor soliders I don't think they would simply fold with the idiotic Luneburg thingy.  One interesting thing is that the author does not name any military hardware.  We now know what the Soviet Union's plans and it involved lots of nukes.  Nukes never seem to be a major element in these stories of Warsaw Pact vs Nato.

Try the short stories.

What short stories?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Lettow77 on April 07, 2009, 08:07:31 PM
Just finished South to Posterity, and Panzer Leader. Jumping back into Flannery O'Conner's collected works, which I can only ever read a few of at a time.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: syk on April 08, 2009, 04:49:35 AM
Just read A.S. Neill's "Last Man Alive" again, a favourite from my childhood. Raw, bloody, anarchic and pretty funny for all ages. Just found that there's a website with the whole book. http://members.tripod.com/thelastmanalive/home.html (http://members.tripod.com/thelastmanalive/home.html)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on April 08, 2009, 04:51:47 AM
Quote from: Lettow77 on April 07, 2009, 08:07:31 PMJumping back into Flannery O'Conner's collected works, which I can only ever read a few of at a time.

Yeah, she's quite the downer sometimes.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on April 08, 2009, 06:26:47 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on April 06, 2009, 08:16:38 PM
I'm getting ready to read "The Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman", as well as his collected correspondences.
Anyone have any recommendations for Sherman biographies? I'd prefer as balanced or as pro-Sherman as possible.

http://www.amazon.com/Sherman-Soldiers-John-F-Marszalek/dp/0809327856/ref=sr_1_24?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239189892&sr=8-24
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on April 09, 2009, 06:58:03 PM
Translation of the Shahnameh Sheilbh linked to.  Fascinating stuff; love how some of the most ancient memories survive (mace-wielding pastoral-nomadist conqueror Feraydun, raised by a holy bull named "Barmayeh", reminiscient of both Romulus and Indian mythology), while all of Median and Achaemenid history seems to be a blur far more distant than the Levant is to the Old Testament.  I think the Arab kind with "twin snakes" coming out of his shoulders (a surprisingly disturbing image) might be some kind of memory of the Neo-Assyrians, with the twin snakes perhaps relating to the wings of a lamassu, though this is pure speculation). 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 11, 2009, 02:10:19 AM
Finished The Road. Been a while since I tore through a book in just a few days.

Very good book, but I'll have to think about whether or not I liked the positive twist at the end.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on April 11, 2009, 07:56:39 AM
Quote from: Scipio on April 08, 2009, 06:26:47 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on April 06, 2009, 08:16:38 PM
I'm getting ready to read "The Memoirs of William Tecumseh Sherman", as well as his collected correspondences.
Anyone have any recommendations for Sherman biographies? I'd prefer as balanced or as pro-Sherman as possible.

http://www.amazon.com/Sherman-Soldiers-John-F-Marszalek/dp/0809327856/ref=sr_1_24?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1239189892&sr=8-24

Thanks counselor.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on April 11, 2009, 09:05:19 AM
Quote from: Syt on April 11, 2009, 02:10:19 AM
Very good book, but I'll have to think about whether or not I liked the positive twist at the end.

If anything it was refreshing after the non-stop depression that book induced in me.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: lustindarkness on April 11, 2009, 11:38:42 AM
World War Z, An Oral History Of The Zombie War. Surprisingly good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: lustindarkness on April 11, 2009, 11:41:00 AM
Oh, also read The Bear and the Dragon(?), I think the only Tom Clancy Jack Ryan novel I have not read is Red Rabbit. I like his books, (so does hollywood <_<)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on April 11, 2009, 10:03:00 PM
Halfway through Dawkins' The God Delusion, and I just received Hitchens' God Is Not Great in the mail today. :thumbsup:
Hitchens is my favorite asshole. :wub:

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on April 11, 2009, 10:06:46 PM
I prefer Hitchens' argument.  Even if God exists I'm still opposed to him :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on April 11, 2009, 10:25:22 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on April 11, 2009, 10:06:46 PM
I prefer Hitchens' argument.  Even if God exists I'm still opposed to him :lol:
Yes, he is quite adamant about it.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 14, 2009, 10:37:33 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on April 07, 2009, 10:57:29 AM
Quote from: Syt on April 06, 2009, 10:28:58 AM
Robert Dallek: Nixon and Kissinger - Partners in Power (I also consider picking up his "John F. Kennedy - an unfinished Life")
Let me know how that is.  I've almost bought it a few times.  I enjoyed the JFK biography.  I think it's fairer than the worship or pseudo-intellectual denigration - which is the historical equivalent of theatre that just tries to shock.

I like it so far. I finished the first part (ca. 85 of the 600 pages), lining out the way of Kissinger and Nixon into the White House, with the last part focusing on the 1968 election campaign. The book itself focuses, naturally, on their impact on foreign policy.

The author's own opinion is summarized on page 81:
QuoteCircumstance and shared interest in great foreign policy issues was the ostensible bond bringing Nixon and Kissinger together. But the connection rested on larger commonalities. True, their backgrounds and experience could not have been more different: the small-town Southern California Quaker who gained prominence through political combat and the German-Jewish émigré whose innate brilliance elevated him to the front rank of American academics. But they were as much alike as they were different: both self-serving characters with grandiose dreams of recasting world affairs.

Their coming together also represented a union of two outsiders who distrusted establishment liberals: Nixon, their greatantagonist, and Kissinger, the academic, who was held at arm's length by the Kennedy-Johnson administrations. In addition, harsh life experiences had made both men cynical about people's motives and encouraged convictions that outdoing opponents required a relaxed view of scruples. Ironically, their cynicism would also make them rivals who could not satisfy their aspirations without each other.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 19, 2009, 01:11:05 PM
There's a David Gemmel fantasy award that fans can vote for.

The fields already been winnowed from 90~ to a final 5.

Joe Abercrombie's Last Argument of Kings
Juliet Marillier's Heir to Sevenwaters
Brandon Sanderson's The Hero of Ages
Andrzej Sapkowski's Blood of Elves
Brent Weeks's The Way of Shadows

Click here to vote
http://gemmellaward.com/
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on April 19, 2009, 01:16:21 PM
Any good fiction on the Copper and Neolithic ages?  I'll settle for Bronze. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 26, 2009, 07:26:23 PM
Soon to be seen at a bookstore near you! :w00t:

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi.dailymail.co.uk%2Fi%2Fpix%2F2009%2F04%2F23%2Farticle-0-049F70E1000005DC-880_468x235_popup.jpg&hash=212a1748d4262dc26e8d154fac24499bc0c9564e)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on April 26, 2009, 07:34:35 PM
Five minutes?  But I want it now.   :mad:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 27, 2009, 06:38:34 AM
Great, shoddy quickie books.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: saskganesh on April 28, 2009, 09:16:16 AM
it's like a hi tech photocopier. progress!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on April 28, 2009, 10:33:43 AM
Was reading a book on the history of American foods, which is pretty good. but I lent it to a friend of mine so I can't get the author or title.

I'm reading Tom Clancy's book on American Special Forces and also Terry Brooks' latest Shanarra book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 28, 2009, 05:08:52 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on April 26, 2009, 07:34:35 PM
Five minutes?  But I want it now.   :mad:
Go have a coffee.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on April 28, 2009, 09:24:36 PM
reading an odd book. Diary of a Drag Queen. short version? A bitchy old Queen decides she needs to look the part and starts tarting up as a Tranny for sex only with "straight guys" all this thru chat rooms, and craigslist (back in the heady days of 04 mind you) as his fantasy had always been of The Straight Guy. Some staright guys are desperate enough to pretend you are just the ugly chick you appear to be.

Also there is an interesting study of poor vs. rich and race relations amongst gays of the straight, closeteds, bi, whatever stripe. apparently class crosses all those pockets and takes all yr silver.

Interesting bio in that the guy is a real asshole and professes peace with that, and his unflinching self-loathing that seeps from the pages like acid flashbacks from an HST book. As a man or a woman he's an asshole, and he's ok with that, and oddly I'm glued to the book, like watching a car wreck.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on May 19, 2009, 01:17:54 PM
Saw this at the store, and Monkeybutt's voice popped up in my head, saying buy it. So I did.

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.coverbrowser.com%2Fimage%2Fbestselling-sci-fi-fantasy-2008%2F396-7.jpg&hash=c29b653422473ac2f0ad32a30fe6d86b85a97600)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 19, 2009, 02:20:19 PM
Good lad.

Remember, you don't really have to read the rest the books. The three in that omnibus are just fine by themselves.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 02:21:45 PM
The Silver Spike is an acceptable book.  But avoid the Books of the South.  BotS=Teh sux
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on May 19, 2009, 02:29:20 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 02:21:45 PM
avoid the Books of the South.  BotS=Teh sux

You are : teh fail.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:34:11 PM
Quote from: ulmont on May 19, 2009, 02:29:20 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 02:21:45 PM
avoid the Books of the South.  BotS=Teh sux

You are : teh fail.
No, YOU are : teh Jaron.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on May 19, 2009, 03:37:21 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:34:11 PM
No, YOU are : teh Jaron.

Nah, he's the one with the Hamster avatar.

The Books of the South give an interesting different backdrop to the Black Company that is missing in the first books.  In the first books, you have your generic pseudo-medieval setting (complete with fractured fairy tales for the story of the Lady and the Dominator).  In the later books, you have fantasy India, which is more interesting.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:39:05 PM
Quote from: ulmont on May 19, 2009, 03:37:21 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:34:11 PM
No, YOU are : teh Jaron.

Nah, he's the one with the Hamster avatar.

The Books of the South give an interesting different backdrop to the Black Company that is missing in the first books.  In the first books, you have your generic pseudo-medieval setting (complete with fractured fairy tales for the story of the Lady and the Dominator).  In the later books, you have fantasy India, which is more interesting.
Long, convoluted, and boring.  The Lady was an unseen villain is far more interesting than the Lady as a housewife.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 19, 2009, 03:41:07 PM
Tell me about the Lady and the Dominator.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:42:03 PM
Quote from: The Brain on May 19, 2009, 03:41:07 PM
Tell me about the Lady and the Dominator.
You see when a man and a woman love each other very very much and get bored with the usual routine they decide to spice things up.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 19, 2009, 03:49:40 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:42:03 PM
Quote from: The Brain on May 19, 2009, 03:41:07 PM
Tell me about the Lady and the Dominator.
You see when a man and a woman love each other very very much and get bored with the usual routine they decide to spice things up.

I see. Like in hit song Spice Up Your Life with pop sensation the Spice Girls.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 19, 2009, 03:53:47 PM
Quote from: The Brain on May 19, 2009, 03:41:07 PM
Tell me about the Lady and the Dominator.

Look at my avatar. Really says it all.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grallon on May 19, 2009, 04:00:21 PM
I read The Judging Eye http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judging-Eye-Aspect-emperor-R-Scott-Bakker/dp/1841495379 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judging-Eye-Aspect-emperor-R-Scott-Bakker/dp/1841495379) by Scott Bakker ovr the weekend.  This is the 1st of his "Aspect Emperor" trilogy that follows "The Prince of Nothing" trilogy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Nothing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Nothing).  For a board full of fantasy afficionados one would think others would have commented about it since it's certainly among the best fantasy written - period.  He's better than Martin or Erikson.  At times his prose reaches lyrical heights or philosophical depths one would expect from 'serious' works only.  And the world he's created is quite fascinating.  You can visit the official board here: http://forum.three-seas.com/index.php?sid=73d367d61416d89f03ffa03a09bff621




G.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 19, 2009, 04:02:23 PM
Quote from: Grallon on May 19, 2009, 04:00:21 PM
I read The Judging Eye http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judging-Eye-Aspect-emperor-R-Scott-Bakker/dp/1841495379 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judging-Eye-Aspect-emperor-R-Scott-Bakker/dp/1841495379) by Scott Bakker ovr the weekend.  This is the 1st of his "Aspect Emperor" trilogy that follows "The Prince of Nothing" trilogy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Nothing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_of_Nothing).  For a board full of fantasy afficionados one would think others would have commented about it since it's certainly among the best fantasy written - period.  He's better than Martin or Erikson.  At times his prose reaches lyrical heights or philosophical depths one would expect from 'serious' works only.  And the world he's created is quite fascinating.  You can visit the official board here: http://forum.three-seas.com/index.php?sid=73d367d61416d89f03ffa03a09bff621




G.

Looks interesting. I assume one should begin with the "Prince of Nothing" series?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grallon on May 19, 2009, 04:16:54 PM
Quote from: Malthus on May 19, 2009, 04:02:23 PM


Looks interesting. I assume one should begin with the "Prince of Nothing" series?


Definately; this one is a 'filler' book as CC would say.  That is one need to know the background since it sets up the stage for the rest of the trilogy.  And the gods be praised, Bakker looks like he will finish this series before 2073.




G.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: AnchorClanker on May 19, 2009, 04:46:04 PM
Currently working through "The Noble Revolt", an account of the hows and whys the Earl of Warwick and the
Earl of Bedford and their friends began to undermine and confront the government of King Charles I.

I like the book, but it's irritating me how much of a bastard Warwick was.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 19, 2009, 04:47:59 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:39:05 PM
Quote from: ulmont on May 19, 2009, 03:37:21 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on May 19, 2009, 03:34:11 PM
No, YOU are : teh Jaron.

Nah, he's the one with the Hamster avatar.

The Books of the South give an interesting different backdrop to the Black Company that is missing in the first books.  In the first books, you have your generic pseudo-medieval setting (complete with fractured fairy tales for the story of the Lady and the Dominator).  In the later books, you have fantasy India, which is more interesting.
Long, convoluted, and boring.  The Lady was an unseen villain is far more interesting than the Lady as a housewife.


<Spoiler for Timmay>

But you have Soulcatcher running amuck, which saves the books of the South.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on May 19, 2009, 05:17:59 PM
There's a new biography of Chang Kai-Shek out, anyone read it?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 19, 2009, 05:28:00 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on May 19, 2009, 05:17:59 PM
There's a new biography of Chang Kai-Shek out, anyone read it?

Executive summary:  Chiang was a dick.  Madame Chiang had a strap-on.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 19, 2009, 09:09:37 PM
Quote from: Scipio on May 19, 2009, 05:28:00 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on May 19, 2009, 05:17:59 PM
There's a new biography of Chang Kai-Shek out, anyone read it?

Executive summary:  Chiang was a dick.  Madame Chiang had a strap-on.

:lol: vintage Skippy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on May 27, 2009, 07:08:31 PM
I have read American Gods by Gaiman and liked it. Which of the others he has written should I read next ?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on May 27, 2009, 09:41:54 PM
Anansi Boys was better than American Gods.  And Neverwhere. 

I'm reading Stephen Baxters Manifold:Time. And some zombie book called Patient Zero.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Berkut on May 28, 2009, 03:12:26 PM
This sounds really good, going to have to pick it up.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/05/26/arts/entertainment-us-kanyewest.html?_r=2 (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/05/26/arts/entertainment-us-kanyewest.html?_r=2)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on May 29, 2009, 06:40:14 PM
Quote from: Berkut on May 28, 2009, 03:12:26 PM
This sounds really good, going to have to pick it up.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/05/26/arts/entertainment-us-kanyewest.html?_r=2 (http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/05/26/arts/entertainment-us-kanyewest.html?_r=2)
:lmfao:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 30, 2009, 08:09:09 AM
The Black Tower by Louis Bayard.  It's a novel starring Vidocq, about the Lost Dauphin.  Fantastic atmosphere, but the pacing is awkward.  Strong characterization of Vidocq, but the main character is a cypher.

Drood, by Dan Simmons.  It's a fictional biography of CHarles DIckens's last five years of life, written by Wilkie Collins.  Pretty good, scary, amusing, etc.  Very typically Simmons.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 30, 2009, 02:58:00 PM
Has anyone read John Crawley's Ægypt books... The first one (Ægypt) starts kinda slow, but is getting really good towards the end. Do the others hold up?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 02, 2009, 02:27:44 AM
I just ordered:
Maps of War (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1847242065/ref=pd_luc_mri?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
Remarkable Maps: 100 Examples of How Cartography Defined, Changed and Stole the World (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1844860272/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
Cities of the World: A History in Maps (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0712348689/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
New Worlds: Maps from the Age of Discovery (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1905204809/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
To the Ends of the Earth: 100 Maps That Changed the World (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0715325396/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)

Maps galore! :w00t:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on June 02, 2009, 12:06:21 PM
started "A Swell Looking Babe" by Jim Thompson. One I hadn't read. The only downside so far is the unimaginatively named main character "Dusty Rhodes". Otherwise, solid Thompson brand(tm) Noir.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 03, 2009, 06:01:26 PM
Awesome interview with Brandon Sanderson

http://www.bscreview.com/2009/06/brandon-sanderson-interview-bookexpo-america-2009-video/
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on June 03, 2009, 07:36:13 PM
The so far superb Voices of Morebath:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Voices-Morebath-Reformation-Rebellion-English/dp/0300098251

Basically it's a book by Reformation historian Eamon Duffy based on the parish accounts of one small village in Devonshire.  What makes the accounts interesting is that they were written by the priest and apparently were his notes to address the parish about the accounts of the various stores and wardens of the parish.  The priest was there from 1520 to 1574 so he covered most of the big events of the English Reformation and, luckily, is quite gregarious and free in his notes so you get the opinions of one man, a glimpse into a late medieval-early modern village as well as the accounts of the parish.

If I continue to enjoy this I may plunge more deeply into micro-history and get The Village of Cannibals and The Cheese and the Worms :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 03, 2009, 10:40:18 PM
The Village of Cannibals?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on June 04, 2009, 06:29:31 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 03, 2009, 10:40:18 PM
The Village of Cannibals?
Another micro-history, this time of a particularly shocking crime in rural, 19th century France:
http://www.amazon.com/Village-Cannibals-Studies-Cultural-History/dp/0674939018
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 08, 2009, 10:56:48 AM
Picked up at my preferred store over here while looking for a little guide for Fuerteventura:
A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Has Shaped the World from Prehistory to the Present (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Splendid-Exchange-Shaped-Prehistory-Present/dp/184354668X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244475629&sr=8-2) by William Bernstein.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 08, 2009, 01:27:50 PM
"The Most Glorious Fourth" - A book about Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Well written but didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on June 08, 2009, 03:22:41 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on June 03, 2009, 07:36:13 PM
If I continue to enjoy this I may plunge more deeply into micro-history and get The Village of Cannibals and The Cheese and the Worms :)

The Cheese and the Worms is very good, esp. if you enjoy the miller's esoterism. I can also recommend The Return of Martin Guerre (along with the film also).

I haven't read Le village des cannibales, but I read and enjoyed his Monde retrouvé de Louis-François Pinagot. Corbin showed up at the archives of his home departement, opened up a register, closed his eyes and picked a name and proceeded to reconstruct the universe of this no-longer anonymous man. A good lesson in history-writing.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on June 08, 2009, 03:32:51 PM
Ironically given the BNP's victory I'm about 50 pages in in Derek Raymonds A State of Denmark:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/State-Denmark-Derek-Raymond/dp/185242947X
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on June 08, 2009, 03:33:52 PM
Quote from: Oexmelin on June 08, 2009, 03:22:41 PMI can also recommend The Return of Martin Guerre (along with the film also).
Both are on my amazon wishlist.

Quote
I haven't read Le village des cannibales, but I read and enjoyed his Monde retrouvé de Louis-François Pinagot. Corbin showed up at the archives of his home departement, opened up a register, closed his eyes and picked a name and proceeded to reconstruct the universe of this no-longer anonymous man. A good lesson in history-writing.
I don't know if Corbin's been translated much.  I'll have a look though :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 09, 2009, 02:29:05 PM
If you're a fantasy fan, buy Warbreaker immediately.
This book has everything a fantasy fan can want. A
unique and detailed setting that feels alive. An
extremely original magic system and religious
background along with some fascinating characters.
My favorite is the God who doesn't believe in his
own religion.

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dandossantos.com%2Fgallery%2Fillustrations%2Ffull_warbreaker.jpg&hash=f3b76a35289a862a3f837dcb783565d257910130)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Berkut on June 09, 2009, 02:34:23 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on June 04, 2009, 06:29:31 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 03, 2009, 10:40:18 PM
The Village of Cannibals?
Another micro-history, this time of a particularly shocking crime in rural, 19th century France:
http://www.amazon.com/Village-Cannibals-Studies-Cultural-History/dp/0674939018



Hmmm, last victim of the Revolution?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 09, 2009, 02:40:53 PM
Quote from: Berkut on June 09, 2009, 02:34:23 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on June 04, 2009, 06:29:31 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 03, 2009, 10:40:18 PM
The Village of Cannibals?
Another micro-history, this time of a particularly shocking crime in rural, 19th century France:
http://www.amazon.com/Village-Cannibals-Studies-Cultural-History/dp/0674939018



Hmmm, last victim of the Revolution?

Eat the rich.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on June 09, 2009, 03:43:37 PM
I've been enjoying Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir series recently. I think he tries a little too hard to make the protagonist a bad ass, but that's a fairly minor complaint.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 09, 2009, 04:03:53 PM
Quote from: Kleves on June 09, 2009, 03:43:37 PM
I've been enjoying Philip Kerr's Berlin Noir series recently. I think he tries a little too hard to make the protagonist a bad ass, but that's a fairly minor complaint.

I really liked the Berlin Noir series as well, and my only complaint is that I wanted one set *during* the war.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on June 09, 2009, 05:03:23 PM
Just finished Manifold:Time by Stephen Baxter. Malenfaunt, the main character is always a jackoff.  Baxter also really hates NASA.

Starting a new series called The Eyrie Affair about someone going into a book and killing Jane Eyrie. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on June 09, 2009, 05:06:24 PM
Matthew Pearl- The Last Dickens.  Pretty damn good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 09, 2009, 06:06:39 PM
Anyone here read "Lincoln Emancipated"? If so, is it good?

http://www.amazon.com/Lincoln-Emancipated-President-Politics-Race/dp/0875803598

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on June 09, 2009, 06:11:09 PM
Reread Anathem by Stephenson.  I enjoyed it again, for different reasons than my first go around.  Though Stephenson still cannot wind up (a) book(s) properly, and it always seems rushed, the story and the ability to both understand yet feel an sense of closeness/otherness makes this a very interesting book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on June 09, 2009, 06:32:47 PM
Quote from: PDH on June 09, 2009, 06:11:09 PM
Reread Anathem by Stephenson.  I enjoyed it again, for different reasons than my first go around.  Though Stephenson still cannot wind up (a) book(s) properly, and it always seems rushed, the story and the ability to both understand yet feel an sense of closeness/otherness makes this a very interesting book.

I think that this one and the Baroque Cycle come closest to having actual endings.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Faeelin on June 09, 2009, 07:51:22 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on June 03, 2009, 07:36:13 PM
If I continue to enjoy this I may plunge more deeply into micro-history and get The Village of Cannibals and The Cheese and the Worms :)

Someone already recommended Martin Guerre, but can I toss Montaillou onto the list? It's one of the best insights i into life in a medieval village, and man, is it different than you'd expect.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 09:16:39 AM
Quote from: Scipio on June 09, 2009, 06:32:47 PM
Quote from: PDH on June 09, 2009, 06:11:09 PM
Reread Anathem by Stephenson.  I enjoyed it again, for different reasons than my first go around.  Though Stephenson still cannot wind up (a) book(s) properly, and it always seems rushed, the story and the ability to both understand yet feel an sense of closeness/otherness makes this a very interesting book.

I think that this one and the Baroque Cycle come closest to having actual endings.

They demonstrate he's obviously worked on this problem. The worst offenders in this respect was Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age, both of which just sort of ended while the story was still going;
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on June 10, 2009, 09:20:04 AM
Quote from: Oexmelin on June 08, 2009, 03:22:41 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on June 03, 2009, 07:36:13 PM
If I continue to enjoy this I may plunge more deeply into micro-history and get The Village of Cannibals and The Cheese and the Worms :)

The Cheese and the Worms is very good, esp. if you enjoy the miller's esoterism. I can also recommend The Return of Martin Guerre (along with the film also).
I had an exceptional 1st year student last year to whom I lent these two books - they wanted more along the lines of things we had spoken of.  I believe they found them worth the read, as this person switched to become a history major...I claim full credit.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 09:26:54 AM
Quote from: PDH on June 10, 2009, 09:20:04 AM

I had an exceptional 1st year student last year to whom I lent these two books - they wanted more along the lines of things we had spoken of.  I believe they found them worth the read, as this person switched to become a history major...I claim full credit.

That's good, because the quality of service at Starbucks has been shockingly low lately.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on June 10, 2009, 10:01:00 AM
Quote from: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 09:26:54 AM
That's good, because the quality of service at Starbucks has been shockingly low lately.
:D No, that is me.

If this person wishes to continue, I suspect actually law school or pre-med, they could do whatever they want.  They are perhaps the smartest and most capable 1st year I have ever seen...and that says a lot - rather daunting in a way.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 10:11:40 AM
Quote from: PDH on June 10, 2009, 10:01:00 AM
Quote from: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 09:26:54 AM
That's good, because the quality of service at Starbucks has been shockingly low lately.
:D No, that is me.

If this person wishes to continue, I suspect actually law school or pre-med, they could do whatever they want.  They are perhaps the smartest and most capable 1st year I have ever seen...and that says a lot - rather daunting in a way.

Heh, kidding aside, maybe they could actually make it as a writer or academic. Some do ... it is just such a hard road these days.

I hate the notion that anyone with real smarts should become a doc or lawyer.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on June 10, 2009, 10:18:36 AM
Quote from: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 10:11:40 AM
Heh, kidding aside, maybe they could actually make it as a writer or academic. Some do ... it is just such a hard road these days.

I hate the notion that anyone with real smarts should become a doc or lawyer.
They could, their only really non-like is the writing, and frankly they are damn good at that now - far better than I was at any point of my undergraduate, to be honest.

The daunting thing, as I said above, is that they could do anything - I really doubt any discipline is beyond them.  To see such a person is really remarkable, and makes me hope they really do go to great heights.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 10, 2009, 10:24:25 AM
Don't get your hopes up too high, PDH. Teachers were gushing over me similarly when it came to maths, composition or languages. Look where I'm now. :P
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on June 10, 2009, 10:29:14 AM
Is this person a conjoined twin or is using «they» rather than she / he something common ?

But yea, having bright or enthusiastic students is always a joy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 10:30:41 AM
Quote from: Oexmelin on June 10, 2009, 10:29:14 AM
Is this person a conjoined twin or is using «they» rather than she / he something common ?

But yea, having bright or enthusiastic students is always a joy.

I'm assuming PDH doen't want us to know the gender of this wonderstudent, for fear of being teased.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on June 10, 2009, 10:32:53 AM
Ah. Gotcha. :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on June 10, 2009, 11:22:48 AM
Quote from: Scipio on June 09, 2009, 05:06:24 PM
Matthew Pearl- The Last Dickens.  Pretty damn good.

ohhh I didn't know about this one, I liked his previous books a lot. thx.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on June 10, 2009, 11:23:44 AM
Quote from: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 10:30:41 AM
Quote from: Oexmelin on June 10, 2009, 10:29:14 AM
Is this person a conjoined twin or is using «they» rather than she / he something common ?

But yea, having bright or enthusiastic students is always a joy.

I'm assuming PDH doen't want us to know the gender of this wonderstudent, for fear of being teased.  :D
Bingo.  I assume teasing anyway, but yeah.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 11:34:35 AM
Quote from: PDH on June 10, 2009, 11:23:44 AM

Bingo.  I assume teasing anyway, but yeah.

I further assume that chances are good wonderstudent is female, as the Languish Teasing Potential (LTP) for praising a female wonderstudent is higher than that for praising a male wonderstudent.

Langush stock response(tm): "Tit pics plz"
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on June 10, 2009, 12:58:05 PM
Quote from: Oexmelin on June 10, 2009, 10:29:14 AM
Is this person a conjoined twin or is using «they» rather than she / he something common ?
It's quite common in English English.  I believe it's less common in American English.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on June 10, 2009, 01:05:23 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on June 10, 2009, 12:58:05 PM
It's quite common in English English.  I believe it's less common in American English.

It's fairly common here, although for essay writing I was always expected to stick he or she. :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 10, 2009, 03:05:24 PM
Flipped through this at the library, it has some amazing photos.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wonderful-World-Albert-Kahn-Photographs/dp/1846074584
QuoteProduct Description
In 1909 the millionaire French banker and philanthropist Albert Kahn embarked on an ambitious project to create a colour photographic record of, and for, the peoples of the world. As an idealist and an internationalist, Kahn believed that he could use the new Autochrome process, the world's first user-friendly, true-colour photographic system, to promote cross-cultural peace and understanding. Until recently, Kahn's huge collection of 72,000 Autochromes remained relatively unheard of. Now, a century after he launched his project, this book and the BBC TV series it accompanies are bringing these dazzling pictures to a mass audience for the first time and putting colour into what we tend to think of as an entirely monochrome age.Kahn sent photographers to more than 50 countries, often at crucial junctures in their history, when age-old cultures were on the brink of being changed for ever by war and the march of twentieth-century globalisation. They documented in true colour the collapse of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires, the last traditional Celtic villages in Ireland, and the soldiers of the First World War. They took the earliest known colour photographs in countries as far apart as Vietnam and Brazil, Mongolia and Norway, Benin and the United States. In 1929 the Wall Street Crash forced Kahn to bring his project to an end. He died in 1940, but left behind the most important collection of early colour photographs in the world.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on June 10, 2009, 03:12:27 PM
His house is a nice place to visit when in France (beautiful garden + his archives).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 10, 2009, 06:50:33 PM
Here's a nice speech by Dr. Michael Burlingame the author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life. It's a 2,000 page biography that recently came out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VExvJhMmv9Q&eurl
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on June 10, 2009, 06:51:21 PM
Quote2,000 page biography

TLDR
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on June 15, 2009, 04:13:35 PM
Reading short stories by Ronald Fairbank at the moment. So over-the-top, they are actually funny.

Also, could this thread be stickied please? It's a bitch to find, especially as the title is retarded (not "What you are reading?", to make it similar to other threads about movies or music).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: frunk on June 15, 2009, 04:51:05 PM
Quote from: Malthus on June 10, 2009, 09:16:39 AM


They demonstrate he's obviously worked on this problem. The worst offenders in this respect was Cryptonomicon and The Diamond Age, both of which just sort of ended while the story was still going;

I've never seen it as a problem.  He tends to jump you into the middle of a story as much as possible, leaving in the middle is perfectly fine.  I thought the ending of Anathem was the weakest part, dragging on unecessarily.  The Baroque cycle was also seriously bloated, particularly the first book.  It could have been nicely trimmed and turned into a tighter series.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: katmai on June 15, 2009, 04:54:17 PM
Anybody picked up the first book in  new vampire trilogy co-written by Guillermo Del Toro?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on June 15, 2009, 05:01:28 PM
Quote from: katmai on June 15, 2009, 04:54:17 PM
Anybody picked up the first book in  new vampire trilogy co-written by Guillermo Del Toro?
Check your in box.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 16, 2009, 12:21:16 AM
Quote from: Syt on June 02, 2009, 02:27:44 AM
I just ordered:
Maps of War (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1847242065/ref=pd_luc_mri?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
Remarkable Maps: 100 Examples of How Cartography Defined, Changed and Stole the World (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1844860272/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
Cities of the World: A History in Maps (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0712348689/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
New Worlds: Maps from the Age of Discovery (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1905204809/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)
To the Ends of the Earth: 100 Maps That Changed the World (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0715325396/ref=ord_cart_shr?%5Fencoding=UTF8&m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE)

Maps galore! :w00t:

Books arrived yesterday. The small ones are really nice. The "Maps of War" and "Maps from the Age of Discovery" in their 43.8 x 35.6 cm format are faptastic, containing ca. 100 large prints each; Maps of War covers historical battle/campaign/siege maps from 16th century to 19th century. :mmm:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on June 16, 2009, 03:07:18 AM
I just bought A Dying Light in Corduba and Alexandria signed by the author, Lindsay Davis herself.

In the last times I have started to hate historical novels with a passion, too many pathetic wannabes with absolutely no qualification are writing them just because they are fashionable, and historical detective novels are even worse, but I make an exception with Lindsay Davis: she knows the field and her novels are very good; actually the detective part in some of them is merely en excuse, a MacGuffin if you like.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 16, 2009, 07:58:33 AM
I just bought The Fall of the West: Death of the Roman Superpower by Adrian Goldsworthy. Anyone read this? Views?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 16, 2009, 10:08:31 AM
Quote from: Malthus on June 16, 2009, 07:58:33 AM
I just bought The Fall of the West: Death of the Roman Superpower by Adrian Goldsworthy. Anyone read this? Views?
No, but the title strikes me as anachronistic.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:20:02 AM
Why do adult people buy maps to study? That sounds like the most boring thing ever.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on June 16, 2009, 10:21:52 AM
Quote from: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:20:02 AM
Why do adult people buy maps to study? That sounds like the most boring thing ever.

Is something wrong, Marty? I've found you likable enough lately but today you seem to be drifting into whiny , I'm a cool gay, teen mode. Problems on the home front?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:23:48 AM
Quote from: garbon on June 16, 2009, 10:21:52 AM
Quote from: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:20:02 AM
Why do adult people buy maps to study? That sounds like the most boring thing ever.

Is something wrong, Marty? I've found you likable enough lately but today you seem to be drifting into whiny , I'm a cool gay, teen mode. Problems on the home front?
What, unhappy I am stealing your act? :P

Ok, I will be less whiny. I'm just feeling a bit blue, mostly because of the weather being shitty and overall boredom.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on June 16, 2009, 10:27:59 AM
Quote from: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:23:48 AM
What, unhappy I am stealing your act? :P
Sorry, but I never bash on people for studying maps ('cepting Tim) and never go on about my fabulous apparel and parade of accessories. :mellow:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 16, 2009, 10:28:14 AM
Quote from: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:23:48 AM

What, unhappy I am stealing your act? :P

Ok, I will be less whiny. I'm just feeling a bit blue, mostly because of the weather being shitty and overall boredom.

Know what helps with the blues? Studying maps.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on June 16, 2009, 12:45:25 PM
Quote from: Martinus on June 16, 2009, 10:20:02 AM
Why do adult people buy maps to study? That sounds like the most boring thing ever.
I love maps :o

Antique maps are one of the few antique things I understand.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on June 16, 2009, 02:46:13 PM
I just read Ludes, a 1982 memoir written by Ben Stein of all people about his friend's descent into Quaalude addiction in the late 70's.   :huh:  Kind of an odd book, but he's an engaging writer and the story is quite emotional.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on June 16, 2009, 02:49:57 PM
Re-reading Two Ocean War, by Samuel Morison. A favorite of mine on the US Navy in WWII.

I keep meaning to pick up the 15 volume set, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, but I'm lazy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: katmai on June 17, 2009, 06:02:16 PM
Quote from: Judas Iscariot on June 15, 2009, 05:01:28 PM
Quote from: katmai on June 15, 2009, 04:54:17 PM
Anybody picked up the first book in  new vampire trilogy co-written by Guillermo Del Toro?
Check your in box.

Thanks for the links Judas Arnold.

Also went and picked up a hard copy version as i just can't follow audio books.

Also picked up World War Z, finished it in about 5 hours.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 18, 2009, 04:27:18 AM
Books just ordered with a view to my summer reading list:
The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815 - Tim Blanning
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 - Christopher Clark
Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580 - Roger Crowley
White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War, 1919-20 - Norman Davies

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on June 18, 2009, 11:18:42 AM
Reading Charlie Stross' near future SF: " Halting State". It's about uncovering a heist that takes place in a MMORPG that has RL repercussions. Just getting into it. He's got a nice style, this Stross. Looking fwd to goin back and seeing how his other books stack up. I hear "Saturn's Children" is great.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on June 18, 2009, 02:53:57 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on June 18, 2009, 11:18:42 AM
Reading Charlie Stross' near future SF: " Halting State". It's about uncovering a heist that takes place in a MMORPG that has RL repercussions. Just getting into it. He's got a nice style, this Stross. Looking fwd to goin back and seeing how his other books stack up. I hear "Saturn's Children" is great.

Didn't Larry Niven already do that with Dream Park?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on June 18, 2009, 10:27:26 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on June 18, 2009, 02:53:57 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on June 18, 2009, 11:18:42 AM
Reading Charlie Stross' near future SF: " Halting State". It's about uncovering a heist that takes place in a MMORPG that has RL repercussions. Just getting into it. He's got a nice style, this Stross. Looking fwd to goin back and seeing how his other books stack up. I hear "Saturn's Children" is great.

Didn't Larry Niven already do that with Dream Park?

Dunno? umm sure, maybe. :shrug: So far this guy is doing his story about that idea fairly well. I'm sure Niven was Ringworld-tastic, though with his story about that.

William Gibson also, in more than one book, Stephenson, etc....
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on June 18, 2009, 11:23:07 PM
Suppose it would be the Acme of foolishness to inquire if anyone could suggest a book about the rise of the Safavid from small Sufi order to Empire?  Ismai'l I?  The Qizilbashes?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on June 18, 2009, 11:44:50 PM
Do such books exist? I'm always on the lookout for good Safavid books but never can find any.  I once copied the cambridge history safavid section.  I broke down and bought this book, it is alright although it focuses on all of them.

http://www.amazon.com/Safavid-Iran-Rebirth-Persian-Library/dp/1845118308/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245386406&sr=8-1
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on June 19, 2009, 12:01:33 AM
Quote from: garbon on June 18, 2009, 11:44:50 PM
Do such books exist? I'm always on the lookout for good Safavid books but never can find any.  I once copied the cambridge history safavid section.  I broke down and bought this book, it is alright although it focuses on all of them.

http://www.amazon.com/Safavid-Iran-Rebirth-Persian-Library/dp/1845118308/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245386406&sr=8-1
Just bought it. 

I'm a little surprised.  I knew you had an interest in the period, but 'always on the lookout?'   Do we: share interests?   :o
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 14, 2009, 11:46:25 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on June 19, 2009, 12:01:33 AM
Just bought it. 

I'm a little surprised.  I knew you had an interest in the period, but 'always on the lookout?'   Do we: share interests?   :o

As a I never responded, yes I am often on the lookout. I think it is sad when generally the best sources I have are my photocopies of bits of the Cambridge History of Iran and assorted histories I can find online.

And apologies for sort of recommending that book. I revisited it lately and it isn't that great but when one is dealing with a paucity of sources. -_-
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on July 14, 2009, 11:55:44 AM
Quote from: Syt on June 18, 2009, 04:27:18 AM
White Eagle, Red Star: The Polish-Soviet War, 1919-20 - Norman Davies

Just finished this.  Interesting, well-balanced read, I thought.  It's a shame more information's not available (or hasn't been put into English).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: AnchorClanker on July 14, 2009, 12:24:30 PM
Christopher Clark is excellent.  He's just written a bio of Wilhelm II, which Amazon will de sending shortly.




Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 14, 2009, 12:56:27 PM
Just finished The Lost City of Z which was very interesting I thought - H. Rider Haggard! Madame Blavatsky! Lost civilzations! The latest in Amazonian archaeology! A famous disappearance! - but I'd have liked more information on the archaeology.

Is it the case that every single eccentric of the late 19th early 20th centuries was 'into' Theosophy and spiritualism? Sometimes it seems so.   :lol:

A definite must-read for anyone interested in the tragic tale of a real-life "Indiana Jones" character. Complete with maggot infestations.

http://www.amazon.ca/Lost-City-Deadly-Obsession-Amazon/dp/0385513534/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1247594066&sr=8-1


Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 17, 2009, 02:57:20 AM
Quote from: Syt on June 18, 2009, 04:27:18 AM
Books just ordered with a view to my summer reading list:
[...]
Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580 - Roger Crowley
[...]

Started with this. Starts with the conquest of Rhodes and goes to the Battle of Lepanto. Was the Sunday Times history book of 2008. Informatively and entertainingly written so far. Makes me want to play EU3.

I've also been informed by Amazon.co.uk (I hate them <_< ) that a new book about the Thirty Years War is coming out:
Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War (Hardcover) by Peter H. Wilson (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Europes-Tragedy-History-Thirty-Years/dp/0713995920/ref=pd_ys_ir_b_4)

992 pages.
QuoteThe horrific series of conflicts known as the Thirty Years War (1618–48) tore the heart out of Europe, killing perhaps a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to whole areas of Central Europe to such a degree that many towns and regions never recovered. All the major European powers apart from Russia were heavily involved and, while each country started out with rational war aims, the fighting rapidly spiralled out of control, with great battles giving way to marauding bands of starving soldiers spreading plague and murder. The war was both a religious and a political one and it was this tangle of motives that made it impossible to stop. Whether motivated by idealism or cynicism, everyone drawn into the conflict was destroyed by it. At its end a recognizably modern Europe had been created but at a terrible price. Peter Wilson's book is a major work, the first new history of the war in a generation, and a fascinating, brilliantly written attempt to explain a compelling series of events. Wilson's great strength is in allowing the reader to understand the tragedy of mixed motives that allowed rulers to gamble their countries' future with such horrifying results. The principal actors in the drama (Wallenstein, Ferdinand II, Gustavus Adolphus, Richelieu) are all here, but so is the experience of the ordinary soldiers and civilians, desperately trying to stay alive under impossible circumstances.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:13:05 PM
Reading The Landmark Herodotus, edited by R.B. Strassler, which is pretty good - I have to conciously avoid having scenes from 300 pass through my head while reading it, though.  :D

Oddly enough, one over the top scene from that movie - tossing the Persian heralds down the well - actually occurred; the Spartans were (allegedly, according to H.) put under a divine curse for this.

The "joke" made by the Spartans was as follows: the Persian symbols of submission were the offer of earth and water. The Spartans toss the Persian heralds down the well, saying "get your earth and water from there".
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:24:42 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:13:05 PMOddly enough, one over the top scene from that movie - tossing the Persian heralds down the well - actually occurred; the Spartans were (allegedly, according to H.) put under a divine curse for this.

Herodotus also tells the story (IIRC) about "fighting in the shade" and the Persians attacking via hidden paths.

Not all about the movie is wrong. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on July 17, 2009, 01:30:32 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:24:42 PM

Herodotus also tells the story (IIRC) about "fighting in the shade" and the Persians attacking via hidden paths.

Not all about the movie is wrong. :)

Only so far as Herodotus is right.   ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:35:17 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:24:42 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:13:05 PMOddly enough, one over the top scene from that movie - tossing the Persian heralds down the well - actually occurred; the Spartans were (allegedly, according to H.) put under a divine curse for this.

Herodotus also tells the story (IIRC) about "fighting in the shade" and the Persians attacking via hidden paths.

Not all about the movie is wrong. :)

Do they have that bit in the movie where the Persians react with scorn to the sight of the Spartans getting their hair done?  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:37:56 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on July 17, 2009, 01:30:32 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:24:42 PM

Herodotus also tells the story (IIRC) about "fighting in the shade" and the Persians attacking via hidden paths.

Not all about the movie is wrong. :)

Only so far as Herodotus is right.   ;)

Herodotus' book sometimes sounds much like what one would get if one attempted to write a history of WW2 today by asking some random guys in a bar what happened.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grallon on July 17, 2009, 01:40:16 PM
Recently read the omnibus edition of "The Braided Path", by Chris Wooding.  You can find a review here: http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/w/chris-wooding/braided-path.htm.

Interesting oriental setting which we don't often see in fantasy.  Although it takes a while to get past the jarring mismach of latin and japanese sounding names eventually (midway through the first book) it becomes really engaging.  The author does overindulge in gruesome descriptions... to the delight of some no doubt.  :P



G.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:44:34 PM
His gold digging ants story could have a kernel of truth, though, as I read just recently:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodotus#Gold-digging_ants

QuoteOne of the most recent developments in Herodotus scholarship was made by the French ethnologist Michel Peissel. On his journeys to India and Pakistan, Peissel claims to have discovered an animal species that may finally illuminate one of the most "bizarre" passages in Herodotus's Histories. In Book 3, passages 102 to 105, Herodotus reports that a species of fox-sized, furry "ants" lives in one of the far eastern, Indian provinces of the Persian Empire. This region, he reports, is a sandy desert, and the sand there contains a wealth of fine gold dust. These giant ants, according to Herodotus, would often unearth the gold dust when digging their mounds and tunnels, and the people living in this province would then collect the precious dust. Now, Peissel says that in an isolated region of Pakistan, in the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir that is known as the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA), on the Deosai Plateau there exists a species of marmot (a type of burrowing squirrel) that may solve the mystery of Herodotus' giant "ants". Much like the province that Herodotus describes, the ground of the Deosai Plateau is rich in gold dust. According to Peissel, he interviewed the Minaro tribal people who live in the Deosai Plateau, and they have confirmed that they have, for generations, been collecting the gold dust that the marmots bring to the surface when they are digging their underground burrows. The story seems to have been widespread in the ancient world, later authors like Pliny the Elder mentioning it in his gold mining section of the Naturalis Historia.

Even more tantalizing, in his book, "The Ants' Gold: The Discovery of the Greek El Dorado in the Himalayas", Peissel offers the theory that Herodotus may have become confused because the old Persian word for "marmot" was quite similar to that for "mountain ant". Because research suggests that Herodotus probably did not know any Persian (or any other language except his native Greek), he was forced to rely on a multitude of local translators when travelling in the vast polylingual Persian Empire. Therefore, he may have been the unwitting victim of a simple misunderstanding in translation. (It is also important to realize that Herodotus never claims to have himself seen these "ants/marmot" creatures—he may have been dutifully reporting what other travellers were telling him, no matter how bizarre or unlikely he personally may have found it to be. In an age when most of the world was still mysterious and unknown and before the modern science of biology, the existence of a "giant ant" may not have seemed so far-fetched.) The suggestion that he completely made up the tale may continue to be thrown into doubt as more research is conducted.[11][12]

However, it must be noted that this theory of the marmots fails to take into consideration Herodotus's own follow-up in passage 105 of Book 3, wherein the "ants/marmots" are said to chase and devour full-grown camels; nevertheless, this could also be explained as an example of a tall tale or legend told by the local tribes to frighten foreigners from seeking this relatively easy access to gold dust. On the other hand, the details of the "ants" seem somewhat similar to the description of the camel spider (Solifugae), which strictly speaking is not a spider and is even sometimes called a "wind scorpion". Camel spiders are said to chase camels (they can run up to 10mph), they have lots of hair bristles, and they could quite easily be mistaken for ants given their rather bizarre appearance. And as has been noted by some, on account of the fear factor of encountering one, there have been "many myths and exaggerations about their size".[13] Images of camel spiders[14][15] could give the impression that this could be mistaken for a giant ant, but certainly not the size of a fox.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 17, 2009, 01:50:51 PM
Camel spiders look rather hideous. :x
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:53:44 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:44:34 PM
His gold digging ants story could have a kernel of truth, though, as I read just recently:


Yeah, I've read similar stuff for years (the version I heard was that actual ant mounds could be used in prospecting for surface gold).

There is no doubt that good old Herodotus was told many whoppers by his informants (i.e., "guys he met in a bar somewhere"). What is interesting is that some appear to have at least a kernel of truth - like the Phonecian circumnavagation of Africa.

He was surprisingly well informed about the strangest topics - for example, he got Sythian burial customs spot-on: that's been confirmed by archaeology (OTOH, he had no idea what smoking hemp was for - he thought hot-boxing a tent was a sort of steam-bath).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on July 17, 2009, 03:34:33 PM
Finished The Kite Runner.  I think I prefer the movie to the book.  Protagonist sure does a lot of weeping in the book.

Now I'm deep into War and Peace.  At first it was a little hard to keep Boris and Nikolay seperate, but I think I've got it now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 03:37:03 PM
Quote from: garbon on July 17, 2009, 01:50:51 PM
Camel spiders look rather hideous. :x

They taste better than they look.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 17, 2009, 03:40:10 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 03:37:03 PM
They taste better than they look.

Unlike some people, I'm rather discerning when it comes to things I'll put in my mouth.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 04:26:44 PM
Quote from: garbon on July 17, 2009, 03:40:10 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 03:37:03 PM
They taste better than they look.

Unlike some people, I'm rather discerning when it comes to things I'll put in my mouth.

The less we discuss what you put in your mouth, the better.  :P
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 17, 2009, 04:29:23 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 04:26:44 PM
The less we discuss what you put in your mouth, the better.  :P

:P
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on July 23, 2009, 11:08:42 PM
Just got for birthday:
The Great Arab Conquests by Hugh Kennedy.  120 pages into it.  Glad modern Jihadists aren't anything like the first Muslims.  They were crazy, terrifying, brilliant motherfuckers. 
A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility by Taner Akçam.  Looks interesting.
A Farewell to Alms: A Short Economic History of the World by Gregory Clark.  After seeing an interesting graph from it and reading a reccomendation of it on Crook's blog over at the Atlanitic.  Basically, rich Englishman liked to fuck and make babies, thus the Industrial Revolution happened. 

And, on Joan's reccomendation, THe Fall of the Roman Empire: A new History of Rome and the Barbarians by Peter Heather.  Absolutely massive book, huge font, wondering if I accidentally ordered the senior citizen edition.

Also got Season 1 of Breaking Bad, Season 2 of Mad Men and Walking with Monsters on DVD.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on July 23, 2009, 11:17:55 PM
Just finished Tuesdays with Morrie. Good book. Would probably be more thought-provoking if I was a yuppie.

Started The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell because a coworker had it lying around. Have no idea what to expect.

Also reading The Two Koreas: A Contemporary History by Don Oberdorfer. Great book on modern (post 1953) Korean history. Very in-depth, but easy to read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on July 23, 2009, 11:21:31 PM
I don't have any new books so I'm rereading Keegan's WWI book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on July 23, 2009, 11:26:22 PM
That's a good one.
Except last time I reread it, I bought Matrixgames' Guns of August.  :hide:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on July 23, 2009, 11:49:19 PM
Spellus, are there any decent, readable books on Ottoman history (1500s+, please, not ancient history) that you can recommend to me?

Anyone else should feel free to chime in, however.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 24, 2009, 12:20:45 AM
Quote from: Habbaku on July 23, 2009, 11:49:19 PM
Spellus, are there any decent, readable books on Ottoman history (1500s+, please, not ancient history) that you can recommend to me?

Anyone else should feel free to chime in, however.

I refer you to my post above:
Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580 - Roger Crowley

It's entertaining, nicely written and made History Book of the Year 2008 in Sunday Times. It's not strictly only Ottomans, though.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on July 24, 2009, 01:00:14 AM
going to dive into a book on The Aum Cult (The Cult At The End Of The World) that a customer lent me after raving to me about it the other day. I get a lot of book/movie recommendations this way.

I'm also slowly re-reading John Gardner's great "Art Of Fiction". Next up in the world of fiction reading is  is "Dune"... my second attempt, tried to read it back in tha day got bored never went back. 'Til now. I hear good things.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on July 24, 2009, 01:58:58 AM
Quote from: Habbaku on July 23, 2009, 11:49:19 PM
Spellus, are there any decent, readable books on Ottoman history (1500s+, please, not ancient history) that you can recommend to me?

Anyone else should feel free to chime in, however.
Kinross: The Ottomans.

edit: I think now it's called The Ottoman Centuries.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on July 24, 2009, 06:53:22 AM
The Ottoman Centuries is good, although the first quarter of the book is pre-1500s.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on July 24, 2009, 08:13:36 AM
Quote from: Syt on July 24, 2009, 12:20:45 AM
Quote from: Habbaku on July 23, 2009, 11:49:19 PM
Spellus, are there any decent, readable books on Ottoman history (1500s+, please, not ancient history) that you can recommend to me?

Anyone else should feel free to chime in, however.

I refer you to my post above:
Empires of the Sea: The Final Battle for the Mediterranean, 1521-1580 - Roger Crowley

It's entertaining, nicely written and made History Book of the Year 2008 in Sunday Times. It's not strictly only Ottomans, though.

Reading that right now, actually.  ;)

Also, Blood Meridian, though only a few chapters in.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 08:40:06 AM
Quote from: FunkMonk on July 24, 2009, 08:13:36 AM


Also, Blood Meridian, though only a few chapters in.

That's one gruesome read, all right.  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on July 24, 2009, 08:43:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 08:40:06 AM
Quote from: FunkMonk on July 24, 2009, 08:13:36 AM


Also, Blood Meridian, though only a few chapters in.

That's one gruesome read, all right.  :lol:

Don't spoil things!  :mad: :P
I read The Road last year, so I'm expecting as much.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PRC on July 24, 2009, 08:47:58 AM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:13:05 PM
Reading The Landmark Herodotus, edited by R.B. Strassler, which is pretty good - I have to conciously avoid having scenes from 300 pass through my head while reading it, though.  :D

Oddly enough, one over the top scene from that movie - tossing the Persian heralds down the well - actually occurred; the Spartans were (allegedly, according to H.) put under a divine curse for this.

The "joke" made by the Spartans was as follows: the Persian symbols of submission were the offer of earth and water. The Spartans toss the Persian heralds down the well, saying "get your earth and water from there".

I've got it as well, very good.  I'll probably pickup his Landmark Thucydides at some point soon.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 08:52:34 AM
Quote from: FunkMonk on July 24, 2009, 08:43:19 AM
Don't spoil things!  :mad: :P

I feel the shame of that spoiler fully as much as deserved.   ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 08:53:21 AM
Quote from: PRC on July 24, 2009, 08:47:58 AM
I've got it as well, very good.  I'll probably pickup his Landmark Thucydides at some point soon.

Me too - and I'm not as familiar with Thucydides.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 01:31:33 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on July 23, 2009, 11:49:19 PM
Spellus, are there any decent, readable books on Ottoman history (1500s+, please, not ancient history) that you can recommend to me?

Anyone else should feel free to chime in, however.
Osman's Dream is recent and supposedly excellent. 
QuoteDon't spoil things!
The only way one could spoil Blood Meridian is if one took a lot of meth and watched The Proposition.  It is a truly amazing, fucked up book.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on July 24, 2009, 02:18:45 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 01:31:33 PM
Osman's Dream is recent and supposedly excellent. 
Reading that at the minute.  So far it's impressive.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 02:21:33 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 01:31:33 PM

The only way one could spoil Blood Meridian is if one took a lot of meth and watched The Proposition.  It is a truly amazing, fucked up book.

Not, however, one to recommend to someone on a first date.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 03:25:24 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on July 24, 2009, 02:18:45 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 01:31:33 PM
Osman's Dream is recent and supposedly excellent. 
Reading that at the minute.  So far it's impressive.
How far are you into it?  I'd be interested to know how well it covers the initial (far more interesting, at least more so than anything till the end) period. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 03:26:50 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 02:21:33 PM


Not, however, one to recommend to someone on a first date.  :D
I try to avoid talking about anything I am really interested in on dates.  Don't want to reveal how batshit I am until they can sense it. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on July 24, 2009, 03:27:38 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 03:26:50 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 24, 2009, 02:21:33 PM


Not, however, one to recommend to someone on a first date.  :D
I try to avoid talking about anything I am really interested in on dates.  Don't want to reveal how batshit I am until they can sense it.

I think they notice when you ask them to dress like Theodora.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on July 24, 2009, 03:29:12 PM
And I've read nothing. Been trying to start Danny Parker's Bulge book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on July 24, 2009, 07:19:08 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 03:25:24 PM
How far are you into it?  I'd be interested to know how well it covers the initial (far more interesting, at least more so than anything till the end) period.
The initial isn't the focus, only three or four chapters until they've taken Constantinople (which makes sense given that she's covering from 1300-1927).  Her main concern is that she thinks Ottoman history has been ill-served by the interest in it because most general, popular histories deal primarily in broad-brush stereotypes of eunuchs, Pashas and harem girls.  She also wants to discuss the degree of continuity, as well as change, with Ataturk's Turkey.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on July 24, 2009, 08:42:56 PM
Quote from: Armyknife on July 24, 2009, 10:18:17 AM
Reading the dictionary I bought yesterday.

[spoiler] the Zygote did it![/spoiler]
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on July 27, 2009, 11:13:50 AM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:37:56 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on July 17, 2009, 01:30:32 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:24:42 PM

Herodotus also tells the story (IIRC) about "fighting in the shade" and the Persians attacking via hidden paths.

Not all about the movie is wrong. :)

Only so far as Herodotus is right.   ;)

Herodotus' book sometimes sounds much like what one would get if one attempted to write a history of WW2 today by asking some random guys in a bar what happened.  ;)
(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fpbfcomics.com%2Farchive_b%2FPBF209-Now_Showing.jpg&hash=102301bbcb2328454bcc0c47af4273d0fb40a158)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on July 27, 2009, 11:31:22 AM
Just finished reading The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire.

Enjoyable read.  He picks up the story in early 44, and spends a lot of time on the big conferences of Quebec, Teheran, and Yalta.  Some good stuff in there, but also fairly familiar.

The events post VE Day however (which cover half of the 1000 day timeframe) are rushed, which was a real shame.  That's the era that frankly I knew the least about, but it seems to get skimmed over very rapidly in the last third of the book.  Perhaps Atlee just wasn't as interesting a subject as Churchill.   :bowler:

Still, I'd recommend it.  The author is  Brit living in Canada, so he also makes nice mentions of Canada's war effort, and gives several contemporary quotes about how Canada was the only Dominion doing everything that could be expected. :canuck:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 27, 2009, 11:39:24 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on July 27, 2009, 11:13:50 AM
Quote from: Malthus on July 17, 2009, 01:37:56 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on July 17, 2009, 01:30:32 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 17, 2009, 01:24:42 PM

Herodotus also tells the story (IIRC) about "fighting in the shade" and the Persians attacking via hidden paths.

Not all about the movie is wrong. :)

Only so far as Herodotus is right.   ;)

Herodotus' book sometimes sounds much like what one would get if one attempted to write a history of WW2 today by asking some random guys in a bar what happened.  ;)
(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fpbfcomics.com%2Farchive_b%2FPBF209-Now_Showing.jpg&hash=102301bbcb2328454bcc0c47af4273d0fb40a158)

Heh, Perry Bible Fellowship. Too sad that he stopped writing - one of the best webcomics around.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 27, 2009, 11:47:31 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 03:25:24 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on July 24, 2009, 02:18:45 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on July 24, 2009, 01:31:33 PM
Osman's Dream is recent and supposedly excellent. 
Reading that at the minute.  So far it's impressive.
How far are you into it?  I'd be interested to know how well it covers the initial (far more interesting, at least more so than anything till the end) period. 

I don't think it is a very good book...or rather it is like that Safavid book we discussed, where it only seems alright as there is generally a dearth of easily available material.  Of course, I'm not a fan of books that aim for such a large scope and this book certainly suffers from that.  As Sheilbh said, the focus isn't really on the initial period and I've seen better detail from webpages online.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 27, 2009, 02:38:41 PM
I got an e-mail from Amazon telling me that I should pre-order a book on Mary, Queen of Scots. :blush:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on July 27, 2009, 02:40:52 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 27, 2009, 11:39:24 AM


Heh, Perry Bible Fellowship. Too sad that he stopped writing - one of the best webcomics around.
When/why did he stop?  I just read all of them about a month ago, figured he was on vacation or something.  Great comic. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on July 27, 2009, 02:43:39 PM
Quote from: garbon on July 27, 2009, 11:47:31 AM

I don't think it is a very good book...or rather it is like that Safavid book we discussed, where it only seems alright as there is generally a dearth of easily available material.  Of course, I'm not a fan of books that aim for such a large scope and this book certainly suffers from that.  As Sheilbh said, the focus isn't really on the initial period and I've seen better detail from webpages online.
That Safavid book was really dissapointing.  I have no idea why there aren't more books on the Safavids or Ottomans, you'd think with the whole huge fucking crisis in the Mid-East there would be a lot more. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on July 27, 2009, 02:43:58 PM
Quote from: Barrister on July 27, 2009, 11:31:22 AM
Just finished reading The Last Thousand Days of the British Empire.

Enjoyable read.  He picks up the story in early 44, and spends a lot of time on the big conferences of Quebec, Teheran, and Yalta.  Some good stuff in there, but also fairly familiar.

The events post VE Day however (which cover half of the 1000 day timeframe) are rushed, which was a real shame.  That's the era that frankly I knew the least about, but it seems to get skimmed over very rapidly in the last third of the book.  Perhaps Atlee just wasn't as interesting a subject as Churchill.   :bowler:

Still, I'd recommend it.  The author is  Brit living in Canada, so he also makes nice mentions of Canada's war effort, and gives several contemporary quotes about how Canada was the only Dominion doing everything that could be expected. :canuck:

I've always found anything on the end of the Empire to be depressing as hell.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on July 27, 2009, 03:24:05 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on July 27, 2009, 02:43:58 PM
I've always found anything on the end of the Empire to be depressing as hell.

Well, yeah, it is.  :(

But it was still interesting to see how something like partition went down.  The author heaps a lot of criticism on Ghandi - not knowing much of that era, I wouldn't have expected that.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 28, 2009, 12:48:48 AM
Started Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein.

Hillarious. It's like Neil/CdM/Monkebutt collaborating (and actually, the scene of the Large Lizard fetishists masturbating to scenes of Godzilla movies set to love msuic/porn groans makes me think Mr Ellis lurks here).

The language/weirdness of characters is pretty familiar if you've read Transmetropolitan.

Enjoying it so far (30 pages in) and had a couple LOL moments.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on July 29, 2009, 01:12:42 AM
Quote from: Barrister on July 27, 2009, 11:31:22 AM
The author is  Brit living in Canada, so he also makes nice mentions of Canada's war effort, and gives several contemporary quotes about how Canada was the only Dominion doing everything that could be expected. :canuck:

I would say that's quite unfair with New Zealand, fair with Australia and more than fair regarding South Africa.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on July 29, 2009, 04:12:14 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 29, 2009, 01:12:42 AM
I would say that's quite unfair with New Zealand, fair with Australia and more than fair regarding South Africa.
What's the knock on Australia?

Re Canada's contribution: Keegan wrote in Six Armies at Normandy that French Canadians dodged the WWI draft in large numbers, which would seem to undercut Beeb's claim.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on July 29, 2009, 11:45:17 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on July 29, 2009, 04:12:14 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 29, 2009, 01:12:42 AM
I would say that's quite unfair with New Zealand, fair with Australia and more than fair regarding South Africa.
What's the knock on Australia?

Re Canada's contribution: Keegan wrote in Six Armies at Normandy that French Canadians dodged the WWI draft in large numbers, which would seem to undercut Beeb's claim.

How so? they're French... isn't that normal? :P

seriously though... iirc most Canuck soldiers were Vollies.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on July 29, 2009, 12:50:44 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on July 29, 2009, 04:12:14 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 29, 2009, 01:12:42 AM
I would say that's quite unfair with New Zealand, fair with Australia and more than fair regarding South Africa.
What's the knock on Australia?

Re Canada's contribution: Keegan wrote in Six Armies at Normandy that French Canadians dodged the WWI draft in large numbers, which would seem to undercut Beeb's claim.

Did you mean to say WWI?

The draft (or conscription) was hugely controversial in Canada exactly because of Quebec and French Canadians.  It was for that reason that the government brought in conscription, but would not send conscripts overseas to fight.  That eventually changed in late 44 or 45, but in the end very very few soldiers were ever forced to go overseas.

Not sure how anti-war sentiment in Quebec translates into the Canadian government not doing all it could do though.   :huh:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: lustindarkness on July 29, 2009, 12:58:54 PM
I would like to read Xenophon's Anabasis, are all translations just about the same or is there one I really should be looking for?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on July 29, 2009, 12:59:00 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 28, 2009, 12:48:48 AM
Started Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein.

Hillarious. It's like Neil/CdM/Monkebutt collaborating (and actually, the scene of the Large Lizard fetishists masturbating to scenes of Godzilla movies set to love msuic/porn groans makes me think Mr Ellis lurks here).

Ogle? :unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on July 29, 2009, 01:31:52 PM
Quote from: Barrister on July 29, 2009, 12:50:44 PM
Did you mean to say WWI?
My bad, I misread your original post.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: saskganesh on July 29, 2009, 03:07:05 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 29, 2009, 01:12:42 AM
Quote from: Barrister on July 27, 2009, 11:31:22 AM
The author is  Brit living in Canada, so he also makes nice mentions of Canada's war effort, and gives several contemporary quotes about how Canada was the only Dominion doing everything that could be expected. :canuck:

I would say that's quite unfair with New Zealand, fair with Australia and more than fair regarding South Africa.

what about India? 2.5 million troops don't matter? they were not a Dominion, but they were very damn important.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on July 29, 2009, 03:35:40 PM
Quote from: Barrister on July 27, 2009, 03:24:05 PM
But it was still interesting to see how something like partition went down.  The author heaps a lot of criticism on Ghandi - not knowing much of that era, I wouldn't have expected that.
This book's quite good on the period:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Never-Again-1945-1951-Peter-Hennessy/dp/0141016027
It's also entirely focused on the Labour government, so it would seem to fill that gap.  Of course the end of Empire's only a bit of it as it's a history of the period so there's as much on the creation of the NHS, developing a British nuke and so on.

I think that recently Gandhi's being looked at more critically and that Nehru's attracting (at last!) more respect and admiration. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 29, 2009, 05:31:26 PM
Quote from: Syt on July 28, 2009, 12:48:48 AM
Started Warren Ellis' Crooked Little Vein.

Hillarious. It's like Neil/CdM/Monkebutt collaborating (and actually, the scene of the Large Lizard fetishists masturbating to scenes of Godzilla movies set to love msuic/porn groans makes me think Mr Ellis lurks here).

The language/weirdness of characters is pretty familiar if you've read Transmetropolitan.

Enjoying it so far (30 pages in) and had a couple LOL moments.

Finished it. The book is bright, over the top and would probably work well as graphic novel. The main character makes his own descent into the American sexual underworld, led by two competing Virgils; one representing puritanic values, the other sexual liberation. The hunt for the maguffin takes them from New York to Columbus/OH, San Antonio/TX, Las Vegas/NV, to finish in LA while encountering ever weirder characters and fetishes. Durng the flights the main character meets strange folks on the plane, including a 71 year old serial killer and a fellow private eye called "Falconer", and arrogant prick en route to LA to find "an avian statue from Malta". A lot of the story is heavily constructed, and Ellis injects it all with a (not too moralizing) commentary on modern communications society and a lot of humour. What struck me as worrying, though, was that none of the fetishes mentioned in the book really shocked me or offended me too much, which included:



[spoilers]




- body modification through saline solution injections
- sexual gratification with dead animals
- eel sex
- injecting heroin and jacking off to the fashion channel while shitting oneself
- a mother killing her son's girlfriend by shoving the preserved placenta from being pregnant with him down her throat, then stealing his semen to inject it into her veins as means of age retardation
- weirdos jacking off to Godzilla
- Russian Roulette parties where the rich and powerful rape third world kids and bet on which kid catches HIV from them
- a blind guy rapoing his seeing eye dog (I think we had a thread about that once)
- baby jesus buttplug
and probably a couple more that I'm forgetting.

Most stories and encounters according to Ellis are real world stories slightly adapted, and I guess I have read about almost all of them before.

Still an entertaining book if probably more interesting to people who haven't seen too much of the dark side of the internet (Timmay, Wags) and who are still shocked by rotten.com news stories.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 29, 2009, 05:34:16 PM
Sounds like a terrible and senseless book. :unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 29, 2009, 05:38:02 PM
Quote from: garbon on July 29, 2009, 05:34:16 PM
Sounds like a terrible and senseless book. :unsure:

As said, would probably work better as a graphic novel, but it also works as a rather mindless page turner (what comes next?) that mixes detective story with fetishes.

Doesn't hold a candle to his graphic works, like Transmet or Crecy, of course.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on July 29, 2009, 05:42:38 PM
Quote from: garbon on July 29, 2009, 05:34:16 PM
Sounds like a terrible and senseless book. :unsure:

That aptly describes most of Ellis' writing.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 29, 2009, 05:43:38 PM
 :rolleyes:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on July 29, 2009, 05:47:42 PM
 :yawn:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 30, 2009, 04:11:31 AM
As a pleasant surprise Wilson's "Europe's Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years' War" was delivered today, even though I ordered from UK and the book's official release date on Amazon was also today.

Here's a positive review of the Sunday Times:
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/non-fiction/article6716310.ece

QuoteThe lead-lined window that sparked it all is still there, of course: you can even open it, and peer down to the dry moat into which the three Catholic imperial counsellors were cast on May 23, 1618 by a group of enraged Bohemian Protestant gentry. The room itself is on the fourth floor of the great Hradschin Palace, which looks over the river to the city of Prague. All is peaceful now, but it wasn't then; it was the epicentre of a storm that was to engulf much of Europe for the following three decades.

The famous tossing-out-of-the-window (the Defenestration of Prague) sparked off the tinderbox of animosities that had been building up between the Catholic Hapsburg authorities and the Protestant gentry since Luther had pinned his theses on the church door at Wittenberg back in 1517. ­Confessional hatreds, usually exacerbated by dynastic rivalries, class antagonisms and ­linguistic differences, had already torn France in two in the late-16th century, driven the Dutch revolt and Spanish counter-assault, and were soon to engulf the British Isles in their own civil war. But nothing compared with the scale and bloodiness that raged across Germany and surrounding lands from 1618 until the peace of Westphalia in 1648, and are the subjects of this gargantuan book. There are four epic, ­hegemonic, system-altering wars in the long sweep of modern European history — in reverse order, the second world war, the first world war, the Napoleonic war and, before all of them, the thirty years' war. In terms of proportionate bloodletting, the earliest may have been the worst of them all.

A little chronology will be helpful here. Like the later three conflicts, the thirty years' war started in a specific locale, and then spread and spread as more and more powers entered the fray. Originally, this was a ­conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor, the intensely Catholic Ferdinand II, and the independent-minded Protestant nobles in his Bohemian kingdom. But it was impossible for this not to spill over into the crowded German lands, where Catholic and Protestant rulers were arming themselves out of fear of what the other side might do. Bavaria (Catholic), Saxony (Protestant), the Palatinate (contested) all tumbled into war. Mercenaries from the poorer lands of Europe — ­Scotland, Ireland, Croatia — swarmed in for the killing and plunder. Protestant Denmark joined the fray in 1625. In July 1630 the greatest of Sweden's kings, Gustavus Adolphus, landed in Pomerania and swept south. By the mid-1630s, Spain, already drained by 60 years of the Dutch war, committed itself hugely into the German mire; unsurprisingly, the French statesman Richelieu felt he had at last to commit his own troops.

And so the war went on. Certain parts of the Rhineland and central Germany were torn apart by rampaging armies again and again, cities razed, churches burnt, animals slaughtered, crops destroyed and populations driven out in wintertime to starve in the woods — or be carried away by plague. "I would not believe a land could have been so despoiled had I not seen it with my own eyes," reported the Swedish general Mortaigne when he passed through northern Germany late in the war. Marburg, which had been occupied 11 times, had lost half its population by 1648. When the enraged and hungry imperial troops finally sacked the hold-out Protestant city of Magdeburg in 1631, it is estimated that only 5,000 of its 30,000 inhabitants survived the slaughter. Mothers and infants were impaled and defiled. What was done to the men is not describable. The destruction of the city by out-of-control mercenaries was a holocaust, never perhaps to be repeated in such ferocity until the Nazi-SS extermination squads went into the cities of the Ukraine in 1941-42. You do not understand Thomas Hobbes's ­contemporary plea for an absolute sovereign, a Leviathan, unless you first understand how terrified all observers were by this bloodstained anarchy.


The total population of the German empire dropped from 21m to just over 13m. Try to add to that the losses among the Swedes, French, Dutch, Scots, Croats, Italians and Spanish, and what might the total losses be? Say, 20m Europeans. Given the significantly smaller population of Europe then, it seems safe to say that, proportionate to population, the tangled, awful 1618-48 slaughters took away a higher percentage than the second world war's frightening 50m-60m dead. A recent poll in Germany on that country's many catastrophes gave the thirty years' war the "number one" vote, above 1914-18 and 1939-45. That itself makes one pause for thought.

This dreadful conflict attracted its historians virtually as soon as the combatants marched home, and some of the greatest European scholars have tried their hand at describing its dramatic unfolding and ­analysing its meanings. This is not easy: the true historian of the conflict should have command of German, French, Dutch, ­Swedish, English, Spanish, Italian and, if possible, Czech, Polish and Danish. That scholar should also be well versed in ­theology, diplomacy, military science and architecture, topology and climate history, and have a deep knowledge of the vast ­historiography about modern international relations, if only because the very emergence of the so-called Westphalian states-system after the 1648 settlement has led to many works on the nature of power-politics, statecraft, finance and military effectiveness.

So Peter Wilson, professor of history at the University of Hull, is a brave man to undertake a new general survey of one of the most long-lasting, multi-dimensional and controversial wars of all time. It is a joy to report that, at least in this reviewer's opinion, Europe's Tragedy succeeds brilliantly. It is huge both in its scene-setting and its unfolding narrative detail — you actually have to wait until page 272 before the counsellors are tossed out of the window — but the writing is not dense; it happily escapes from the turgid prose of so many of the German-language works that Wilson necessarily had to read and condense. From time to time I subjected his text to

the ultimate comparative test, by laying his battle-scene descriptions of, say, Breitenfeld, ­Nördlingen and Rocroi alongside the accounts of the same actions in CV Wedgwood's utterly sublime work, The Thirty Years' War (1938), which that precocious young woman composed as the clouds of another devastating war hung over Europe. Nobody in our ­modern age can write as wonderfully as she did, but Wilson's battle narratives are just fine. So are his accounts of high politics and diplomacy.

Who, then, after 1648 was a "great power"? Actually, a whole number of them. The chief feature of this lengthy conflict, from the ­perspective of the political scientist, was that the Hapsburg bid for mastery had been blunted; the possibility of a Hapsburg-­Catholic unipolar Europe had collapsed into multipolarity. Both Spain and Austria remained in the club of leading nations, even after defeat. (Austria was stubborn enough to survive the war of the Austrian succession, plus five Napoleonic assaults, and then drag everyone into the first world war.) Sweden remained the "Lion of the North", even after Gustavus's death at Lützen in 1632, until Peter the Great's Russia ended that pretension at the century's end. The France of Louis XIV was clearly to be the new top dog, but it faced a strong and tough United Provinces. Meanwhile, the outlier powers, Great Britain and Russia, were each gathering enormous strength. The stage was being set for another 300 years of European-driven conflict among the top five or six dogs until April 1945, when American and Soviet troops met, appropriately for our review, on the Elbe, only miles from some of the bloodiest battles of the thirty years' war, and demonstrated that the Eurocentric order was over.

It is to Wilson's credit that he can both offer the reader a detailed account of this ­terrible and complicated war and step back to give due summaries. His scholarship seems to me remarkable, his prose light and lovely, his judgments fair. This is a heavyweight book, no doubt. Sometimes, though, the very best of them have to be.

Many years ago, I took my two young sons repeatedly through the town gate of the ­village of Grunern, in the southern Black Forest, where we were living at the time. On the limestone gate were (in German) the words: "Destroyed by the Swedes, 1632. Rebuilt, 1648." It was hard at that time to explain to them what that all meant, and that around 30,000 small towns and villages across Europe were destroyed in that distant conflict. Decades later, I can now send them both a copy of Europe's Tragedy, and invite them to read it.

Look forward to reading it, and at 22.40 GBP I consider this a real bargain.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on July 30, 2009, 07:48:59 AM
Danny Parker's Battle of the bulge. -Readable
The Dread Empire. Always re-readable. A giant floating fetus rooting out treachery? Winnar.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on July 30, 2009, 11:42:20 AM
Quote from: Habbaku on July 29, 2009, 05:42:38 PM
Quote from: garbon on July 29, 2009, 05:34:16 PM
Sounds like a terrible and senseless book. :unsure:

That aptly describes most of Ellis' writing.

I'd say some, not most. I see Ellis as a 50/50 bet you will get either awesome  or the same old Authority ish stuff recycled with more ultraviolence and kink.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on July 30, 2009, 01:46:12 PM
I've been reading the Herbert Foster translation of Cassius Dio's "Rome."  I just got to the death of Caligula and got a chuckle out of the proceeding passage:

QuoteSo Gaius, who accomplished all these exploits in three years, nine
months, and twenty-eight days, learned by actual experience that he was
not a god.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on July 30, 2009, 01:50:39 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on July 30, 2009, 11:42:20 AM
I'd say some, not most. I see Ellis as a 50/50 bet you will get either awesome  or the same old Authority ish stuff recycled with more ultraviolence and kink.

50/50 sounds about right.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: lustindarkness on July 30, 2009, 08:06:53 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 29, 2009, 12:58:54 PM
I would like to read Xenophon's Anabasis, are all translations just about the same or is there one I really should be looking for?
No military history nerds here?  :yeahright:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on July 30, 2009, 08:30:27 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 30, 2009, 08:06:53 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 29, 2009, 12:58:54 PM
I would like to read Xenophon's Anabasis, are all translations just about the same or is there one I really should be looking for?
No military history nerds here?  :yeahright:
I suggest one translated into English.
How's that?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: lustindarkness on July 30, 2009, 08:32:37 PM
Quote from: PDH on July 30, 2009, 08:30:27 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 30, 2009, 08:06:53 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 29, 2009, 12:58:54 PM
I would like to read Xenophon's Anabasis, are all translations just about the same or is there one I really should be looking for?
No military history nerds here?  :yeahright:
I suggest one translated into English.
How's that?
Better than I expected. :hug:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 30, 2009, 08:06:53 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 29, 2009, 12:58:54 PM
I would like to read Xenophon's Anabasis, are all translations just about the same or is there one I really should be looking for?
No military history nerds here?  :yeahright:

Learn Greek, νooβ (noob in Greek) kekeke  :nerd:  :P

Now, seriously, the translation by H.G. Daykins is available in the web (and there is a modern "paper" edition too,

Anabasis: The March Up Country, transl. by H.G. Dakyns, El Paso Norte Press, 2007, ISBN 1934255033.

http://www.classicsarchive.com/A/books/Anabasis__translation_by_Dakyns_-_Xenophon/
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: lustindarkness on July 31, 2009, 10:10:55 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 30, 2009, 08:06:53 PM
Quote from: lustindarkness on July 29, 2009, 12:58:54 PM
I would like to read Xenophon's Anabasis, are all translations just about the same or is there one I really should be looking for?
No military history nerds here?  :yeahright:

Learn Greek, νooβ (noob in Greek) kekeke  :nerd:  :P

Now, seriously, the translation by H.G. Daykins is available in the web (and there is a modern "paper" edition too,

Anabasis: The March Up Country, transl. by H.G. Dakyns, El Paso Norte Press, 2007, ISBN 1934255033.

http://www.classicsarchive.com/A/books/Anabasis__translation_by_Dakyns_-_Xenophon/


Niiice, weekend reading!
But not sure if I'll do the ebook thing, I kinda like a good paperback book in my hands, we'll see. Thanks!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 12:44:32 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM


Anabasis: The March Up Country,

:w00t:

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.infinitas.com.au%2FProductImages%2F9780743435383.jpg&hash=b6939b5a7bdce8733d4f0759601dc59fc59bc66e)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 31, 2009, 12:55:02 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 12:44:32 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM


Anabasis: The March Up Country,

:w00t:


Oh, man, are you ever asking for it.  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on July 31, 2009, 02:29:30 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 31, 2009, 12:55:02 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 12:44:32 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM


Anabasis: The March Up Country,

:w00t:


Oh, man, are you ever asking for it.  :lol:

I gave up. Somebody else can rub his face in dog shit.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 02:30:57 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on July 31, 2009, 02:29:30 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 31, 2009, 12:55:02 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 12:44:32 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM


Anabasis: The March Up Country,

:w00t:


Oh, man, are you ever asking for it.  :lol:

I gave up. Somebody else can rub his face in dog shit.

I win! I win!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on July 31, 2009, 02:34:13 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 02:30:57 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on July 31, 2009, 02:29:30 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 31, 2009, 12:55:02 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on July 31, 2009, 12:44:32 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on July 31, 2009, 01:24:09 AM


Anabasis: The March Up Country,

:w00t:


Oh, man, are you ever asking for it.  :lol:

I gave up. Somebody else can rub his face in dog shit.

I win! I win!

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi94.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fl108%2Fbillelzebub%2F724you_win_the_prize.jpg&hash=b5481c35c93a49e2f2006159a26bd25ac988690b)

Yep, you won.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 03, 2009, 11:29:55 AM
I just finished Giles Milton's 'Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922 The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance'.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paradise-Lost-Giles-Milton/dp/0340837861
It's generally very good and an interesting read.  It's very sad at the end.

However I was annoyed all the way through by the subtitle 'the destruction of Islam's city of tolerance'.  It seemed like that title had been tacked on to shift a few more copies from people interested in Islam, especially in a sort of negative way, since 9/11.  Basically I think they tried to make the book a bit topical with that title.  My problem with it is that in the book itself there's very little suggestion that it had much to do with Islam at all, indeed there's very little about Islam in the book.  The main problem that caused Smyrna's destruction seems to be racial.  That this was Ataturk's attempt to get rid of a number of troublesome minorities and though the brutality wasn't reprised this was just a prelude to St Lausanne.  The book quotes nationalist Turks discussing the 'race problem' and contemporary journalists saying that with this Turkey is ridding itself of the 'race problem' and except in the sense that Islam is a part of Turkish identity there is really very little about religion. 

It's really good but I was annoyed by the tacking on of a generally irrelevant sub-title <_<
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on August 03, 2009, 11:50:18 AM
Joe Abercrombie- Best Served Cold

A great follow-up to The First Law.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 03, 2009, 02:18:07 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 03, 2009, 11:29:55 AM
I just finished Giles Milton's 'Paradise Lost: Smyrna 1922 The Destruction of Islam's City of Tolerance'.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Paradise-Lost-Giles-Milton/dp/0340837861
It's generally very good and an interesting read.  It's very sad at the end.

However I was annoyed all the way through by the subtitle 'the destruction of Islam's city of tolerance'.  It seemed like that title had been tacked on to shift a few more copies from people interested in Islam, especially in a sort of negative way, since 9/11.  Basically I think they tried to make the book a bit topical with that title.  My problem with it is that in the book itself there's very little suggestion that it had much to do with Islam at all, indeed there's very little about Islam in the book.  The main problem that caused Smyrna's destruction seems to be racial.  That this was Ataturk's attempt to get rid of a number of troublesome minorities and though the brutality wasn't reprised this was just a prelude to St Lausanne.  The book quotes nationalist Turks discussing the 'race problem' and contemporary journalists saying that with this Turkey is ridding itself of the 'race problem' and except in the sense that Islam is a part of Turkish identity there is really very little about religion. 

It's really good but I was annoyed by the tacking on of a generally irrelevant sub-title <_<
I was going to get this but ended up getting Taner Akçam's A Shameful Act.  Love that the author's name is Milton, though. 

I wouldn't call Turks-Greeks-Armenians different races.  Within Turkey are many different races, but the "Greek race" is as well represented in modern Izmir as it was in Homer's Smyrna, and all the genetic evidence I've seen would back that up for the most part.  You could call it an ethnic conflict, but seeing as how the ethnicities were defined by the faith I don't think it is ridiculous to call it a religious conflict masquerading as an ethnic one. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 03, 2009, 09:00:12 PM
But if you do surely you should make that point somewhere in the book?  Almost the only mention of Islam is in the sub-title.

I use 'race' because that's the word that the Turkish nationalists and reporters quoted in the book used.

Edit:  And I don't think those ethnicities were defined solely by religion.  It was a large part but language and culture matter too. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 03, 2009, 09:21:32 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 03, 2009, 09:00:12 PM
But if you do surely you should make that point somewhere in the book?  Almost the only mention of Islam is in the sub-title.

I use 'race' because that's the word that the Turkish nationalists and reporters quoted in the book used.
Hmm.  You've finished it, and everything?  I'd think it would be hard to write a history of Smyrna without at least mentioning the role Islam played in the Anatolian Turkish ethnogenesis (and, I'd argue, in the greater post-Göçmen Khanate Turkıc peoples as well). 

And Turkish Nationalists were and are, by and large, some of the foulest nationalists around, and among the worst sources of history or anthropology I've ever seen.  "Turk" is no more a racial category than "American", as it is not just the crossroads of Eurasian civilization but also an immigrant society.  I've had conversations in Turkish with one person who could have been tanned Japanese, one who could be Egyptian, and one who could have been Lithuanian. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 03, 2009, 09:45:46 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 03, 2009, 09:21:32 PM
Hmm.  You've finished it, and everything?  I'd think it would be hard to write a history of Smyrna without at least mentioning the role Islam played in the Anatolian Turkish ethnogenesis (and, I'd argue, in the greater post-Göçmen Khanate Turkıc peoples as well). 
It's not a history of Smyrna.  It's a history of Smyrna largely from the perspective of the great Levantine families, though also some Turks, Greeks and Armenians (I think the Jewish and Turkish perspectives were generally lacking) and it's focused on the world of Smyrna prior to WW1 and during WW1 (for example there's a remarkable story about the local Pasha trying to negotiate a separate peace with the allies).  It then deals pretty promptly with the Megali Idea and finally in more depth the destruction of Smyrna.

I'd say about 40% of the book is about September 1922.  The rest from around 1910-22.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 04, 2009, 03:13:45 PM
QuoteIt's not a history of Smyrna.  It's a history of Smyrna largely from the perspective of the great Levantine families, though also some Turks, Greeks and Armenians (I think the Jewish and Turkish perspectives were generally lacking) and it's focused on the world of Smyrna prior to WW1 and during WW1 (for example there's a remarkable story about the local Pasha trying to negotiate a separate peace with the allies).  It then deals pretty promptly with the Megali Idea and finally in more depth the destruction of Smyrna.

I'd say about 40% of the book is about September 1922.  The rest from around 1910-22.
Why on earth would you choose the Levantines?  It is like making a history of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Kashubians. 

EDIT: That's probably why the publishes made him pick "Islam's City of Tolerance".  Most people don't know either Smyrna or Izmir, or the Fire, and their only exposure to Levantines would probably have been the Turk in The Godfather.

EDITEDIT: Turns out I was wrong about that.  Virgil Sollozzo, "The Turk", got his name from his Turkish-like nose and the fact that he does business in Turkey.  I presumed it was because he was a Levantine, though come to think of it I have no idea why a Levantine would be able to speak Sicilian. 


IIRC from reviews that has been one of the primary criticisms, and the main reason I chose Shameful Act over Paradise Lost, brilliant as the title may be.

Have you ever read Middlesex or Birds Without Wings? The destruction of Smyrna is a huge event in both novels.  Both get some basic facts wrong (especially the latter, I'm half convinced  Bernières didn't read a whole book on late Ottoman Anatolia), but both are good.  Especially Middlesex. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 05, 2009, 09:38:43 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 04, 2009, 03:13:45 PM
Why on earth would you choose the Levantines?  It is like making a history of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Kashubians. 
Well I think it fits better with the title.  The American suburb with the American International College was nicknamed 'paradise'.  The Levantines did live in this very mixed world, perhaps more than other residents of Smyrna.  They'd descended from English, French and Italian foreigners in Ottoman Turkey, most of them remained (and led relief efforts) during the First World War.  Theirs was a blessed existence.  He gets far more Armenian focused during the story of the destruction itself but I think the Levantine focus makes Smyrna more of a paradise.  And it could be that Giles Milton is comfortable in English/French/Italian but not Turkish/Armenian/Greek so the Levantine diaries and interviews are more accessible sources.

I did, however, love the story of Hortense Wood who lived in the richest suburb.  She was in her 60s or 70s by the time of the destruction of Smyrna.  Apparently she shouted down, told off and generally scared the Turkish irregulars.  Her nephew remembers her standing in the middle of the square while guns are being fired and houses looted waving her umbrella round shouting Turkish insults and telling them to all go away :lol:

Her house was the only one in that suburb to survive intact and was later used as a meetinpoint for Ataturk (who she hugely admired).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on August 07, 2009, 11:17:48 AM
My reading list for the sunny beaches of Fuerteventura:

Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Europes-Tragedy-History-Thirty-Years/dp/0713995920/ref=pd_ys_iyr_img?ie=UTF8&coliid=I309N5072KT0IB&colid=124NHKDAEIKSC)
The Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Enemy-Gate-Habsburgs-Ottomans-Battle/dp/0224073648/ref=pd_ybh_2?pf_rd_p=138755991&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1501&pf_rd_i=ybh&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=06NDVWTQ9RECW55XQHFG) (siege of 1683)
The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pursuit-Glory-Europe-1648-1815/dp/014016667X/ref=pd_ys_iyr8)
Die Verwandlung der Welt: Eine Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts (http://www.amazon.de/Die-Verwandlung-Welt-Geschichte-Jahrhunderts/dp/3406582834/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249661257&sr=8-1) (a 1500 pages tome about the long 19th century)

Backups if I finish too fast:
Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Napoleons-Wars-International-History-1803-1815/dp/0141014202/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249661148&sr=8-1)
and/or
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Iron-Kingdom-Downfall-Prussia-1600-1947/dp/0140293345/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249661774&sr=1-1)
and/or
The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914: Global Connections and Comparisons (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Birth-Modern-World-1780-1914-Connections/dp/0631236163/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1249661786&sr=1-1)

I don't plan to do anything else besides sleeping, eating, lieing on the beach or pool and reading a whole fucklot.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 09, 2009, 01:23:21 AM
Does anybody know of any interesting books on Sumerian, Babylonian, Phoenician and Carthaginian civilizations, particularly their religion and government? 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on August 09, 2009, 01:30:31 AM
Haha, just going to keep asking till someone succeeds in recommending a good one? :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 09, 2009, 11:13:09 AM
Quote from: Judas Iscariot on August 09, 2009, 01:30:31 AM
Haha, just going to keep asking till someone succeeds in recommending a good one? :lol:
I usually only ask one request till I get one, and pretty often I get one.  This seems like a pretty interesting topic for most people, unlike, say, the Cilician Kingdom of Armenia in the early 14th Century. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on August 09, 2009, 12:16:46 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 09, 2009, 01:23:21 AM
Does anybody know of any interesting books on Sumerian, Babylonian, Phoenician and Carthaginian civilizations,

Gilgamesh
The Aeneid
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on August 10, 2009, 10:36:05 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 09, 2009, 01:23:21 AM
Does anybody know of any interesting books on Sumerian, Babylonian, Phoenician and Carthaginian civilizations, particularly their religion and government?

I was looking for something similar recently, but my books still to be read list is already rather daunting without taking on a whole new category.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 10:58:12 AM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on August 10, 2009, 10:36:05 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 09, 2009, 01:23:21 AM
Does anybody know of any interesting books on Sumerian, Babylonian, Phoenician and Carthaginian civilizations, particularly their religion and government?

I was looking for something similar recently, but my books still to be read list is already rather daunting without taking on a whole new category.
If you find anything, be sure to post it.  Heather's The Fall is very interesting.  Actually, I think a pretty large percentage of the books I read now I originally hear of on here.

Anyone read A Farewell To Alms?  It is a bit like a Diamond book, though I don't think the author is as intelligent or, to be honest, as qualified.  A bit too much Slate-style counter-intuitivieness for counter-intuitiveness' sake for my taste, though a lot of the raw information and basic points are very interesting.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 11:06:05 AM
Currently reading, more or less simultaneously:
A Farewell to Alms, mentioned previously.
The Fall of the Roman Empire, very interesting, author has quite a knowledge of the period and is just talented.   Love the look at barbarian lifestyles, though I'm afraid that at times the book tends towards generality; I know enough of the Hunnic expansion to know that their mastery of the asymmetric Hunnic bow was certainly not enough to kick out all the Indo-European peoples from the steppe as the Saka and Yuezhi used a transitory type of bow closer to the Hunnic than the Scythian.  I'm wondering if the work is full of this and I just don't know it, or if this is just a particularly difficult subject, probably the latter.

On my recently acquired Kindle
Osman's Dream: A bit too much a series of events, I'd vastly prefer a description of some of the infinitely more fascinating Ottoman social structures and practices (the devşirme, the various Sufi orders).  Also, for all her respect for Ottoman and Muslim civilization, her views on the Byzantines are fantastically silly. The Byzantine Church didn't break from Rome, Rome just got uppity. 
The Evolution of God: Very interesting, if occasionally a little shallow or mystical (I generally like my religion and my scholarship to be as separated as possible). A lot of fascinating anecdotes. 

Recently Finished
The Great Arab Conquests. Very military centered, as the title would suggest.  Very interesting; fascinating how skilled, fanatical and clever the early Muslims were.  Undoutably some of the greatest conquerers in history even if they were basically fighting two huge corpses for dominance of most of the world. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 10, 2009, 12:23:42 PM
The library has a learn to read Korean set but it's out. <_<

So I took out Red Phoenix by Larry Bond instead! :w00t: 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on August 10, 2009, 02:40:00 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 11:06:05 AM
The Fall of the Roman Empire, very interesting, author has quite a knowledge of the period and is just talented.   Love the look at barbarian lifestyles, though I'm afraid that at times the book tends towards generality; I know enough of the Hunnic expansion to know that their mastery of the asymmetric Hunnic bow was certainly not enough to kick out all the Indo-European peoples from the steppe as the Saka and Yuezhi used a transitory type of bow closer to the Hunnic than the Scythian.  I'm wondering if the work is full of this and I just don't know it, or if this is just a particularly difficult subject, probably the latter.

Problem with this period is the paucity and lack of reliability of source material.  When you actually start compiling the hard evidence about the Huns or the "Hunnic expansion" it is distressingly light.  We know that a people that the Romans called the Huns show up at a certain point and do things like harass the Goths, exact tribute from Constantinople and periodically raid the West.  We know that their core elite group claimed a steppe nomad ancestry and rode horses.  We know that by the time they become a significant factor in Roman politics, they -- like most of the barbarian gens -- are in fact made up of a polyglot, multi-cultural warrior band, employing a bewildering variety of weapons and tactics (and at least some sources a suggest a primarily infantry force).  We know the basics of their direct impact within the Empire and their spectacular post-Attila collapse.  And we also have at our disposal a variety of supposed oral histories, legends, apochropha and travellers tales about them.   Add it all up and it doesn't come to that much; the usual historical approach is then to try to make various plausible inferences; not surprisingly, historians can't seem to fully agree as to which inferences are plausible. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 10, 2009, 04:28:22 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 11:06:05 AM
Osman's Dream: A bit too much a series of events, I'd vastly prefer a description of some of the infinitely more fascinating Ottoman social structures and practices (the devşirme, the various Sufi orders).  Also, for all her respect for Ottoman and Muslim civilization, her views on the Byzantines are fantastically silly. The Byzantine Church didn't break from Rome, Rome just got uppity. 
The Byzantines left Holy Mother Church.  It was probably for the best because they were a degenerate civilisation.  When they are ready to return (on their knees in sackcloth with ashes on their face) we'll be ready, we'll be where we always have been and where we always have been.  Unlike some <_<
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 05:03:41 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 10, 2009, 04:28:22 PM
The Byzantines left Holy Mother Church.  It was probably for the best because they were a degenerate civilisation.  When they are ready to return (on their knees in sackcloth with ashes on their face) we'll be ready, we'll be where we always have been and where we always have been.  Unlike some <_<
<_<
Figured you were above trolling, Sheilbh.  And of course the Orthodox Church's heart had to move; The Whore of Rome made sure of that. (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6a/PriseDeConstantinople1204PalmaLeJeune.JPG)

Besides, how can one love the Ottomans without the Byzantines?  The Byzantine tradition was the greater part of the Ottoman; without the Greeks and Armenians, the Turks never would have risen above the status of semi-literate, half-Persianate nomads, living off raids and slavery. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 05:07:41 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on August 10, 2009, 02:40:00 PMAdd it all up and it doesn't come to that much; the usual historical approach is then to try to make various plausible inferences; not surprisingly, historians can't seem to fully agree as to which inferences are plausible.
Completely understand.  But my complaint is that Heather speaks with far more certainty than is appropriate for the field. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on August 10, 2009, 05:25:54 PM
I've found Beevor's Stalingrad somewhat disappointing.  He takes alot of the German accounts at face value.  He unquestionably accepts the 22 Panzer division excuse for it's poor performance which amount to "Mice ate our tanks".  That always seemed like a lame excuse.  He also criticizes Gehlen for correctly for failing to spot the soviet mobilization against Army group South.  He makes it seem as if he was concerned by an imaginary offensive against Army Group Center.  He never mention that the Soviets did launch a major offensive in that area.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on August 10, 2009, 05:51:53 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 11:06:05 AM
Recently Finished
The Great Arab Conquests. Very military centered, as the title would suggest.  Very interesting; fascinating how skilled, fanatical and clever the early Muslims were.  Undoutably some of the greatest conquerers in history even if they were basically fighting two huge corpses for dominance of most of the world.

I've put that one on hold for the moment.  Definitely very interesting period in history, but also interesting how few sources of information we have.  I found it to be a somewhat dry read, which is unusual for all the violence and killing it describes.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on August 10, 2009, 05:54:08 PM
Quote from: Barrister on August 10, 2009, 05:51:53 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 11:06:05 AM
Recently Finished
The Great Arab Conquests. Very military centered, as the title would suggest.  Very interesting; fascinating how skilled, fanatical and clever the early Muslims were.  Undoutably some of the greatest conquerers in history even if they were basically fighting two huge corpses for dominance of most of the world.

I've put that one on hold for the moment.  Definitely very interesting period in history, but also interesting how few sources of information we have.  I found it to be a somewhat dry read, which is unusual for all the violence and killing it describes.
I love it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 11, 2009, 01:48:13 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on August 10, 2009, 05:03:41 PM
Besides, how can one love the Ottomans without the Byzantines?  The Byzantine tradition was the greater part of the Ottoman; without the Greeks and Armenians, the Turks never would have risen above the status of semi-literate, half-Persianate nomads, living off raids and slavery.
I don't love the Ottomans I think their degenerate too.  In that region I love the Turkish Republic, Israel, the Arabs, the Persia of Nader Shah and 20th century Iran.  The rest are degenerate dead weight <_<
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 11, 2009, 04:13:00 PM
:yes:

Sheilbh prefers the overthrow of legitimate regimes by delusional people of ill repute (re: Cromwell, Nadir Shah, Ataturk...Obama). :x
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on August 11, 2009, 05:40:59 PM
Anyone have a good book on Chinese history, particularly the Yuan, Ming, and/or Qing Dynasties? I'm looking for something of a general history, though with a focus on the political and military aspects (i.e., struggles within and without), and cultural/economic aspects (trade, how people made their living). And nothing dry or academic - I don't want to be put to sleep.

Naturally, any recommendations that don't fit all of the above are welcome. I don't expect to find something that fits exactly what I'm looking for.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 05:42:54 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on August 11, 2009, 05:40:59 PM
Anyone have a good book on Chinese history, particularly the Yuan, Ming, and/or Qing Dynasties? I'm looking for something of a general history, though with a focus on the political and military aspects (i.e., struggles within and without), and cultural/economic aspects (trade, how people made their living). And nothing dry or academic - I don't want to be put to sleep.

Naturally, any recommendations that don't fit all of the above are welcome. I don't expect to find something that fits exactly what I'm looking for.
Bob, I pmed you 4 times last week, where you been?

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on August 11, 2009, 05:47:42 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on August 11, 2009, 05:40:59 PM
Anyone have a good book on Chinese history, particularly the Yuan, Ming, and/or Qing Dynasties? I'm looking for something of a general history, though with a focus on the political and military aspects (i.e., struggles within and without), and cultural/economic aspects (trade, how people made their living). And nothing dry or academic - I don't want to be put to sleep.

Naturally, any recommendations that don't fit all of the above are welcome. I don't expect to find something that fits exactly what I'm looking for.

Chariot by Cotterell has some bits on the battles in the Spring and Autumn periods of Chinese history. I wouldn't pay more than the penny used you can get it for however. Plus there isn't a whole lot on China as it covers China, India, Egypt and the Hittites. And Greece.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on August 11, 2009, 06:36:32 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 05:42:54 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on August 11, 2009, 05:40:59 PM
Anyone have a good book on Chinese history, particularly the Yuan, Ming, and/or Qing Dynasties? I'm looking for something of a general history, though with a focus on the political and military aspects (i.e., struggles within and without), and cultural/economic aspects (trade, how people made their living). And nothing dry or academic - I don't want to be put to sleep.

Naturally, any recommendations that don't fit all of the above are welcome. I don't expect to find something that fits exactly what I'm looking for.
Bob, I pmed you 4 times last week, where you been?

Dude, I told you I was going on vacation.  :P I was off in Mongolia, blissfully far from any internet service.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 11, 2009, 07:27:40 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 11, 2009, 01:48:13 PM
I don't love the Ottomans I think their degenerate too.  In that region I love the Turkish Republic, Israel, the Arabs, the Persia of Nader Shah and 20th century Iran.  The rest are degenerate dead weight <_<
The Arabs had two centuries of genius run by half-Berber and half and fully Persian science, and by the time the Ottomans established their empire the Arab world was spent intellectually and enviormentally. No rationale behind this, especially as the architectual, spiritual and cultural accomplishments of the Arabs and post-Saffavid Iran pale in comparison to their Sassanid and Byzantine antecedents. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 11, 2009, 08:14:39 PM
Quote from: garbon on August 11, 2009, 04:13:00 PM
:yes:

Sheilbh prefers the overthrow of legitimate regimes by delusional people of ill repute (re: Cromwell, Nadir Shah, Ataturk...Obama). :x
Don't forget Robespierre :contract:

I'm a big fan of the American founders too.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 11, 2009, 09:33:11 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 11, 2009, 08:14:39 PM
I'm a big fan of the American founders too.

AKA The Whiny Bitches
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 09:51:25 PM
Quote from: garbon on August 11, 2009, 09:33:11 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 11, 2009, 08:14:39 PM
I'm a big fan of the American founders too.

AKA The Whiny Bitches
Why don't you move to Canada then, Loyalist scum!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 11, 2009, 10:00:40 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 09:51:25 PM
Why don't you move to Canada then, Loyalist scum!

Weather sucks.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 10:16:46 PM
Quote from: garbon on August 11, 2009, 10:00:40 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 09:51:25 PM
Why don't you move to Canada then, Loyalist scum!

Weather sucks.
Australia then?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 11, 2009, 11:22:09 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 11, 2009, 10:16:46 PM
Australia then?

I think I'd rather be in Alta California.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Camerus on August 12, 2009, 12:05:07 AM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on August 11, 2009, 05:40:59 PM
Anyone have a good book on Chinese history, particularly the Yuan, Ming, and/or Qing Dynasties? I'm looking for something of a general history, though with a focus on the political and military aspects (i.e., struggles within and without), and cultural/economic aspects (trade, how people made their living). And nothing dry or academic - I don't want to be put to sleep.

Naturally, any recommendations that don't fit all of the above are welcome. I don't expect to find something that fits exactly what I'm looking for.

Immaneul CY HSU wrote an excellent book, the Rise of Modern China, that deals with the Qing and subsequent periods in Chinese history.  The late John King Fairbank, one of the most respected scholars on Chinese history, also wrote an excellent survey book, China: A New History, that deals with the period you're interested in. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 12, 2009, 11:34:54 AM
Quote from: garbon on August 11, 2009, 09:33:11 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 11, 2009, 08:14:39 PM
I'm a big fan of the American founders too.

AKA The Whiny Bitches
<_< You're the Stuart fan.

Better than Psellus's love for corrupt and degenerate but aesthetically pleasing empires: Russian, Persian, Byzantine, Ottoman and the rest.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 12, 2009, 11:43:44 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 12, 2009, 11:34:54 AM
<_< You're the Stuart fan.
And what did they have to put up with? A bunch of whiners!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 12, 2009, 11:56:13 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 12, 2009, 11:34:54 AM
Better than Psellus's love for corrupt and degenerate but aesthetically pleasing empires: Russian, Persian, Byzantine, Ottoman and the rest.
Of these, the Persian and Ottoman are the only "corrupt/degenerate" ones I really like.  If anything, the Russians and Byzantines were far, far tougher than the people they were fighting against.  The Byzantine economy was a fraction of the Ummayad and Abbasid economy, and were far, far poorer.  Same with the Russians against the Germans, French and Swedes.   Byzantine society from the time of Heraclitus to Basil II (by far my favorite period) was almost wholly army-run, obsessed only with their national survival while the Arabs went from utterly fanatical, nearly naked warriors to being too decedent to fight within two centuries. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on August 12, 2009, 02:08:28 PM
Just picked up Generation Kill and From Beirut to Jerusalem.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on August 12, 2009, 07:40:02 PM
Really enjoying Generation Kill right now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on August 12, 2009, 09:25:29 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on August 12, 2009, 07:40:02 PM
Really enjoying Generation Kill right now.
The HBO miniseries was amazing.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on August 14, 2009, 02:22:45 PM
In From Beirut to Lebanon Friedman describes the Alawites as a Muslim sect with Christian-like beliefs, whereas I'd learned that they are a Christian sect.

He also describes the Druze as a Muslim sect with beliefs they keep secret from any non-Druze, whereas I'd learned they believe some dude who wandered into the desert in Egypt was the mahdi.

Who's right and who's wrong?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on August 14, 2009, 02:33:40 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on August 14, 2009, 02:22:45 PM
In From Beirut to Lebanon Friedman describes the Alawites as a Muslim sect with Christian-like beliefs, whereas I'd learned that they are a Christian sect.

He also describes the Druze as a Muslim sect with beliefs they keep secret from any non-Druze, whereas I'd learned they believe some dude who wandered into the desert in Egypt was the mahdi.

Who's right and who's wrong?

I always understood the Alawites as Shi'ite Muslims; other Mulsims consider them heterodox. That said, I know nothing of their beliefs.

Druze are most definitely considered their own, seperate religion; originally also an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. Fun fact: the Druze serve in the armies of both Israel and Syria.

I guess the best way of putting it is that Shi'ite sects are continually springing up throughout history, and given that they often have secretive, strange doctrines, often based on gnosticism, they have a tendency to drift away from what could be considered "Islam". The Druze are much, much further down this particular path of drift than the Alawites.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 14, 2009, 03:35:27 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on August 14, 2009, 02:22:45 PM
In From Beirut to Lebanon Friedman describes the Alawites as a Muslim sect with Christian-like beliefs, whereas I'd learned that they are a Christian sect.
They're Muslim.  An off-shoot of Shi'ism.  One of the things that marked the beginning of Syrian-Iranian cooperation was when Ayatollah Khomeini declared that though the Alawites (of which the ASsads are members) are a bit heterodox they were not heretics from Islam.

Quote
He also describes the Druze as a Muslim sect with beliefs they keep secret from any non-Druze, whereas I'd learned they believe some dude who wandered into the desert in Egypt was the mahdi.

Who's right and who's wrong?
My understanding is that the Druze keep their beliefs away from non-Druze but also keep some beliefs away from non-initiated Druze and so on.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 14, 2009, 09:50:51 PM
I've recently finished a bit of a crime drama binge.

I read C.J. Sansom's Shardlake series which is about a hunchbacked Tudor lawyer.  They're very fun if a bit derivative. 

Similarly I've read Stieg Larsson's novels (the two translated into English) and they're really great reads until you finish and you think it was all a bit too coincidental.  In the moment, though, he's an irresistably good thriller writer.

I also read the remarkable and quite fascinating 'The Mantle of the Prophet'.  It's an amazing book I really recommend that tells a general history of Iran, especially in from Reza Shah to Khomeini, and Shi'i Islam largely through its links to the life of a mullah.  So his time at school leads to a discussion of Iran's education system, his attempt to learn mysticism leads to a lengthy chapter of Persian poetry and mysticism's disputed place within Shi'i Islam.  A terrific book, though not the first one I'd read about either Islam or Iran:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=mantle+of+the+prophet&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a

And Hilary Mantel's magnificent 'A Place of Greater Safety'.  I've always been dubious of historical novels (as opposed to an historical thriller, for example) because I'm not sure what they're for or what the setting is about really.  This is an incredible novel set in the French Revolution, largely dealing with Danton, Robespierre and Desmoulins.  It's a terrific, incredibly enjoyable and well-written work that I just loved.  I can't wait to read her latest (bookie's favourite for the Booker prize) which is called 'Wolf Hall' and is, apparently, an sort-of answer to 'A Man for All Seasons'; it's largely about and sympathetic to Thomas Cromwell and has got some good reviews so I'm quite hopeful.  If 'A Place of Greater Safety' is anything to go by, I think it could be really impressive.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Place-Greater-Safety-Hilary-Mantel/dp/000725055X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250304370&sr=1-2

It's inspired me to buy another copy of 'Citizens' (I gave my last copy to a charity shop) and re-read it.  Also does anyone know of any other good histories of the revolution (as I say I've read Schama, but also Carlyle and LeFebvre) and more particularly has anyone got any recommendations for a book about the Terror and the Directoire?

Edit:  Is it worth getting Michelet or Taine's books on the Revolution? :mellow:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on August 14, 2009, 10:59:09 PM
Given your Romantic leanings, I think you would enjoy quite a lot Michelet. It is wonderful and wonderfully dated. You can almost hear his voice cracking when he speaks of «Le Peuple».

Other interesting reads about the (pre-)Revolution:

Journal of My Life, by Jacques-Louis Ménétra (a glazier's self-indulgent recollection of his life, fascinating).
David Garrioch, The Making of Revolutionary Paris.  (Urban history)

Other readings of the Revolution:
Any books by Soboul for the classic Marxist interpretation
Tocqueville (Ancien Régime and the Revolution) and Furet (Interpreting the French Revolution).
...but those aren't really accounts to speak of.

On the Terror, I am not really up to date with the anglo-saxon production (not much, IIRC), except for the old Palmer, Twelve who Ruled. The Directoire is really only coming up as a topic of interest in French, because it is squeezed between the Revolution's glory years and Napoléon's rise.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 14, 2009, 11:04:49 PM
Quote from: Oexmelin on August 14, 2009, 10:59:09 PMThe Directoire is really only coming up as a topic of interest in French, because it is squeezed between the Revolution's glory years and Napoléon's rise.
This is why it interests me.  The only thing I know about it is the famous fashion for women to wear a red sash around their necks.  But that in itself suggests an interesting period.

Thanks for the other recommendations I'll have a look about them :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: sbr on August 16, 2009, 02:34:30 PM
Anyone have a recommendation on a broad overview, "light reading" book on the Roman Empire and times?  My historical interest/knowledge is most recent and American history; the American Revolution is about as far as I go back.

Thanks
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Oexmelin on August 16, 2009, 02:57:50 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 14, 2009, 11:04:49 PM
This is why it interests me.  The only thing I know about it is the famous fashion for women to wear a red sash around their necks.  But that in itself suggests an interesting period.

Thanks for the other recommendations I'll have a look about them :)

I have just checked and one of the classical studies about Thermidor's youth has recently been translated. You can look up François Gendron's The Gilded Youth of Thermidor. I think you'd enjoy it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on August 16, 2009, 03:15:06 PM
Twelve Who Ruled is a very fun read, if nothing else.  I remember it as straining a little too hard to draw parallels between the government of the Terror and 20th-century totalitarian regimes, but well worth the read.

I recently picked up The Terror by David Andress from the library, it has some glowing blurbs from the British press on the back, so I have high expectations.  It seems to be more of a "popular" treatment.  Also got G. Lefebvre's The Great Fear of 1789: Rural Panic in Revolutionary France, written in 30s, enjoying it a lot at the moment.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on August 16, 2009, 03:53:34 PM
I'm reading The path of victory on the the war in the Med in WWII. A mix of hilariously inept Italians (demobilize 600K wops then decide to invade Greece), apathetic greeks and Churchill acting like a flaming nutball (like making plans to invade Sicily in '40).

Not bad for a 6 dollar remainder book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on August 16, 2009, 04:08:26 PM
Reflecting back on the part in From Beirut to Jerusalem concerning the Hama massacre, is it too obvious to mention that sending bloodthirsty jihadists to Iraq to die was a convenient way for Assad to rid himself of domestic opponents?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on August 16, 2009, 10:08:39 PM
Just about finished The Cult at the End Of The World... about the Aum cult... The trial part will be tonight's bedtime story. Next? I may revisit Dune. :spice:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 16, 2009, 11:45:21 PM
Re-reading Like People In History (finally seeing it in a more critical light) and a bio of James I of England.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 21, 2009, 09:49:04 PM
Squee! I can't wait. I've already read the first book 3-4 times already.

http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=181775
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PRC on August 21, 2009, 10:39:12 PM
Quote from: sbr on August 16, 2009, 02:34:30 PM
Anyone have a recommendation on a broad overview, "light reading" book on the Roman Empire and times?  My historical interest/knowledge is most recent and American history; the American Revolution is about as far as I go back.

Thanks

On the Fall of the Republic check out "Rubicon" by Tom Holland.. it's light reading but pretty good writing and very readable.  Though again, it focuses on the Fall of the Republic and not the Empire.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 22, 2009, 02:00:26 AM
Just finished American Gods which I think is over-rated.

Also finishing God's Secret Agents by Alice Hogge.  It's a history of the Jesuit missions to England during the reign of Elizabeth and leading up to the Gunpowder plot.  Generally it's very good, the really interesting stuff comes from the Jesuit letters that survive, especially John Gerard and Henry Garnet's (I may have their names the wrong way round).  I think the mission is very different than I would have expected.  My only criticism is that I think she loses focus in a few places and what are important parts of the book seem like digressions until 50 pages on when you realise the relevance.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 22, 2009, 02:04:49 AM
And I'm a quarter of the way through 'The Quincunx' which is a bit of a Victorian pastiche.  So far it's very good with lots of really well-done little features.  No idea how it'll all add up, or if it'll all add up. 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quincunx-Inheritance-John-Huffam/dp/0140177620
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on August 22, 2009, 02:24:16 AM
I'm reading Peter F Hamilton's Pandora's Star. I have read the Night's Dawn trilogy years ago. I find Hamilton a low-risk SF choice.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 22, 2009, 03:49:08 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 22, 2009, 02:00:26 AM
Just finished American Gods which I think is over-rated.

:yes:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 23, 2009, 06:16:09 PM
Just learned yesterday that my Gram's boyfriend was with the the 555th "Triple Nickle Field Artillery for 17th months in Korea.

So I decided to look the unit up. They served with the 5th Regimental Combat Team.

Unfortunately their unit history is going for $428.16 on Amazon <_<

http://www.amazon.com/Hills-Sacrifice-5th-RCT-Korea/dp/1563115883
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on August 24, 2009, 03:31:00 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 22, 2009, 02:00:26 AM
Just finished American Gods which I think is over-rated.

It's for Americans.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on August 24, 2009, 09:02:32 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on August 22, 2009, 02:04:49 AM
And I'm a quarter of the way through 'The Quincunx' which is a bit of a Victorian pastiche.  So far it's very good with lots of really well-done little features.  No idea how it'll all add up, or if it'll all add up. 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Quincunx-Inheritance-John-Huffam/dp/0140177620

I liked it a lot. However, my favourite by that authour is the excellent Betrayals. It is very much a 'love it or hate it' kind of book - I loved it. I think you would appreciate its brand of witty, intricate cruelty combined with commentary on literary "theory".

http://www.amazon.com/Betrayals-Charles-Palliser/dp/0345404351/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251122413&sr=8-4

Edit: it is very different from the Quincunx (which does indeed add up at the end, though you may have to read it twice to figure it all out).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on August 24, 2009, 01:42:51 PM
During my holiday I read "Ascent of Money" by Niall Fergason.  I liked the how he tied historical developments into how our system works.  I now have a better understanding of how the bond market works at least.

I also finished Game of Thrones and I am onto the second book.  I didnt think I would like it but I was pleasantly surprised.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 24, 2009, 11:17:18 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 23, 2009, 06:16:09 PM
Just learned yesterday that my Gram's boyfriend was with the the 555th "Triple Nickle Field Artillery for 17th months in Korea.

So I decided to look the unit up. They served with the 5th Regimental Combat Team.

Unfortunately their unit history is going for $428.16 on Amazon <_<

http://www.amazon.com/Hills-Sacrifice-5th-RCT-Korea/dp/1563115883
Anyone know where to get out of order books like this cheap?

Any good recommendations for books on the Korean War?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on August 25, 2009, 01:21:41 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 24, 2009, 01:42:51 PM
During my holiday I read "Ascent of Money" by Niall Fergason.  I liked the how he tied historical developments into how our system works.  I now have a better understanding of how the bond market works at least.

I also finished Game of Thrones and I am onto the second book.  I didnt think I would like it but I was pleasantly surprised.

Beware, Niall Ferguson reputation in Economics is not terribly good, at least in his articles on present events. As they use to say, he rush in where angels fear to tread.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 24, 2009, 01:42:51 PM
I also finished Game of Thrones and I am onto the second book.  I didnt think I would like it but I was pleasantly surprised.
That will pass.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on August 25, 2009, 06:21:30 AM
Quote from: Malthus on August 24, 2009, 09:02:32 AMI think you would appreciate its brand of witty, intricate cruelty combined with commentary on literary "theory".
I always thought literary theory was a brand of witty, intricate cruelty.

Thanks for the recommendation.

I continued my crime book binge by starting the Wallander novels.  The first one was good.  I like the very Swedish combination of a normal crime/thriller plot with social concern and a discussion on the problem of immigration :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on August 25, 2009, 07:33:36 AM
Joyce Carol Oates. :bleeding:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:07:59 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 24, 2009, 11:17:18 PM
Any good recommendations for books on the Korean War?


I really enjoyed "The Coldest Winter"

Here is a review from the NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/books/review/Frankel-t.html
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:15 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on August 25, 2009, 01:21:41 AM
Beware, Niall Ferguson reputation in Economics is not terribly good

Given recent events no Economist is looking particular stellar.  He is an historian of economics and I enjoyed his historical descriptions. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on August 25, 2009, 01:29:01 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:07:59 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 24, 2009, 11:17:18 PM
Any good recommendations for books on the Korean War?


I really enjoyed "The Coldest Winter"

Same here.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.

You are speaking in code I cannot decode.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on August 26, 2009, 09:38:27 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.

You are speaking in code I cannot decode.

The developing tendency to slow down the advancement of plot and focus on the daily minutia of an increasing number of viewpoint characters.  Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the classic example:  the first book covers something like a year of time, the last like a day.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:48:16 AM
Thanks for the translation. :cheers:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on August 26, 2009, 11:58:42 AM
reading a novel called "Fruit" (Brian Francis) about a young gay Canadian boy in the burbs. I can relate to the cross-dressing but not the rest of it (i was never attracted to a male teacher/or any adult male ever as a kid, eww). fun sense of the early 80's though from the writer, as well as the retarded things that kids do thinking they are oh so smart, when.....
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on August 26, 2009, 03:26:18 PM
Quote from: ulmont on August 26, 2009, 09:38:27 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.

You are speaking in code I cannot decode.

The developing tendency to slow down the advancement of plot and focus on the daily minutia of an increasing number of viewpoint characters.  Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the classic example:  the first book covers something like a year of time, the last like a day.
The last book covered at least a month of time.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on August 26, 2009, 03:33:49 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 26, 2009, 03:26:18 PM
Quote from: ulmont on August 26, 2009, 09:38:27 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.

You are speaking in code I cannot decode.

The developing tendency to slow down the advancement of plot and focus on the daily minutia of an increasing number of viewpoint characters.  Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the classic example:  the first book covers something like a year of time, the last like a day.
The last book covered at least a month of time.

So you claim. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on August 26, 2009, 03:42:37 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 24, 2009, 11:17:18 PM


Any good recommendations for books on the Korean War?

Toland's In Mortal Combat 1950-53 - Is Okay.

This kind of War Fehrenbach -Is Better.

Both should be extremely cheap used.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on September 02, 2009, 08:00:06 PM
Finished reading The Terror by Dan Simmons. 

It was very different. A horror/thriller fiction based on the 1845 Franklin Expedition in the Arctic Circle, which ended up in the deaths of both crews of the Terror and Erebus.

It reads like a good historical novel, well detailed and all that, and often you think you're reading an adventure book, based on the actual events. Except you have this nasty huge monster under the ice killing everyone one by one.

But mostly, you have chapters of men, struggling to survive on the ice under incredibly harsh conditions. Except for the rather metaphysical ending, I thought this book, all 950 pages, was really good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on September 04, 2009, 09:01:40 PM
Fuck you G.R.R Martin, Jordan's kicking your ass from beyond the grave! :w00t: :w00t: :w00t: :w00t: :w00t: :w00t: :w00t:


http://www.dragonmount.com/News/
Quote# CHAPTER ONE of The Gathering Storm is NOW AVAILABLE for FREE on Tor.com. On September 4th at 9:30 PM (EST, GMT -5), you can go to Tor.com to get it. You will need to register with their site, but it is free to do so. Don't miss this opportunity to start reading the book TONIGHT. (And you thought you had plans on Friday night, huh?) Chapter 1 will remain on Tor.com through the end of October. An audio version is also available via the same link.

# The PROLOGUE to The Gathering Storm will be available as an eBook purchase beginning on September 17th. The price will be $2.99 and will be available from Amazon.com, BN.com, Tor.com, as well as other online vendors.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on September 04, 2009, 09:19:56 PM
I'm currently finishing up Ordered to Die, by Edward J. Erickson, which is a look into the Ottoman military during the Great War.

It is rather dry and not terribly well-written, but it is one of the few English-language works there are on the subject.  Despite the flaws, I do enjoy the plethora of statistics and insight into the Ottoman staff's planning (there was rather little, and it was schizophrenic) as well as the force dispositions and OOBs that dominate the book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on September 07, 2009, 02:23:09 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 26, 2009, 03:26:18 PM
Quote from: ulmont on August 26, 2009, 09:38:27 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.

You are speaking in code I cannot decode.

The developing tendency to slow down the advancement of plot and focus on the daily minutia of an increasing number of viewpoint characters.  Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the classic example:  the first book covers something like a year of time, the last like a day.
The last book covered at least a month of time.
It may have taken a month to read....
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on September 07, 2009, 02:27:33 AM
Finishing:
The Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pursuit-Glory-Europe-1648-1815/dp/014016667X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1251313004&sr=8-1) by Tim Blanning.

Wonderful book, looking at all aspects of life during the period, from culture, to commerce, to communication, to court policies, to enlightenment and superstition to warfare and sex and gender. It's a massively interesting book about this period, without too much bias or focus on select countries, and with an extensive list of dozens of books as suggested reading between war, gender, national histories etc.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on September 07, 2009, 05:00:26 AM
Fiasco, a book about Iraq II & occupation written by a dude who apparently knows every single officer in the US Army.    He's not a very good writer; he strings together quote after quote from this or that unnamed colonel well-versed in Middle East affairs than slaps on a conclusion that doesn't follow.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on September 07, 2009, 09:12:07 AM
Quote from: Scipio on September 07, 2009, 02:23:09 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on August 26, 2009, 03:26:18 PM
Quote from: ulmont on August 26, 2009, 09:38:27 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 26, 2009, 09:30:52 AM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:35:25 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on August 25, 2009, 01:11:54 PM
Quote from: Scipio on August 25, 2009, 06:18:36 AM
That will pass.

Why?
Contact Jordanitis.

You are speaking in code I cannot decode.

The developing tendency to slow down the advancement of plot and focus on the daily minutia of an increasing number of viewpoint characters.  Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is the classic example:  the first book covers something like a year of time, the last like a day.
The last book covered at least a month of time.
It may have taken a month to read....
It was all action, so no.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on September 08, 2009, 09:49:01 AM
I'm reading A Splended Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World by William Bernstein. Very entertaining so far, but more in the way of a string of anecdotes - none the worse for that.

He has a neat turn of phrase. On the incredible Portuguese over-extention in its attempt to monopolize the east india trade after Vasco De Gama and the Treaty of Tordesallis (sp?): 'Portugual was the dog who caught the car'.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on September 08, 2009, 10:19:45 PM
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, by Gordon Dahlquist.

Bugnutz crazy.  But awesome.  It's like a John Buchan/Rider-Haggard/Anthony Hope Pastiche, with completely insane HG Wellsian sci-fi in an alternate Britain.  Just awesome.

And the sequel I will probably end up starting tomorrow.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on October 08, 2009, 05:01:48 PM
Question re Perdido Street Station.

Bought it for the Kindle b/c the price was right.

But is it worth reading?  Figure some here must have read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on October 08, 2009, 05:10:26 PM
Just finished "Unseen Academicals" by Terry Pratchett. :lol:

His latest novel and whatever else the disease has done to him it has not yet dulled his ability to create a fine comic novel. Especially as I am certain it is his longest book to date.

I would recommend this book to any Languishite, regardless of their political stripe or cultural creed.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on October 08, 2009, 05:15:04 PM
How I Became a Famous Novelist, by Steve Hely.  Hilarious send up of lit fiction, he posits a character who does what many overbred English majors think about doing: crafting a stereotypical Robert James Waller novel and cashing in.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on October 08, 2009, 06:20:01 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on October 08, 2009, 05:01:48 PM
Question re Perdido Street Station.

Bought it for the Kindle b/c the price was right.

But is it worth reading?  Figure some here must have read.

It depends. If a guy having sex with an insect-faced women doesn't throw you off ... it is very heavy on the atmosphere (a sort of hallucinogenic medly of steampunk with Dickensian undertones); the plot goes every which way. Lots of interesting parts and ideas but sadly less than the sum of them. Of course I happen to like the rotting aesthetic of the city desribed, but if you don't, it isn't really worth reading - though in some circles it is considered a masterpiece. Peake covered similar ground in Gormenghast, but much better.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on October 08, 2009, 06:22:46 PM
What kind of insect?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on October 08, 2009, 07:20:17 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on October 08, 2009, 05:01:48 PM
Question re Perdido Street Station.

Bought it for the Kindle b/c the price was right.

But is it worth reading?  Figure some here must have read.

Yes, very much worth reading.  I'm a fan of all China Mieville's stuff.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on October 09, 2009, 09:38:18 AM
Thanks fellas.  It was a free download, so I figure I might as well give it a shot.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on October 09, 2009, 10:44:13 AM
Stieg Larsson's "Men who hate women" (original "Män som hatar kvinnor"). The Spanish translation is quite softer, 'Men who didn't love women'. I don't know which one is closer to the Swedish title, but "didn't love" doesn't quite express the level of hatred some characters in the book feel.

Larsson's books have had a tremendous success in all of Europe lately, and I wondered if that success was justified... My verdict is, mostly yes. Not only is the novel well written, it's quite refreshing to read a thriller in which characters do actually have an interesting inner life when 99% of them are so obviously written thinking in the potential movie adaptation that you can even guess the actors the author wanted in his/her dreams. Add to that good writing a veteran leftist journalist specialized in denouncing corrupt businessmen and a dark Gothic young girl living on the fringes of society, both skilled at research but not at looking for murderers, and a very liberated "Scandinavian" sexual life, and success was a given.

Weak points? Well, it's a novel with a feminist thesis to defend and makes no secret of it. If you remember that [very minor spoiler ahead] you will guess who's the murderer roughly 30% into the book, mainly because there is a clear lack of suitable alternatives... that's the reason I called it a thriller and not a detective novel; if you expect to find a whodunit, this novel on the surface seems to be one, but actually is not. Hitchcock could have made a great movie in which we knew who the murderer was but the protagonist pair didn't.

Recommended, but remember this one doesn't include old vicars with cats living in Surrey. The cast includes lesbians, homos, nazis, free love and at least one very civilized menage a trois. In short, it's 100% old Yuropean.       
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on October 09, 2009, 01:23:16 PM
Just Finished Dylan's "Chronicles" Vol. 1. Fun light read that has reignited my interest slightly in his music, and some others he talks of in the book. Currently reading "The Man Game" which is written by a local dude... takes place mostly after the great Vancouver Fire of 1886. Sort of a Fight Club in Deadwood as done by Thomas Pynchon, it seems so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 18, 2009, 05:15:06 AM
Alright the fad is getting dull:

After Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Sense & Sensibility & Seamonsters comes:

Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/144470026X/ref=pe_3431_17153481_snp_dp)

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fecx.images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F51BpCxrpvlL._SL500_AA240_.jpg&hash=1f89572083df5d317358d498cc64ced682f48d04)

QuoteThere were many staff at Kensington Palace, fulfilling many roles; a man who was employed to catch rats, another whose job it was to sweep the chimneys. That there was someone expected to hunt Demons did not shock the new Queen; that it was to be her was something of a surprise.

London, 1838. Queen Victoria is crowned; she receives the orb, the sceptre, and an arsenal of blood-stained weaponry. Because if Britain is about to become the greatest power of the age, there s the small matter of the demons to take care of first...

But rather than dreaming of demon hunting, it is her love for Prince Albert that occupies her thoughts. Can she dedicate her life to saving her country when her heart belongs elsewhere?

With lashings of glistening entrails, decapitations, and foul demons, this masterly new portrait will give a fresh understanding of a remarkable woman, a legendary monarch, and quite possibly the best Demon Hunter the world has ever seen . . .

A E Moorat weaves a seamlessly lurid tapestry of royal biography, gothic horror and fist-gnawing comedy as he lifts the veil on what really took place on the dark and cobbled streets of 19th-century England.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on October 18, 2009, 05:53:02 PM
Finishing off Saul David's book on the Zulu War of 1879; the part where he points out many of the discrepancies between the film Zulu and the actual people at Rorkes Drift is particularly interesting. And I hadn't read a proper account of the attempted scapegoating of Durnford before, so I am surfeited with new knowledge of absolutely no use to me given the Yi Rule.

I am honestly surprised, given my interests, that I have not read more about the War previously. Isandhlwana, Rorkes Drift and Ulundi were not the only interesting parts of the War, as I have now discovered.

I'd recommend the book even to those not interested in history.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 01:33:50 AM
I've read alot of Ringo's other more traditional action/scifi series before, but wow, I can't imagine what reading this must be like.

It's like Cdm & Siege dropped acid and cowrote a book together, with Hansmiester as their political consultant.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 22, 2009, 01:57:26 AM
Pciked up yesterday: "The book without name" by Anonymous.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 02:06:09 AM
That fucking hurt me.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 05:48:10 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 01:33:50 AM
I've read alot of Ringo's other more traditional action/scifi series before, but wow, I can't imagine what reading this must be like.

It's like Cdm & Siege dropped acid and cowrote a book together, with Hansmiester as their political consultant.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html

Man I had nightmares over that last night.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 06:25:14 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 05:48:10 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 01:33:50 AM
I've read alot of Ringo's other more traditional action/scifi series before, but wow, I can't imagine what reading this must be like.

It's like Cdm & Siege dropped acid and cowrote a book together, with Hansmiester as their political consultant.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html

Man I had nightmares over that last night.
Really? While the subject matter was disturbing, I thought the review was quite amusing.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 06:30:35 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 06:25:14 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 05:48:10 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 01:33:50 AM
I've read alot of Ringo's other more traditional action/scifi series before, but wow, I can't imagine what reading this must be like.

It's like Cdm & Siege dropped acid and cowrote a book together, with Hansmiester as their political consultant.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html

Man I had nightmares over that last night.
Really? While the subject matter was disturbing, I thought the review was quite amusing.

The prose actually gave me nightmares.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 09:09:15 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 06:30:35 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 06:25:14 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on October 22, 2009, 05:48:10 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 01:33:50 AM
I've read alot of Ringo's other more traditional action/scifi series before, but wow, I can't imagine what reading this must be like.

It's like Cdm & Siege dropped acid and cowrote a book together, with Hansmiester as their political consultant.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html

Man I had nightmares over that last night.
Really? While the subject matter was disturbing, I thought the review was quite amusing.

The prose actually gave me nightmares.
What kind of nightmares?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on October 23, 2009, 07:35:51 AM
He was the last person on earth and the only thing to read was Baen books.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on October 24, 2009, 11:15:51 AM
I picked up zombie Robert Jordan's latest book as a gift for a friend. I'll read it out of duty, I started this in high school 16 years ago. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on October 24, 2009, 03:46:30 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on October 22, 2009, 01:33:50 AM
I've read alot of Ringo's other more traditional action/scifi series before, but wow, I can't imagine what reading this must be like.

It's like Cdm & Siege dropped acid and cowrote a book together, with Hansmiester as their political consultant.

http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html
:lmfao:

I can't stop laughing.  OH JOHN RINGO NO!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on October 24, 2009, 08:01:01 PM
Wait.

The guy sets up his own little princely state in the Caucasus based upon the descendants of the Varangians where he fucks a harem of young women/girls every night, and you compare him to CDM?!

I am insulted.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on October 24, 2009, 11:45:45 PM
I checkd out Ghost ont he Baen website.  In the good old days of action thrillers the bad guys would have some plot to destroy the world or blow up the Washington Monument.

You know, something Evil.

In Ghost the cartoonish terrorists kidnap a bunch of American chicks to rape.  That's how this cabal including Syria, Libya, et al plan to strike out against the West. Kidnap some random kids and rape them. 

His bad guys actually thought they were really hardcore, like they were gonna blow up the motherfucking White House.  It was just so banal.

And a lot of it was the protagonists ruminations on how he has a Dark Side that he constantly has to keep in check.  The whoel thing would work better as one of those lame ass vampire novels.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pat on October 25, 2009, 12:18:20 AM
Been busy reading Swedish constitutional law, but also found time to acquaint myself with the authorship of Houellebecq, who is just brilliant, though he does have a tendency to write the same novel over and over.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 25, 2009, 01:13:48 AM
Quote from: Syt on October 22, 2009, 01:57:26 AM
Pciked up yesterday: "The book without name" by Anonymous.

1/3 through the book and enjoying it a fair bit. Decidedly pulp, set in fictional "Santa Mondega" which is kinda the Mos Eisley of the U.S. (You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.). A mysterious magic blue stone is chased by assassins, monks, a government agent specialized in the supernatural, a bar owner, bounty hunters and the local crime lord. Over the top gruesome murders ensue. Funny, fast paced, and full of your Tarantino/Rodriguez movie clichés.

Decidedly NOT high literature.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on October 25, 2009, 11:36:30 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on October 24, 2009, 08:01:01 PM
Wait.

The guy sets up his own little princely state in the Caucasus based upon the descendants of the Varangians where he fucks a harem of young women/girls every night, and you compare him to CDM?!

I am insulted.
I said it was like something they'd write.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Berkut on October 27, 2009, 02:12:57 PM
I just finished up Shattered Sword.

It jumped to the top of my list of military history. Outstanding.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on October 28, 2009, 01:17:48 PM
Just picked up two books. To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, by Arthur Herman (author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World--dont' know if that's a recommendation or not).  And From Babel to Dragoman, by Bernard Lewis.  A collection of essays/lectures on the Middle East.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on October 28, 2009, 01:21:56 PM
Hey Sty, what did you think of Europe's Tragedy?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on October 28, 2009, 01:35:34 PM
Some interesting nuggets already from the first.

The Spanish called John Hawkins Juan Aquines.  When Juan's fleet descended on San Juan de Ulloa the Spanish garrison yelled "the Lutherans are here" and ran away.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on October 28, 2009, 02:30:21 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on October 28, 2009, 01:17:48 PM
Just picked up two books. To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World, by Arthur Herman (author of How the Scots Invented the Modern World--dont' know if that's a recommendation or not).  And From Babel to Dragoman, by Bernard Lewis.  A collection of essays/lectures on the Middle East.

To Rule the waves is pretty good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 29, 2009, 01:37:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on October 28, 2009, 01:21:56 PM
Hey Sty, what did you think of Europe's Tragedy?

Am I Sty? And do you mean the book about the Thirty Years War? :unsure:

If yes, then I must say I liked it. It is very detailed, starting by explaining the organisational structure of the HRE, the religious compromise of Augsburg from 16th century and how the conflict smouldered on from there. One of his main points is that while religion played a major part in the TYW, most of the time it was used as a means to further dynastic agendas (e.g. the Bavarian elector being keen on acquiring the Palatinate, France and the Scandies meddling to become power players in HRE politics etc.).

The book also covers to some depth the adjacent conflicts - Swedes in the Baltics, Transylvanian insurgents, the fight for the Spanish Road through Switzerland, and of course the Dutch struggle against the Habsburgs; plus the economic/financial intricacies of all the bargains.

A whole chapter is devoted to the development of military technology and doctrine during the era (close to the start, so it's not covered much later during the conflict itself). The military campaigns are recorded in sometimes tiresome and confusing detail, and who marches with how many troops for where to where. A detailed map is found at the front and back ends of the hardcover book, though (even if for some weird reason the Danish founded town of Glückstadt is presented on the North Sea coast instead of on the lower Elbe river).

I got the book for under 19 GBP in a promotion from Amazon.co.uk and consider it one of my best book buys this year or last.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on October 29, 2009, 02:36:39 AM
I'm intrigued, Syt. Does the book cover the dynastic game everyone played with bishoprics in the HRE?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 29, 2009, 02:43:01 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on October 29, 2009, 02:36:39 AM
I'm intrigued, Syt. Does the book cover the dynastic game everyone played with bishoprics in the HRE?

If you mean the ecclesiastic vs. secular heritages and bids for owner-/rulership then yes, it finds mention. As does the "brothers' dispute" in the house of Habsburg for succeding the throne.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on October 29, 2009, 07:23:22 PM
I thought this was fun.

The European words for orange come from the Persian narang.  But Arabs and Iranians call the orange the portugal.  That's because the narang is bitter, and the sweet orange was first brought to the Middle East from China by the Portuguese.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on October 29, 2009, 09:11:39 PM
started Zizek's "Violence" the other day. interesting stuff, though I have yet to figure out if he ever comes to any conclusions,though..... more metaphors, similes than a Tom Robbins book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on October 30, 2009, 12:19:11 AM
Reading Spy Wars, about Nosenko's "defection", written by his handler and taking advantage of the opened Soviet archives in the 1990s. It's a good book, especially for its coverage and insight into the operational approaches of the KGB, and the tales of various other spies and agents during the early Cold War, all tied into the Nosenko case.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on October 30, 2009, 12:28:27 AM
Currently finishing up Craig L. Symond's biography of Joe Johnston.  It's proving incredibly enlightening in both good and bad ways.  Specifically, it shows just how a talented general's pride and refusal to buckle from personal scruples can do untold harm when dealing with a man who, like Jefferson Davis, prefers to have nothing but sycophantic yes-men around in favor of those who are openly critical.

That and Hood's a giant dick.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 31, 2009, 01:26:39 PM
I'm delighted to find out there's a sequel to "The Book With No Name".

The first part is a pulp story about a town of crime, full of bounty hunters, crime lords and vampires, struggling to secure an ancient artifact in time for the solar eclipse. Caught in between are two martial arts monks, an assassin Elvis impersonator, a government detective for the supernatural, a young couple stealing stuff they shouldn't, a sleazy barkeeper named Sanchez and a woman without memory.

Faced paced, action filled with epic gun fights and fistycuffs, not very deep, this is a bit like a mix of From Dusk Till Dawn, True Romance, X-Files and Bruce Lee. It wouldn't work as a movie, I guess, but a comic in the veins of Preacher would be perfect.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on October 31, 2009, 01:36:45 PM
Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest.  Entertaining zombie-airship-steampunk American gold-rush novel set in Seattle in the 1870s.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on October 31, 2009, 01:41:29 PM
I have started on Roberto Bolaño's "2666". Not very far yet. Sections so far are short, with a sudden 4 or 5 page monster sentence in between. :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on November 01, 2009, 09:23:57 PM
Is anyone reading Malthus' Aunt's latest?  Was a huge fan of Oryx & Crake, though it freaked me the fuck out.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on November 01, 2009, 09:45:57 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on November 01, 2009, 09:23:57 PM
Is anyone reading Malthus' Aunt's latest?

With all due respect to Malthus,

fuck no.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on November 01, 2009, 09:49:22 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on November 01, 2009, 09:23:57 PM
Is anyone reading Malthus' Aunt's latest?

No. If I want to be emasculated, I'll get a girlfriend.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on November 05, 2009, 03:45:11 PM
Quote from: Syt on October 29, 2009, 01:37:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on October 28, 2009, 01:21:56 PM
Hey Sty, what did you think of Europe's Tragedy?

Am I Sty? And do you mean the book about the Thirty Years War? :unsure:

If yes, then I must say I liked it. It is very detailed, starting by explaining the organisational structure of the HRE, the religious compromise of Augsburg from 16th century and how the conflict smouldered on from there. One of his main points is that while religion played a major part in the TYW, most of the time it was used as a means to further dynastic agendas (e.g. the Bavarian elector being keen on acquiring the Palatinate, France and the Scandies meddling to become power players in HRE politics etc.).

The book also covers to some depth the adjacent conflicts - Swedes in the Baltics, Transylvanian insurgents, the fight for the Spanish Road through Switzerland, and of course the Dutch struggle against the Habsburgs; plus the economic/financial intricacies of all the bargains.

A whole chapter is devoted to the development of military technology and doctrine during the era (close to the start, so it's not covered much later during the conflict itself). The military campaigns are recorded in sometimes tiresome and confusing detail, and who marches with how many troops for where to where. A detailed map is found at the front and back ends of the hardcover book, though (even if for some weird reason the Danish founded town of Glückstadt is presented on the North Sea coast instead of on the lower Elbe river).

I got the book for under 19 GBP in a promotion from Amazon.co.uk and consider it one of my best book buys this year or last.

Thanks - I'm reading it now and finding it a terrible slog - I want the Cole's Notes version I guess, because I simply can't keep all the figures straight - there is much (to me) meaningless detail. I guess it is good to know that "... Werth lead 3,700 men over the frozen Rhine to take Speyer on 2 February ...", but the analysis of the importance of this often gets lost in the mass of confusing detail. Mostly one gets the impression of armies acting much as swarms of locusts, wandering around Germany, occasionally fighting each other while trying and usually failing to get paid ...

Part of the problem is that there is a reason books on the 30 years war are uncommon in English - it is a confusing mess, laking in any sort of straightforward narrative. Though I do think the writer could have used a strict editor. Part of the problem I think is that this writer doesn't have the gift of making his narration sing. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on November 06, 2009, 01:53:26 AM
Among other things, I've been reading this AAR that Berkut linked to in the WitP thread. It's pretty enjoyable: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2238110&mpage=1&key=

And it appears to be ongoing still, though I'm only up to page 14. His format is pretty cool, cool enough to overlook the various spelling and grammatical errors.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on November 06, 2009, 02:02:20 AM
Quote from: Malthus on November 05, 2009, 03:45:11 PM
Quote from: Syt on October 29, 2009, 01:37:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on October 28, 2009, 01:21:56 PM
Hey Sty, what did you think of Europe's Tragedy?

Am I Sty? And do you mean the book about the Thirty Years War? :unsure:

If yes, then I must say I liked it. It is very detailed, starting by explaining the organisational structure of the HRE, the religious compromise of Augsburg from 16th century and how the conflict smouldered on from there. One of his main points is that while religion played a major part in the TYW, most of the time it was used as a means to further dynastic agendas (e.g. the Bavarian elector being keen on acquiring the Palatinate, France and the Scandies meddling to become power players in HRE politics etc.).

The book also covers to some depth the adjacent conflicts - Swedes in the Baltics, Transylvanian insurgents, the fight for the Spanish Road through Switzerland, and of course the Dutch struggle against the Habsburgs; plus the economic/financial intricacies of all the bargains.

A whole chapter is devoted to the development of military technology and doctrine during the era (close to the start, so it's not covered much later during the conflict itself). The military campaigns are recorded in sometimes tiresome and confusing detail, and who marches with how many troops for where to where. A detailed map is found at the front and back ends of the hardcover book, though (even if for some weird reason the Danish founded town of Glückstadt is presented on the North Sea coast instead of on the lower Elbe river).

I got the book for under 19 GBP in a promotion from Amazon.co.uk and consider it one of my best book buys this year or last.

Thanks - I'm reading it now and finding it a terrible slog - I want the Cole's Notes version I guess, because I simply can't keep all the figures straight - there is much (to me) meaningless detail. I guess it is good to know that "... Werth lead 3,700 men over the frozen Rhine to take Speyer on 2 February ...", but the analysis of the importance of this often gets lost in the mass of confusing detail. Mostly one gets the impression of armies acting much as swarms of locusts, wandering around Germany, occasionally fighting each other while trying and usually failing to get paid ...

Part of the problem is that there is a reason books on the 30 years war are uncommon in English - it is a confusing mess, laking in any sort of straightforward narrative. Though I do think the writer could have used a strict editor. Part of the problem I think is that this writer doesn't have the gift of making his narration sing.

I agree with the campaigns being confusing, especially as armies seem to "warp" at times. "Why is her moving from there? Wasn't he at X?"

Where the book does shine is when highlighting the politics (though the amount of Georgs, Michaels, Ferdinands and such can make those also rather confusing). I mostly breezed through the campaigns and cherished the political side (like the Brothers' Feud, Counter Reformation, etc.) and had a good time this way.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 09:26:20 AM
Quote from: Syt on November 06, 2009, 02:02:20 AM
I agree with the campaigns being confusing, especially as armies seem to "warp" at times. "Why is her moving from there? Wasn't he at X?"

Where the book does shine is when highlighting the politics (though the amount of Georgs, Michaels, Ferdinands and such can make those also rather confusing). I mostly breezed through the campaigns and cherished the political side (like the Brothers' Feud, Counter Reformation, etc.) and had a good time this way.

Yup, the political side was a real education. The straightforward war-of-religion impression is definitely long gone, he's very good at teasing out some of the more self-interested motivations. The problem for me is that I am still confused about how the Holy Roman Empire was supposed to work.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on November 06, 2009, 09:29:45 AM
Quote from: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 09:26:20 AM
The problem for me is that I am still confused about how the Holy Roman Empire was supposed to work.

I guess that this topic would fill another two tomes, most of it being petty legal bickering and infighting. So it might suit a lawyer. ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on November 06, 2009, 09:33:12 AM
This page may offer some help, though.
http://www.heraldica.org/topics/national/hre.htm
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 09:41:15 AM
Quote from: Syt on November 06, 2009, 09:29:45 AM
Quote from: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 09:26:20 AM
The problem for me is that I am still confused about how the Holy Roman Empire was supposed to work.

I guess that this topic would fill another two tomes, most of it being petty legal bickering and infighting. So it might suit a lawyer. ;)

:D

Either that, or gain an understanding of why yer average middle european seemingly preferred having their homelands ravaged by multiple starving mercenaries for decades to yet another round of legal wrangling.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on November 06, 2009, 10:21:45 AM
Quote from: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 09:26:20 AM
The problem for me is that I am still confused about how the Holy Roman Empire was supposed to work.

Why do you assume that it was supposed to work?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 10:46:53 AM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on November 06, 2009, 10:21:45 AM
Quote from: Malthus on November 06, 2009, 09:26:20 AM
The problem for me is that I am still confused about how the Holy Roman Empire was supposed to work.

Why do you assume that it was supposed to work?

I had a suspicion that someone would post something like this.  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on November 06, 2009, 02:06:56 PM
Been reading Beevor's D-Day battle of Normandy.  CdM would approve of the very critical look at the British army.  Apparently different fighting arms didn't like to support each other very much.  Infantry wouldn't help the engineers dig holes and engineers wouldn't pick up their rifles when people were shooting at them.  Also way to much tea drinking.   He has very high praise for the Canadians.  He made an interesting claim that 3% of the casualties suffered by the 115th infantry regiment were due to friendly fire from a Texas national guard unit who had a bad habit of shooting anything that moved.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on November 06, 2009, 02:07:52 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on November 06, 2009, 02:06:56 PM
Been reading Beevor's D-Day battle of Normandy.  CdM would approve of the very critical look at the British army.  Apparently different fighting arms didn't like to support each other very much.  Infantry wouldn't help the engineers dig holes and engineers wouldn't pick up their rifles when people were shooting at them.  Also way to much tea drinking.   He has very high praise for the Canadians.  He made an interesting claim that 3% of the casualties suffered by the 115th infantry regiment were due to friendly fire from a Texas national guard unit who had a bad habit of shooting anything that moved.

Monty is still outside of Caen awaiting developments.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on November 06, 2009, 04:31:00 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on November 06, 2009, 02:07:52 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on November 06, 2009, 02:06:56 PM
Been reading Beevor's D-Day battle of Normandy.  CdM would approve of the very critical look at the British army.  Apparently different fighting arms didn't like to support each other very much.  Infantry wouldn't help the engineers dig holes and engineers wouldn't pick up their rifles when people were shooting at them.  Also way to much tea drinking.   He has very high praise for the Canadians.  He made an interesting claim that 3% of the casualties suffered by the 115th infantry regiment were due to friendly fire from a Texas national guard unit who had a bad habit of shooting anything that moved.

Monty is still outside of Caen awaiting developments.
He's the Brits' greatest general since the Black Prince.  He'll have things sorted out just you wait.  Allowing the Jerries to march their entire army out of the Falaise gap was all part of the plan.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on November 06, 2009, 04:59:09 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on November 06, 2009, 04:31:00 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on November 06, 2009, 02:07:52 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on November 06, 2009, 02:06:56 PM
Been reading Beevor's D-Day battle of Normandy.  CdM would approve of the very critical look at the British army.  Apparently different fighting arms didn't like to support each other very much.  Infantry wouldn't help the engineers dig holes and engineers wouldn't pick up their rifles when people were shooting at them.  Also way to much tea drinking.   He has very high praise for the Canadians.  He made an interesting claim that 3% of the casualties suffered by the 115th infantry regiment were due to friendly fire from a Texas national guard unit who had a bad habit of shooting anything that moved.


Monty is still outside of Caen awaiting developments.
He's the Brits' greatest general since the Black Prince.  He'll have things sorted out just you wait.  Allowing the Jerries to march their entire army out of the Falaise gap was all part of the plan.

That Market Garden plan was sheer genius. XXX Corps attack along one narrow road? AWESOME.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on November 06, 2009, 05:29:26 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on November 06, 2009, 02:07:52 PM
Monty is still outside of Caen awaiting developments.
"Goodwood." lol
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on November 06, 2009, 05:40:48 PM
Beevor does point out that the "drop all the bombs all over the city of Caen" wasn't conductive with capturing it on the first day and speculates if Monty really did intend to capture it on the first day at all.  Or that first week.  Or that first month...
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on November 06, 2009, 08:36:45 PM
Looking for a book on Hinduism and the English Civil War and the Commonwealth.  Suggestions?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on November 06, 2009, 09:47:52 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on November 06, 2009, 08:36:45 PM
Looking for a book on Hinduism and the English Civil War and the Commonwealth.  Suggestions?

From my Stuart thread a bit ago.

Michael Braddick God's Fury, England's Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars

I like this one although I've not finished reading it. I think I like it because it is dense.

And then near the beginning of that thread, books were suggested from the Unhappy Charles game

http://languish.org/forums/index.php?topic=467


That's assuming though that you didn't mean a book about Hinduism and the English Civil War. :tinfoil:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on November 06, 2009, 10:29:21 PM
Charles I betrayed Shiva!  :mad:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on December 09, 2009, 12:43:20 PM
Just about finished the Game of Thrones series.


*mild spoiler alert*


I am liking the series but he is a bit too consistent in that fact that usually anything that can go wrong does (except for one notable character of course).  the story has become a bit too predictable in his attempts to provide an unpredicable outcome.  So for example there was a lot of lead up to Rob going back the Freys to apologize.  But the reader knows that it will not end well and as the event comes closer it becomes more and more obvious.

But that minor problem aside, if anyone hasnt yet read the series (I may be the only one left here) I do recommend it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on December 09, 2009, 01:21:41 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on December 09, 2009, 12:43:20 PM
if anyone hasnt yet read the series (I may be the only one left here) I do recommend it.

Don't do it!  There's no way George R. R. Martin is ever going to finish this series, so you're only setting yourself up for pain.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on December 09, 2009, 02:41:14 PM
I working on that 30 years war book that was discussed here a month or so ago.  It's pretty tough going.  I suspect the author is Catholic since everything seems to be the protestants fault.  But then, that might be true.  Personally I blame the reformation for Marxism.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on December 09, 2009, 02:47:07 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on December 09, 2009, 02:41:14 PM
I suspect the author is Catholic since everything seems to be the protestants fault.  But then, that might be true.

No protestants = no 30 year war.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: LaCroix on December 09, 2009, 02:48:45 PM
Quote from: ulmont on December 09, 2009, 01:21:41 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on December 09, 2009, 12:43:20 PM
if anyone hasnt yet read the series (I may be the only one left here) I do recommend it.

Don't do it!  There's no way George R. R. Martin is ever going to finish this series, so you're only setting yourself up for pain.
i don't see why not; he's young, fit, and healthy
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on December 09, 2009, 02:56:10 PM
Quote from: Lacroix on December 09, 2009, 02:48:45 PM
i don't see why not; he's young, fit, and healthy

He's 61 years old and fat.  The heart attack is imminent.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on December 09, 2009, 03:38:49 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on November 06, 2009, 08:36:45 PM
the English Civil War and the Commonwealth.  Suggestions?
Austin Woolrych's magnificent 'Britain in Revolution: 1625-1660' :mmm:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Britain-Revolution-1625-1660-Austin-Woolrych/dp/0199272689/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260390284&sr=8-1

I want this book at some point:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Noble-Revolt-Overthrow-Charles/dp/0753818787/ref=pd_sim_b_2
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on December 29, 2009, 12:31:01 PM
Just finished The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-century Miller:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheese-Worms-Cosmos-Sixteenth-century-Miller/dp/0801843871

Possibly the best history book I've ever read.  It's remarkable.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: MadImmortalMan on December 29, 2009, 12:33:08 PM
I just started reading Kitchen Confidential. He promises to piss off everyone in the celebrity chef/pop food community. We'll see.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on December 29, 2009, 02:09:19 PM
Quote from: MadImmortalMan on December 29, 2009, 12:33:08 PM
I just started reading Kitchen Confidential. He promises to piss off everyone in the celebrity chef/pop food community. We'll see.
I think his writing style's a bit over the top but Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook is very, very good :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on December 29, 2009, 03:25:22 PM
Started reading Game of Thrones. It's good so far. NSFW though.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 02, 2010, 12:32:49 AM
(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Farrtop.com%2Fphotos%2Fzeal.jpg&hash=2306ff68b773a57be1ca30a3d383a01bad327b35)

Currently reading that.  The British are some funny bastards when they go to war, especially when they don't get their way.  Choice quotes from one Major General James Pattison, about manpower issues and other such concerns :

On the lowering of standards (accepting Roman Catholics, younger and older, shorter and leaner, criminals, etc., into the Army) : "[H]ard times, indeed, and great must be the scarcity of men when the Royal Artillery is obliged to take such reptiles."

On the Irish : "[wish the Irish newcomers] again in the bogs from whence they sprang."

Lamenting over the newest batch of recruits : "[D]espair that only five of a recently arrived batch of 178 drafts and recruits had spared [me] the pain of looking at them by deserting or dying en route."

On the denied request for carbines for his troopers
(who were universally shorter than regulations called for) : "I will try how far the strength of these diminutive warriors is equal to carry muskets cut down."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on January 02, 2010, 07:49:56 PM
Reading Ondaatje's "Divisadreo". having a bit of a tough time getting into it. Moreso than any of his previous books. But I was more engaged in the last sitting. It may get better.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on January 04, 2010, 10:01:09 AM
Finished Game of Thrones and will start on Clash of Kings. The books are awesome. All these gallant knights and fluttering standards have me in a queer mood. I keep daydreaming about Ser Jaron coming up to me on his white charger and picking me up like so many extra pounds and riding off with me into the sunset.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josquius on January 06, 2010, 06:19:53 PM
I just read the Jumper book for some reason. Rather good despite being aimed at 16 year olds. The film really has very little to do with it.
I;m a bit dissapointed though that so many ideas I thought I'd come up with were written here 20years ago.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Drakken on January 06, 2010, 06:22:51 PM
(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.decitre.fr%2Fgi%2F67%2F9782213019567FS.gif&hash=4f76c65adb7fb58a66867fc68bc8edbad13fc1db)

Currently reading this 700-long book about the History of the Ottoman Empire, in French, bought on a whim at 80 $CAN. I've just reached the part about the fall of Constantinople. Pretty good read so far, and a nice introduction to the beginning of the Ottoman rise under Osman and Orkhan. Not a lot of historical analysis as of yet, though, although it takes its information both among Western and Oriental sources. A good introduction to the history of the Infidels until now.

As an aside, that siege is so deserving of a movie treatment one day, I'd even beg Ridley Scott to do it. I want to see Constantine XI hack through a rioting mob of Janissaries like it was Thermopyles all over again. :blush:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on January 06, 2010, 06:31:53 PM
Quote from: Drakken on January 06, 2010, 06:22:51 PM
As an aside, that siege is so deserving of a movie treatment one day, I'd even beg Ridley Scott to do it. I want to see Constantine XI hack through a rioting mob of Janissaries like it was Thermopyles all over again. :blush:

You need to read The Fall of Constantinople by Steven Runciman (title and spelling are from memory).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 06, 2010, 06:48:42 PM
Used up some Christmas gift cardage to buy "Little Known Wars of Great and Lasting Impact" by Alan Axelrod and 7 novels by Jane Austen.  The first looks a tiny bit cartoonish, more a collection of Strategy & Tactics articles than a book, but it does cover a lot of wars I know zilch about.  The 7 novels by Austen are in a fancy leather bound edition that clearly bombed during the Christmas season and the bookstore was dumping for $20.  Also put an order in for The Good Soldier Whatshisname.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 07, 2010, 01:24:27 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 06, 2010, 06:48:42 PM
Used up some Christmas gift cardage to buy "Little Known Wars of Great and Lasting Impact" by Alan Axelrod and 7 novels by Jane Austen.  The first looks a tiny bit cartoonish, more a collection of Strategy & Tactics articles than a book, but it does cover a lot of wars I know zilch about. 
Which wars does it cover?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 07, 2010, 03:44:57 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 07, 2010, 01:24:27 AM
Which wars does it cover?
I've already read through Queen Boudicca's revolt, the German peasant revolt of the 16th century, the Bar Kochba revolt, skipped the Genpei war (too confusing), currently reading about the Boyar's revolt.  Maybe 20 all told.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 07, 2010, 06:34:52 AM
While browsing yesterday I came across a new biography of Joe McCarthy (presumably a favorable one).  On the cover was a blurb from Ann Coulter: "the best book since the bible." :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Lettow77 on January 07, 2010, 08:46:33 AM
Russia, 1762-1825: military power, the state, and the people
and Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution

Dry stuff, and I fear the latter is written by a crypto-communist or at the very least someone soft on the reds, but its a subject I need to expand my knowledge of.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 07, 2010, 10:52:53 AM
Deadly Quicksilver Lies by Glen Cook. Rather mediocre Garrett mystery.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 07, 2010, 11:22:12 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 07, 2010, 10:52:53 AM
Deadly Quicksilver Lies by Glen Cook. Rather mediocre Garrett mystery.

Yeah, that series is played out.  I like his "Instrumentalities of the Night" recent series, though.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 07, 2010, 11:34:55 AM
Quote from: ulmont on January 07, 2010, 11:22:12 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 07, 2010, 10:52:53 AM
Deadly Quicksilver Lies by Glen Cook. Rather mediocre Garrett mystery.

Yeah, that series is played out.  I like his "Instrumentalities of the Night" recent series, though.

That is his one series I just can't get into.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Faeelin on January 07, 2010, 11:48:02 AM
Quote from: Lettow77 on January 07, 2010, 08:46:33 AM
and Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution

Dry stuff, and I fear the latter is written by a crypto-communist or at the very least someone soft on the reds, but its a subject I need to expand my knowledge of.

:lol:

The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on January 07, 2010, 03:33:33 PM
I finally ordered Brin's Uplift Trilogy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on January 10, 2010, 08:23:16 PM
India After Gandhi:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/India-After-Gandhi-History-Democracy/dp/0230016545
A very good book though difficult because so much of post-Independence Indian history is quite alien to me, so I kept on forgetting which person was which and which party was which and so on.  So it involved flicking back a fair few points to re-acquaint myself.  Though strongly recommended.

It's also whet my appetite.  Does anyone know if there's a good English language history of Indira Gandhi?  I don't really want a biography that focuses too much on her but a history of her within her time.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on January 11, 2010, 03:53:37 AM
Quote from: Faeelin on January 07, 2010, 11:48:02 AM
Quote from: Lettow77 on January 07, 2010, 08:46:33 AM
and Farm to Factory: A Reinterpretation of the Soviet Industrial Revolution

Dry stuff, and I fear the latter is written by a crypto-communist or at the very least someone soft on the reds, but its a subject I need to expand my knowledge of.

:lol:

The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy

I tried to slog through that one.  Man that's fucking dry.  You have so many people operating in a government that nobody actually understands how it works.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 11, 2010, 09:28:38 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 07, 2010, 10:52:53 AM
Deadly Quicksilver Lies by Glen Cook. Rather mediocre Garrett mystery.

Petty Pewter Gods by the same guy. Everybody's favorite internet octopus god gets mentioned.

A bit better than the last book in the series.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: syk on January 11, 2010, 10:45:45 AM
Read that first Witcher book. It was entertaining.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on January 11, 2010, 11:00:30 AM
Quote from: syk on January 11, 2010, 10:45:45 AM
Read that first Witcher book. It was entertaining.

Start reading this:
http://www.imagecomics.com/iconline.php?title=walking_dead_001&page=cover
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: syk on January 11, 2010, 11:04:43 AM
Quote from: Syt on January 11, 2010, 11:00:30 AM
Quote from: syk on January 11, 2010, 10:45:45 AM
Read that first Witcher book. It was entertaining.

Start reading this:
http://www.imagecomics.com/iconline.php?title=walking_dead_001&page=cover
I might do that. The reviews were good. But first I have the 2nd Witcher book and Frank Schätzing's "Der Schwarm" on my list.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on January 11, 2010, 01:39:45 PM
Haven't finished it, but I've been reading the newest Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Book.

It's interesting.  It's almost a 'greatest hits' book, since all kinds of characters from the past are making an appearance.  Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold for one.  Wowbanger the Infinitely Prolonged has become a major character (with a surprisingly good explanation on why he's trying to insult the entire universe).

But there was a fun scene where 'everyone's favourite octopus god' is nervously interviewing to be the new chief diety of a new human colony.   :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on January 11, 2010, 01:40:56 PM
Finished Ondaatje's "Divisadero". Well written but not as engaging as any of his earlier books that I've read.

Started John Scalzi's sequel to Old Man's War - "Ghost Brigades" also reading coffee table books I got used yesterday: "Pirates an Illustrated History" (bare bones stuff, not much new, but well presented, fun pictures, drawings.) and a pamphlet/magazine called "Raincoast Chronicles" that has interesting histories of local Native tribes and frontier living in the Vancouver region. Cool piece on local petroglyphs and others I haven't got to including Rum Running back in Prohibition era.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Lettow77 on January 11, 2010, 01:41:42 PM
 Farm to Factory: a new look at soviet industrialisation.

Part of my ongoing close scrutiny at Russia and Communism. The author I think may be slightly pink himself, but it is still enlightening.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 11:05:56 AM
Can anybody recommend a good book or two on the Russian Civil War?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: syk on January 12, 2010, 11:12:43 AM
Quote from: Barrister on January 11, 2010, 01:39:45 PM
Haven't finished it, but I've been reading the newest Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Book.

It's interesting.  It's almost a 'greatest hits' book, since all kinds of characters from the past are making an appearance.  Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold for one.  Wowbanger the Infinitely Prolonged has become a major character (with a surprisingly good explanation on why he's trying to insult the entire universe).

But there was a fun scene where 'everyone's favourite octopus god' is nervously interviewing to be the new chief diety of a new human colony.   :lol:
How does the writing style compare to Adams' original works?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 01:52:05 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 11:05:56 AM
Can anybody recommend a good book or two on the Russian Civil War?
Red Victory.  Forgot the author.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 02:08:10 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 01:52:05 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 11:05:56 AM
Can anybody recommend a good book or two on the Russian Civil War?
Red Victory.  Forgot the author.

W. Bruce Lincoln.  Will have to contact the library as it seems unavailable in Kindle edition.

...but it is at the library, it turns out.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:19:34 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 02:08:10 PM
W. Bruce Lincoln.  Will have to contact the library as it seems unavailable in Kindle edition.

...but it is at the library, it turns out.

That one won't actually tell you much about the RCW, I found.  I prefer Evan Mawdsley's work "The Russian Civil War" to it.  If you want something more fun to read, I suggest "The White Generals" by Richard Luckett.  It's older, but there's a lot more actual information since it documents the individuals rather than the entirety.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 06:21:19 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:19:34 PM
That one won't actually tell you much about the RCW, I found.
?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pat on January 12, 2010, 06:27:28 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 11:05:56 AM
Can anybody recommend a good book or two on the Russian Civil War?


I found this to be a very good read, though it's about Ungern-Sternberg in specific and not about the civil war in general:

http://www.amazon.com/Bloody-White-Baron-Extraordinary-Nobleman/dp/0465014488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263338622&sr=8-1
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 06:44:43 PM
Quote from: Pat on January 12, 2010, 06:27:28 PM
I found this to be a very good read, though it's about Ungern-Sternberg in specific and not about the civil war in general:

http://www.amazon.com/Bloody-White-Baron-Extraordinary-Nobleman/dp/0465014488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263338622&sr=8-1

Sweet, for Kindle.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 06:45:06 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:19:34 PM
That one won't actually tell you much about the RCW, I found.  I prefer Evan Mawdsley's work "The Russian Civil War" to it.  If you want something more fun to read, I suggest "The White Generals" by Richard Luckett.  It's older, but there's a lot more actual information since it documents the individuals rather than the entirety.

Thanks.  A shame more of these aren't available electronically.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on January 12, 2010, 06:48:02 PM
Quote from: syk on January 12, 2010, 11:12:43 AM
Quote from: Barrister on January 11, 2010, 01:39:45 PM
Haven't finished it, but I've been reading the newest Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Book.

It's interesting.  It's almost a 'greatest hits' book, since all kinds of characters from the past are making an appearance.  Zaphod Beeblebrox and the Heart of Gold for one.  Wowbanger the Infinitely Prolonged has become a major character (with a surprisingly good explanation on why he's trying to insult the entire universe).

But there was a fun scene where 'everyone's favourite octopus god' is nervously interviewing to be the new chief diety of a new human colony.   :lol:
How does the writing style compare to Adams' original works?

It's close.  I'm just not sure if it's merely copying.  As I said he's going over a lot of the same ground.  It's probably much closer in writing style to the first book or two, with numerous asides about what the Guide says about this subject or that.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:49:53 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 06:21:19 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:19:34 PM
That one won't actually tell you much about the RCW, I found.
?

As far as its self-proclaimed "A history of the Russian Civil War" subtitle goes, I found it to be, well, half the truth.  Half, specifically because it was primarily focused on the internal machinations of Lenin and the Bolsheviks along with a heaping helping of social and political information.  It was not at all a military history of the conflict and I recall reading very, very little about the White side of things in the tome except where the Reds gave their variegated opinions about the White movements.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 06:54:41 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:49:53 PM
As far as its self-proclaimed "A history of the Russian Civil War" subtitle goes, I found it to be, well, half the truth.  Half, specifically because it was primarily focused on the internal machinations of Lenin and the Bolsheviks along with a heaping helping of social and political information.  It was not at all a military history of the conflict and I recall reading very, very little about the White side of things in the tome except where the Reds gave their variegated opinions about the White movements.
That sounds *nothing* like the book I have in mind.  You sure we're talking about the same book?  Cover is a poster illustration of Red Guard?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 06:56:19 PM
(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fimages.amazon.com%2Fimages%2FP%2F0306809095.01._SX140_SY225_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg&hash=65dcf5abdb3cb208989cf7e8da79c1733b896eb6)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 12, 2010, 07:01:20 PM
44 cent used copy...ordered. If it sucks, I will jam its proletariat up somebody's ass.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 07:02:06 PM
OK, that's not it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 12, 2010, 07:03:25 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 12, 2010, 07:02:06 PM
OK, that's not it.

Yeah, the book's pretty shitty, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pedrito on January 13, 2010, 04:00:32 AM
Quote from: ulmont on January 12, 2010, 06:44:43 PM
Quote from: Pat on January 12, 2010, 06:27:28 PM
I found this to be a very good read, though it's about Ungern-Sternberg in specific and not about the civil war in general:

http://www.amazon.com/Bloody-White-Baron-Extraordinary-Nobleman/dp/0465014488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1263338622&sr=8-1

Sweet, for Kindle.
about Ungern-Sternberg, the Kindle edition of Ossendowski's Beasts, Men and Gods, of which I've read very good reviews, is only $5.74  :w00t:

L.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on January 13, 2010, 01:19:27 PM
Scalzi's Ghost Brigades is really really good, he finds ways to scald current pop culture in this future world, in very clever ways. Hard SF that's also LOL funny FTW!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on January 14, 2010, 01:51:28 AM
I'm rereading 'Instrument of War: The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War Vol. I' by Christopher Duffy. Impressive, as all Duffy's works. One of these days I'm going to buy 'By Force of Arms' (The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War, Vol II) in Amazon, since after one year waiting I despair of ever finding it in a bookshop.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on January 21, 2010, 05:38:14 PM
The rather enjoyable but not terribly good 'Can you forgive her?'  The start of Trollope's Palliser series.  I found 'The Warden' to be the weakest of the Barsetshire books so I'm looking forward to the rest of the novels.

Not immediately though.  I'm planning some long-overdue Katzanakis time and then I'm going to enjoy The Great Jews.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on January 21, 2010, 06:13:39 PM
Recently read:
Mantel's Wolf Hall and DeLillo's Underworld
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 06:46:51 PM
Currently reading Hitler's Empire: How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower. Very interesting information on Nazi mismanagement, and their future plans had they succeeded. How Hitler & Co. somehow never figured out that waging a war of racial extermination at the same time as one of unlimited territorial aggrandizement does. not. make. sense. (or, where shall we put the Poles, and where shall we conjur up another 100 million Germans?) 

The horrifying implications of Nazi logic are stated to be that the Jews were just the beginning of the Nazi ambitions for genocide; pretty clearly (according to the authour, who makes a good case), certain elements among the Nazis had the same fate in store for lots of other disfavoured nationalities, once the war was won.

As with everything Nazi, there seemed to have been no one clear plan; Hitler seemed to relish setting one faction off against another. Yet he was very consistent in one thing: all arrangements with others were to benefit 'Germans' only (though the question of just how exclusive a title "German" is seems to have been a matter of debate). Again, nationalist exclusivity makes a poor basis for imperial pretentions, particularly if one is obsessed with avoiding "race mixing". The logical outcome of holding these two notions (expansion and absolute exclusivity) simultaneously, is to invade everywhere and kill everyone not "German" or at least of an acceptably german-like ancestry as in western Europe ... which seems, within the confines of Europe, to have been more or less the long-range plan held by Hitler.     
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 21, 2010, 06:53:25 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 06:46:51 PM
The horrifying implications of Nazi logic are stated to be that the Jews were just the beginning of the Nazi ambitions for genocide; pretty clearly (according to the authour, who makes a good case), certain elements among the Nazis had the same fate in store for lots of other disfavoured nationalities, once the war was won.

I thought it was pretty well accepted that the Slavs were going to be next after the Jews?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 07:00:56 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 21, 2010, 06:53:25 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 06:46:51 PM
The horrifying implications of Nazi logic are stated to be that the Jews were just the beginning of the Nazi ambitions for genocide; pretty clearly (according to the authour, who makes a good case), certain elements among the Nazis had the same fate in store for lots of other disfavoured nationalities, once the war was won.

I thought it was pretty well accepted that the Slavs were going to be next after the Jews?

I don't think there was really any one plan. Different factions of the Nazi hierarchy had different, often mutually contradictory, plans. Many wanted to run basically feudal estates with slavic serfs, carefully "culled" like spartan helots to ensure ignorance and docility. Others thought that this would inevitably lead to "race mixing" and wanted to essentially "deport" the slavs en mass (using exactly the same terms previously used for the Jews - 'deportation' being pretty clearly a euphemism for mass executions). The lands the slavs lived on would then be settled by German farmer-soldiers.

Problem was, where were they going to get the Germans from?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 21, 2010, 07:17:10 PM
Hitler Triumphant by a bunch of people. Reads like somebody's wargame session. In other words, mostly gamey bullshit.

LOLZ, I DROP STUDENT ON BAKU! *rolls dice* DE! YOU LOSE YOUR OIL.

Cost: 2 bucks. May have overpaid.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on January 21, 2010, 11:51:37 PM
I really don't understand what the Germans had against Slavs though.  Were the Balts in the same boat?  The Slavic, Baltic and Germanic people have way more in common than they do differences, from a genetic, cultural or linguistic standpoint.  Heck, they even look a lot alike; Hitler could have easily passed for Czech (and iirc his name is of Czech or other West-Slavic origin), so could most of the German higher-ups. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on January 22, 2010, 12:31:14 AM
I just finished The Undercover Economist - it's a pretty good book that's a nice intro to economics. Recommended.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on January 22, 2010, 02:01:31 AM
Half way through Brin's Sundiver. They've just encountered the Solarians and watched an old Magnetovore give birth to little ones.

Good read so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on January 22, 2010, 09:56:56 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on January 21, 2010, 11:51:37 PM
I really don't understand what the Germans had against Slavs though.  Were the Balts in the same boat?  The Slavic, Baltic and Germanic people have way more in common than they do differences, from a genetic, cultural or linguistic standpoint.  Heck, they even look a lot alike; Hitler could have easily passed for Czech (and iirc his name is of Czech or other West-Slavic origin), so could most of the German higher-ups.

Why would you assume that Nazi racial theory would have any coherent scientific or anthropological basis?  Its all nonsense on stilts and a fool's errand to try to make sense of any it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 22, 2010, 10:10:41 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on January 21, 2010, 11:51:37 PM
I really don't understand what the Germans had against Slavs though.  Were the Balts in the same boat?  The Slavic, Baltic and Germanic people have way more in common than they do differences, from a genetic, cultural or linguistic standpoint.  Heck, they even look a lot alike; Hitler could have easily passed for Czech (and iirc his name is of Czech or other West-Slavic origin), so could most of the German higher-ups.

I don't think there has to be any "reason" to understand. The Nazis themselves, although the killed millions in pursuit of "scientific racism", had no better idea than anyone else what actually constituted a "German" in the first place, and for all their pseudo-scientific "race measurements" did not reach any agreement even among themselves as to whether being "German" was a matter of genetics, or culture, or alleigance, or what.

Indeed, the more one studies the Nazis, the more one sees that there was really no coherence at all in their plans or theories. In a really deep sense, they were nuts - not because they were so radically evil (though they were), but because that evil was exercised in pursuit of a set of plans that were arbitrary and self-contradictory in the extreme, and in the most basic of ways made no sense.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on January 22, 2010, 10:25:41 AM
I'm currently reading a really good book. It's an absurdist humour book, in the vein of Good Soldier Svejk. It's called City of  Thieves and takes place in Leningrad during the seige of 1941. Amidst all the starvation and death, two petty criminals (One, a deserter, the other a teenage boy who stayed out after curfew) are given a reprieve by the NKVD colonel. Instead of summary execution, they're given four days to find a dozen eggs, so the colonel's wife can bake a cake for her daughter's wedding.
It's really good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on January 22, 2010, 02:30:28 PM
Reading Procopius's History of the Wars.  It is the single most awesome book in the entire history of awesome.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 22, 2010, 03:03:02 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 22, 2010, 02:30:28 PM
Reading Procopius's History of the Wars.  It is the single most awesome book in the entire history of awesome.

I'd have thought you'd have preferred his Secret History.

For one, it's reminiscent of the doings of your beloved Detroit politicians.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on January 22, 2010, 03:15:54 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 22, 2010, 03:03:02 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 22, 2010, 02:30:28 PM
Reading Procopius's History of the Wars.  It is the single most awesome book in the entire history of awesome.

I'd have thought you'd have preferred his Secret History.

For one, it's reminiscent of the doings of your beloved Detroit politicians.  :D

That's next on the list.   :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on January 23, 2010, 04:38:02 AM
I got a question:

Can anyone recommend some good and reasonably modern Fantasy and/or Military SF? I am currently reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, one of the few things in these genres that I've read that's written after 1985.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on January 23, 2010, 08:01:56 AM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on January 21, 2010, 06:13:39 PM
DeLillo's Underworld
I really enjoyed that novel.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 01:28:53 PM
Picked up The Good Soldier Svejk and The Candy Bombers, about the Berlin airlift.  After which I ate A GODDAMN CHICKEN SANDWICH.

Fun fact from The Candy Bombers: in July 45 92% of infants born in Berlin hospitals did not live past 10 days.  Couple ways to parse that I suppose.  Infanticide by rape victims?  Only problem births took place in hospitals?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on January 23, 2010, 02:48:33 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 01:28:53 PM
Picked up The Good Soldier Svejk and The Candy Bombers, about the Berlin airlift.  After which I ate A GODDAMN CHICKEN SANDWICH.

Fun fact from The Candy Bombers: in July 45 92% of infants born in Berlin hospitals did not live past 10 days.  Couple ways to parse that I suppose.  Infanticide by rape victims?  Only problem births took place in hospitals?

I hate to tell you the truth, but the story about the Fuhrer ordering women to give birth in nine weeks is a myth. A baby born in July 45 was conceived in October 44...
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 03:09:01 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on January 23, 2010, 02:48:33 PM
I hate to tell you the truth, but the story about the Fuhrer ordering women to give birth in nine weeks is a myth. A baby born in July 45 was conceived in October 44...
THAT GODDAMN SANDWICH MADE ME A RETARD.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 23, 2010, 03:11:56 PM
The sandwich is a lie.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 03:35:34 PM
Another fun fact from Candy Bombers: UN says a working male needs 2,650 calories a day.  During the Great Depression Americans consumed an average of 3,260 calories a day.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 23, 2010, 03:41:09 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 03:35:34 PM
Another fun fact from Candy Bombers: UN says a working male needs 2,650 calories a day.  During the Great Depression Americans consumed an average of 3,260 calories a day.


Piggish americans.  :mad:

Another useless trivia bit. American Gedunk vessels could produce 5,000 gallons of ice cream an hour during WWII.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on January 23, 2010, 03:56:31 PM
Quote from: The Brain on January 23, 2010, 04:38:02 AM
I got a question:

Can anyone recommend some good and reasonably modern Fantasy and/or Military SF? I am currently reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, one of the few things in these genres that I've read that's written after 1985.

John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" and it's sequels. fast reading galaxy spanning SF with a touch more than a hint of SS Troopers era Heinlein.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on January 23, 2010, 04:44:40 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 03:35:34 PM
Another fun fact from Candy Bombers: UN says a working male needs 2,650 calories a day.  During the Great Depression Americans consumed an average of 3,260 calories a day.
During the war the ration for a man was around 3000 a day, I thought that was the UN recommendation too :mellow:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on January 23, 2010, 06:30:22 PM
The Magus.  I love it, but making very slow progress. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Cecil on January 23, 2010, 06:39:41 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on January 23, 2010, 04:44:40 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on January 23, 2010, 03:35:34 PM
Another fun fact from Candy Bombers: UN says a working male needs 2,650 calories a day.  During the Great Depression Americans consumed an average of 3,260 calories a day.
During the war the ration for a man was around 3000 a day, I thought that was the UN recommendation too :mellow:

During the depression and the war I think most ppl didnt spend all day long sitting on their fat asses. :lol:. Work is a lot more sedentary today.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on January 23, 2010, 06:49:49 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on January 23, 2010, 03:56:31 PM
Quote from: The Brain on January 23, 2010, 04:38:02 AM
I got a question:

Can anyone recommend some good and reasonably modern Fantasy and/or Military SF? I am currently reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, one of the few things in these genres that I've read that's written after 1985.

John Scalzi's "Old Man's War" and it's sequels. fast reading galaxy spanning SF with a touch more than a hint of SS Troopers era Heinlein.

ty will check it out
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 23, 2010, 07:25:49 PM
For Fantasy, the Joe Abercrombie books are pretty good. The blade itself is the first one.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 23, 2010, 11:03:00 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 07:00:56 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 21, 2010, 06:53:25 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 06:46:51 PM
The horrifying implications of Nazi logic are stated to be that the Jews were just the beginning of the Nazi ambitions for genocide; pretty clearly (according to the authour, who makes a good case), certain elements among the Nazis had the same fate in store for lots of other disfavoured nationalities, once the war was won.

I thought it was pretty well accepted that the Slavs were going to be next after the Jews?

I don't think there was really any one plan. Different factions of the Nazi hierarchy had different, often mutually contradictory, plans. Many wanted to run basically feudal estates with slavic serfs, carefully "culled" like spartan helots to ensure ignorance and docility. Others thought that this would inevitably lead to "race mixing" and wanted to essentially "deport" the slavs en mass (using exactly the same terms previously used for the Jews - 'deportation' being pretty clearly a euphemism for mass executions). The lands the slavs lived on would then be settled by German farmer-soldiers.

Problem was, where were they going to get the Germans from?

Wasn't the birth rate of Nazi Germany really high for a modern society, even for it's time?

After all the impression I had was they weren't going to kill the Slavs all at once. 30-50 million would be killed over the next 40 years. It would be rolling genocide followed by settlers.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 23, 2010, 11:05:57 PM
Quote from: The Brain on January 23, 2010, 04:38:02 AM
I got a question:

Can anyone recommend some good and reasonably modern Fantasy and/or Military SF? I am currently reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, one of the few things in these genres that I've read that's written after 1985.
Mistborn by Sanderson
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on January 24, 2010, 12:36:23 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 23, 2010, 11:03:00 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 07:00:56 PM
Quote from: ulmont on January 21, 2010, 06:53:25 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 21, 2010, 06:46:51 PM
The horrifying implications of Nazi logic are stated to be that the Jews were just the beginning of the Nazi ambitions for genocide; pretty clearly (according to the authour, who makes a good case), certain elements among the Nazis had the same fate in store for lots of other disfavoured nationalities, once the war was won.

I thought it was pretty well accepted that the Slavs were going to be next after the Jews?

I don't think there was really any one plan. Different factions of the Nazi hierarchy had different, often mutually contradictory, plans. Many wanted to run basically feudal estates with slavic serfs, carefully "culled" like spartan helots to ensure ignorance and docility. Others thought that this would inevitably lead to "race mixing" and wanted to essentially "deport" the slavs en mass (using exactly the same terms previously used for the Jews - 'deportation' being pretty clearly a euphemism for mass executions). The lands the slavs lived on would then be settled by German farmer-soldiers.

Problem was, where were they going to get the Germans from?

Wasn't the birth rate of Nazi Germany really high for a modern society, even for it's time?

After all the impression I had was they weren't going to kill the Slavs all at once. 30-50 million would be killed over the next 40 years. It would be rolling genocide followed by settlers.

Yeah, they gave medals out for mothers who had the most children and stuff.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 24, 2010, 11:47:40 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 23, 2010, 07:25:49 PM
For Fantasy, the Joe Abercrombie books are pretty good. The blade itself is the first one.

I second this; I actually prefer Abercrombie to Martin. For one, he finishes his series.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 24, 2010, 12:10:27 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 23, 2010, 11:03:00 PM
Wasn't the birth rate of Nazi Germany really high for a modern society, even for it's time?

After all the impression I had was they weren't going to kill the Slavs all at once. 30-50 million would be killed over the next 40 years. It would be rolling genocide followed by settlers.

That was one of the various plans mooted, certainly. It was not the only one, however. It competed with the notion of ruling estates filled with labouring helots, or even with forming puppet ethnic states ruled less directly by Nazis (the latter was never a favorite of the Nazi high-ups themselves; it was briefly discussed at the beginning of the Nazi conquest, some gestures were made in that direction during the war; but, never seriously entertained by Hitler or the SS, it basically fell out of favour when the Nazis appeared to be winning - only to be revived when they started to lose. Of course by that time, no-one took it seriously as anything more than providing cannon fodder). 

The fact remained that during the war itself, Germany faced serious labour shortages (and indeed much of the resistance to Nazi rule was stirred up by attempts to round up slave labour for use inside Germany itself).

The notion that a gigantic expanded German empire could be filled with ethnic Germans was always pure fantasy, even on a 40 year time-frame. Even before the war, Germany was dependant on low-cost immigrant labour for certain tasks (as a greatly shrunken Germany was after the war and indeed to this day - see the current controversy over immigrant labouring "turks" and "guest workers" etc.).

No amount of handing out metals for motherhood would change this. The ideal of German smallholders living on lands rendered free of non-Germans in an eastern empire stretching over all of what is now Poland, Ukraine and the Western half of Russia was never going to be realized in any sort of reality; and the more territory Germany took, the less likely it was. 

The fact remains that the war was begun on a wholly false premise - that the teeming masses of Germany needed "living space". In fact, no such teeming masses existed, let alone in sufficient numbers to fill eastern Europe. It was pure Nazi wishful thinking. The notion that the Nazis could forcibly breed enough Germans to artificially create the required 'masses' lacks credibilty, to say the least. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on January 24, 2010, 06:31:20 PM
I think "living space" means something a bit more complicated than that, though.  Germany is a small country, and when compared to the USSR and the USA it is naturally poor in resources.  I think part of what Hitler and the Nazis intended was not just (literally) playing Cowboys and Indians with the Slavs, but putting all of Russia's natural resources to use in German industry.  Interestingly, the Reich had something similar in mind after Brest-Litovsk; in some sense Hitler's policy was a radical interpretation of that. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on January 24, 2010, 06:36:35 PM
That said, I think a hostile conquest and settlement of all of European Russia/Ukraine/Belarus was always fantasy.  The land is alternatively swampy and heavily forested, and the people are already tough as shit.  Think Vietnam, only make it a dozen times larger. 

EDIT: This makes Germany's manpower problem all the more pressing; Germany would have lost a ton of men in the push to the Urals, the invasion of Britain and setting up some kind of Cold War with the US, as they never had the ability to mount an invasion with the remnants of the British Fleet and the American Fleet between North America and Europe.  They just would not have had the manpower to mount a constant war in the Urals or wherever they decided to stop in the invasion of Russia while simultaneously establishing colonies in Partisan-heavy areas.  Even if they did something crazy like institute polygamy or even allow German men to marry "Aryanized" Slavs, it would have been impossible. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josquius on January 24, 2010, 08:51:25 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on January 21, 2010, 11:51:37 PM
I really don't understand what the Germans had against Slavs though.  Were the Balts in the same boat?  The Slavic, Baltic and Germanic people have way more in common than they do differences, from a genetic, cultural or linguistic standpoint.  Heck, they even look a lot alike; Hitler could have easily passed for Czech (and iirc his name is of Czech or other West-Slavic origin), so could most of the German higher-ups. 
Wasn't the excuse that the slavs had stolen historic/rightful Germanic lands?
They're a pretty common sense anyway, what with Poland owning lands that were German just a decade or two back and them being all there is to the east.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 25, 2010, 09:45:13 AM
Quote from: Queequeg on January 24, 2010, 06:31:20 PM
I think "living space" means something a bit more complicated than that, though.  Germany is a small country, and when compared to the USSR and the USA it is naturally poor in resources.  I think part of what Hitler and the Nazis intended was not just (literally) playing Cowboys and Indians with the Slavs, but putting all of Russia's natural resources to use in German industry.  Interestingly, the Reich had something similar in mind after Brest-Litovsk; in some sense Hitler's policy was a radical interpretation of that.

Hitler certainly had a drive towards ecomonic autarky, but that was never his sole motivation. In point of fact, Hitler really *did* want to play cowboys and indians with the Slavs - quite literally; the fate of the Indians of North America was, allegedly, a common refrain with him. He took comfort in the fact that the Americans still saw themselves and were seen by others as the "good guys" even after slaughtering Indians to make way for their civilization. He thought that the Germans could (and should) pull the same trick with Slavs.

With Hitler, it was always a mistake to try to intertpret his utterances as not meaning literally what he said, because what he was saying was nuts. Many contemporaries made this mistake and in many cases, paid for it with their lives.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on January 26, 2010, 04:26:57 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 22, 2010, 03:15:54 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 22, 2010, 03:03:02 PM

I'd have thought you'd have preferred his Secret History.

For one, it's reminiscent of the doings of your beloved Detroit politicians.  :D

That's next on the list.   :)

Well that was entertaining, but it reminded more of The Weekly Midnight Star than The Detroit Free Press.  I hope the part about Theodora performing in shows in which geese ate grain off her nude body is true.

Next up:  Gildas's Ruin of Britain
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on January 26, 2010, 04:46:46 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 23, 2010, 11:03:00 PM
Wasn't the birth rate of Nazi Germany really high for a modern society, even for it's time?

Not at all.  Birth rates in Germany declined precipitously after WWI; the Nazi pro-natal programs stabilized the collapse, but that is about it.

Malthus is correct that the Nazi settlement policy was a triumph of wacky ideological excess over reality, and ended up being compromised when the exigencies of carrying out a globla war forced reality to the forefront.  Both the helot and the extermination models were considered, and the precedent of the American frontier did seem to have a strange impact on Hitler's mind.  Neither of those models was remotely feasible in any conceivable time frame, at all.

The truth was that Germany in the 30s was is some ways still a backward country, with over 1/4 of the population still working in argriculture, most smallholders using rudimentary techniques.  Germany had too many farmers, not too few; the problem in the agricultural sector was not so much a shortage of farmland as a lack of capital, knowhow, techology and technique among the vast bulk of smallholders.  But Nazi ideology glorified the "Volkisch" virtues of these simple peasant types and rather than pursue the logical policy -- encourage consolidation of plots, transitioning displaced smallholders to industry and encourage techical development in the agrarian sector - they concocted a fantasy scenario of pure race German farmers establishing communal "marks" deep in the Ukranian breadbasket, lording over a remnant of enserfed locals like neo-carolingian knights.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on January 27, 2010, 03:29:51 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 26, 2010, 04:26:57 PM

Well that was entertaining, but it reminded more of The Weekly Midnight Star than The Detroit Free Press.  I hope the part about Theodora performing in shows in which geese ate grain off her nude body is true.

Next up:  Gildas's Ruin of Britain

About what I expected from a dark ages sermon; though there were some intersting glimpses of (what were then) current events. 

Next up: The Kojiki.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on January 27, 2010, 07:55:14 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 27, 2010, 03:29:51 PM
Next up: The Kojiki.

I have the turn of the century translation available on Gutenberg.  The author translated all the smutty parts into Latin.  I should have studied Latin better since the text reads like "God and Goddess meet and then LATIN LATIN LATIN and the child was born.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 27, 2010, 08:22:55 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on January 26, 2010, 04:46:46 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 23, 2010, 11:03:00 PM
Wasn't the birth rate of Nazi Germany really high for a modern society, even for it's time?

Not at all.  Birth rates in Germany declined precipitously after WWI; the Nazi pro-natal programs stabilized the collapse, but that is about it.

If they had won though, wouldn't things have changed. With all those indoctrinated Hitler youth coming of age, wouldn't the child bearing population be willing to have more children.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on January 27, 2010, 08:58:38 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 27, 2010, 08:22:55 PM
If they had won though, wouldn't things have changed. With all those indoctrinated Hitler youth coming of age, wouldn't the child bearing population be willing to have more children.
That's hard to say without knowing more about a prospective postwar German economy.  Given that the German ideal seems to be to exterminate or enslave the population of Eastern Europe and replace them with German settlers, I'm not sure where the economic incentive to breed in large numbers would come from.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: barkdreg on January 28, 2010, 04:57:08 AM
Hitler's Empire. Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe
by Mark Mazower.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 05:05:20 AM
Quote from: Neil on January 27, 2010, 08:58:38 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 27, 2010, 08:22:55 PM
If they had won though, wouldn't things have changed. With all those indoctrinated Hitler youth coming of age, wouldn't the child bearing population be willing to have more children.
That's hard to say without knowing more about a prospective postwar German economy.  Given that the German ideal seems to be to exterminate or enslave the population of Eastern Europe and replace them with German settlers, I'm not sure where the economic incentive to breed in large numbers would come from.
Does there need to be a real economic incentive? As long as the Nazi's wacked out ideology says so and they successfully indoctrinate the people it will be done.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 09:01:12 AM
Reading the Red Victory by Lincoln. Enjoyable.

<----- My hero.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 28, 2010, 09:22:15 AM
Quote from: barkdreg on January 28, 2010, 04:57:08 AM
Hitler's Empire. Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe
by Mark Mazower.

Heh, we've been discussing that for the last couple of pages ...  :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 28, 2010, 09:30:27 AM
Slugging through The Candy Bombers.  It's not terribly well written and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

But I have learned what a flaming appeaser Henry Wallace was.  I had thought he was just sort of the slave of Big Labor type of New Deal Democrat.  Also interesting to see George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey showing up in the Wallace camp.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 10:01:14 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 09:01:12 AM
Reading the Red Victory by Lincoln. Enjoyable.

<----- My hero.
Sequel to Through War's Dark Passage?  I wasn't aware he had done another book.  Must get that one as well; the earlier ones are brilliant.

To Berk:  finally got around to Shattered Sword.  Got through all the planning discussions.  Interesting book, as you promised.  I am kinda surprised, though, that the authors are so far off in their knowledge of US strategy before the war, and the early operations of the US Navy in the Pacific.  They claim, for instance, that the US Asiatic Fleet was "destroyed."  Asiatic fleet lost 4 of 45 warships and 15 of 23 patrol and auxiliary ships.  That's not "destruction."

Their stuff on the Japanese, though, is gold.  There isn't a lot new on the information side if one has read H.P. Wilmott, but they have a lot more analysis than Wilmott had, and that is really what is more important.

Thanks for the steer.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 28, 2010, 10:06:54 AM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 10:01:14 AM
To Berk:  finally got around to Shattered Sword.  Got through all the planning discussions.  Interesting book, as you promised.  I am kinda surprised, though, that the authors are so far off in their knowledge of US strategy before the war, and the early operations of the US Navy in the Pacific.  They claim, for instance, that the US Asiatic Fleet was "destroyed."  Asiatic fleet lost 4 of 45 warships and 15 of 23 patrol and auxiliary ships.  That's not "destruction."

Their stuff on the Japanese, though, is gold.  There isn't a lot new on the information side if one has read H.P. Wilmott, but they have a lot more analysis than Wilmott had, and that is really what is more important.

Thanks for the steer.

I looked at Shattered Sword as well, found it a shade too advanced and technical for my level of knowledge. Maybe I'll give it another go.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 10:21:27 AM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 10:01:14 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 09:01:12 AM
Reading the Red Victory by Lincoln. Enjoyable.

<----- My hero.
Sequel to Through War's Dark Passage?  I wasn't aware he had done another book.  Must get that one as well; the earlier ones are brilliant.



I hadn't read the earlier books.  :Embarrass:

here is what Amazon sez:

QuoteThe final volume in a trilogy encompassing events preceding the tsar's fall ( In War's Dark Shadow, LJ 5/1/83), the Russian Revolution ( Passage Through Armageddon, LJ 9/15/86), and the civil war. Covering 1917-21, this weaves together military, political, and social history to describe the Bolshevik triumph over internal conflict to defeat the disparate White opposition and uncertain Allied forces which attacked from all sides. The strength of this and preceding volumes is Lincoln's ability to convert complex, confusing events into lively, compelling human drama, comprehensible to a wide readership. Lincoln employs a wealth of primary sources and contemporary scholarly research, but his survey is aimed at the general reader and beginning student. He succeeds quite well. More popular and expansive than Evan Mawdsley's The Russian Civil War (Allen & Unwin, 1987), this is recommended for general and undergraduate collections.

Plus, it is only 44 cents or so before shipping.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 28, 2010, 10:06:54 AM
I looked at Shattered Sword as well, found it a shade too advanced and technical for my level of knowledge. Maybe I'll give it another go.
You have to like to see how strategy is made, and how doctrine, tradition, and tactics implement strategy, to like the book.  The basic premise is that the key decisions made in the battle can only be understood if you understand something about the way the decision-makers thought about how they were supposed to be behaving under the circumstances.  Nagumo hates his job and knows it is over his head, but since the only other job he could take is a non-combat job, he would rather stay where he is and fail than transfer and be thought a coward.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job, but won't rock the boat to get his preferred commander because he barely got approval for the operation to begin with, and Nagumo has friends.  That kinda stuff.

Edit:  And it assumes that you know what a "deck cycle" is without getting an explanation, because you ain't getting one!  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 28, 2010, 06:36:43 PM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
Quote from: Malthus on January 28, 2010, 10:06:54 AM
I looked at Shattered Sword as well, found it a shade too advanced and technical for my level of knowledge. Maybe I'll give it another go.
You have to like to see how strategy is made, and how doctrine, tradition, and tactics implement strategy, to like the book.  The basic premise is that the key decisions made in the battle can only be understood if you understand something about the way the decision-makers thought about how they were supposed to be behaving under the circumstances.  Nagumo hates his job and knows it is over his head, but since the only other job he could take is a non-combat job, he would rather stay where he is and fail than transfer and be thought a coward.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job, but won't rock the boat to get his preferred commander because he barely got approval for the operation to begin with, and Nagumo has friends.  That kinda stuff.

Edit:  And it assumes that you know what a "deck cycle" is without getting an explanation, because you ain't getting one!  :lol:

I love all that strategic stuff, but things like in your edit dented my ability to understand it. It seemed to me at least to be written with someone with at least some professional-level knowledge of naval matters in mind.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 06:38:57 PM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job
Kurita is always the man for the job.

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.classicbattletech.com%2Fimages%2Fgallery%2FDraconis_Combine_Logo%40full.jpg&hash=c0b4e5e0bf6f9b0357bdcce5da58297c8daf6362)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 07:33:00 PM
(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jesseshunting.com%2Fimages%2Fface_palm_star_trek_picard.jpg&hash=0175931c45c6c235496bd47931b341186ff6992a)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 07:37:02 PM
Come on! That's fucking nerd gold right there.

After all House Kurita is directly descended from that Admiral.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 07:37:50 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 07:37:02 PM
Come on! That's fucking nerd gold right there.

After all House Kurita is directly descended from that Admiral.

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.toplessrobot.com%2Fpicard_finger.jpg&hash=4bdc53e5b9fc01b90d3f40579fdb0e2ffd6c4b1d)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 07:38:39 PM
Your use of Star Trek images in response strips you of any anti-nerd credibility.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 28, 2010, 07:40:23 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 07:38:39 PM
Your use of Star Trek images in response strips you of any anti-nerd credibility.

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm3.static.flickr.com%2F2210%2F2511436220_985d6b2a6a.jpg&hash=99eac755fe15776042ed0d62797b69cc4d44630a)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Jacob on January 29, 2010, 12:01:24 AM
Quote from: Malthus on January 24, 2010, 11:47:40 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 23, 2010, 07:25:49 PM
For Fantasy, the Joe Abercrombie books are pretty good. The blade itself is the first one.

I second this; I actually prefer Abercrombie to Martin. For one, he finishes his series.  ;)

I enjoyed Abercrombie, but I felt let down by the ending of the series (the The Blade Itself one).  I'm not reading more of his stuff as a result.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on January 29, 2010, 12:27:08 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 07:38:39 PM
Your use of Star Trek images in response strips you of any anti-nerd credibility.

He didn't have any to begin with.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on January 29, 2010, 05:07:13 AM
I enjoyed Sundiver a fair bit. Started with Startide Rising now, though the concept of Dolphin led spaceships is a bit weird if fun. :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grey Fox on January 29, 2010, 08:26:32 AM
Battletech, eh.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on January 29, 2010, 09:04:19 AM
Quote from: Syt on January 29, 2010, 05:07:13 AM
I enjoyed Sundiver a fair bit. Started with Startide Rising now, though the concept of Dolphin led spaceships is a bit weird if fun. :lol:
The Uplift War books are a lot of fun.  The second trilogy takes much, much longer to get going, but is worth it in the end.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 29, 2010, 09:54:26 AM
Quote from: Jacob on January 29, 2010, 12:01:24 AM
Quote from: Malthus on January 24, 2010, 11:47:40 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 23, 2010, 07:25:49 PM
For Fantasy, the Joe Abercrombie books are pretty good. The blade itself is the first one.

I second this; I actually prefer Abercrombie to Martin. For one, he finishes his series.  ;)

I enjoyed Abercrombie, but I felt let down by the ending of the series (the The Blade Itself one).  I'm not reading more of his stuff as a result.

Really? I kind liked how he wrapped it all up.

I'm curious. What was so disappointing, as to preclude ever reading anything by him again? 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on January 29, 2010, 10:47:58 AM
Quote from: grumbler on January 29, 2010, 09:04:19 AM
Quote from: Syt on January 29, 2010, 05:07:13 AM
I enjoyed Sundiver a fair bit. Started with Startide Rising now, though the concept of Dolphin led spaceships is a bit weird if fun. :lol:
The Uplift War books are a lot of fun.  The second trilogy takes much, much longer to get going, but is worth it in the end.

Yes, enjoying it a fair bit so far. I'm in a bit of a space adventure/opera mood lately, with the arrival of ME2 and just finishing my third round in ME1 (first one on PC - picked the game originally on XBox, then for PC when it was down to 10 EUR).

The Uplift books and ME made me wonder, though, why there's often rather outlandish aliens or entities in sci-fi books while fantasy novels mostly seem to make do with the tried and true stock races from Tolkien, with some variations.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on January 29, 2010, 10:58:35 AM
Just finished "Confederate Emancipation" by Bruce Levine.  An interesting look at the evolution of plans to arm slaves, and how the CSA's political setup made the idea unthinkable until it was too late to do any good.
http://bit.ly/b5hJIy
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on January 29, 2010, 11:21:23 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 05:05:20 AM
Does there need to be a real economic incentive? As long as the Nazi's wacked out ideology says so and they successfully indoctrinate the people it will be done.
Yes.  In the end, economics will usually trump ideology.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on January 29, 2010, 11:29:42 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 06:38:57 PM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job
Kurita is always the man for the job.
Marik rules.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 01, 2010, 05:44:26 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 27, 2010, 07:55:14 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on January 27, 2010, 03:29:51 PM
Next up: The Kojiki.

I have the turn of the century translation available on Gutenberg.  The author translated all the smutty parts into Latin.  I should have studied Latin better since the text reads like "God and Goddess meet and then LATIN LATIN LATIN and the child was born.

And there was an awful lot of Latin in the book.  :perv:

Next up The Koran :osama:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 01, 2010, 06:21:33 PM
Anything good on the Sino-Japanese war in the 30's and 40's? Playing HoI3 as Japan makes me want to read on the subject.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on February 03, 2010, 09:37:15 AM
I read the first Time's Tapestry Book by Stephen Baxter.  It is fiction and set in Roman Britain.  Some sort of Prophecy that is later revealed to be a message from the future imploring this family to kill Constantine the Great before he makes Christianity the imperial cult.

I read The Big U by Neil Stephenson.  That was funny as hell.  Old book, recommend it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on February 03, 2010, 01:18:59 PM
About half way through the novel of "Let The Right One In" creepier and more disturbing than the movie. So far it seems like the movie is a good adaptation, in that they've (to paraphrase the great Dickie Dunn) "got the spirit of the thing". :thumbsup:!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:47:12 PM
Quote from: Neil on January 29, 2010, 11:29:42 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 06:38:57 PM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job
Kurita is always the man for the job.
Marik rules.
Davion!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 03, 2010, 07:48:28 PM
'The Utility of Force' by General Sir Rupert Smith.  Very interesting book, I'd recommend it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:49:06 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on February 03, 2010, 09:37:15 AM
I read the first Time's Tapestry Book by Stephen Baxter.  It is fiction and set in Roman Britain.  Some sort of Prophecy that is later revealed to be a message from the future imploring this family to kill Constantine the Great before he makes Christianity the imperial cult.

If a time traveler wanted to get rid of a religion, why wouldn't he go all the way back to the source. There are tens of millions of Christians at this point.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on February 03, 2010, 08:25:03 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:49:06 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on February 03, 2010, 09:37:15 AM
I read the first Time's Tapestry Book by Stephen Baxter.  It is fiction and set in Roman Britain.  Some sort of Prophecy that is later revealed to be a message from the future imploring this family to kill Constantine the Great before he makes Christianity the imperial cult.

If a time traveler wanted to get rid of a religion, why wouldn't he go all the way back to the source. There are tens of millions of Christians at this point.
Preventing Christianity from being turned into the tools of the State isn't the same as erasing it all together. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on February 03, 2010, 08:47:21 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:47:12 PM
Davion!

:x
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 04, 2010, 02:36:31 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 01, 2010, 05:44:26 PM

And there was an awful lot of Latin in the book.  :perv:

Next up The Koran :osama:

Now I want to blow up a bus of innocent schoolchildren :osama:

The version available on Gutenberg is from the beginning of the 20th century and the translator gives a very frank assessment of some of the Sutras in the explanatory notes.  My personal favorite is the one where Allah gives Mohammed permission to break his oath to one of his wives and thereby to keep his favorite concubine.

One interesting note that the translator made was that the 72 Houris are only found in the Sutras written when Mohammed had one wife (and I believe she was several years older than him.)  In the Sturas written when he had nine wives (plus numerous slaves) heaven is depicted as more like a Persian bath.

Next up:  The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Hui Neng
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 04, 2010, 05:17:36 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 04, 2010, 02:36:31 PM

Next up:  The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Hui Neng

Well that was short, sweet and to the void.   :mellow:

I learned that "Teh" is "Rightness of mind."  Berkut's posts have taken on a new profundity. :mellow:

Next up The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on February 04, 2010, 05:32:16 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on February 03, 2010, 08:47:21 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:47:12 PM
Davion!

:x

DAVION!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on February 04, 2010, 06:33:04 PM
Just started in on The Howard Zinn Reader, a collection of essays and articles.

Dude was pretty freakin pink.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 04, 2010, 06:44:49 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 04, 2010, 02:36:31 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 01, 2010, 05:44:26 PM

And there was an awful lot of Latin in the book.  :perv:

Next up The Koran :osama:

Now I want to blow up a bus of innocent schoolchildren :osama:

The version available on Gutenberg is from the beginning of the 20th century and the translator gives a very frank assessment of some of the Sutras in the explanatory notes.  My personal favorite is the one where Allah gives Mohammed permission to break his oath to one of his wives and thereby to keep his favorite concubine.

One interesting note that the translator made was that the 72 Houris are only found in the Sutras written when Mohammed had one wife (and I believe she was several years older than him.)  In the Sturas written when he had nine wives (plus numerous slaves) heaven is depicted as more like a Persian bath.
Why are they giants? :unsure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houri#Description
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on February 05, 2010, 12:14:32 AM
Sav, I think it's called Sura in the Koran, not Sutra or Stura. ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on February 05, 2010, 01:17:28 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:47:12 PM
Quote from: Neil on January 29, 2010, 11:29:42 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 06:38:57 PM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job
Kurita is always the man for the job.
Marik rules.
Davion!

:rolleyes:

It's all about House Steiner.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on February 05, 2010, 01:31:55 AM
Quote from: Barrister on February 05, 2010, 01:17:28 AM
It's all about House Steiner.

:contract:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Berkut on February 05, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
Has anyone read Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on February 05, 2010, 01:52:08 PM
Quote from: Berkut on February 05, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
Has anyone read Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy?
It is very entertaining. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on February 05, 2010, 01:55:31 PM
Quote from: Berkut on February 05, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
Has anyone read Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy?

Yup. I thought it was enjoyable, but very silly, space opera.

It's a fun read, just park your brain at the door a bit. Also, I thought the ending was weak.

Dunno if you want any spoilers, so I'll not say more.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on February 05, 2010, 01:58:36 PM
Quote from: Berkut on February 05, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
Has anyone read Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy?

I was entertained.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on February 05, 2010, 03:15:11 PM
Quote from: Berkut on February 05, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
Has anyone read Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy?

Yes, although the giant deus-ex-machina ending is both satisfying and unsatisfying at the same time. I read them when they were first published here in the UK, even buying the last volume in hardcover. I REALLY want the extras Joshua Calvert was loaded with... ;)

Have you read his earlier Greg Mandel books? They are also very good, whereas his more recent books seem to be "going off the boil" in my opinion.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on February 05, 2010, 03:38:27 PM
Quote from: Malthus on February 05, 2010, 01:55:31 PM
Quote from: Berkut on February 05, 2010, 01:27:22 PM
Has anyone read Peter Hamilton's The Nights Dawn trilogy?

Yup. I thought it was enjoyable, but very silly, space opera.

It's a fun read, just park your brain at the door a bit. Also, I thought the ending was weak.

Dunno if you want any spoilers, so I'll not say more.

This.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 06, 2010, 10:47:35 AM
The wonderful 'Woman in White'  I can't recommend it enough to anyone who, even slightly, likes a Victorian novel.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on February 06, 2010, 01:54:17 PM
Final Crisis.

What a pile of dog shit.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on February 06, 2010, 03:46:03 PM
I've read enough Howard Zinn now to figure out that he was an idiot.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on February 07, 2010, 10:34:32 PM
I'm looking for recommendations about:

-North Africa in World War II. Ideally, something that covers everything from the Italians getting their asses kicked in 1940, to the Italians getting their asses kicked in 1943.

-The Middle East/North Africa in World War I. Similarly, an overview would be ideal.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on February 08, 2010, 12:55:35 AM
Quote from: Kleves on February 07, 2010, 10:34:32 PM
-The Middle East/North Africa in World War I. Similarly, an overview would be ideal.

"North Africa" in World War I didn't see much of note.  There was, mainly, the Senussi uprisings and some minor Egyptian revolts along with the two attempts by the Turks to force the Suez Canal (one achieving very limited success, the other turning out to be a giant waste of time).

For the Middle East side of things, however, I can recommend Ordered to Die by Edward J. Erickson.  It's written from the Turkish point of view and most of the sources are Turkish archives that the author was allowed access to.  The writing is not exactly stellar, but it's one of the few English works on pretty much everything concerning the Turkish armies of the period and even contains a bit of enlightening (and disheartening) information about their involvement in the Balkan Wars.  It is, however, rather expensive to purchase, but a good university library should have a copy.

A more accessible, popular and affordable work with not quite as much of the nitty-gritty would be A Peace to End All Peace by David Fromkin.  It is not only about the war, but also its aftereffects in the region and the effects on today.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 12, 2010, 09:40:00 PM
Kazantzakis's 'Freedom and Death'.  An incredible book that is joyous and life-affirming and makes me wish I were Cretan and hope that somehow I sire a wife so that one day I can look out around my table and say 'greetings children and grand-children'.  This is really very, very good.

Currently reading the next Palliser novel, 'Phineas Finn'. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pat on February 13, 2010, 02:24:01 AM
Was prompted to read some Hobsbawm, as he was called a genuis by Sheilbh. I'm reading his book on nationalism parallell with Otto Bauer's "The Question of Nationalities and Social Democracy" (which I am forced to read in english as my german isn't good enough and there is no swedish translation).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on February 13, 2010, 03:54:46 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 12, 2010, 09:40:00 PM
Kazantzakis's 'Freedom and Death'.  An incredible book that is joyous and life-affirming and makes me wish I were Cretan and hope that somehow I sire a wife so that one day I can look out around my table and say 'greetings children and grand-children'.  This is really very, very good.

:)  The derivation of my Languish moniker, published in Greek as Καπετάν Μιχάλης, more or less Capetan Mihali.  Kazantzakis was a true philosopher and a fantastic writer, everything from Zorba to his brutal narratives of the Greek civil war.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 13, 2010, 04:31:41 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 12, 2010, 09:40:00 PM
makes me wish I were Cretan and hope that somehow I sire a wife

I thought you were from England, not Alabama?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on February 13, 2010, 06:46:11 AM
Everyone should read Night's Dawn.

Was Final Crisis finished?  Or did they decide to just let it die and go on to Blackest Night?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pedrito on February 15, 2010, 04:05:01 AM
I'm reading (and much enjoying) Daniel Keyes' The minds of Billy Milligan, an account on the life, trials and psychiatric treatment of this guy who committed several crimes, including three rapes, and was diagnosed with a stunning case of multiple personality disorder: from time to time, he was split between not two, not three, but ten different personalities, and during the treatment psychologists discovered other 14 personalities, for a grand total of 24 of them :huh:

A quick (and amusing, in a rather sad way) of the main 10 personalities:

Quote1. Billy Milligan (William Stanly Milligan) is the core personality.
2. Arthur is a extremely sophisticated and educated Englishman. He studies in the fields of science and medicine, with a focus on hematology. He speaks and reads arab. He controlled the spot during times that required intellectual thinking. Only one of the two who could classify a person as an undesirable.
3. Ragen Vadascovinich is the "keeper of hate". Ragen has a Slavic accent and can write and speak in Serbo-Croatian. He is an expert in munitions and also has extreme strength due to the fact that Arthur taught him how to control his adrenalin flow. Ragen has a soft spot for women and children, in general, and will not hesitate to assist one if they are in trouble. He controls the spot in dangerous times and is the second person to be able to label someone as undesirable.
4. Allen is a con man and a manipulator. He is the most common person to talk to the outside world. He plays the drums and paints portraits. Also the only person to be right-handed.
5. Tommy is the escape artist; he is often confused with Allen. He plays the tenor sax and is an electronics expert. He is also a painter, but he paints landscapes.
6. Danny is the scared person. He is afraid of people, especially men. He only paints still lifes, due to the fact that Chalmer made him dig his own grave and was then buried in it.
7. David who is only eight is the "keeper of pain". He comes to the spot to take the pain of the others.
8. Christene ,who is three, was the one who would go and stand in the corner in school when "Billy" would get in trouble. Arthur was able to teach her how to read and write but she was found to have dyslexia. Ragen has a special bond with her.
9. Christopher, Christene's brother, plays the harmonica.
10. Adalana, a lesbian, who actually wished Ragen off the spot during a mix up time, when she raped the Ohio University students. She cooks and cleans house for the others, and writes poetry.

L.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 15, 2010, 10:54:14 AM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 04, 2010, 05:17:36 PM
Next up The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft.

It was more The Philosophy of Peter Kreeft's as illustrated by JRR Tokien and CS Lewis, but still worthwhile.  Next up The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on February 15, 2010, 01:13:48 PM
Finished "Let the Right One In". great book. lending it to a co-worker today. started China Mielville's "King Rat"... lacking a George Segal, but still pretty entertaining thus far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on February 15, 2010, 01:57:21 PM
Finished John Irving's Last Night in Twisted River. Irving fans will love it. You will never look at an 8-inch skillet the same way again.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 15, 2010, 05:41:11 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 04, 2010, 06:44:49 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 04, 2010, 02:36:31 PM
One interesting note that the translator made was that the 72 Houris are only found in the Sutras written when Mohammed had one wife (and I believe she was several years older than him.)  In the Sutras written when he had nine wives (plus numerous slaves) heaven is depicted as more like a Persian bath.
Why are they giants? :unsure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houri#Description

I'm not sure, but I think there was a belief common in that period that mankind started out as taller but degenerated over time.  In City of God, for instance, Saint Augustine mentions the giant teeth (presumably from a mastadon) he has seen as evidence that there were giants in previous ages. Since in Islamic tradition humans will be recreated as they enter paradise, I would presume the scholars who believe that the Houri will be giants also believe that men will be recreated more perfectly, that is to say as giants themselves.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: AnchorClanker on February 15, 2010, 05:50:48 PM
Cuurently reading R.J.B. Bosworth's biography of Mussolini.  Good read, thus far.  I'm at 1921 now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 15, 2010, 06:11:22 PM
Quote from: AnchorClanker on February 15, 2010, 05:50:48 PM
Cuurently reading R.J.B. Bosworth's biography of Mussolini.  Good read, thus far.  I'm at 1921 now.

/Spoiler

He becomes dictator
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on February 15, 2010, 06:46:48 PM
Just finished the Magus in an epic 250 page cession.

Holy fuck.

Especially mind blowing as I'm in something of a similar situation with a girl, though I'm in Istanbul.  And am want for insanely rich, possibly Greek experimental psychologists.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on February 15, 2010, 07:19:06 PM
Quote from: AnchorClanker on February 15, 2010, 05:50:48 PM
Cuurently reading R.J.B. Bosworth's biography of Mussolini.  Good read, thus far.  I'm at 1921 now.

/spoiler. He gets hung upside down at the end.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 16, 2010, 04:31:46 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 15, 2010, 10:54:14 AM
Next up The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede.

It's an interesting account of the Dark Ages especially in Northumbria.  He dwells at length on how the poor, dumb Harps celebrate Easter on the wrong day and how their monks cut their hair wrong.  Fortunately they were saved from error in the eighth century and all has been peace and prosperity in Ireland since.   :)

Next up: Nennius's "History of the Britons" and "The Welsh Annales."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on February 16, 2010, 04:35:10 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on February 15, 2010, 06:46:48 PM
And am want for insanely rich, possibly Greek experimental psychologists.
I've seen this happen before; you study a foreign language and it crowds your first language out of your brain.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on February 16, 2010, 06:34:21 PM
Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus. Just started it a few days ago, but great so far. I should have been born two thousand years ago. :patton:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on February 17, 2010, 04:10:52 AM
Feel like the book deserves a real mention, as it is great.

THE MAGUS by John Fowles

Set in the early 1950s, Mr. Nicholas Urfe , a rakish, somewhat fashionable young Oxford graduate,  attempts to escape an increasingly serious relationship with a beautiful Australian stewardess, Amanda, by becoming a teacher on an obscure Greek island, Phraxos.  Urfe becomes acquainted with the Island's most colorful inhabitant, Maurice Conchis, a very wealthy man of unknown origin but supreme erudition and wit.  The majority of the plot details the various, increasingly bizarre tasks Conchis sets up for Urfe, including very Languish re-enactments and seemingly supernatural spectacles. 

Without wishing to spoil any of the plot, I can firmly say that this is the greatest novel I have read since Moby-Dick, which was a good two years ago.  Fowles somehow manages to predict almost all of what would soon be called Post-Modernism, and Fowles' fitfully brilliant prose and singularly intriguing characters make for an unforgettable read.  Can't but recommend it for all who seem interested. 

I'm now interested in reading something more on modern Greece.  Sheilbh, Mihail, what translation of Kazantzakis (I'm very sure that name has Turkish origins, interestingly) did you read?  I also think both of you would like The Magus a great deal.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pat on February 17, 2010, 04:26:20 AM
Finished Jascha Golowanjuks "My golden road from Samarkand", an autobiographical description of his escape over mountains and across deserts from the Bolsheviks during the Russian revolution. Great book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on February 17, 2010, 08:30:48 AM
Quote from: FunkMonk on February 16, 2010, 06:34:21 PM
Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus. Just started it a few days ago, but great so far. I should have been born two thousand years ago. :patton:

Good book. Good historian.

I'm expecting his latest work, on the fall of the Roman Empire, any day now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 17, 2010, 05:52:27 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 16, 2010, 04:31:46 PM

Next up: Nennius's "History of the Britons" and "The Welsh Annales."

History of the Britons doesn't really seem like a complete work; just a random collection of stories, personal anecdotes and family trees; like an unfocused Herodotus.  I learned that nearly all of the rulers of the individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms claimed Woden as an ancestor.  Both Nennius and the Annales mention King Arthur as a historical person.

Next up:  The Book of the Thousand and One Nights
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on February 17, 2010, 06:07:37 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 17, 2010, 05:52:27 PM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 16, 2010, 04:31:46 PM

Next up: Nennius's "History of the Britons" and "The Welsh Annales."

History of the Britons doesn't really seem like a complete work; just a random collection of stories, personal anecdotes and family trees; like an unfocused Herodotus.  I learned that nearly all of the rulers of the individual Anglo-Saxon kingdoms claimed Woden as an ancestor.  Both Nennius and the Annales mention King Arthur as a historical person.

Next up:  The Book of the Thousand and One Nights

According to the geneological chart I saw at the Tower of London, the current royal family of Britian still to this day claims Woden as its first ancestor.

Not sure how claiming descent from a pagan diety can be squared with being the head of a Christian denomination ... maybe they are covering all the bases just to make sure?  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on February 17, 2010, 07:54:44 PM
Re-reading 1984 and The Bell Jar.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 18, 2010, 08:54:45 AM
Quote from: Malthus on February 17, 2010, 06:07:37 PM

According to the geneological chart I saw at the Tower of London, the current royal family of Britian still to this day claims Woden as its first ancestor.

Not sure how claiming descent from a pagan diety can be squared with being the head of a Christian denomination ... maybe they are covering all the bases just to make sure?  :D

I've seen that too.  I believe the current royal family traces its ancestry back through the kings of Wessex so they probably use the same early geneology that Nennius uses.

It's surprising to see Nennius (who was a Christian monk) use that geneology since the common opinion of the time was that the pagan deities were actually devils.  Bede (who wrote at about the same time as Nennius) doesn't even bother calling them "Pagan gods" or anything similar; he simply calls them "Devils."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on February 18, 2010, 09:28:00 AM
Quote from: Savonarola on February 18, 2010, 08:54:45 AM
Quote from: Malthus on February 17, 2010, 06:07:37 PM

According to the geneological chart I saw at the Tower of London, the current royal family of Britian still to this day claims Woden as its first ancestor.

Not sure how claiming descent from a pagan diety can be squared with being the head of a Christian denomination ... maybe they are covering all the bases just to make sure?  :D

I've seen that too.  I believe the current royal family traces its ancestry back through the kings of Wessex so they probably use the same early geneology that Nennius uses.

It's surprising to see Nennius (who was a Christian monk) use that geneology since the common opinion of the time was that the pagan deities were actually devils.  Bede (who wrote at about the same time as Nennius) doesn't even bother calling them "Pagan gods" or anything similar; he simply calls them "Devils."

I believe what is at work is this: in modern-day anthropology, the transition from a 'chieftianship' to an 'early state' is charactaristically marked by the creation of an elevated chiefly caste which claims descent from the gods, and thus is made of finer stuff than ordinary humans. In Saxon culture, this would be the "Woden-born". In many societies, this sentiment is so useful to the ruling class that it lingers long, long after the transition is made and  even after the religion has evolved to reject the very gods that gave rise to it.

Echoes of this cas be seen in the Bible, where the "children of god" mate with mortal women to produce "heroes, mighty men of old".

Genesis 6:4:

QuoteThe Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The notion of God having children mating with mortals to make heroes is odd and alien to Judaism as it evolved, and has given rise to all sorts of tortured theological explainations, but from an anthropological POV it is really no different from the oddity of the head of the Anglican Church claiming ultimate descent from  Woden.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on February 21, 2010, 02:58:45 PM
Just finished Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, about the Battle off Samar during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  I was disappointed; the first book to focus on the surface actions off Samar had to be written by a guy who didn't know what he was talking about (and had annoying "favorite words" that he used whenever he could crowbar them into the text).  The book wasn't badly written, mind; it was just disappointingly written.  Not academic at all, the author accepts the claims of the survivors as to the hits and damage they inflicted without ever attempting to reconcile those claims with the Japanese after-action reports.  The author also has a love affair with the Samuel B Roberts (a DE that actually inflicted little damage) and downplays the efforts of the Johnston (which, to be fair, has probably been over-emphasized in previous works, because its skipper got The Medal, was A Character, and was full-blooded Cherokee to boot).

While most of the author's blunders (not caught be the unskilled editor) probably wouldn't bother the typical readers (things like Hornfischer's constant confusion between "round" and "shell" or his claim that the Gambier Bay was the first carrier ever sunk by surface gunfire), probably even the neophytes know that one doesn't weigh anchor when one arrives in port, and that the constant references to "Ziggy Sprague" (rather than just "Sprague" or maybe "Admiral Sprague") looks awful.  Probably some could guess that there is something wrong with the constant reference to the rating of "boilermaker!"

The book is good for the stories of the sailors involved (which is, to be sure, the focus and largest part of the book).  Only the painfully bad poetry of one of the officers mars that element of the book, and the author does a pretty good job of jumping from ship to ship and person to person while keeping it all straight in the reader's mind.  If yu take it as a compilation of personal recollections without an attempt to be historically accurate, it is a decent book.  Just don't finish the book and think you have reliably learned anything about the battle or the Navy per se, because Hornfischer himself doesn't understand either particularly well.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 26, 2010, 10:55:50 PM
Age of Innocence.  Never read any Wharton before, I'd always thought she was dour.  This book was actually rather funny.  But didn't really whet my appetite for more of her.

Back to Trollope - Phineas Finn HO!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on February 27, 2010, 12:39:05 AM
Started "The Winter King" not far into it yet, but I like the setup and the very different less cliched versions of characters so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on February 27, 2010, 12:48:25 AM
I just bought books by Hollinghurst and Edmund White. It shall be a gay weekend.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on February 28, 2010, 10:02:48 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on February 26, 2010, 10:55:50 PM
Age of Innocence.  Never read any Wharton before, I'd always thought she was dour.  This book was actually rather funny.  But didn't really whet my appetite for more of her.

The House of Mirth is also worthwhile.  It covers the largely the same theme (desire versus society) and is set in the same place and period.  The ending of the novel is a cheat and it features a Jewish caricature; but I think Wharton has a much better character in Lily Bart than she does in Newland Archer.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 28, 2010, 10:10:53 AM
I'm re-reading the Dread Empire books.  :)

I've got a stack of about 70 or so non-fiction history books I want to read, but have no energy to.  :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on March 01, 2010, 10:13:24 PM
I read through Hitler's Prisoners (http://www.amazon.com/Hitlers-Prisoners-Seven-Stories-Memories/dp/1574886002/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267498673&sr=8-1) in a week. It's an autobiographical tale about a man who served in the Wehrmacht during WWII and was then imprisoned for speaking negatively about the conditions at the front and about Goering. In prison, he and his cell mates relate their stories, telling about themselves and how they ended up in prison, making this book 7 biographies, really. It gives a good look at the lives of people in Germany during the 1920s-30s, and at how the Nazi government's policies and persectution affected the lives of ordinary Germans.

One of the biggest drawbacks to the book is that, unlike in a fictional novel, not everything is resolved at the end. He never learned the fates of 3 of his cellmates (though one was almost certainly executed), nor do you really learn much about one of the cellmates, beyond just a few hints at a very interesting story.

It's an excellent book, highly recommended.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on March 02, 2010, 01:58:05 AM
I'm reading "The Most Dangerous Enemy" Stephen Bungay's book on the Battle of Britain, translated into Spanish. I generally avoid translations, but I couldn't resist buying a book I was already interested in at just 9,95 euros.

Big Mistake.

The translator can't tell oil (lubricant) from fuel, thinks General Staff was a man, changes unit designations randomly (for example Fighter Command becomes 'Unidad de Cazas', i.e. Fighter Unit), doesn't know what a dispersal is... and that's just in the first 80 pages. The poor guy obviously hadn't got a clue about aircraft, engines and/or military matters.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on March 02, 2010, 02:05:32 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on March 02, 2010, 01:58:05 AM
I'm reading "The Most Dangerous Enemy" Stephen Bungay's book on the Battle of Britain, translated into Spanish. I generally avoid translations, but I couldn't resist buying a book I was already interested in at just 9,95 euros.

Big Mistake.

The translator can't tell oil (lubricant) from fuel, thinks General Staff was a man, changes unit designations randomly (for example Fighter Command becomes 'Unidad de Cazas', i.e. Fighter Unit), doesn't know what a dispersal is... and that's just in the first 80 pages. The poor guy obviously hadn't got a clue about aircraft, engines and/or military matters.

:lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on March 02, 2010, 08:38:50 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on March 02, 2010, 02:05:32 AM
Quote from: Alatriste on March 02, 2010, 01:58:05 AM
I'm reading "The Most Dangerous Enemy" Stephen Bungay's book on the Battle of Britain, translated into Spanish. I generally avoid translations, but I couldn't resist buying a book I was already interested in at just 9,95 euros.

Big Mistake.

The translator can't tell oil (lubricant) from fuel, thinks General Staff was a man, changes unit designations randomly (for example Fighter Command becomes 'Unidad de Cazas', i.e. Fighter Unit), doesn't know what a dispersal is... and that's just in the first 80 pages. The poor guy obviously hadn't got a clue about aircraft, engines and/or military matters.

:lol:

Hey, don't laugh ( ;) ) you haven't got to translate a paragraph on Bf190 and 110 slats and how they operated when it's painfully obvious he didn't have the slightest idea of what a slat is. I feel sorry for him, because it's evident he tried his best but this work should have gone to a specialist, someone versed at least in aeronautical terms and jargon, if not knowledgeable in military history.   
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on March 02, 2010, 08:39:56 AM
Just reread 1984 for the first time in about 20 years. Goes without saying that it's a great book but I found parts of the 1984 worls a bit difficult to swallow this time round. My biggest problem is the comparative freedom given to the Proles. What self-respecting uber-totalitarian givernment doesn't care what 85% of the population think?

Currently reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Fantatic book lampooning alternative therapies (vitamin pushers, hmoeopaths etc) and big pharma which should be required reading for all journalists, doctors and science teachers.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 04, 2010, 12:14:22 PM
Burned some of my xmas gift vouchers from the company on:

The Vietnam War (Mark Atwood Lawrence) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vietnam-War-Mark-Atwood-Lawrence/dp/0195314654/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267722653&sr=8-4) - been looking for a brief, readable overview of the conflict for some time

The Fall Of The West: The Death Of The Roman Superpower (Adrian Goldsworthy) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fall-West-Death-Roman-Superpower/dp/0753826925/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267722812&sr=1-1) - crumbling Empires are fun to read about
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on March 04, 2010, 06:05:45 PM
Quote from: Gups on March 02, 2010, 08:39:56 AM
Currently reading Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. Fantatic book lampooning alternative therapies (vitamin pushers, hmoeopaths etc) and big pharma which should be required reading for all journalists, doctors and science teachers.

Check out the Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. It's similar to that, and quite good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on March 04, 2010, 06:07:31 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 03, 2010, 07:47:12 PM
Quote from: Neil on January 29, 2010, 11:29:42 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 28, 2010, 06:38:57 PM
Quote from: grumbler on January 28, 2010, 05:42:51 PM
.  Yamamoto knows nagumo is over his head and that Kurita is the man for the job
Kurita is always the man for the job.
Marik rules.
Davion!
Oh god, you're one of those.  :glare:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on March 04, 2010, 06:11:40 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on February 13, 2010, 06:46:11 AM
Was Final Crisis finished?  Or did they decide to just let it die and go on to Blackest Night?
They sort of finished it.  Between Final Crisis and Marvel's Ultimatum, 2009 might have been the worst year for Events in the history of comics.  If Jeph Loeb were assassinated, I'd hold a celebration.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 05, 2010, 08:26:13 AM
I just finished a book callled Guerilla Pilot in Biafra (in Swedish with English summary). One of the participants tells the unlikely story of how Swedish count von Rosen led Swedish pilots in small Swedish sports planes in very successful attacks on the Nigerian army and air force during the Nigerian-Biafran war. Fascinating little piece of history.

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi13.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa299%2FSlayhem%2Fbiafra.jpg&hash=19b7ca11584c82b84e8c404fb841460fef947610)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 05, 2010, 01:08:42 PM
Also just ordered:
Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 05, 2010, 10:46:59 PM
I can't fucking wait!

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tor.com%2Fimages%2Fstories%2Fblogs%2F10_02%2FTheWayOfKings.png&hash=449dba0a1afa48c55a270431226c59549b0e21e5)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on March 07, 2010, 12:30:40 PM
The Safeguard of the Seas, N.A.M. Rodgers' first volume of his three volume history of the navy.  Very good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on March 07, 2010, 06:20:03 PM
I just started the first book of the Dresden Files series, Storm Front. It's pretty catching.

It's the first e-book I've bought while here in Korea. It's so nice paying only $6.50 for a fiction book rather than 18,000 Korean won.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 07, 2010, 07:09:21 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on March 07, 2010, 06:20:03 PM
I just started the first book of the Dresden Files series, Storm Front. It's pretty catching.

It's the first e-book I've bought while here in Korea. It's so nice paying only $6.50 for a fiction book rather than 18,000 Korean won.
What site did you buy that off of?

It's urban fantasy right?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on March 07, 2010, 07:51:37 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 07, 2010, 07:09:21 PM
It's urban fantasy right?

Black wizards? :tinfoil:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: vcarter706 on March 07, 2010, 07:55:47 PM
I read Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons" a little while back. Since then, it's been biographies of Stalin and books on the Russian Revolution. Hooray.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on March 07, 2010, 08:02:12 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on March 07, 2010, 07:09:21 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on March 07, 2010, 06:20:03 PM
I just started the first book of the Dresden Files series, Storm Front. It's pretty catching.

It's the first e-book I've bought while here in Korea. It's so nice paying only $6.50 for a fiction book rather than 18,000 Korean won.
What site did you buy that off of?

It's urban fantasy right?

Amazon.

And yep, urban fantasy, with a bit of a film noir feel. It's good fun so far. The author is obviously a fan of Raymond Chandler (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Ptitlepblp18h5), although in this case it was an abrupt appearance of a man with a sword, not a gun.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on March 09, 2010, 07:40:07 PM
Just purchased The Ethical Slut and Alison Weir's new bio of Anne Boleyn.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: MadImmortalMan on March 09, 2010, 07:45:00 PM
Now even the Federated Suns are tainted.  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on March 09, 2010, 10:01:23 PM
Quote from: Agelastus on February 17, 2010, 08:30:48 AM
Quote from: FunkMonk on February 16, 2010, 06:34:21 PM
Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus. Just started it a few days ago, but great so far. I should have been born two thousand years ago. :patton:

Good book. Good historian.

I'm expecting his latest work, on the fall of the Roman Empire, any day now.

I just picked that up.  :)

I am just finishing Hollands' Millenium.  I really like the period he covers but I was disappointed in his writing this time.  I am a huge fan of Rubicon and Persian Fire but this book doesnt have the same kind of gripping genius the other books had.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on March 09, 2010, 10:10:46 PM
Quote from: MadImmortalMan on March 09, 2010, 07:45:00 PM
Now even the Federated Suns are tainted.  :lol:
When did I reference them? :unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on March 20, 2010, 12:26:05 PM
Got the Everyman Library (:mmm:) Flashman collection (Flashman, Flash for Freedom! and Flashman in the Great Game).  I recently finished the first one and am half-way through the second.  Very funny.  I know grumbler's been a Flashman proselytiser for a while but I should have listened earlier.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on March 20, 2010, 12:42:49 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on March 09, 2010, 10:01:23 PM
I just picked that up.  :)

I am just finishing Hollands' Millenium.  I really like the period he covers but I was disappointed in his writing this time.  I am a huge fan of Rubicon and Persian Fire but this book doesnt have the same kind of gripping genius the other books had.

Millennium as a subject didn't grab my attention for some reason, so I didn't pick it up although I have in my collection both Rubicon and Persian Fire. It appears that this was a wise choice from your comments.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on March 20, 2010, 12:46:56 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on March 20, 2010, 12:26:05 PM
Got the Everyman Library (:mmm:) Flashman collection (Flashman, Flash for Freedom! and Flashman in the Great Game).  I recently finished the first one and am half-way through the second.  Very funny.  I know grumbler's been a Flashman proselytiser for a while but I should have listened earlier.

I've been reading the odd Flashman book the last few months.  Enjoyable.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on March 20, 2010, 12:51:45 PM
As for me, the books I have most enjoyed over the last year have been the "Shadows of the Apt" series by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

http://shadowsoftheapt.com/

Even for fantasy they require at least one unusually large suspension of disbelief, but they are fluently written, have likable characters, and possess a solid plotline. The world in the books also has an impressive sense of history about it, without the weight feeling too oppressive. The fifth book is out in the summer, and it will be picked up as rapidly as possible at that point.

I especially admired the way several important characters ended up at a key confrontation in the fourth book without it feeling too contrived, when at the end of the third book you would have felt it was the last place in the world they would be at that point in time.

I haven't recommended these before, have I? :unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on March 20, 2010, 12:54:27 PM
Quote from: Barrister on March 20, 2010, 12:46:56 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on March 20, 2010, 12:26:05 PM
Got the Everyman Library (:mmm:) Flashman collection (Flashman, Flash for Freedom! and Flashman in the Great Game).  I recently finished the first one and am half-way through the second.  Very funny.  I know grumbler's been a Flashman proselytiser for a while but I should have listened earlier.

I've been reading the odd Flashman book the last few months.  Enjoyable.

Flashman's one of the things Grumbler and I agree on. Everyone should read them. :yes:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 20, 2010, 12:55:03 PM
Almost through with The Bad Guys Won! A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, The Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best (http://www.amazon.com/Brawling-Bimbo-chasing-Championship-Baseball-Uniform/dp/0060507322).

Very entertaining book about an interesting cast of characters (many of them a'holes). :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on March 20, 2010, 12:59:10 PM
Quote from: Agelastus on March 20, 2010, 12:54:27 PM
Quote from: Barrister on March 20, 2010, 12:46:56 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on March 20, 2010, 12:26:05 PM
Got the Everyman Library (:mmm:) Flashman collection (Flashman, Flash for Freedom! and Flashman in the Great Game).  I recently finished the first one and am half-way through the second.  Very funny.  I know grumbler's been a Flashman proselytiser for a while but I should have listened earlier.

I've been reading the odd Flashman book the last few months.  Enjoyable.

Flashman's one of the things Grumbler and I agree on. Everyone should read them. :yes:

I keep forgetting to pick this series up.

After I finish Downfall of the West I will do that.  Btw I am not liking Downfall as much as I thought I would.  So far it has only amounted to a brief description of the various Emperors and co-Emperors since the second century with a bit more time spent on Constantine. I feel like I am getting the encyclopedia brittanica version of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on March 20, 2010, 02:08:56 PM
Currently rereading Postwar.  New factoids keep popping up at me, such as the one that in 1950 there were only 32,000 high school graduates in France.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on March 20, 2010, 02:20:18 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on March 20, 2010, 02:08:56 PM
Currently rereading Postwar.  New factoids keep popping up at me, such as the one that in 1950 there were only 32,000 high school graduates in France.
I'm currently reading Judt's cri de couer for Social Democracy - very good, I'll post it shortly.

I also recommend his lecture on living with Lou Gehrig's disease, it's an amazing piece.  I think it's in the New Yorker.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Alatriste on March 20, 2010, 03:33:42 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on March 20, 2010, 02:08:56 PM
Currently rereading Postwar.  New factoids keep popping up at me, such as the one that in 1950 there were only 32,000 high school graduates in France.

:bleeding: or  :lol: or  :wacko:

In French, High School = Lycée

A 'Haute École', i.e. a 'high school', is for doctorates, MBA's and other post graduate courses. The most famous is probably the 'Haute Ecole de Gestion de Genève' (in francophone Switzerland)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on March 20, 2010, 03:41:14 PM
Quote from: Alatriste on March 20, 2010, 03:33:42 PM
:bleeding: or  :lol: or  :wacko:

In French, High School = Lycée

A 'Haute École', i.e. a 'high school', is for doctorates, MBA's and other post graduate courses. The most famous is probably the 'Haute Ecole de Gestion de Genève' (in francophone Switzerland)
Judt uses the term bachelier.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on March 20, 2010, 07:59:02 PM
really enjoying Charlie Stross' "Saturn's Children, right now. Total cheezeball cornball robot sex, SF-referential/reverential in good ways. Heinlein-y (early H. & elder H. in a kind of unholy Asimov admixture.) fluffy fun.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 21, 2010, 08:11:56 AM
Reading The Road to Bosworth Field: A New History of the Wars of the Roses by Trevor Royle. Not very meaty but it certainly works as a general introduction to the era for a n00b. There's some riveting stuff going on!

After years of thinking about it I finally bought my own copy of the complete works of William Shakespeare. I picked the RSC version.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on March 24, 2010, 03:53:27 PM
Looking for good, reasonably light book on Spanish Empire. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on March 24, 2010, 04:11:41 PM
In the middle of If The Dead Rise Not, the latest Bernie Gunther "German Noir" by Philip Kerr. Excellent, as is the whole series.

This one takes place just before the 1930s Berlin Olympics and then 20 years later in Cuba. Corruption, murder, hot dames, snappy dialogue, engaging characters, Nazis. In short, the perfect page-turner for noir fans.

Though as usual with this genre, those looking for happy-ever-after must look elsewhere. 



Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on March 24, 2010, 05:03:46 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on March 24, 2010, 03:53:27 PM
Looking for good, reasonably light book on Spanish Empire.

Pretty big topic.

Dogs of War by James Reston is a good read on the formation of Spain, the reconquest and Columbus.

The Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie is another good read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on March 24, 2010, 05:39:36 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on March 24, 2010, 03:53:27 PM
Looking for good, reasonably light book on Spanish Empire.

Interested more in the colonial stuff, or what was going on in Iberia, or both?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Queequeg on March 24, 2010, 07:02:24 PM
Anything and everything before the final decline and the Napoleonic war; Spanish perspective on the Eighty Year's War, Spanish conquests of both Mexico and the Inca (that one book looked good), wars on the continent, particularly involvement in more general Reformation awfulness.

Actually, would also be interested in something of an intellectual/theological history of the Reformation.  Or something military.

Also; something on development of sea-routes between China and the West, particularly evolution under Dutch and Spanish.

Obviously I've been playing a lot of Magna Mundi.

Also: Anyone know anything decent on Muscovy and early Russia? 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 24, 2010, 11:22:58 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 20, 2010, 12:55:03 PM
Almost through with The Bad Guys Won! A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, The Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best (http://www.amazon.com/Brawling-Bimbo-chasing-Championship-Baseball-Uniform/dp/0060507322).

Very entertaining book about an interesting cast of characters (many of them a'holes). :)

Finished. Liked it a lot. Weird, though, to put it down and read about Dwight Gooden getting arrested on DUI charges (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=5024658&campaign=rss&source=MLBHeadlines) in the news. :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on March 24, 2010, 11:46:02 PM
I have a book entitled Spain's Road to Empire: the Making of a World Power 1492-1763, by Henry Kamen.  It's a big topic so it's a pretty broad overview, but it wasn't bad.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on March 25, 2010, 12:35:22 PM
Just finished If the Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr, mentioned above.

I'd say it was his best yet. This series just keeps getting better and better. A total treat for noir fans, it has the perfect reveal at the end - devestating, inevitable, and yet a series of total surprises (at least to me). I read the last chapter twice, to take it all in.

I highly recommend it for anyone interested in well-researched period hardboiled detective fiction.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 25, 2010, 01:35:47 PM
Quote from: Queequeg on March 24, 2010, 07:02:24 PM
Also; something on development of sea-routes between China and the West,

http://www.amazon.com/1434-Magnificent-Chinese-Ignited-Renaissance/dp/0061492175
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Lettow77 on March 25, 2010, 02:00:45 PM
 Reading The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura, as part of a project to create a domestic Southern Tea ceremony that will be explained here if it ever comes to fruition.

I have read too many books on the South this year, and need to look abroad- to provide a new perspective at looking at the South, of course.

Books read this year on the South that I can recall, invariably leaving a couple out:
Dixie Looks Abroad: The South and U.S Foreign Relations
Shiloh
The Beleagured City
Still Fighting the Civil War
Recollections of a Southern Lady of Letters
3 Months in the Southern states
Why the South will Survive
History of a River City
Psychology of Southerners
The Mind of the South
Nathan Bedford Forrest & His Crittor Company
A Meteor Shining Brightly
Hood's Atlanta Campaign
War Crimes Against Southern Civilizans
Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government
Memoir of the Last Year of the War of Independence, Jubal Early
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 25, 2010, 02:21:54 PM
:o No wai! Me too!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on March 25, 2010, 04:45:14 PM
Quote from: The Brain on March 25, 2010, 02:21:54 PM
:o No wai! Me too!

mieu!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 01, 2010, 01:43:23 PM
Most of the way through "Ungrateful Daughters" by Maureen Waller. Pretty decent and I like that about half the book is spent discussing the viewpoints and backgrounds of William III, Mary II, James II and Anne.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 01, 2010, 01:47:20 PM
Quote from: garbon on April 01, 2010, 01:43:23 PM
Most of the way through "Ungrateful Daughters" by Maureen Waller. Pretty decent and I like that about half the book is spent discussing the viewpoints and backgrounds of William III, Mary II, James II and Anne.

Any hot Sarah Marlborough-Anne lesbian scenes?  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on April 01, 2010, 07:17:57 PM
Finished Flash for Freedom and Flashman in the Great Game.  I think the Great Game was the best, but they're all recommended.

I also read Wilkie Collins' No Name which was disappointing after the superb fun of The Woman in White (read it! I've forced this on two friends now, they both loved it) but it still has some great moments.  Captain Wragge and Mrs Lecount are particular favourites.

Pale Fire by Nabokov.  I loved this.  There are moments in this which are about as good as prose gets.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 04, 2010, 08:39:26 AM
Almost done Yann Martel (Life of Pi)'s newest book Beatrice and Virgil. This will be the most talked about book of the year. A holocaust novel without Nazis, war and Germany. Instead the two protaganists are a donkey and a howler monkey.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 04, 2010, 09:00:03 AM
Quote from: Josephus on April 04, 2010, 08:39:26 AM
Almost done Yann Martel (Life of Pi)'s newest book Beatrice and Virgil. This will be the most talked about book of the year. A holocaust novel without Nazis, war and Germany. Instead the two protaganists are a donkey and a howler monkey.
:huh: How does that work?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 04, 2010, 09:11:26 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on April 04, 2010, 09:00:03 AM
Quote from: Josephus on April 04, 2010, 08:39:26 AM
Almost done Yann Martel (Life of Pi)'s newest book Beatrice and Virgil. This will be the most talked about book of the year. A holocaust novel without Nazis, war and Germany. Instead the two protaganists are a donkey and a howler monkey.
:huh: How does that work?

allegory.

It's quite good. Martel is good at this stuff. His last book was a fable about the power of faith in which the two main characters were a young boy and a bengal tiger stuck on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean together.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 05, 2010, 01:13:23 AM
Quote from: Josephus on April 04, 2010, 09:11:26 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on April 04, 2010, 09:00:03 AM
Quote from: Josephus on April 04, 2010, 08:39:26 AM
Almost done Yann Martel (Life of Pi)'s newest book Beatrice and Virgil. This will be the most talked about book of the year. A holocaust novel without Nazis, war and Germany. Instead the two protaganists are a donkey and a howler monkey.
:huh: How does that work?

allegory.

It's quite good. Martel is good at this stuff. His last book was a fable about the power of faith in which the two main characters were a young boy and a bengal tiger stuck on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean together.
I heard about that one.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on April 05, 2010, 12:32:52 PM
In the gooey midst of China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station". The dense prose can be slogtastic at times but the imagery is worth the work. It's starting to get gripping 150 pages in or so.

Finished off the Scalzi-verse books with Zoe's Tale, last week. Fun light stuff that is a quick read and pretty funny to boot.

I wouldn't mind seeing a decent movie set in that universe or an SGU style TV show. Though it wold likely end up crappy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 05, 2010, 12:36:33 PM
Quote from: Malthus on April 01, 2010, 01:47:20 PM
Any hot Sarah Marlborough-Anne lesbian scenes?  ;)

No although there was Sarah accusing her of homosexual relations.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on April 05, 2010, 01:12:26 PM
Finished the first 5 of the "No 1 Ladies' detective Agency" series by McCall Smith.   Fun books and a great, exotic locale.  Highly recommended, though I don't recommend you get them all.  They start to run out of steam by #5 and I really don't feel any pressing need to go on right now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 05, 2010, 01:33:06 PM
Quote from: garbon on April 05, 2010, 12:36:33 PM
Quote from: Malthus on April 01, 2010, 01:47:20 PM
Any hot Sarah Marlborough-Anne lesbian scenes?  ;)

No although there was Sarah accusing her of homosexual relations.

Introducing Anne to a hotter, younger and less bitchy (and less whig-y) relation wasn't a good move on Sarah's part.  :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 05, 2010, 01:55:25 PM
Finished Beatrice & Virgil. Excellent. Might review it here, once my NDA is lifted, which I think is tomorrow.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grallon on April 05, 2010, 02:07:51 PM
Currently reading the "Well of Echoes" quartet by Ian Irvine : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Well_of_Echoes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Well_of_Echoes)

Comprised of :

Geomancer
Tetrarch
Alchymist
Chimaera


-----

Plenty of interesting takes on magic (here it's powered by crystals and the natural forces - geomancy being the most powerful version of what the author calls 'The Arts') and the general setting is nicely fleshed out (a XIXth century machinist society powered by the (crystal) focused forces we know as electromagnetism, gravity, strong and weak forces). 

QuoteThe Well of Echoes is set 207 years after The View from the Mirror and the events to happen at the end of that time are directly affecting the Three Worlds now. It is set on Santhenar, which is ravaged by war between the old humans and the lyrinx.

The lyrinx escaped from the void when the Forbidding was broken, the war began 50 years after their arrival on Santhenar.

The terrible Council of Scrutators has control of the world and hides the fact that it is the war itself that gives them power and so refuses to allow it to end. Though the people believe the Council (mancers all) to be the ones to control the world it is in fact the Numinator who pulls their strings, though he or she takes no active part in day to day life.

Tiaan, an artisan from Tiksi, has a strange crystal dream and soon discovers that it is no dream at all. It is the Aachim of Aachan crying out for aid, their world is being destroyed by worldwide volcanic activity. Tiaan sets off to Tirthrax to ask for the help of the Aachim of Santhenar, but is captured by Ryll the lyrinx and is forced to help in the lyrinx's frightful flesh-forming efforts.

-----

The main problem with these books is the weak writing; beginning with the very irritating naming scheme the author chose.  In fact there's none I can discern - he seems to patch up together sounds without thought for coherence or plausibility.  Anyhow that's relatively minor.  What's really bothersome is that he screws up his carefully plotted arc by constantly falling into to the tropes of his (mostly) 2 dimensional characters.   And by the overuse of the deus-ex device.  In the 3rd book one of the main characters keeps doing the same stupid shit as he was doing in the 1st book - despite the author assuring us he had grown and was mature...  And let's not even speak about the villains - a uniform lot of screechy pompous fools given to histrionics.  *sigh*

Anyhow the best element of the books are the secondary characters whom the author seem to have spent more time fleshing out than the main ones.  Ullii, Irisis and Scrutator Xervish Flydd.

All is all the books are interesting for some of the ideas developed but can chafe your nerves rather early.




G.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on April 06, 2010, 06:33:12 PM
Has anyone read Massie's Peter the Great? If so, is it any good? If not, does anyone have any suggestions for a good book on the Great Northern War or Russia during that time period?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 06, 2010, 07:33:20 PM
Quote from: Kleves on April 06, 2010, 06:33:12 PM
Has anyone read Massie's Peter the Great? If so, is it any good? If not, does anyone have any suggestions for a good book on the Great Northern War or Russia during that time period?

Yes. I enjoyed it. Should be dirt cheap too.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on April 06, 2010, 07:51:19 PM
I'm up to book 4 in the Dresden Files, Summer Knight. I had planned to stop after book 3, due to the increasing number of annoying plot holes, but since book 3 ended with the start of a story arc, I'm willing to keep going. I'm a sucker for interesting story arcs.

Also, I'm looking for a good, interesting and not difficult to read history book that I can buy at Amazon's Kindle store. Suggestions are welcome. I'm not picky about what history, as long as it's a "page turner".
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: grumbler on April 06, 2010, 07:58:50 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 06, 2010, 07:51:19 PM
Also, I'm looking for a good, interesting and not difficult to read history book that I can buy at Amazon's Kindle store. Suggestions are welcome. I'm not picky about what history, as long as it's a "page turner".
Flashman.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 06, 2010, 09:14:22 PM
Quote from: Malthus on April 05, 2010, 01:33:06 PM
Introducing Anne to a hotter, younger and less bitchy (and less whig-y) relation wasn't a good move on Sarah's part.  :lol:

Indeed, indeed.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 06, 2010, 09:56:21 PM
Yann Martel's Beatrice and Virgil.

Henry is a writer who plans on writing two books on the Holocaust. One, an essay on the Holocaust, specifically about Holocaust literature and how it's always so literal; and  the other  a piece of fiction, with the Holocaust as allegory. He plans on publsihing oth together as a flip book, where the essay is on one side, and flip it over, the story is on the other side. No front, no back.

His publishers flip. It isn't marketable. It's a silly idea. forget about it.

Depressed, he decides to move with his wife to another, nameless European city, and get away from it all. There, he meets a taxidermist who is writing a play. The play is about two animals, a donkey named Beatrice and a monkey named Virgil. In this play, the two animals wax philosophically about a terrible event they call The Horrors. More specifically they talk about how to talk about it once it's all over. and they talk about pears and bananas.

Bit by bit, as the metaphorical banana peel falls, the writer, Henry begins to understand what the play is really about and slowly, maybe too late, begins to understand the mystery behind the taxidermist and the purpose behind the play.

Or something like that. It's really bizarre. Interviwing the author tomorrow. Not sure how that's gonna go.

That said...I really recommend this book :hmm:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on April 07, 2010, 02:22:39 PM
Alright, Peter the Great is added to the list. Now I need something that I can, thematically, order with it.

Has anyone read Trevor Royle's Crimea?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 07, 2010, 02:27:06 PM
Started The House of Mirth recently. Much better than Age of Innocence so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 07, 2010, 05:23:48 PM
Do you guys read anything good? :ph34r:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 09, 2010, 05:12:24 PM
Finished The House of Mirth. Wharton has been redeemed for me. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 09, 2010, 06:10:44 PM
Reading Guy Gavriel Kay's latest, Under Heaven. Not my cup of tea, normally, though I liked Ysobel, his last one.

This one is a fantasy novel takes place in 8th century china. I think that alone will give some of you hard ons.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on April 09, 2010, 06:50:14 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on March 07, 2010, 12:30:40 PM
The Safeguard of the Seas, N.A.M. Rodgers' first volume of his three volume history of the navy.  Very good.
I've been waiting for volume three for years now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on April 09, 2010, 06:50:27 PM
Quote from: MadImmortalMan on March 09, 2010, 07:45:00 PM
Now even the Federated Suns are tainted.  :lol:
They always have been, even before Tim.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on April 09, 2010, 06:55:09 PM
Quote from: Kleves on April 06, 2010, 06:33:12 PM
Has anyone read Massie's Peter the Great? If so, is it any good? If not, does anyone have any suggestions for a good book on the Great Northern War or Russia during that time period?
It's excellent.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on April 10, 2010, 01:22:03 AM
Quote from: Kleves on April 06, 2010, 06:33:12 PM
Has anyone read Massie's Peter the Great? If so, is it any good? If not, does anyone have any suggestions for a good book on the Great Northern War or Russia during that time period?

Massie's Peter the Great is enjoyable.

A very good book on among other things Russia and the GNW is Robert Frost's The Northern Wars 1558-1721. A little gem.

Ragnhild Hatton's Charles XII of Sweden remains the best Charles XII bio which by necessity deals A LOT with the GNW.

Peter Englund's Poltava/The Battle that shook Europe is very enjoyable military history. It describes the Russian campaign and the battle of Poltava, but from the Swedish perspective.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 10, 2010, 12:43:56 PM
Quote from: Josephus on April 09, 2010, 06:10:44 PM
This one is a fantasy novel takes place in 8th century china. I think that alone will give some of you hard ons.

Psellus isn't into ancient China yet.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on April 10, 2010, 02:22:23 PM
Quote from: The Brain on April 10, 2010, 01:22:03 AM
A very good book on among other things Russia and the GNW is Robert Frost's The Northern Wars 1558-1721. A little gem.

Ragnhild Hatton's Charles XII of Sweden remains the best Charles XII bio which by necessity deals A LOT with the GNW.

Peter Englund's Poltava/The Battle that shook Europe is very enjoyable military history. It describes the Russian campaign and the battle of Poltava, but from the Swedish perspective.
Awesome. Many thanks. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 27, 2010, 09:56:52 AM
Just finished reading Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, only recently translated into English; a drama about a couple living in wartime Nazi Germany who, inspired by the death of their son in battle, engage in a campaign of dropping post-cards critical of the regime around Berlin (inspired by a true story, and written immediately after the war by a German writer who survived incarceration in a Nazi insane asylum - and who died almost immediately after writing the novel, in fact before it was published).

I was initially kinda meh about it, but as I read more of it I found it increasingly gripping, and moving.

I don't think I've ever read a novel that made me sadder for the authour. It is obvious that he loathed the Nazi regime with every fibre of his being, and that he above all respected the sort of hopeless, quiet dignity and courage that his heroes in his novel display - willingly dying rather than be compromised by evil. A courage that, quite obviously, he personally did not display ... 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 27, 2010, 10:22:05 AM
That sounds intriguing Malthus. I'll look for it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 27, 2010, 10:42:58 AM
Quote from: Josephus on April 27, 2010, 10:22:05 AM
That sounds intriguing Malthus. I'll look for it.

Needless to say, it's not a barrel of laughs; but it is a stunning portrait of the life of ordinary Germans living under the Nazi regime, and the way the totalitarian regime manages to corrupt and compromise almost everyone. It out-does Orwell's 1984, if only because the author experienced that corruption first-hand, was tainted himself by it, and evidently wrote the novel in a sort of frenzy (in 24 days !!) and then almost immediately killed himself by overdosing on drugs. In short, the book is a real cry of moral dispair, and I think a masterpiece of 20th century literature.

This is the first English translation and, intriguingly, comes complete with an appendix that includes exerpts from the Gestapo files re the true story on which it is based.   
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on April 27, 2010, 10:43:25 AM
About 400 pages into War & Peace. I like that Tolstoy included Napoleon as a speaking character. Cute.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 27, 2010, 11:03:15 AM
Intrestingly, the author Hans Fallada only survived incarceration in a Nazi insane asylum by promising to write an anti-semitic novel for Propaganda Minister Josef Goebbels. During his incarceration, he actually wrote another novel, THE DRINKER, in a code so clever that for many years after his death it could not be broken.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on April 29, 2010, 06:05:52 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy or sci-fi recently? I tried looking on Amazon, but all I can seem to find is garbage (though there is a lot of that).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on April 29, 2010, 06:20:46 PM
Quote from: Kleves on April 29, 2010, 06:05:52 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy or sci-fi recently? I tried looking on Amazon, but all I can seem to find is garbage (though there is a lot of that).
Anathem by Neal Stephenson, if you haven't read it yet.  Actually, all of Neal Stephenson, if you haven't read it yet.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on March 24, 2011, 11:31:28 AM
The Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway.  It brought to mind this quote by George Orwell:

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on March 24, 2011, 02:56:39 PM
Picked up 3 books at B&N.  "My Korean Deli;" memoir of a white preppie who marries a Korean chick and they decide to use their savings to buy her mom a Deli.  Read a positive review in the NYT, bought it for my mom to read on the plane trip to Korea.  I'll read it when she's done.

Also "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heath.  Anyone read this?  It's filling in massive gaps in my knowledge of the era but I can't wholeheartedly endorse the writing style.

Finallly some book on the Yom Kippur War.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on March 24, 2011, 05:33:43 PM
Quote from: Kleves on April 29, 2010, 06:05:52 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy or sci-fi recently? I tried looking on Amazon, but all I can seem to find is garbage (though there is a lot of that).

If you haven't already, I strongly urge you to check out Steven Erikson. He just finished his Epic.

Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn is also a pretty good showing.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 04, 2011, 06:36:22 AM
Reading "Theodore Rex" for the 2nd time, been almost ten years I think. Even more awesome than I remember! :punk:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on April 04, 2011, 07:49:58 AM
Quote from: Malthus on April 27, 2010, 09:56:52 AM
Just finished reading Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada, only recently translated into English; a drama about a couple living in wartime Nazi Germany who, inspired by the death of their son in battle, engage in a campaign of dropping post-cards critical of the regime around Berlin (inspired by a true story, and written immediately after the war by a German writer who survived incarceration in a Nazi insane asylum - and who died almost immediately after writing the novel, in fact before it was published).

I was initially kinda meh about it, but as I read more of it I found it increasingly gripping, and moving.

I don't think I've ever read a novel that made me sadder for the authour. It is obvious that he loathed the Nazi regime with every fibre of his being, and that he above all respected the sort of hopeless, quiet dignity and courage that his heroes in his novel display - willingly dying rather than be compromised by evil. A courage that, quite obviously, he personally did not display ...

I read this recently and thought it was excellent, a classic. It's called Alone in Berlin in the UK. Amazingly it was out of print until last year in English
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Savonarola on April 18, 2011, 02:46:01 PM
I fiished the John Woods translation of Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain."  Througout the book I kept thinking:

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fmcns.files.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F03%2Fdestroy_this_mad_brute_wwi_propaganda_poster_us_version.jpg%3Fw%3D378%26amp%3Bh%3D576&hash=5d227099c51a3ea46d3f3d2116a0ea17e08171ca)

;)

Seriously I'm glad that no one calls me "My good engineer," the way Settembrini addresses Hans Castorp.  :bowler:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 18, 2011, 02:49:35 PM
If you want a good insight into the German psyche I highly suggest his brother Heinrich's Man of Straw (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Untertan). ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Norgy on April 18, 2011, 03:02:12 PM
Hans Fallada was a welcome and positive surprise.  :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on April 21, 2011, 09:24:44 AM
I just saw that Brian Jacques passed away in Febrary. :weep:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pat on April 21, 2011, 09:57:35 AM
Quote from: The Brain on April 10, 2010, 01:22:03 AM
Quote from: Kleves on April 06, 2010, 06:33:12 PM
Has anyone read Massie's Peter the Great? If so, is it any good? If not, does anyone have any suggestions for a good book on the Great Northern War or Russia during that time period?

Massie's Peter the Great is enjoyable.

A very good book on among other things Russia and the GNW is Robert Frost's The Northern Wars 1558-1721. A little gem.

Ragnhild Hatton's Charles XII of Sweden remains the best Charles XII bio which by necessity deals A LOT with the GNW.

Peter Englund's Poltava/The Battle that shook Europe is very enjoyable military history. It describes the Russian campaign and the battle of Poltava, but from the Swedish perspective.


Perhaps not what you're looking for but I'd like to mention Voltaire's Charles XII as an immensely enjoyable read, if only because it's, well, written by Voltaire (no doubt surpassed by later works as a work of hard history, however). Voltaire was very much fascinated by Charles XII and throughout his life he met in person and interviewed and wrote letters to survivors of the campaigns and others who had information and kept revising and adding to the book. A lot of work went into it but it never lost it's original clarity of writing. For many hundreds of years, far into the 1900s, it was used to teach the French language all over the world as it was considered one of the best examples of clear and beautifully written French. It is still one the most published books in the history of French literature. So if you're into the period, you might want to take the opportunity to check out this classic.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 10:33:19 AM
Currently reading A Century of Spies. I'm up to the 1930s now. I was pretty surprised at the extent of German sabotage in the US during WWI, particularly before the US even entered the war. It's also rather depressing to see the US COMINT go from the Black Chamber and breaking most Japanese codes by the Washington Conference to getting completely shut down by Hoover and Stimson.

And I may have recommended this before, but it's worth recommending again: Hitler's Prisoners, which is an autobiography of a German soldier who is imprisoned for making disparaging comments about Goering. He talks about his life up to that point, including his service during the campaign in the USSR. You also hear some of the stories of his cell-mates. The biggest drawback is that you never find out what happens to most of them. It's a short book, so pick it up if you've got the time.

Quote from: Kleves on April 29, 2010, 06:05:52 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy or sci-fi recently? I tried looking on Amazon, but all I can seem to find is garbage (though there is a lot of that).

Depends on what you're looking for. I do recommend The Dresden Files, a modern urban fantasy about a wizard in Chicago. The first book is Storm Front. It's an ongoing series, but it already has 12 books published, plus 1 short-story collection, and the next book is out in June. The author, Jim Butcher, has put one out every year, so it doesn't look like a Wheel of Time or SOIAF.

The first two books are good, but not great. The second is the weakest. The main story arc begins with the third book, and that's where the series really takes off and becomes great.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on April 21, 2011, 01:25:13 PM
Anyone have any recommendations for a book on the Reconstruction era?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Norgy on April 21, 2011, 01:30:16 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on March 24, 2011, 02:56:39 PM

Also "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heath.  Anyone read this?  It's filling in massive gaps in my knowledge of the era but I can't wholeheartedly endorse the writing style.



Yes. I quite like Heather. He does seem to be somewhat controversial, though. His style seems fine to me, but I'd probably not pick up on the less fortunate writing due to English still being my second language.

I also bought his Empires & Barbarians, but it'll be summer reading, I suspect.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 21, 2011, 01:31:13 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 10:33:19 AM
Depends on what you're looking for. I do recommend The Dresden Files, a modern urban fantasy about a wizard in Chicago. The first book is Storm Front. It's an ongoing series, but it already has 12 books published, plus 1 short-story collection, and the next book is out in June. The author, Jim Butcher, has put one out every year, so it doesn't look like a Wheel of Time or SOIAF.

The first two books are good, but not great. The second is the weakest. The main story arc begins with the third book, and that's where the series really takes off and becomes great.

The same author has a fantasy series out, which I thought was very entertaining - he wrote it on a challenge to see if he could combine as many fantasy tropes as humanly possible - and it works pretty well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Alera
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 21, 2011, 01:35:09 PM
Quote from: Norgy on April 21, 2011, 01:30:16 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on March 24, 2011, 02:56:39 PM

Also "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heath.  Anyone read this?  It's filling in massive gaps in my knowledge of the era but I can't wholeheartedly endorse the writing style.



Yes. I quite like Heather. He does seem to be somewhat controversial, though. His style seems fine to me, but I'd probably not pick up on the less fortunate writing due to English still being my second language.

I also bought his Empires & Barbarians, but it'll be summer reading, I suspect.

I read Goldsworthy's "Fall of the West: The Death of the Roman Superpower" recently which I liked a lot.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 03:44:35 PM
Quote from: Malthus on April 21, 2011, 01:31:13 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 10:33:19 AM
Depends on what you're looking for. I do recommend The Dresden Files, a modern urban fantasy about a wizard in Chicago. The first book is Storm Front. It's an ongoing series, but it already has 12 books published, plus 1 short-story collection, and the next book is out in June. The author, Jim Butcher, has put one out every year, so it doesn't look like a Wheel of Time or SOIAF.

The first two books are good, but not great. The second is the weakest. The main story arc begins with the third book, and that's where the series really takes off and becomes great.

The same author has a fantasy series out, which I thought was very entertaining - he wrote it on a challenge to see if he could combine as many fantasy tropes as humanly possible - and it works pretty well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Alera

I started the first book and got partway through, then put it aside. I guess it's like The Dresden Files then, starting out average then getting much better?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 21, 2011, 04:47:48 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 03:44:35 PM
Quote from: Malthus on April 21, 2011, 01:31:13 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 10:33:19 AM
Depends on what you're looking for. I do recommend The Dresden Files, a modern urban fantasy about a wizard in Chicago. The first book is Storm Front. It's an ongoing series, but it already has 12 books published, plus 1 short-story collection, and the next book is out in June. The author, Jim Butcher, has put one out every year, so it doesn't look like a Wheel of Time or SOIAF.

The first two books are good, but not great. The second is the weakest. The main story arc begins with the third book, and that's where the series really takes off and becomes great.

The same author has a fantasy series out, which I thought was very entertaining - he wrote it on a challenge to see if he could combine as many fantasy tropes as humanly possible - and it works pretty well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Alera

I started the first book and got partway through, then put it aside. I guess it's like The Dresden Files then, starting out average then getting much better?

I was hooked.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 08:19:17 PM
I'll give it another go then. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on April 22, 2011, 06:29:07 AM
Quote from: Malthus on April 21, 2011, 01:31:13 PM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 10:33:19 AM
Depends on what you're looking for. I do recommend The Dresden Files, a modern urban fantasy about a wizard in Chicago. The first book is Storm Front. It's an ongoing series, but it already has 12 books published, plus 1 short-story collection, and the next book is out in June. The author, Jim Butcher, has put one out every year, so it doesn't look like a Wheel of Time or SOIAF.

The first two books are good, but not great. The second is the weakest. The main story arc begins with the third book, and that's where the series really takes off and becomes great.

The same author has a fantasy series out, which I thought was very entertaining - he wrote it on a challenge to see if he could combine as many fantasy tropes as humanly possible - and it works pretty well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Alera
According what he said at Comic-Con, the dare was that he could treat Pokemon seriously.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on April 22, 2011, 06:32:42 AM
I'm rereading McCullough's Rome series.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pedrito on April 22, 2011, 06:38:31 AM
I've put my hands on Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: a History. It seems interesting, but it's been written in 1983: is it dated, or still a fundamental read about the Vietnam War?

L.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on April 22, 2011, 06:42:39 AM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on April 21, 2011, 10:33:19 AM
The author, Jim Butcher, has put one out every year, so it doesn't look like a Wheel of Time or SOIAF.

Wheel of Time? There's like 14 books in that series.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on April 22, 2011, 09:07:57 AM
Quote from: Pedrito on April 22, 2011, 06:38:31 AM
I've put my hands on Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: a History. It seems interesting, but it's been written in 1983: is it dated, or still a fundamental read about the Vietnam War?

L.

Still the Bible.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pedrito on April 22, 2011, 09:09:21 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on April 22, 2011, 09:07:57 AM
Quote from: Pedrito on April 22, 2011, 06:38:31 AM
I've put my hands on Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: a History. It seems interesting, but it's been written in 1983: is it dated, or still a fundamental read about the Vietnam War?

L.

Still the Bible.
:) TY

L.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on April 22, 2011, 09:12:39 AM
Quote from: Pedrito on April 22, 2011, 09:09:21 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on April 22, 2011, 09:07:57 AM
Quote from: Pedrito on April 22, 2011, 06:38:31 AM
I've put my hands on Stanley Karnow's Vietnam: a History. It seems interesting, but it's been written in 1983: is it dated, or still a fundamental read about the Vietnam War?

L.

Still the Bible.
:) TY

L.

Ie wildly inaccurate and widely ignored. :secret:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on April 22, 2011, 09:16:58 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on April 21, 2011, 09:24:44 AM
I just saw that Brian Jacques passed away in Febrary. :weep:
Didn't know that.  He lived next door to my uncle and aunty.  Very nice man :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on May 05, 2011, 09:07:40 AM
Picked up Game of Thrones yesterday. Along with a newish biography of Theodora and an Edmund White book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on May 05, 2011, 07:40:20 PM
Finished Guderian's Panzer Leader the other night.  Excellent read, though it's obvious there are some self-serving portions within it.  Nonetheless, the inside view of the regime and all the documented conversations with Hitler was great reading.

Now I'm off to Tooze's The Wages of Destruction.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 05, 2011, 08:03:41 PM
Man, the History Book Club is shit nowadays. PLZ REJOIN US! 4 for a dolla!

Pfft. All shit. Very little Napoleonics, rehashed civil war crap and Nazi wanking shit.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:37:56 PM
Lots of Nazi wanking shit.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on May 05, 2011, 09:40:15 PM
Quote from: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:37:56 PM
Lots of Nazi wanking shit.

Why would you read lots of Nazi wanking shit?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:47:03 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on May 05, 2011, 09:40:15 PM
Quote from: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:37:56 PM
Lots of Nazi wanking shit.

Why would you read lots of Nazi wanking shit?

Nah, it was actually a reply to the previous post. That the History Bookclub is all lots of Nazi wanking shit. Lots of Nazi wanking shit.

I stopped reading Nazi wanking shit a long time ago. Same old same old.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:47:50 PM
For the record, I'm currently reading Let The Right One In by some Swedish dude. Not much Nazi wanking shit in it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on May 05, 2011, 10:00:42 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on May 05, 2011, 07:40:20 PM
Now I'm off to Tooze's The Wages of Destruction.

Good book, although his animus against Speer was so pronounced as to become a distraction.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on May 05, 2011, 10:02:53 PM
Quote from: The Minsky Moment on May 05, 2011, 10:00:42 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on May 05, 2011, 07:40:20 PM
Now I'm off to Tooze's The Wages of Destruction.

Good book, although his animus against Speer was so pronounced as to become a distraction.

Have yet to get to that part--about 100 pages in now.  I'm enjoying the excoriating of German business society and the holes being poked in the early economic policies of the Nazis--the Autobahn, in particular.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on May 05, 2011, 11:09:19 PM
Quote from: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:47:03 PM
Nah, it was actually a reply to the previous thread. That the History Bookclub is all lots of Nazi wanking shit. Lots of Nazi wanking shit.

What happened to that thread anyway?  :hmm:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 08:10:42 AM
Reading Philp Kerr's A Quiet Flame. Excellent post-ww2 noir about a German cop, reluctantly drafted into the German army, then swept to Argentina where he gets involved in various sorts of nastiness - I highly recommend it (it's the 5th book in a series - the whole series is great).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 06, 2011, 08:18:20 AM
Quote from: Peter Wiggin on May 05, 2011, 11:09:19 PM
Quote from: Josephus on May 05, 2011, 09:47:03 PM
Nah, it was actually a reply to the previous post. That the History Bookclub is all lots of Nazi wanking shit. Lots of Nazi wanking shit.

What happened to that thread anyway?  :hmm:

fixed.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Norgy on May 06, 2011, 12:05:41 PM
Hunting Evil by Guy Walters. I knew he was a fairly feeble writer, having read his attempt at fiction. His research and legwork is probably good, but reading Walters is sometimes painful.

Still, it's a decent enough book, and one where Walters sides with the holocaust deniers (and a few others) and their take on Simon Wiesenthal.

Also read Harald Hardrada - The Warrior's Way by John Marsden. It's a shame that you need to read a book about a Norwegian king in English, but apparently, only books that can also serve as required reading in universities are published by Norwegian historians. I have no idea of who Marsden is, and I haven't bother to Google him. There are no "new" findings in the books, except that Harald Hardrada probably wasn't just a mean cunt, but also a bit of a cock. A different narrative, and with some unorthodox interpretations of the sagas.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 06, 2011, 12:44:53 PM
Reading Guy Gavriel Kay's "A Song For Arbonne". It took some patience, but now about halfway through, I'm quite enjoying it. Thank you Languish for helping me get past my fear that Kay was just some hist.romance crap, which the book jackets have always led me to think, thus keeping me far away.

any Medieval experts out there want to chime in on the history? is any of it truish? or are the names of places all as fake as they sound? it's a region/time period that I have not studied at all.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 06, 2011, 12:47:18 PM
I read two of his books Yisabel and his most recent one Under Heaven which is a perfect vehicle for Languishites since it takes place in medieval China and has some ccool battle scenes.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 06, 2011, 12:56:07 PM
I also have several Cornwell ready on the nightstand. The last two of His King Alfred series (the first of which was awesome) as well as the Stonehenge one and the Azincourt one.... Go thrift stores. (where I buy 90% of my books.) But think I will pick up that "Under Heaven" one you mention, as there's an ad in the back of the ed. the one I'm reading now, that makes it sound interesting.

Also found the new Tim Powers paperback the other day. almost nothing excites me more than that, genre fic wise.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 01:03:59 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on May 06, 2011, 12:56:07 PM
I also have several Cornwell ready on the nightstand. The last two of His King Alfred series (the first of which was awesome) as well as the Stonehenge one and the Azincourt one.... Go thrift stores. (where I buy 90% of my books.) But think I will pick up that "Under Heaven" one you mention, as there's an ad in the back of the ed. the one I'm reading now, that makes it sound interesting.

Also found the new Tim Powers paperback the other day. almost nothing excites me more than that, genre fic wise.

Cornwell's Alfred series is excellent. He's reall matured as a writer - I liked Sharpe well enough, but they were more formulaic.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 01:16:53 PM
Here's a book that looks interesting for Languish parents ...

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Fuck-Sleep-Adam-Mansbach/dp/1617750255?tag=5336612429-20
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 06, 2011, 01:44:08 PM
Anyone read any good noir recently? Aside from Kerr, Huston, Lehane? Keep in mind: good noir, so no Crais, Ellis, or such nonsense.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Norgy on May 06, 2011, 02:28:31 PM
Quote from: Kleves on May 06, 2011, 01:44:08 PM
Anyone read any good noir recently? Aside from Kerr, Huston, Lehane? Keep in mind: good noir, so no Crais, Ellis, or such nonsense.

James Crumley?

I liked The Last Good Kiss when I read it yonks ago. Of course, if you haven't yet read all of Chandler, go for those.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 06, 2011, 09:37:36 PM
Quote from: Kleves on May 06, 2011, 01:44:08 PM
Anyone read any good noir recently? Aside from Kerr, Huston, Lehane? Keep in mind: good noir, so no Crais, Ellis, or such nonsense.

You've read Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith? if not, those. modern noir.... hmmm tougher, for light noir I like Walter Mosley, at least the first few of his anyway.

Crumley, as Norgy says, also. hmmm now I need a good modern noir.....
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Zoupa on May 07, 2011, 12:23:42 AM
Quote from: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 08:10:42 AM
Reading Philp Kerr's A Quiet Flame. Excellent post-ww2 noir about a German cop, reluctantly drafted into the German army, then swept to Argentina where he gets involved in various sorts of nastiness - I highly recommend it (it's the 5th book in a series - the whole series is great).

Hmm is there something called the Berlin Trilogy by him? I think I have it in french but my mum stole it.  :glare:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Zoupa on May 07, 2011, 12:26:43 AM
Quote from: Norgy on May 06, 2011, 02:28:31 PM
Quote from: Kleves on May 06, 2011, 01:44:08 PM
Anyone read any good noir recently? Aside from Kerr, Huston, Lehane? Keep in mind: good noir, so no Crais, Ellis, or such nonsense.

James Crumley?

I liked The Last Good Kiss when I read it yonks ago. Of course, if you haven't yet read all of Chandler, go for those.

I second Chandler. I just finished the Big Sleep. It's cooler than the Fonz.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 07, 2011, 02:13:21 PM
picked up John Varley's "Titan" Trilogy for a buck apiece at the old thrift store. Been meaning to reread that (read them & loved them as they came out 20 odd years ago) series for some time. My pile on the nightstand is starting to teeter.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 07, 2011, 04:03:56 PM
Just purchased the Thor Omnibus of the Walter Simonson Run for 40% off the cover price.  God bless my tax return.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on May 07, 2011, 07:34:13 PM
Quote from: Scipio on May 07, 2011, 04:03:56 PM
Just purchased the Thor Omnibus of the Walter Simonson Run for 40% off the cover price.  God bless my tax return.

Sweet.  If I had the cash, I'd have liked to have picked that up.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grey Fox on May 07, 2011, 08:41:50 PM
I'm reading The Black Magician trilogy, currently on book 2.

It's the french translation & I must say it is one of the better translation that I have read. Executed perfectly but I'll give some credit to the original author for crafting a wonderfull & compelling story.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Norgy on May 08, 2011, 03:28:28 AM
Quote from: Zoupa on May 07, 2011, 12:23:42 AM

Hmm is there something called the Berlin Trilogy by him? I think I have it in french but my mum stole it.  :glare:

Yes. I have read some Philip Kerr. It is very uneven. Sometimes, it's like his publisher just put together his notes from the toilet and called it a novel.

Rankin is better, in my opinion, and for those looking for some okay mystery novels, Norwegian author Jo Nesbo's aren't bad.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 08, 2011, 06:31:11 AM
Joe Abercrombie's The Heroes.  Follow up to Best Served Cold and The First Law trilogy.  Better than them, as well.

Home Fires, by Gene Wolfe.  A serious departure into a more hard sci-fi world for Wolfe; less dreamy philosophizing, more Jack Vance meets Iain M. Banks.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 09, 2011, 08:38:44 AM
Quote from: Zoupa on May 07, 2011, 12:23:42 AM
Quote from: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 08:10:42 AM
Reading Philp Kerr's A Quiet Flame. Excellent post-ww2 noir about a German cop, reluctantly drafted into the German army, then swept to Argentina where he gets involved in various sorts of nastiness - I highly recommend it (it's the 5th book in a series - the whole series is great).

Hmm is there something called the Berlin Trilogy by him? I think I have it in french but my mum stole it.  :glare:

Yup, the Berlin Noir trilogy. It's the first three books of the series. He left off writing his series for some years, and then went back to it ...

If you like Chandler, you will love Kerr.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valmy on May 09, 2011, 08:49:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 01:16:53 PM
Here's a book that looks interesting for Languish parents ...

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Fuck-Sleep-Adam-Mansbach/dp/1617750255?tag=5336612429-20

:lmfao: Oh wow..
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 09, 2011, 09:28:07 AM
Quote from: Valmy on May 09, 2011, 08:49:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 01:16:53 PM
Here's a book that looks interesting for Languish parents ...

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Fuck-Sleep-Adam-Mansbach/dp/1617750255?tag=5336612429-20

:lmfao: Oh wow..

There's a couple more:

http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Not-Your-Mommy-Anymore/dp/156975926X/ref=pd_sim_b_3

http://www.amazon.com/All-My-Friends-Are-Dead/dp/0811874559/ref=pd_sim_b_2

Can my idea for a Nazi version of Thomas the Tank Engine be far behind?  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on May 09, 2011, 12:47:39 PM
For classic crime/noir novels: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Jim Thompson, Cornell Woolrich, Charles Willeford, David Goodis (my personal fascination), and Georges Simenon's romans durs ("Dirty Snow," "Tropic Moon")...

If Chandler's universe is the paradigm, Hammett's is wittier and lighter, Thompson's is more psychopathic, Woolrich's is more melodramatic, and Goodis's is filled painful failure and self-destruction...
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 16, 2011, 05:22:17 PM
Just finished James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia. I really liked it (though I seem to recall the movie being shit). After reading the afterword though, Ellroy seems to be a bit batshit insane. Still, I'll pick up The Big Nowhere soon.

Oh, and I tried reading Chandler, but gave up when I read the lines: "My God, you big dark handsome brute! I ought to throw a buick at you!"
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 16, 2011, 05:33:48 PM
Quote from: Kleves on May 16, 2011, 05:22:17 PM
Just finished James Ellroy's The Black Dahlia. I really liked it (though I seem to recall the movie being shit). After reading the afterword though, Ellroy seems to be a bit batshit insane. Still, I'll pick up The Big Nowhere soon.

Oh, and I tried reading Chandler, but gave up when I read the lines: "My God, you big dark handsome brute! I ought to throw a buick at you!"
How sad, to prefer Ellroy to Chandler.  It's like preferring Manischewitz to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on May 16, 2011, 05:36:46 PM
Quote from: Malthus on May 09, 2011, 09:28:07 AM
Can my idea for a Nazi version of Thomas the Tank Engine be far behind?  ;)

I always thought of more of noir, gangstery kind of take on it.  With the Island of Sodor being a depressed, pollution-ridden (all those coal burning engines!) post-industrial community with meth labs run by competing gangs being the principal form of economic activity now that the mines have declined.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: MadImmortalMan on May 16, 2011, 05:38:07 PM
Quote from: Malthus on May 09, 2011, 09:28:07 AM
Quote from: Valmy on May 09, 2011, 08:49:19 AM
Quote from: Malthus on May 06, 2011, 01:16:53 PM
Here's a book that looks interesting for Languish parents ...

http://www.amazon.com/Go-Fuck-Sleep-Adam-Mansbach/dp/1617750255?tag=5336612429-20

:lmfao: Oh wow..


There's a couple more:

http://www.amazon.com/Thats-Not-Your-Mommy-Anymore/dp/156975926X/ref=pd_sim_b_3

http://www.amazon.com/All-My-Friends-Are-Dead/dp/0811874559/ref=pd_sim_b_2

Can my idea for a Nazi version of Thomas the Tank Engine be far behind?  ;)


Customers who viewed this item also viewed:


(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fecx.images-amazon.com%2Fimages%2FI%2F51J2Eu5Q5vL._BO2%2C204%2C203%2C200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click%2CTopRight%2C35%2C-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg&hash=c46b7d320e9856b8636fbc59926e8f698b22cb40)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 16, 2011, 05:46:24 PM
Looks like a book I'd write.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 16, 2011, 07:37:52 PM
Quote from: Scipio on May 16, 2011, 05:33:48 PM
How sad, to prefer Ellroy to Chandler.  It's like preferring Manischewitz to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
I ought to throw a buick at you.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 16, 2011, 07:48:26 PM
Quote from: Kleves on May 16, 2011, 07:37:52 PM
Quote from: Scipio on May 16, 2011, 05:33:48 PM
How sad, to prefer Ellroy to Chandler.  It's like preferring Manischewitz to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
I ought to throw a buick at you.
You'd have better luck throwing an Oldsmobile, kid.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 18, 2011, 01:15:42 PM
In my quest to order every single book on Amazon with naughty words in the title I have come to The Nigger Of The 'Narcissus'.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 18, 2011, 01:19:43 PM
I read Let The Right One In by some guy with a Swedish name. I've watched both versions of the movie and liked them.

Teh book, i think, was somewhat uneven.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Agelastus on May 18, 2011, 04:20:01 PM
Quote from: Syt on April 21, 2011, 01:35:09 PM
Quote from: Norgy on April 21, 2011, 01:30:16 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on March 24, 2011, 02:56:39 PM

Also "The Fall of the Roman Empire" by Peter Heath.  Anyone read this?  It's filling in massive gaps in my knowledge of the era but I can't wholeheartedly endorse the writing style.



Yes. I quite like Heather. He does seem to be somewhat controversial, though. His style seems fine to me, but I'd probably not pick up on the less fortunate writing due to English still being my second language.

I also bought his Empires & Barbarians, but it'll be summer reading, I suspect.

I read Goldsworthy's "Fall of the West: The Death of the Roman Superpower" recently which I liked a lot.

Heather's book on the Fall of the Roman Empire is the superior work, but I can understand people who have quibbles with his writing style (which I feel is more pronounced in "Empires & Barbarians" than it is in "The Fall".)

Both books are fascinating reads, as much for what they say about how our view of the past has changed over the years (in particular for this see "Empires & Barbarians") than just for the fine historical interpretation itself.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 19, 2011, 12:19:57 PM
Reading Tim Powers' 2006 book "Three Days To Never" ... which I had somehow missed completely until seeing it in a thrift store recently. Love Powers. This book is just as entertaining as any of his earlier ones so far. Great mix of silly conspiracy stuff, science that could easily be confused with magic and vice versa.... kind of like De Lint filtered through Phil Dick....oddly One of his great early novels was used for (hopefully the more coherent bits) of the new Pirates of The Caribbean movie (The Stress of her Regard... which is the best Pirate-y thing I've ever read) ... I hope he was handsomely compensated for whatever horrible things they do with that clever story.

when I finish that i may re-read Varley's "Titan" trilogy. Which I haven't re-read since the mid eighties. (read all three at least three times before that.) Cirocco Jones is one of my all time favourite characters in any book anywhere.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 19, 2011, 12:26:40 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on May 19, 2011, 12:19:57 PM
Reading Tim Powers' 2006 book "Three Days To Never" ... which I had somehow missed completely until seeing it in a thrift store recently. Love Powers. This book is just as entertaining as any of his earlier ones so far. Great mix of silly conspiracy stuff, science that could easily be confused with magic and vice versa.... kind of like De Lint filtered through Phil Dick....oddly One of his great early novels was used for (hopefully the more coherent bits) of the new Pirates of The Caribbean movie (The Stress of her Regard... which is the best Pirate-y thing I've ever read) ... I hope he was handsomely compensated for whatever horrible things they do with that clever story.

when I finish that i may re-read Varley's "Titan" trilogy. Which I haven't re-read since the mid eighties. (read all three at least three times before that.) Cirocco Jones is one of my all time favourite characters in any book anywhere.

It was On Stranger Tides, not The Stress of Her Regard ... and I assume Mr. Powers got a butt-load of pirate loot out of the deal.  ;)

Edit: my fave remains The Anubis Gates.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on May 19, 2011, 02:30:58 PM
I think Korea accidentally packed up my copy of Tau Zero.  I'd gotten right to the point where it wasn't boring "character" building, too.  I've looked for it like a month, so I don't think it's in the house anymore. :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 19, 2011, 04:44:23 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on May 19, 2011, 02:30:58 PM
I think Korea accidentally packed up my copy of Tau Zero.  I'd gotten right to the point where it wasn't boring "character" building, too.  I've looked for it like a month, so I don't think it's in the house anymore. :(

I hope you have checked your DVD collection.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 20, 2011, 01:58:30 AM
Quote from: Malthus on May 19, 2011, 12:26:40 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on May 19, 2011, 12:19:57 PM
Reading Tim Powers' 2006 book "Three Days To Never" ... which I had somehow missed completely until seeing it in a thrift store recently. Love Powers. This book is just as entertaining as any of his earlier ones so far. Great mix of silly conspiracy stuff, science that could easily be confused with magic and vice versa.... kind of like De Lint filtered through Phil Dick....oddly One of his great early novels was used for (hopefully the more coherent bits) of the new Pirates of The Caribbean movie (The Stress of her Regard... which is the best Pirate-y thing I've ever read) ... I hope he was handsomely compensated for whatever horrible things they do with that clever story.

when I finish that i may re-read Varley's "Titan" trilogy. Which I haven't re-read since the mid eighties. (read all three at least three times before that.) Cirocco Jones is one of my all time favourite characters in any book anywhere.

It was On Stranger Tides, not The Stress of Her Regard ... and I assume Mr. Powers got a butt-load of pirate loot out of the deal.  ;)

Edit: my fave remains The Anubis Gates.
ah yeah, I stand corrected. Anubis Gates, also awesome.  I read that he apparently has something coming out in 2012. I'm excited.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on May 25, 2011, 04:51:24 PM
Recent orders to be read when I finish The Wages of Destruction (which is amusingly hilarious at some points and depressing at others) :

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi14.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa313%2FHabbaku%2Fcrimea.jpg&hash=e802dfb010d9b6d7692f2d4ca7ef30b96144a8d9)

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi14.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fa313%2FHabbaku%2Fchiang.jpg&hash=1135f19b88046e3ce26a7c3d6a78f57d09149290)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on May 25, 2011, 06:27:28 PM
I heard the 1st one was pretty good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on May 25, 2011, 07:01:55 PM
Figes is a pretty reliable historian, so I suspect you're right.  Aside from his bizarre episode with the Amazon review fiasco, I've enjoyed all that I've read from him.  A People's Tragedy was excellent, if weighed down by what I felt was minutiae at times and somewhat spotty on details about the Civil War itself.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 06:52:00 AM
The Last Centurion by John Ringo

Ed's rating: WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ?

The book is a mix of my languish posting style, Hans' politics and Siege's over the top GI Jew act.

But the book is free, so I can't complain.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 27, 2011, 09:18:44 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on May 25, 2011, 06:27:28 PM
I heard the 1st one was pretty good.
I liked it. Although it was tough to know who to root for.

Didn't know about the Amazon thing, though. That's pretty shitty.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 09:36:09 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 06:52:00 AM
The Last Centurion by John Ringo

Ed's rating: WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ?

The book is a mix of my languish posting style, Hans' politics and Siege's over the top GI Jew act.

But the book is free, so I can't complain.

:lol:  Never read a John Ringo book.  Don't plan to.  I do remember he wrote something about raping Georgian women or something.  Something really bizarre.  Most of his stuff is suppose to be Tim level science fiction.  Bleh.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 09:44:55 AM
I've been meaning to read some of Tim Powers stuff.  I heard good things about Declare.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on May 27, 2011, 10:25:30 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 09:36:09 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 06:52:00 AM
The Last Centurion by John Ringo

Ed's rating: WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ?

The book is a mix of my languish posting style, Hans' politics and Siege's over the top GI Jew act.

But the book is free, so I can't complain.

:lol:  Never read a John Ringo book.  Don't plan to.  I do remember he wrote something about raping Georgian women or something.  Something really bizarre.  Most of his stuff is suppose to be Tim level science fiction.  Bleh.

QuoteGHOST is Ringo's own admitted Lord King Badfic, his id run wild. By his own account, he was trying to write several books he was actually contracted for, but GHOST kept nudging at him, and finally he just wrote the damn thing to *make it go away* so he could get back to fulfilling his contracts. Ringo locked the spewings of his id away on his hard drive, until he mentioned in passing on an online forum that yeah, he'd written another book, but it was *awful* and would never see the light of day. Naturally, folks were curious, and when Ringo posted a sample, nobody was more surprised than him to find that the response was, more often than not, "Hey, man, I'd buy this."

So his publisher put it out, and the books are now doing pretty well for them. I'm sure this is a pleasant surprise if you're Ringo or his publisher, but it's also got to be a little embarrassing; he's committed the literary equivalent of charging money for folks to watch him roll naked in a pile of dead and smelly fish. And then being begged for encores.
http://hradzka.livejournal.com/194753.html
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on May 27, 2011, 10:26:18 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 09:44:55 AM
I've been meaning to read some of Tim Powers stuff.  I heard good things about Declare.

The Drawing of the Dark and Anubis Gates I remember fondly.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on May 27, 2011, 12:17:14 PM
re: Tim Powers... quite enjoying "Three Days To Never"... just about finished. it's a quick read, as Powers really knows how to keep you reading till you physically can't anymore. My only qualm is that the time travel plot isn't a very fresh device. The way it's conceived and plays out though is fresh, clever.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 01:54:31 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 09:36:09 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 06:52:00 AM
The Last Centurion by John Ringo

Ed's rating: WHAT THE FUCK DID I JUST READ?

The book is a mix of my languish posting style, Hans' politics and Siege's over the top GI Jew act.

But the book is free, so I can't complain.

:lol:  Never read a John Ringo book.  Don't plan to.  I do remember he wrote something about raping Georgian women or something.  Something really bizarre.  Most of his stuff is suppose to be Tim level science fiction.  Bleh.

I've got those lined up on my jetbook.  :blush:

Baen books: Giving shit away for free.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on May 27, 2011, 02:10:52 PM
Oh, John Ringo, no.  :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:47:24 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 01:54:31 PM


I've got those lined up on my jetbook.  :blush:

Baen books: Giving shit away for free.

Eh, we all need silly bullshit once in a while.  I've been reading Kant and it makes my head hurt.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on May 27, 2011, 02:50:00 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:47:24 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on May 27, 2011, 01:54:31 PM


I've got those lined up on my jetbook.  :blush:

Baen books: Giving shit away for free.

Eh, we all need silly bullshit once in a while.  I've been reading Kant and it makes my head hurt.

Lord knows, a bit of reading about the categorical imperative has to be balanced out with a bit of reading about raping Georgian women. That's just simple sense.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:53:23 PM
Exactly.  If Kant raped more women think how better off we'd be.  I imagine German Idealism would be more existing.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 27, 2011, 05:11:53 PM
Jerusalem,Jerusalem by James Carroll.

In which our former Catholic priest attempts to describe the history of western civilization and the relationship of all world events to  Jerusalem. It pretty much becomes a 400-page history of everything beginning right at the beginning with atomic molecules to our hunter gatherer ancestors to Abraham's attempted infanticide to Moses and Jesus and those annoying Romans and the Gospel writers and Mohammed and the Infidels and the Crusader Kings and the Pilgrims and the Civil War and WW1 and WW2 and Eichmann and the Cold War and Al Qaeda and 9-11.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 27, 2011, 05:38:40 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:53:23 PM
I imagine German Idealism would be more existing.
:frog:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on May 29, 2011, 10:29:54 PM
Finally finnished with Nipe's, Last Victory in Russia. A superb study of the german side. This is a pic heavy book and the pics are second to none.

I'm about a third of the way into vol 1 of Glantz's Stalingrad tome(s).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on May 29, 2011, 10:42:35 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on May 19, 2011, 04:44:23 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on May 19, 2011, 02:30:58 PM
I think Korea accidentally packed up my copy of Tau Zero.  I'd gotten right to the point where it wasn't boring "character" building, too.  I've looked for it like a month, so I don't think it's in the house anymore. :(

I hope you have checked your DVD collection.

Complete, less Return of the King, which I never particularly liked, and was hers anyway.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: sbr on May 29, 2011, 11:35:19 PM
I haven't done much reading recently but I just ordered Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (http://www.amazon.com/Those-Guys-Have-All-Fun/dp/0316043001/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306729590&sr=8-1).  I heard an interview with one of the co-authors and am looking forward to reading it.  The authors had ESPN's  reluctant cooperation and interviewed everyone who has had anything to do with ESPN over the last 30 years and the book is supposed to have some really  good stuff; from crazy, racy antics of the on-air staff to the luck and skill it took to take the network from a huge gamble to the worldwide leader.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on May 30, 2011, 12:16:09 PM
Anyone know any decent histories of Parthians, Kushan Empire, Ancient India or the Han Dynasty?

Not just a chronological account, life and customs of the inhabitants would be most interesting.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on May 31, 2011, 10:23:59 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:47:24 PM
Eh, we all need silly bullshit once in a while.  I've been reading Kant and it makes my head hurt.

I am in a small study group now, plowing our way slowly through Critique of Pure Reason (and Henry Allison's interpretation).  Just got past the Transcendental Deduction, so hopefully downhill from here.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on May 31, 2011, 10:40:03 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:47:24 PM
I've been reading Kant

Any particular reason for this?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on June 01, 2011, 08:04:00 AM
I just finished Nostromo. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on June 01, 2011, 06:53:10 PM
I just noticed that Pournelle's kid wrote a sequel to Mote in God's Eye (good stuff) and the Gripping Hand (meh).

http://www.amazon.com/Outies-Mote-Gods-Eye-ebook/dp/B004FGMURG

If I ever get around to it, I'll buy it and give it one of my special reviews.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on June 01, 2011, 07:36:54 PM
Quote from: Peter Wiggin on May 31, 2011, 10:40:03 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on May 27, 2011, 02:47:24 PM
I've been reading Kant

Any particular reason for this?

Not really.  Philosophy is interesting.  It can also be lucrative.  I bet Minksy can tell you about a certain devotee of Karl Popper who made a fortune in international finance using some of Popper's insights.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on June 03, 2011, 12:23:33 PM
Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise

Two western investment bankers based out of China give a provocative and pessimistic analysis of Chinese financial institutions and economy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Norgy on June 05, 2011, 04:09:14 AM
Don't tell us how it ends!  :mad:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Minsky Moment on June 06, 2011, 09:12:59 AM
Quote from: Norgy on June 05, 2011, 04:09:14 AM
Don't tell us how it ends!  :mad:

No Red wedding, if that is your concern.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 06, 2011, 11:40:40 AM
Quote from: Syt on May 30, 2011, 12:16:09 PM
Anyone know any decent histories of Parthians, Kushan Empire, Ancient India or the Han Dynasty?

Not just a chronological account, life and customs of the inhabitants would be most interesting.

I guess not? :unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valmy on June 06, 2011, 11:47:25 AM
The Parthians are really hard because all we know about them comes from their neighbors.  For whatever reasons Persians quit writting things down between the Seleucids and the Sassanids.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on June 06, 2011, 11:49:53 AM
I read a biography of Lady Jane Franklin recently.  Interesting character, if sometimes not particularily lovable.

But Ihad no idea that Sir John Franklin was at one time the governor of Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania - and the name was actually changed at Lady Franklin's insistence).  It got me slightly interested in the history of Australia, since I realized I knew nothing about it of any importance.

Can anyone suggest a book?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 06, 2011, 12:03:47 PM
There was a book that came out to great acclaim a few years back but I can't remember the title for sure.  The Fatal Shore??
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on June 06, 2011, 12:24:09 PM
Quote from: Barrister on June 06, 2011, 11:49:53 AM
I read a biography of Lady Jane Franklin recently.  Interesting character, if sometimes not particularily lovable.

But Ihad no idea that Sir John Franklin was at one time the governor of Van Dieman's Land (Tasmania - and the name was actually changed at Lady Franklin's insistence).  It got me slightly interested in the history of Australia, since I realized I knew nothing about it of any importance.

Can anyone suggest a book?

There's some good historical fiction if that's any use -

The Secret River by Kate Granville

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-River-Kate-Grenville/dp/184195828X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307380789&sr=1-1

Convict and family transported to Oz, gets freedom after a while, comes into conflict with the locals.

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

http://www.amazon.co.uk/English-Passengers-Matthew-Kneale/dp/0140285210/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307380907&sr=1-1

English vicar perturbed by new evolutionary theory decides that the Garden of Eden is to be found in Tasmania. Black comedy with disturbing account of ethnic cleansing of Tasmanian aborogines.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Jacob on June 06, 2011, 12:34:36 PM
Quote from: Syt on June 06, 2011, 11:40:40 AM
Quote from: Syt on May 30, 2011, 12:16:09 PM
Anyone know any decent histories of Parthians, Kushan Empire, Ancient India or the Han Dynasty?

Not just a chronological account, life and customs of the inhabitants would be most interesting.

I guess not? :unsure:

The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press has a good general survey series of Ancient China.

I only read The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han by Mark Edward Lewis, but found it quite good. Can't speak for the rest of the series, but I plan on getting the remaining books eventually.

For India, I was quite impressed by John Keay's general survey India: A History. His book on China, China: A History was worth it as well.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on June 06, 2011, 12:38:11 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on June 06, 2011, 12:03:47 PM
There was a book that came out to great acclaim a few years back but I can't remember the title for sure.  The Fatal Shore??

Yup.

Plenty of old-fashioned convict-whupping goodness.  ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 06, 2011, 01:57:35 PM
Quote from: Jacob on June 06, 2011, 12:34:36 PM
Quote from: Syt on June 06, 2011, 11:40:40 AM
Quote from: Syt on May 30, 2011, 12:16:09 PM
Anyone know any decent histories of Parthians, Kushan Empire, Ancient India or the Han Dynasty?

Not just a chronological account, life and customs of the inhabitants would be most interesting.

I guess not? :unsure:

The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press has a good general survey series of Ancient China.

I only read The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han by Mark Edward Lewis, but found it quite good. Can't speak for the rest of the series, but I plan on getting the remaining books eventually.

For India, I was quite impressed by John Keay's general survey India: A History. His book on China, China: A History was worth it as well.

Thanks. I've seen that India book in a local bookstore - will check it out and probably order the Chinese books. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on June 06, 2011, 02:21:17 PM
Cromwell by John Buchan.  A sort of companion to his shorter life of Montrose.  Fascinating work by a fascinating writer.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on June 08, 2011, 10:13:13 AM
Quote from: Jacob on June 06, 2011, 12:34:36 PM
Quote from: Syt on June 06, 2011, 11:40:40 AM
Quote from: Syt on May 30, 2011, 12:16:09 PM
Anyone know any decent histories of Parthians, Kushan Empire, Ancient India or the Han Dynasty?

Not just a chronological account, life and customs of the inhabitants would be most interesting.

I guess not? :unsure:

The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press has a good general survey series of Ancient China.

I only read The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han by Mark Edward Lewis, but found it quite good. Can't speak for the rest of the series, but I plan on getting the remaining books eventually.

For India, I was quite impressed by John Keay's general survey India: A History. His book on China, China: A History was worth it as well.

The China one was good but I thought there was just too much to cover.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on June 09, 2011, 12:33:13 PM
Reading an old Phillip Kerr book... "A Philosophical Investigation"... fun, kind of quaint actually as it came out in 92 but predicts a 2013 where everyone has "picto-phones" which sound a heck of a lot like iphones/blackberries, and other conveniences taht are fairly similar to the now. The serial killer "Wittgenstein" is well scripted and I'm enjoying the book in the same way I enjoy a good Kinky Friedman, or Elmore Leonard.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Jacob on June 09, 2011, 12:35:41 PM
Quote from: Gups on June 08, 2011, 10:13:13 AMThe China one was good but I thought there was just too much to cover.

Yeah, it's definitely a survey work.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: MadImmortalMan on June 14, 2011, 01:23:15 PM
Slaughterhouse Five is on sale for three bucks on the kindle.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on June 14, 2011, 04:44:31 PM
Quote from: MadImmortalMan on June 14, 2011, 01:23:15 PM
Slaughterhouse Five is on sale for three bucks on the kindle.

The series really went down hill after Slaughterhouse 3.  By SL 4 it's pretty clear Vonnegut no longer knows how he intends to end the story and is just adding new story lines and other useless bloat.  Also he gets statistics from David Irving.  Bleh.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on June 14, 2011, 05:38:30 PM
Quote from: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.

Yeah...but it's War and Peace, right?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:47:08 PM
Quote from: Josephus on June 14, 2011, 05:38:30 PM
Quote from: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.

Yeah...but it's War and Peace, right?

:D

No one of the Larry Gonick 'cartoon history of the world' books.   :Embarrass: :blush: :Embarrass:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on June 14, 2011, 06:38:05 PM
Quote from: Josephus on June 14, 2011, 05:38:30 PM
Quote from: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.

Yeah...but it's War and Peace, right?

Not much of an accomplishment.  The book isn't that long.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on June 14, 2011, 06:40:05 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on June 14, 2011, 06:38:05 PM
Quote from: Josephus on June 14, 2011, 05:38:30 PM
Quote from: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.

Yeah...but it's War and Peace, right?

Not much of an accomplishment.  The book isn't that long.

It's in Russian. :contract:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on June 14, 2011, 06:56:25 PM
Just finished reading Annabel by Kathleen Winter. Pretty decent I guess although not as engaging as Middlesex. Parents of the hermaphrodite largely become caricatures as the book progresses - brooding father who stays out in the wilderness; hysterical mother who rots away at home.

Also finished The Farewell Symphony by Edmund White. Fitting end to the autobiographical trilogy.

Still making my way through Game of Thrones and about to start Norman Mailer's Harlot's Ghost.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Grey Fox on June 14, 2011, 08:50:56 PM
Quote from: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.

You suck. I think I read 10 so far this year.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on June 14, 2011, 09:40:10 PM
Quote from: Grey Fox on June 14, 2011, 08:50:56 PM
Quote from: mongers on June 14, 2011, 05:19:25 PM
I have still only gotten around to completely reading one book sofar this year. :gasp:   :blush: to infinity.

You suck. I think I read 10 so far this year.

Doctor Seuss doesnt count. ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 08:10:22 AM
I got those Dresden books as audiobooks. So far I gotta say I am entertained.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valmy on June 17, 2011, 11:09:40 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?

Magic!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:12:17 AM
Quote from: Valmy on June 17, 2011, 11:09:40 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?

Magic!

Why you little...  :mad:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 18, 2011, 12:30:21 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?
Is it an older car? Before, say 1995 there weren't electronics in cars.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on June 18, 2011, 05:56:54 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 18, 2011, 12:30:21 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?
Is it an older car? Before, say 1995 there weren't electronics in cars.

Really?  I've driven cars older then that.  They had electric ignitions, power steering, and radio.  Headlights even! I think I might classify an internal combustion engine as a form of technology.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on June 18, 2011, 06:19:11 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 18, 2011, 12:30:21 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?
Is it an older car? Before, say 1995 there weren't electronics in cars.

I understand what you're saying, even if Raz's objection holds true in that there's plenty of electronics in a car from 1920 as well. However, the author does note that even simple tech like a revolver is prone to fouling up even if not as regularly. He doesn't ever mention the car going haywire, however, and Dresden doesn't shy away from taking a Taxi and I doubt he can find many 1950s Taxis still running.

The series reads like it's written for uncritical teenagers sometimes.

But minor quibbles aside, it looks like it's got some promise.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on June 18, 2011, 07:02:27 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 18, 2011, 06:19:11 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 18, 2011, 12:30:21 AM
Quote from: Slargos on June 17, 2011, 11:08:58 AM
One objection, though.

If Wizards make "technology" malfunction by their very presence, how is it that he can drive around in a car with no mention of it ever going haywire?
Is it an older car? Before, say 1995 there weren't electronics in cars.

I understand what you're saying, even if Raz's objection holds true in that there's plenty of electronics in a car from 1920 as well. However, the author does note that even simple tech like a revolver is prone to fouling up even if not as regularly. He doesn't ever mention the car going haywire, however, and Dresden doesn't shy away from taking a Taxi and I doubt he can find many 1950s Taxis still running.

The series reads like it's written for uncritical teenagers sometimes.

But minor quibbles aside, it looks like it's got some promise.

Inconsistencies like that are the author's way to tell you that it's all just a dream.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on June 18, 2011, 07:34:32 AM
Quote from: The Brain on June 18, 2011, 07:02:27 AM
Inconsistencies like that are the author's way to tell you that it's all just a dream.

You're a dream to me.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on June 18, 2011, 01:34:18 PM
Started Eric Idle's novel "Road To Mars". which is the "Borscht Belt" of 25th century stand up Comedy. Witty stuff that reads very Python. Very. I could easily see the troupe in their heyday making a funny SF Python movie. There isn't anyone of of that calibre in modern comedy that could do this kind of thing justice.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on June 27, 2011, 10:53:01 PM
QuoteBLOOD, STEEL, MYTH: The II.SS-Panzer-Korps and the Road to Prochorowka [Hardcover]
George Nipe Jr. (Author)
Be the first to review this item | Like 1309232565 false -1 16 16 15 (16)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Available from these sellers.
1 new from $198.85 

Are you fucking kidding me?? This hasnt even come out yet. :lmfao:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 27, 2011, 11:07:18 PM
Taking a slight respite from my recently bout of chronic Rushdie-worship, I quickly devoured The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano.  A lovely little novel, very touching and the author, a mathematician with a PhD in particle physics, writes like one: elegantly sparse, base, allowing you to see the complexity in its own simple intimacy.

Unfortunately, it also strikes me as the kind of novel that could launch a loosely-based independent film that would destroy its center.

Now, it's off to Titus Andronicus and the 2011 Pushcart Prize anthology.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on June 28, 2011, 01:51:01 AM
CdM,

Have you read any of Rushie's latest and if so has he returned to form? Used to be my favourite modern writer but I kind of gave up after Ground Beneath Her Feet and Shalamar the Clown
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on June 28, 2011, 05:12:57 AM
He's taken a change in tack with works like Haroun and Luka as fairy tales for adults, and while there's a noticable drop in the expository, I think it lends to a more focused, tighter style.  It fits him, despite its lack of sprawl.  He still does his wonders with the English language, though.

You didn't like Shalimar? I thought it was wonderful.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Octavian on June 28, 2011, 06:29:31 AM
Currently reading a book about the history of the sword and the first volume of Masters of the Sea series which takes place during the first Punic war on a trireme. I thus continue my Roman themed historical novels reading habit after the completion of the Emperor series books.

All of the above are read on my Kindle.



Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on July 01, 2011, 12:28:00 PM
I've started reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series. More than halfway through book 1. Good stuff so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on July 02, 2011, 05:44:19 AM
Finished Platoon Leader: A Memoir Of Command In Combat by McDonough. Very nice little book. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on July 02, 2011, 07:33:47 AM
Quote from: The Brain on July 02, 2011, 05:44:19 AM
Finished Platoon Leader: A Memoir Of Command In Combat by McDonough. Very nice little book. :)

Which war?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on July 02, 2011, 07:37:36 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on July 02, 2011, 07:33:47 AM
Quote from: The Brain on July 02, 2011, 05:44:19 AM
Finished Platoon Leader: A Memoir Of Command In Combat by McDonough. Very nice little book. :)

Which war?

Vietnam, 1970. A platoon protecting a strategic hamlet.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on July 02, 2011, 08:26:38 AM
Quote from: Syt on July 01, 2011, 12:28:00 PM
I've started reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series. More than halfway through book 1. Good stuff so far.

Couldn't make much headway on that.  I got to the third book.  The writing is good, but the problem is that Roland is not a very compelling or even likeable character.  Everyone else is interesting, just not Roland.  Other characters sort of allude to this calling him "single minded" and the like.  That might just be a personal thing though.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on July 06, 2011, 07:08:08 PM
Taking a break from the Eastern Front.

Reading Henderson's "Stonewall Jackson and the Civil War"

Ordered
DAY OF BATTLE: Mars-La-Tour-David Ascoli
The Reason Why: The Story of the Fatal Charge of the Light Brigade-Cecil Woodham-Smith
Gettysburg--The First Day (Civil War America)-Harry W. Pfanz
Gettysburg--The Second Day-Harry W. Pfanz
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on July 10, 2011, 11:17:55 PM
Looks interesting

http://www.amazon.com/World-Fire-Britains-Crucial-American/dp/037550494X
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on July 11, 2011, 01:17:19 AM
Halfway through, "The Reason Why"

James Brudenell (Earl of Cardigan) and George Bingham (Earl of Lucan) are class "A" douche bags. Shining examples of the Purchase System. Havent even got to the Crimean War yet. Bingham is over in Ireland fucking up the Irish.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on August 09, 2011, 10:45:42 PM
Finnished with "The Reason Why"-recommended


2/3 of the way through "Gettysburg--The First Day (Civil War America)"-Harry W. Pfanz.
Great book very detailed on the first day of battle.

Will probably take a break and spin off to read "The Origin Map" by Brophy


Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on August 09, 2011, 10:55:00 PM
I think I might order that Reason Why.  It's piqued my interest.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on August 09, 2011, 11:19:22 PM
I will let you know that it goes into extensive details on the backgrounds, personalities and antics of James Brudenell (Earl of Cardigan) and George Bingham (Earl of Lucan) before the Crimea. Only a quater of the book deals with the Crimea.

Both were class "A" douche bags.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on August 10, 2011, 12:31:57 AM
halfway through Cornwell's "Stonehenge" pretty decent if a bit sloggy at first.

Thinking about going back to re-read Varley's "Gaia" Trilogy.  ahh space lesbians.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on August 16, 2011, 10:45:31 AM
Finally tracked down a normal history of the Sengoku period (instead of the endless Stephen Turnbull crap): A History of Japan 1334-1615 by George Sansom. Apparently this 50 y/o book is still the best available in English, which is a bit sad.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on August 16, 2011, 10:47:21 AM
Ordered a book from Amazon about the battle of Mortain which came recommended when I was looking up stuff on US artillery doctrines in WWII.  39 cents.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on August 16, 2011, 10:48:34 AM
I'm not into hip-hop.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on August 16, 2011, 11:19:55 AM
finished Cornwell's "Stonehenge" decent read if a bit bloated. started re-reading John Varley's "Gaea" trilogy for the first time in 20 years (read it all at least twice back in tha day when I had the SF book club editions of those books.)

a bit quaint the tech, by today's standards, but Varley is a master of sucking you into the story. holds up so far at least.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on August 16, 2011, 11:32:00 AM
Finished the first of the Maters of Rome series by thingy Mcsomeone. It was OK. Seemed to have done an impressive amount of research but the prose was a bit crap.

Just started Memories of a Geisha and Twirlymen (history of spin bowling in cricket, v.good)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on August 16, 2011, 12:52:47 PM
In addition to The French Foreign Legion (Crouch) I read Inside the Third Reich by Speer. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on August 16, 2011, 01:26:59 PM
Reading Jay Taylor's The Generalissimo at the moment.  Good read so far.  Joe Stillwell's a giant dick and not much of a commander.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on August 16, 2011, 02:02:03 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on August 16, 2011, 01:26:59 PM
Reading Jay Taylor's The Generalissimo at the moment.  Good read so far.  Joe Stillwell's a giant dick and not much of a commander.

Looks interesting - an admiring portrait of Chiang Kai-shek. Runs counter to everything I've read about the man, though - most sources portray him as thoroughly inept and corrupt. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on August 16, 2011, 03:56:00 PM
Just finished A History of Scotland, by Neil Oliver.  Certainly lighter historical fair then much of what is mentioned here, but I enjoyed it as a good read while commuting.  I could certainly have done without the geologic history of Scotland (:rolleyes:), and the knob-polishing of William Wallace was to be expected, the author does gain bonus points for pointing out some of the contradictions inherent in scottish nationalism and its victimization complex, and does interestingly go at great lengths to explain how Scotland profitted from slavery.

If you want to cover several thousand years (or billions even) in 450 pages, it wasn't a bad way to do it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on August 16, 2011, 04:07:28 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on August 16, 2011, 01:26:59 PM
Reading Jay Taylor's The Generalissimo at the moment.  Good read so far.  Joe Stillwell's a giant dick and not much of a commander.

Stillwell just wanted to watch Dumbo without being interrupted.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on August 16, 2011, 04:31:10 PM
Quote from: Barrister on August 16, 2011, 03:56:00 PM
Just finished A History of Scotland, by Neil Oliver.  Certainly lighter historical fair then much of what is mentioned here,

Only on this forum would a book entitled A History of Scotland be considered "light fare"
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on August 17, 2011, 10:43:32 PM
Finnished with, Gettysburg--The First Day (Civil War America)-Harry W. Pfanz.

Nice detailed tactical account of the first day. His and Glantz styles are similar, which I prefer. Be warned this is a tactical acount.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on August 17, 2011, 11:06:02 PM
Quote from: Malthus on August 16, 2011, 02:02:03 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on August 16, 2011, 01:26:59 PM
Reading Jay Taylor's The Generalissimo at the moment.  Good read so far.  Joe Stillwell's a giant dick and not much of a commander.

Looks interesting - an admiring portrait of Chiang Kai-shek. Runs counter to everything I've read about the man, though - most sources portray him as thoroughly inept and corrupt.

I don't think he was inept, but he had any army that was very poorly equipped, unreliable, and unmotivated.  He did fairly well in the 1920's (when he had soviet advisers and Chinese enemies).  I remember reading that in those warlord armies only 10-20% could be really expected to fight.   I mean you had soldiers armed only with medieval weapons who weren't even given shoes (they were given the material to make sandals).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on August 30, 2011, 04:52:40 PM
Read the latest Captain Alatriste book by Perez-Reverte (in translation): Pirates of the Levant. I'm very satisfied.  Plenty of swash and not lacking in buckle, all with the same grim noirish realism we have come to know and love from this series.

[For those who have not checked this series out yet, it's historical fiction about the days of the decline of the Spanish Empire (originally written in Spanish - it is amusing seeing the English portrayed from the Spanish POV!). It's about a middle-aged down-on-his-luck Spanish solder-mercenary-cut-throat with a paradoxical sense of honour, and his relationship with his protige (the narrator, at the start a young boy) who falls in love with a sadistic aristocratic girl who delights in tormenting and manipulating him ... needless to say they get involved in all sorts of trouble, as the Spanish empire they are sworn to defend rots from without and within around them].
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on August 30, 2011, 05:07:35 PM
Reading South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton.  Yes, that Ernest Shackleton.

I've read several books on arctic exploration, but this is the first first-hand account - and I must say it really adds a certain thrill to have it not written by some dispassionate historian 100 years later, but by soemone who survived that very ordeal.

Interestingly - it's a cheap-o Penguin reprint (originally having been published in 1919, it's almost certainly gone into the public domain).  But the front of the book does read "New York Times Bestseller" - I do wonder if that was the Penguin edition, or back in 1919. :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on August 31, 2011, 03:38:03 AM
Just finished the last of the Abercrombie trilogy. Pretty good although it got repetitive by the end.

I'm now sated with fantasy, having read 5 this year.  When all''s said and done it's not that satisfying. I'll have a couple of years off now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books, so Amazon.it is doing a megasale applying -40% on over 200.000 books, ending tonight.

I just ordered them more than 300 euros of books  :blush: I should be ok until Christmas at least.

L.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on September 01, 2011, 08:26:01 PM
Brown Truck arrived with

Hells Gate
III Pz Korps at Kursk
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Archy on September 02, 2011, 01:30:21 PM
Quote from: Malthus on August 30, 2011, 04:52:40 PM
Read the latest Captain Alatriste book by Perez-Reverte (in translation): Pirates of the Levant. I'm very satisfied.  Plenty of swash and not lacking in buckle, all with the same grim noirish realism we have come to know and love from this series.

[For those who have not checked this series out yet, it's historical fiction about the days of the decline of the Spanish Empire (originally written in Spanish - it is amusing seeing the English portrayed from the Spanish POV!). It's about a middle-aged down-on-his-luck Spanish solder-mercenary-cut-throat with a paradoxical sense of honour, and his relationship with his protige (the narrator, at the start a young boy) who falls in love with a sadistic aristocratic girl who delights in tormenting and manipulating him ... needless to say they get involved in all sorts of trouble, as the Spanish empire they are sworn to defend rots from without and within around them].
Indeed great series, is also strange seeing the Spanish POV on the war in the Netherlands  :cool:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on September 02, 2011, 01:31:36 PM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books,

What an enormously stupid law.

Oh, right.

Italy.

:(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on September 02, 2011, 01:35:50 PM
France does something similar.  I imagine a few other Euros do the same thing.  :yuk:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on September 02, 2011, 01:44:12 PM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books,


lolwut
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: sbr on September 02, 2011, 01:55:33 PM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books, so Amazon.it is doing a megasale applying -40% on over 200.000 books, ending tonight.

I just ordered them more than 300 euros of books  :blush: I should be ok until Christmas at least.

L.

What are they trying to accomplish with that law?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on September 02, 2011, 02:22:30 PM
Kickbacks from the publishing industry?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on September 02, 2011, 05:48:13 PM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books, so Amazon.it is doing a megasale applying -40% on over 200.000 books, ending tonight.

I just ordered them more than 300 euros of books  :blush: I should be ok until Christmas at least.

L.

Damn.  I ordered a 39 cent book last month from Amazon.  What an asinine law.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on September 02, 2011, 11:10:49 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on September 02, 2011, 01:35:50 PM
France does something similar.  I imagine a few other Euros do the same thing.  :yuk:

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed_Book_Price_Agreement for reference.

There's a reason why it's often a lot cheaper to get an English book vs. a German one - German books don't go on sale. These fixed prices also apply to e-books.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on September 03, 2011, 02:58:48 AM
Quote from: Syt on September 02, 2011, 11:10:49 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on September 02, 2011, 01:35:50 PM
France does something similar.  I imagine a few other Euros do the same thing.  :yuk:

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed_Book_Price_Agreement for reference.



:bleeding: :bleeding: :bleeding: WTF
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on September 03, 2011, 03:15:39 AM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books, so Amazon.it is doing a megasale applying -40% on over 200.000 books, ending tonight.

I just ordered them more than 300 euros of books  :blush: I should be ok until Christmas at least.

L.
Why? And how can that even be legal. :blink:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on September 03, 2011, 03:24:16 AM
When Amazon started out in Germany they would often give out book vouchers e.g. for christmas. They had to stop that practice, because these were deemed illegal rebates on books.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Pedrito on September 03, 2011, 07:10:03 AM
Quote from: Barrister on September 02, 2011, 01:31:36 PM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books,

What an enormously stupid law.

Oh, right.

Italy.

Europe

:(
FYP

France and Germany did this for years.

Enormously stupid, I confirm.

L.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Neil on September 03, 2011, 07:19:03 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on September 03, 2011, 03:15:39 AM
Quote from: Pedrito on August 31, 2011, 05:09:49 AM
Tomorrow in Italy a law will be enacted that will ban discounts over -15% on books, so Amazon.it is doing a megasale applying -40% on over 200.000 books, ending tonight.

I just ordered them more than 300 euros of books  :blush: I should be ok until Christmas at least.

L.
Why? And how can that even be legal. :blink:
In order to defeat chain bookstores.  Mind you, in the age of the internet, I don't think it's that important.  Still, pretty much every country of imporantce in Europe except the UK does it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on September 04, 2011, 04:54:42 PM
in the middle of the middle book of Varley's "Gaea" trilogy - Wizard. I'd forgotten almost all of this one. good quick read kind of SF with nits of sexy, bits of weird, bits of Science all mashed together nicely.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on September 06, 2011, 08:46:47 AM
Reading Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PDH on September 06, 2011, 09:48:20 AM
Rereading With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, good book, and a remarkable tension in the author (forty years later) that always strikes me.  Okinawa especially becomes a hell in this book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on September 06, 2011, 09:48:58 AM
Quote from: PDH on September 06, 2011, 09:48:20 AM
Rereading With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, good book, and a remarkable tension in the author (forty years later) that always strikes me.  Okinawa especially becomes a hell in this book.

Good choice, excellent book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on September 10, 2011, 03:32:11 AM
Reread "Congo Mercenary" by Mike Hoare. About his actions in the '64 Congo Crisis. Been two decades or so since the last read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on September 10, 2011, 09:40:49 AM
Anyone read any good sci-fi lately?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Octavian on September 10, 2011, 12:29:12 PM
Currently reading a book about Vegas and the mob. It's mostly a collection of various stories and anecdotes but still interesting. I especially like the story of the two dumb Tony's who, while driving to Los Angeles in order to work for Mickey Cohen, decided to stop by Vegas and rob the Flamingo. This at a time when it was controlled by Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello among others.

The two dumb Tony's got away with 3000 $. And were later found in Los Angeles shot several times in the face.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gaijin de Moscu on September 10, 2011, 04:41:21 PM
If anyone's into Historical Fantasy / Aztecs, drop me a pm with your email and I'll be happy to gift you my book on Amazon for free.

It's cheap now, but I'll increase the price soon.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on September 10, 2011, 06:07:24 PM
Read most of the Marquis de Sade's "120 Days of Sodom."  Goodness me.  :mellow:

My favorite passage was from the editors' foreword, though, and one I find very moving: "... as a judge, and to his mortal peril, [the Marquis de Sade] declined to sentence members of the opposition to death, explaining that while one might commit crimes for the sake of pleasure, it was not among his principles to murder in the name of justice."   :sleep:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on September 10, 2011, 06:08:54 PM
Haven't read any Sade. Like reading about taking a dump.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on September 10, 2011, 06:14:21 PM
Quote from: The Brain on September 10, 2011, 06:08:54 PM
Haven't read any Sade. Like reading about taking a dump into a kidnapped child's mouth.

FYPFY, but that is basically it.  Kind of mesmerizing in its own way, though.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on September 10, 2011, 06:52:57 PM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on September 10, 2011, 06:14:21 PM
Kind of mesmerizing in its own way, though.

Yeah, he's kind of trippy.  I find it difficult to believe the argument that he was a political philosopher, though.

Sorta hard to see a daughter's dildoing her mother and sewing up her labia as a compelling argument of natural law as a counterweight to church doctrine.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on September 10, 2011, 07:00:39 PM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on September 10, 2011, 06:52:57 PM
Sorta hard to see a daughter's dildoing her mother and sewing up her labia as a compelling argument of natural law as a counterweight to church doctrine.

:lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Zoupa on September 10, 2011, 07:13:28 PM
My parent's house in France looks out on Sade's castle.  Sad to say it's a crumbled pile nowadays.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on September 10, 2011, 08:04:08 PM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on September 10, 2011, 06:52:57 PM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on September 10, 2011, 06:14:21 PM
Kind of mesmerizing in its own way, though.

Yeah, he's kind of trippy.  I find it difficult to believe the argument that he was a political philosopher, though.

Sorta hard to see a daughter's dildoing her mother and sewing up her labia as a compelling argument of natural law as a counterweight to church doctrine.

Yeah, since he was known to have torture and raped his own servants, I don't think he was writing to test the limits of acceptable human behavior.  He just wrote about the kind of things he liked to do.  Since he also wrote about murder, and considering that he acted or tried to act on his other fantasies I think there's a strong possibility that he was also a serial killer.  I don't think there's any direct evidence of that, but serial killers are hard to find, and if a prostitute was found strangled in a ditch somewhere nobody would have cared much in those days.  The Guy was the 18th century version of the BTK serial killer.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Lettow77 on September 11, 2011, 09:46:05 PM
 The Makioka Sisters. Getting my literary dose of Ara Ara~

Then it's on to Crysanthemum and the Sword, which is my favourite kind of book.

I haven't read in awhile because i've been ingesting culture through alternative means. Excited to be back into it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on September 12, 2011, 03:51:20 AM
I'm reading a brand new Swedish book about the 1,000+ year history of Swedes east of the Baltic. Obviously it's not news to me that it existed but it's interesting to read details about for instance the history of the city of Viborg. Founded by Sweden in the 13th century, within the borders of Sweden until 1710 (officially 1721), and with a big and important Swedish community until WW2. After WW2 obviously all Swedes and Finns had left. I came through Viborg in 1991 and it sure was a sorry sight. Russians cannot into good.

If anyone's interested it's Den glömda historien by John Chrispinsson.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on September 12, 2011, 08:34:41 AM
Quote from: Zoupa on September 10, 2011, 07:13:28 PM
My parent's house in France looks out on Sade's castle.  Sad to say it's a crumbled pile nowadays.

Too bad, it would make an excellent site for an upscale hotel.

"I'm staying in the Sade's castle tonight ... ".  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on September 13, 2011, 07:04:34 PM
Going on a Le Carre binge before the release of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (:mmm:). 

It's a good binge.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on September 13, 2011, 07:07:41 PM
Quote from: Malthus on September 12, 2011, 08:34:41 AM
Quote from: Zoupa on September 10, 2011, 07:13:28 PM
My parent's house in France looks out on Sade's castle.  Sad to say it's a crumbled pile nowadays.

Too bad, it would make an excellent site for an upscale hotel.

"I'm staying in the Sade's castle tonight ... ".  :D

I'd go.  :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on October 05, 2011, 09:51:55 AM
Going to tackle Zamulin's Prokhorovka tome.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on October 05, 2011, 12:28:16 PM
Quote from: Barrister on August 16, 2011, 03:56:00 PM
Just finished A History of Scotland, by Neil Oliver.  Certainly lighter historical fair then much of what is mentioned here, but I enjoyed it as a good read while commuting.  I could certainly have done without the geologic history of Scotland (:rolleyes:), and the knob-polishing of William Wallace was to be expected, the author does gain bonus points for pointing out some of the contradictions inherent in scottish nationalism and its victimization complex, and does interestingly go at great lengths to explain how Scotland profitted from slavery.

If you want to cover several thousand years (or billions even) in 450 pages, it wasn't a bad way to do it.

The geology section was great!  I loved how he explained that historians are often criticized for not going back far enough in time so he was starting at the very beginning.  I thought it was a good humorous jab.

You should also see his BBC series on the History of Scotland. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on October 05, 2011, 01:39:29 PM
Drood by Dan Simmons.

In his previous book, Terror, he fictionalized the end days of the Franklin Expedition. In this one, he fictionalizes the last decade or so in the life of Charles Dickens. Despite what that sounds like, it does end up being an amazing horror novel with an unreliable narrator, drug-induced hallucinations, ghosts, a criminal underworld and all sorts of things. Quite intersting.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on October 05, 2011, 11:24:09 PM
Finally finished up The Generalissimo, which was a thoroughly excellent read.  Don't know why I plodded through it, to be honest.  Too busy with World of Tanks, most likely.   :blush:

Now off to Richard Miles' Carthage Must Be Destroyed.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on October 13, 2011, 09:55:00 AM
I'm halfway through Chandler's The Big Sleep. Classic noir, and much better than I expected.

The similarities with the first few books of the Dresden Files is astounding. I knew Jim Butcher was inspired by noir, but didn't realize just how much so.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on November 07, 2011, 10:03:53 PM
I finished The Honourable Schoolboy.  I think there must be a German word to describe the feeling you get when you reach the end of a Le Carre novel.  It's a sort of melancholic satisfaction.  But a good book, hopefully they adapt this one next.  The BBC never had the budget when doing 70s Smiley.

I've also just started C V Wedgwood's history of the Thirty Years War.  I've never read a book on the war and wanted to fix that.  Ta-Nehisi Coates gave this a few rave reviews on his blog and rightly so.  The writing's superb.  This is one of those history books that I think are worth reading for style alone and I love the sense of the past weighing her down as she writes this.  The version I've got was updated in the 60s but this was first written in the 30s and that really does come across.  It's a beautiful book so far - I'm only a couple of hundred pages in, but I chewed through them over the past day or two.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on November 14, 2011, 04:15:39 PM
Just learned while reading a review in The Atlantic that le Carre introduced the words mole (meaning a double spy) and honey trap into the English language.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on November 14, 2011, 04:26:54 PM
Quote from: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?

This. :contract:

I'm currently getting into a reading mood again, after a hiatus of a few months (or to be perfectly honest, more like a year) and I need some good suggestions for either Fantasy or Sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for Sanderson and I need something to cover the vast gap until he squirts something out again.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, do check Sanderson out. Mistborn was great, and Stormlight has tremendous potential.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on November 14, 2011, 04:37:13 PM
Just about finished reading Descent into Madness: The Diary of a Killer by Vernon Frolick.

http://www.amazon.com/Descent-Into-Madness-Diary-Killer/dp/B000WLZLQ0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1321306054&sr=8-5

Not sure how wide a distribution this ever received, though my copy says it is a fourth edition.  I picked this one up in the really good Whitehorse book store, but forgot about it until recently.

Anyways it's the story of Michael Oros, a US draft dodger who flees out into the wilderness of northern BC and survives there for over a decade.  I see that one of the Amazon reviews draws the comparison to Into The Wild - except of course this guy could actually survive in the wilderness.

He was also, of course, quite thoroughly mad.  Classic paranoid schizophrenic.  The guy kept detailed journals throughout the entire period, but of course they mostly just described his delusions of being bersecuted by Them, the Torture-Druggers and sneakarounds.

The guy killed a german trapper because his fingernails were too clean.  Police actually went in and were able to arrest him, but they never had enough evidence to charge him with murder.  However that episode just re-inforced his paranoia, so when he broke into someone's cabin to live in for the winter, and when the police went out to arrest him, an RCMP officer was shot and killed before Oros himself was killed.

This happened in the early 80s so long enough ago that I don't know any of the people involved (though obviously it's filled with various police and prosecutors from northern BC / Yukon), but it describes the kinds of people I know well, and areas I know well.

It's been quite enjoyable.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on November 14, 2011, 04:57:51 PM
Quote from: Barrister on November 14, 2011, 04:37:13 PM
Just about finished reading Descent into Madness: The Diary of a Killer by Vernon Frolick.

http://www.amazon.com/Descent-Into-Madness-Diary-Killer/dp/B000WLZLQ0/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1321306054&sr=8-5

Not sure how wide a distribution this ever received, though my copy says it is a fourth edition.  I picked this one up in the really good Whitehorse book store, but forgot about it until recently.

Anyways it's the story of Michael Oros, a US draft dodger who flees out into the wilderness of northern BC and survives there for over a decade.  I see that one of the Amazon reviews draws the comparison to Into The Wild - except of course this guy could actually survive in the wilderness.

He was also, of course, quite thoroughly mad.  Classic paranoid schizophrenic.  The guy kept detailed journals throughout the entire period, but of course they mostly just described his delusions of being bersecuted by Them, the Torture-Druggers and sneakarounds.

The guy killed a german trapper because his fingernails were too clean.  Police actually went in and were able to arrest him, but they never had enough evidence to charge him with murder.  However that episode just re-inforced his paranoia, so when he broke into someone's cabin to live in for the winter, and when the police went out to arrest him, an RCMP officer was shot and killed before Oros himself was killed.

This happened in the early 80s so long enough ago that I don't know any of the people involved (though obviously it's filled with various police and prosecutors from northern BC / Yukon), but it describes the kinds of people I know well, and areas I know well.

It's been quite enjoyable.

Sorta reminds me of a modern version of the Mad Trapper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Johnson_(criminal)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on November 14, 2011, 05:04:54 PM
Quote from: Malthus on November 14, 2011, 04:57:51 PM
Sorta reminds me of a modern version of the Mad Trapper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Johnson_(criminal)

A comparison that was not lost on the RCMP at the time.  There were several comments that this was the first wilderness manhunt the force had undertaken since the Mad Trapper.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on December 04, 2011, 11:10:08 AM
Finally

http://www.amazon.com/BLOOD-STEEL-MYTH-II-SS-Panzer-Korps-Prochorowka/dp/0974838942/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1323014880&sr=8-18
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on December 04, 2011, 02:49:06 PM
Quote from: Slargos on November 14, 2011, 04:26:54 PM
Quote from: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?

This. :contract:

I'm currently getting into a reading mood again, after a hiatus of a few months (or to be perfectly honest, more like a year) and I need some good suggestions for either Fantasy or Sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for Sanderson and I need something to cover the vast gap until he squirts something out again.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, do check Sanderson out. Mistborn was great, and Stormlight has tremendous potential.
Patrick Rothfuss, if you haven't already read him already.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on December 04, 2011, 04:50:24 PM
Quote from: Slargos on November 14, 2011, 04:26:54 PM
Quote from: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?

This. :contract:

I'm currently getting into a reading mood again, after a hiatus of a few months (or to be perfectly honest, more like a year) and I need some good suggestions for either Fantasy or Sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for Sanderson and I need something to cover the vast gap until he squirts something out again.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, do check Sanderson out. Mistborn was great, and Stormlight has tremendous potential.

Watch on the Rhine by Kratman. Not really good, but you'll like it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on December 04, 2011, 05:18:08 PM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on November 14, 2011, 04:15:39 PM
Just learned while reading a review in The Atlantic that le Carre introduced the words mole (meaning a double spy) and honey trap into the English language.

It will be a tremendous loss to English language fiction when he finally goes.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on December 04, 2011, 05:18:21 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on December 04, 2011, 04:50:24 PM
Quote from: Slargos on November 14, 2011, 04:26:54 PM
Quote from: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?

This. :contract:

I'm currently getting into a reading mood again, after a hiatus of a few months (or to be perfectly honest, more like a year) and I need some good suggestions for either Fantasy or Sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for Sanderson and I need something to cover the vast gap until he squirts something out again.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, do check Sanderson out. Mistborn was great, and Stormlight has tremendous potential.

Watch on the Rhine by Kratman. Not really good, but you'll like it.

Meh. I thought it was ok.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Slargos on December 04, 2011, 05:23:32 PM
Quote from: Scipio on December 04, 2011, 02:49:06 PM
Quote from: Slargos on November 14, 2011, 04:26:54 PM
Quote from: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?

This. :contract:

I'm currently getting into a reading mood again, after a hiatus of a few months (or to be perfectly honest, more like a year) and I need some good suggestions for either Fantasy or Sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for Sanderson and I need something to cover the vast gap until he squirts something out again.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, do check Sanderson out. Mistborn was great, and Stormlight has tremendous potential.
Patrick Rothfuss, if you haven't already read him already.

Rothfuss looks like a hilarious fat guy, and despite the fact that the premise for the book sounds unappealing, his chubby cheeks scream to me "Read it!"

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on December 04, 2011, 05:47:00 PM
Quote from: Slargos on December 04, 2011, 05:23:32 PM
Quote from: Scipio on December 04, 2011, 02:49:06 PM
Quote from: Slargos on November 14, 2011, 04:26:54 PM
Quote from: Kleves on November 13, 2011, 09:06:34 PM
Anyone read any good fantasy recently? Is Daniel Abraham's The Dragon's Path any good?

This. :contract:

I'm currently getting into a reading mood again, after a hiatus of a few months (or to be perfectly honest, more like a year) and I need some good suggestions for either Fantasy or Sci-fi. I'm waiting impatiently for Sanderson and I need something to cover the vast gap until he squirts something out again.

Oh, and if you haven't yet, do check Sanderson out. Mistborn was great, and Stormlight has tremendous potential.
Patrick Rothfuss, if you haven't already read him already.

Rothfuss looks like a hilarious fat guy, and despite the fact that the premise for the book sounds unappealing, his chubby cheeks scream to me "Read it!"
The main character is an unapologetic Marty Stu, and it reeks of Tolkienian juvenalia, but it's unaccountably readable and naturalistic.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on December 09, 2011, 07:31:22 PM
This is possibly only of interest to Wags:

Paranoia novels:

http://ultravioletbooks.com/

I'm sure they will suck.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on December 12, 2011, 06:50:21 AM
Quote from: 11B4V on December 04, 2011, 11:10:08 AM
Finally

http://www.amazon.com/BLOOD-STEEL-MYTH-II-SS-Panzer-Korps-Prochorowka/dp/0974838942/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1323014880&sr=8-18

Photos are superb and an ass load of them. Book is simular in format and detail to his book "Last Panzer Victory". Nipe is in the camp that advocates that Hoth's redirction of II SS Pz Corps towards Prokhorovka was not planned. 8.5/10
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on December 12, 2011, 12:02:59 PM
I'm reading Pyrrhic Victory, about French strategy and operations in WW1.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on December 12, 2011, 01:44:47 PM
on a lark I picked up a used copy of the King/Bachmann book: The Regulators. A good airplane-y kind of read. A bit predictable, but I'm almost done, so I guess it ain't that bad or I'd have moved on.

On the shelf to be read this winter... The rest of Cornwell's Alfred the Great series, The Stars My Destination (re-read after 20+ years), "Claw & Shadow" which I read so long ago, it was two books :p (Shadow Of The Torturer, Claw of The Conciliator), some Steven Berkhoff (On Food), some Vernor Vinge, Connie Willis, and a few others.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on December 12, 2011, 02:04:26 PM
Metric fuckton of old Legion of Super-Heroes comics.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on December 12, 2011, 02:09:35 PM
Quote from: BuddhaRhubarb on December 12, 2011, 01:44:47 PM
on a lark I picked up a used copy of the King/Bachmann book: The Regulators. A good airplane-y kind of read. A bit predictable, but I'm almost done, so I guess it ain't that bad or I'd have moved on.

On the shelf to be read this winter... The rest of Cornwell's Alfred the Great series, The Stars My Destination (re-read after 20+ years), "Claw & Shadow" which I read so long ago, it was two books :p (Shadow Of The Torturer, Claw of The Conciliator), some Steven Berkhoff (On Food), some Vernor Vinge, Connie Willis, and a few others.

The Regulators turned me off King for good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on December 13, 2011, 01:14:00 AM
I've started re-reading Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. I last read it when it originally came out. So with the prequels and all, the scenes on Coruscant now look radically different in my head, along with a few other things.

What's I find really grating, though, is Zahn's dialogue. Characters hardly ever just say anything. Instead the call, comment, conclude, interrupt, nod, agree, disagree . . .

When they do say something, it's either with an adverb (calmly, excitedly, sardonically, conversationally) or a description of their voice (Mara said, her voice cold) or while doing something (he said, picking up another piece/reaching for his gun etc.). There's only a handful of plain, simple "he said/she said" or dialogues with just beats inserted into them.

It's really rather comedic to me when you pay attention to it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on December 13, 2011, 01:27:28 AM
I know the vast majority of people hate that, but I sort of like it.  Maybe it's because I like comics and movies better than books, and that sort of visual or emotional information is already (albeit more seamlessly) embedded in those media.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on December 13, 2011, 01:32:37 AM
Yes, but I think you can show this also through character's actions and reactions and don't have to fall back on lazy telling.

But perhaps that's just me. I equally dislike the excessive use of the -ing to describe when a charecter does something parallel to another action ("Drinking his coffee, he surfed the internet."), or worse, with "as" added ("Sitting in his chair as he drank his coffee, he surfed the internet.")

Just my personal preferance.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on December 13, 2011, 01:43:18 AM
Quote from: Syt on December 13, 2011, 01:14:00 AM
I've started re-reading Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. I last read it when it originally came out. So with the prequels and all, the scenes on Coruscant now look radically different in my head, along with a few other things.

What's I find really grating, though, is Zahn's dialogue. Characters hardly ever just say anything. Instead the call, comment, conclude, interrupt, nod, agree, disagree . . .

When they do say something, it's either with an adverb (calmly, excitedly, sardonically, conversationally) or a description of their voice (Mara said, her voice cold) or while doing something (he said, picking up another piece/reaching for his gun etc.). There's only a handful of plain, simple "he said/she said" or dialogues with just beats inserted into them.

It's really rather comedic to me when you pay attention to it.
I loved those when they first came out, but looking back I'm pretty sure it was solely because it was all that was out there other than the movies and comics.  I absolutely despise Zahn now.  As you mentioned, the dialogue is terrible and the magic ability of characters to pop in everywhere at the exact moment they're needed and usually in large numbers is grating as hell to me.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on December 13, 2011, 01:48:12 AM
Yeah, I guess it was the same for me. I hated a lot of the Expanded Universe, because of the way they treated the main characters. It's kind of like season 5 of Babylon 5. Yeah, there's some good bits, but a lot of tension is gone now that the main storyline is resolved and a lot of it is a shadow of its former goodness.

I always preferred EU stories about new or minor/background characters (like the Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina/Jabba's Palace collections). I guess that's what I like about the Old Republic setting. I still need to check out the Legacy comics, set 120+ years after the movies. I also liked the first two or three X-Wing books (very much because it didn't focus on the known characters) when they came out, though I'm not sure they've stood the test of time, either.

I guess when it comes to Star Wars I might be more of a comic book guy (loved the Marvel comics when I was a kid).
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on December 13, 2011, 04:30:48 AM
Quote from: Syt on December 13, 2011, 01:48:12 AM
Yeah, I guess it was the same for me. I hated a lot of the Expanded Universe, because of the way they treated the main characters. It's kind of like season 5 of Babylon 5. Yeah, there's some good bits, but a lot of tension is gone now that the main storyline is resolved and a lot of it is a shadow of its former goodness.

I always preferred EU stories about new or minor/background characters (like the Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina/Jabba's Palace collections). I guess that's what I like about the Old Republic setting. I still need to check out the Legacy comics, set 120+ years after the movies. I also liked the first two or three X-Wing books (very much because it didn't focus on the known characters) when they came out, though I'm not sure they've stood the test of time, either.

I guess when it comes to Star Wars I might be more of a comic book guy (loved the Marvel comics when I was a kid).
Have you read any of the Karen Traviss Clone Wars Era books?  They're fantastic stuff in my opinion.  I don't think they involve major characters other than maybe being mentioned in the background or incidental run-ins.  They're actually my biggest gripe against Lucas and his empire right now, as they were all ret-conned away before the series finished so that the Clone Wars cartoon could change the way Mandalore and Mandalorians worked to make us of in a few episodes. :bleeding:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on December 13, 2011, 04:44:29 AM
Well, word of mouth has it that the different Mandalorians will be retconned to work together within the different media.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on December 13, 2011, 04:51:28 AM
Quote from: Syt on December 13, 2011, 04:44:29 AM
Well, word of mouth has it that the different Mandalorians will be retconned to work together within the different media.
Meh.  Still won't get me a finish from Traviss, as she has moved onto other projects and said that the Star Wars universe was fun while it lasted, but has moved on.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on December 15, 2011, 12:06:17 AM
Ordered Georg Maier's Drama Between Budapest and Vienna: The Final Fighting of the 6th Panzer-Armee in the East - 1945

It's got top reviews and apparently gives a detailed German account of  Operation "Spring Awakening" among other things.

For my comiedic relief I shall reread Caidin's The Tigers are Burning
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on December 20, 2011, 11:47:41 PM
Drama Between Budapest and Vienna. What a beatiful book.


Hard cover, large format (9" x 12") with 509 text pages, nearly 1,000 footnotes, 16 pages of photos, 124 appendices and a separate 32-page full-color map book.

Georg Maier, the former Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of the 6. (SS)-Panzer-Armee.

Here's a snippet from a review.

QuoteThis story is highly researched and is presented in great detail on a daily basis. The coverage includes the captures, victories and defeats by each unit on each side. It also includes the planning and objectives for each drive as well as the results and meaning of the results. The German commanders are given good coverage as well for they have major impact, sometimes positive and sometimes negative on the results. Generals Balck, Gille and Grolman in the field and General Guderian back in Berlin are given special attention. Balck frequently overstepped his authority and caused a lot of friction. With the inclusion of war diary entries and communiques between commanders as well as with Berlin, the reader can sense what the German Command were experiencing. There were also a few letter fragments from the field that help you understand what the infantry was experiencing.

Mr Maier's effort is truly outstanding. Using war diaries of Division, Corps and Army diaries plus other primary and secondary sources has reconstructed in such detail an important piece of history for posterity.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on December 21, 2011, 10:13:17 AM
I just finished Eco's The Prague Cemetary.  Nicely crafted novel that will appeal to both JR/Malthus and Slargos but in order for Slargos to fully enjoy the novel Slargos will have to ignore the caveat of a reviewer that this novel is meant to be ironic and the more simple minded should avoid it. Once he has done that he will find full justification for all his beliefs.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on December 21, 2011, 11:57:34 AM
That's on my Christmas wish list. I'm a huge fan of Eco's. (although his last one not so much)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on December 29, 2011, 04:07:24 AM
Anyone know of any decent books on the Dutch War of Independence?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: sbr on December 29, 2011, 04:58:52 AM
I'm about 2/3 of the way through The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the first book of Edmund Morris' 3 volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt.  Very good so far.  Anyone read the entire work?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on December 29, 2011, 07:02:09 AM
Quote from: sbr on December 29, 2011, 04:58:52 AM
I'm about 2/3 of the way through The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the first book of Edmund Morris' 3 volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt.  Very good so far.  Anyone read the entire work?
I've read the first two, but not the third. They're very good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Maladict on December 29, 2011, 07:47:09 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on December 29, 2011, 04:07:24 AM
Anyone know of any decent books on the Dutch War of Independence?

The Dutch Revolt by Geoffrey Parker (seems to be out of print)
The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 by Jonathan Israel (not just about the war, obviously)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valdemar on December 29, 2011, 08:05:18 AM
Any one read "the dwarves" series by a German author, I think he is called Heist.

If so, what do they compare to?

Read the awakend and innocent mage books recently, they were quite fun, if light, reading, but I stalled a quarter way into the follow up. Predictable as hell.

Read the Arthur books by Cornwell instead, quite good and made me pick up his alfred series again (dropped it after 3 books last time)

I can recommend his novel Azincourt, set, obviously in France right before and during the battle.

V
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Threviel on December 29, 2011, 10:15:56 AM
Quote from: Valdemar on December 29, 2011, 08:05:18 AM
Any one read "the dwarves" series by a German author, I think he is called Heist.

If so, what do they compare to?

Read the awakend and innocent mage books recently, they were quite fun, if light, reading, but I stalled a quarter way into the follow up. Predictable as hell.

Read the Arthur books by Cornwell instead, quite good and made me pick up his alfred series again (dropped it after 3 books last time)

I can recommend his novel Azincourt, set, obviously in France right before and during the battle.

V

Stay away from the dwarves unless you like low quality fantasy with plot holes bigger than Middle Earth. They are acceptable airplane reads, but little else.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on December 29, 2011, 10:30:06 AM
Is it uncool to say I'm enjoying the latest Stephen King book? It's not exactly 14th century history or anything, but it is the sort of nerdy alternate universe genre you guys like. In this one, man steps into past to stop Oswald from killing Kennedy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on December 29, 2011, 10:51:54 AM
Quote from: Josephus on December 29, 2011, 10:30:06 AM
Is it uncool to say I'm enjoying the latest Stephen King book? It's not exactly 14th century history or anything, but it is the sort of nerdy alternate universe genre you guys like. In this one, man steps into past to stop Oswald from killing Kennedy.
That is such a tired idea.  All those fucking baby boomers and their goddamn Kennedy obsession.  Fuck the Kennedys, and fuck the baby boom generation that made them possible.

For fuckssakes, he's the second most worthless president ever assassinated.  GET OVER IT.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on December 29, 2011, 12:03:35 PM
Did you want me to lend it to you when I'm done? ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on December 29, 2011, 12:44:24 PM
Slogging through "Shadow Of the Torturer" It has it's moments, but it's not at all what I remember from the series. as I read I feel the second book may have been the one I really liked. It's not bad, or poorly written, It was more exciting somehow when I was a teenager.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on December 29, 2011, 08:46:11 PM
Devil in the White City. Going in, I didn't know anything about H.H. Holmes or the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, so the book was enjoyable. The author, however, seems to essentially make some chunks of the story up out of whole cloth, which is usually not a good thing in a history book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: mongers on December 29, 2011, 08:54:52 PM
I intend to read more than one book next year.  :cool:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on December 29, 2011, 09:43:46 PM
I intend to read no books this year.  Fuck all this words-on-paper noise.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 12:29:59 AM
Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story - The Epic Stands of the Marines of George Company
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on December 31, 2011, 12:49:54 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 12:29:59 AM
Give Me Tomorrow: The Korean War's Greatest Untold Story - The Epic Stands of the Marines of George Company

Review when you get the chance, please?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 01:04:11 AM
Sure, I just started it though.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Jaron on December 31, 2011, 01:31:23 AM
Has anyone read a book (series?) called "The Hunger Games" or something along those lines. Co-workers keep pestering me to pick it up but I've never heard of it before. Has anyone read it and willing to give their opinion of it?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: sbr on December 31, 2011, 01:35:12 AM
Quote from: Jaron on December 31, 2011, 01:31:23 AM
Has anyone read a book (series?) called "The Hunger Games" or something along those lines. Co-workers keep pestering me to pick it up but I've never heard of it before. Has anyone read it and willing to give their opinion of it?

It is a "young adult" series and my oldest daughtler loved it.  I haven't read it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on December 31, 2011, 01:47:42 AM
I'm half way through the Steve Jobs bio.  It was a Christmas present.  Man was Jobs a huge freak. :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 02:03:50 AM
Man, it's weird reading about fighting raging through towns I've been to and/or traveled through.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 03:39:04 AM
I've read 21% of "Give Me Tomorrow", and though the writing is nothing special, the anecdotes he relates are quite gripping.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on December 31, 2011, 04:06:23 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 02:03:50 AM
Man, it's weird reading about fighting raging through towns I've been to and/or traveled through.

Clearly you've never been to continental Europe. :P
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on December 31, 2011, 10:01:12 AM
Quote from: Jaron on December 31, 2011, 01:31:23 AM
Has anyone read a book (series?) called "The Hunger Games" or something along those lines. Co-workers keep pestering me to pick it up but I've never heard of it before. Has anyone read it and willing to give their opinion of it?

My younger boy and his friends all like it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: ulmont on December 31, 2011, 10:54:32 AM
Quote from: Jaron on December 31, 2011, 01:31:23 AM
Has anyone read a book (series?) called "The Hunger Games" or something along those lines. Co-workers keep pestering me to pick it up but I've never heard of it before. Has anyone read it and willing to give their opinion of it?

It's basically "Battle Royale."  First one wasn't bad.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on January 02, 2012, 10:16:49 AM
Reading the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, which is a 90th anniversary edition containing essays from the past 90 years. REally cool contemporary stuff on Lenin, Hitler, The Cold War...etc.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on January 02, 2012, 10:27:09 AM
Quote from: Syt on December 31, 2011, 04:06:23 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 02:03:50 AM
Man, it's weird reading about fighting raging through towns I've been to and/or traveled through.

Clearly you've never been to continental Europe. :P
lol
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on January 02, 2012, 10:28:08 AM
Heirs of the Prophet Muhammad

Nice for background only the early years of the Caliphate. However for a book that has a subtitl3 about the sunni-shia split it doesn't fare well. Ends roughly with the rise of the Umayyads.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on January 02, 2012, 11:40:02 AM
Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life beyond Our Solar System

It's basically exactly what it says. It goes through the history of searching for extrasolar planets, the methods used, and the potential future.

Tim should definitely read this book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on January 02, 2012, 03:44:51 PM
Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. George B. McClellan: colossal douche.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: dps on January 02, 2012, 04:35:50 PM
Quote from: Syt on December 31, 2011, 04:06:23 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on December 31, 2011, 02:03:50 AM
Man, it's weird reading about fighting raging through towns I've been to and/or traveled through.

Clearly you've never been to continental Europe. :P

Or Boston, Trenton, Nashville, San Antonio, and too many other places in the US to mention.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on January 02, 2012, 04:44:42 PM
What were people saying about Hitler and Lenin when they first came to power.  Terrific dancer?  Well manicured little beard?  The type of face you want to carve into every piece of stone and paint on every piece of paper in your country?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 02, 2012, 07:08:11 PM
Quote from: Kleves on January 02, 2012, 03:44:51 PM
Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam. George B. McClellan: colossal douche.
That's a great book!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on January 02, 2012, 07:32:11 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on January 02, 2012, 04:44:42 PM
What were people saying about Hitler and Lenin when they first came to power.  Terrific dancer?  Well manicured little beard?  The type of face you want to carve into every piece of stone and paint on every piece of paper in your country?

Buy Foreign Affairs.  ;) The answer's a little too deep for a Languish sound bite.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on January 03, 2012, 12:04:00 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on January 02, 2012, 07:08:11 PM
That's a great book!
It is. I had just forgotten how much of a tool McClellan was. And am I the only one who has a hard time disliking Burnside?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on January 03, 2012, 02:35:38 AM
Quote from: Josephus on January 02, 2012, 07:32:11 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on January 02, 2012, 04:44:42 PM
What were people saying about Hitler and Lenin when they first came to power.  Terrific dancer?  Well manicured little beard?  The type of face you want to carve into every piece of stone and paint on every piece of paper in your country?

Buy Foreign Affairs.  ;) The answer's a little too deep for a Languish sound bite.

I gotta download that edition on to my kindle.
I'm glad I didn't cancel my subscription. :)

I also have to start using that 100 years of National Geographic stuff I have. I read a few articles from pre-WWI and during it, but articles during the Russian Revolution would be pretty cool. During WWI is not quite as interesting as you'd expect, though it does make sense - it's hard to talk about the significance of, say, Gallipolli when you don't have hindsight.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 03, 2012, 03:02:02 AM
"Churchill's Master Stroke Promises Swift End to War."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on January 03, 2012, 04:03:18 AM
Quote from: Kleves on January 03, 2012, 12:04:00 AM

It is. I had just forgotten how much of a tool McClellan was. And am I the only one who has a hard time disliking Burnside?

Burnside was a decent guy.  He knew he wasn't competent to run the entire army of the Potomac and to his credit tried to avoid the commission.  He wasn't a totally incompetent solider though, and suffered a lot of bad luck.  He did know his strengths and he probably would have served better as a mid ranking military bureaucrat rather then front line commander.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on January 03, 2012, 07:38:03 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 03, 2012, 03:02:02 AM
"Churchill's Master Stroke Promises Swift End to War."

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi76.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fj18%2FFunkMonk2000%2FJohn_Churchill_Marlborough_portrtterad_av_Adriaen_van_der_Werff_1659-1722.jpg&hash=3fd5d23026829723915c984106b42fb1a93baf64)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on January 03, 2012, 09:13:52 AM
"New state of Poland created. Will never be taken seriously."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 03, 2012, 09:44:37 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on January 03, 2012, 04:03:18 AM
Quote from: Kleves on January 03, 2012, 12:04:00 AM

It is. I had just forgotten how much of a tool McClellan was. And am I the only one who has a hard time disliking Burnside?

Burnside was a decent guy.  He knew he wasn't competent to run the entire army of the Potomac and to his credit tried to avoid the commission.  He wasn't a totally incompetent solider though, and suffered a lot of bad luck.  He did know his strengths and he probably would have served better as a mid ranking military bureaucrat rather then front line commander.

Plus he harassed the Copperheads in Ohio. Good guy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on January 03, 2012, 09:47:35 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 03, 2012, 09:44:37 AM
Quote from: Razgovory on January 03, 2012, 04:03:18 AM
Quote from: Kleves on January 03, 2012, 12:04:00 AM

It is. I had just forgotten how much of a tool McClellan was. And am I the only one who has a hard time disliking Burnside?

Burnside was a decent guy.  He knew he wasn't competent to run the entire army of the Potomac and to his credit tried to avoid the commission.  He wasn't a totally incompetent solider though, and suffered a lot of bad luck.  He did know his strengths and he probably would have served better as a mid ranking military bureaucrat rather then front line commander.

Plus he harassed the Copperheads in Ohio. Good guy.

And had the most awesome facial hair - evidently a prime pre-requisite for a civil war general.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 03, 2012, 09:52:40 AM
At least he didn't John Bell Hood his own army.

WHERES MAH OPIUM?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Jacob on January 03, 2012, 01:09:02 PM
So I read the first four books of Game of Thrones. Does the fifth one end the series or is it another mess of unresolved story threads?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on January 03, 2012, 01:13:40 PM
Quote from: Jacob on January 03, 2012, 01:09:02 PM
So I read the first four books of Game of Thrones. Does the fifth one end the series or is it another mess of unresolved story threads?
I've not read it yet, but read the other four and agree. 

I think the TV series could end up a lot better than the books.  It's like the Harry Potter series, the author's addicted to adding things and developing a world while the TV or film producer has to strip a lot of that out and focus on narrative.  So the last Harry Potter book still had those wonderfully silly names for new things in the world and other slightly oddball wizards, while the films focussed on the road movie narrative and the final battle - strip out the Rowling-fun.

The TV series is very good, if you've not watched it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Jacob on January 03, 2012, 01:32:52 PM
Yeah, it's because of the TV series that I read the books. The show's really good, better than the books IMO. The sometimes tedious description of fantastic wonders is shown, and the acting and direction brings just a little more dimension to the characters as well.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on January 03, 2012, 05:08:37 PM
Quote from: Jacob on January 03, 2012, 01:09:02 PM
So I read the first four books of Game of Thrones. Does the fifth one end the series or is it another mess of unresolved story threads?

The fifth is as bad or worse than the fourth.  No end in sight and most of the interesting plot lines from the first three books never make it to print.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on January 05, 2012, 06:30:44 PM
Read ARSÈNAL – The Making of a Modern Superclub. Very informative and well-written. Goes into the nuts and bolts of the club since the arrival of Wenger (and a little bit prior) and really details the inner workings of the board over the years. Fully recommended to anyone interested in the club or the sport in general.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: sbr on January 05, 2012, 11:13:06 PM
Just finished Treasure Island for the first time.  My new phone came with a Google Books app and Treasure Island was preloaded on it, I got hooked pretty quick.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 12, 2012, 01:20:32 AM
Ah, the good old days. -_-

The opening paragraph of Cruelty and Laughter: Forgotten Comic Literature and the Unsentimental Eighteenth Century

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on January 12, 2012, 03:54:33 AM
Quote from: sbr on January 05, 2012, 11:13:06 PM
Just finished Treasure Island for the first time.  My new phone came with a Google Books app and Treasure Island was preloaded on it, I got hooked pretty quick.

About two thirds of the way through it, it's the first book I've read on a kindle. Funny that we are using new technology to read a 130 yr old book.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on January 12, 2012, 08:19:47 AM
Finished 11/22/63. Stephen King's best work since the late 80s.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on January 12, 2012, 12:18:17 PM
Quote from: Gups on January 12, 2012, 03:54:33 AM
Quote from: sbr on January 05, 2012, 11:13:06 PM
Just finished Treasure Island for the first time.  My new phone came with a Google Books app and Treasure Island was preloaded on it, I got hooked pretty quick.

About two thirds of the way through it, it's the first book I've read on a kindle. Funny that we are using new technology to read a 130 yr old book.

I felt the same way when I read The Three Muskateers but after finishing it I was happy for it because without the new technology and the free give away of classic titles I probably would never had the pleasure of that reading experience.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on January 12, 2012, 12:24:59 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on January 12, 2012, 12:18:17 PM
I felt the same way when I read The Three Muskateers but after finishing it I was happy for it because without the new technology and the free give away of classic titles I probably would never had the pleasure of that reading experience.
It's true.  Though I only read some classics on my Kindle.  There are some which I like to have a proper edition for because I need the notes or think the introduction will be worth it.

Similarly I've not really read many non-fiction books on the Kindle.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on January 12, 2012, 12:43:43 PM
Just finished the Steve Jobs bio.

Man was that man an asshole.  There's just no getting around it.  It's even the question that was put to him by his biographer, and numerous other people - why are you so mean sometimes?  Jobs had no real answer (or insight) - saying either 'it's just who I am', or 'you need to be blunt to get the best out of people'.  He was a man fascinated with zen buddhism and studied it all of his life, but never came remotely close to acheiving that calm buddhist demeanour.

I kind of wish the book had spent more time discussing both his early life and the start of apple.  That felt rushed.  Perhaps because the author felt those areas have been well written about in other books (they have).  But the dicussions of the last five years are so are pretty much common knowledge, with little new insight from the book - or at least to me.

It was also interesting because it makes the point that Jobs vision was the same for pretty much all of his career - the tightly integrated, well designed and beautiful single box.  You can see it in the original Mac, at NeXT, the iMac an onwards (original Apple II was much more Woz designed, but even then there were Jobsian influences on subsequent models).  Very, very few people have that kind of clarity of vision for that length of time.

The writing itself is very matter of fact - it doesn't get in the way, but neither does it make it worth reading if you have little interest in the subject.  It is however very well researched, with hundreds of interviews and of course unique access to Jobs himself (he was extremely protective of his privacy).  If you have an interest in the computer industry then it is worth taking a look at.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on January 12, 2012, 12:53:01 PM
Quote from: Josephus on January 12, 2012, 08:19:47 AM
Finished 11/22/63. Stephen King's best work since the late 80s.

Bought that for my mom.  I don't know if she has finished it yet.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 12, 2012, 02:22:12 PM
Cracked open Anthony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin, 1945.

Hitler, Stalin, Guderian, tanks, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 12, 2012, 02:25:11 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2012, 02:22:12 PM
Cracked open Anthony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin, 1945.

Hitler, Stalin, Guderian, tanks, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape.


I dumped mine at half-price books because of the rape.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 12, 2012, 02:28:54 PM
Yeah, I only started reading it to tide me over until my new book comes in :

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0306806886/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details

War in Italy, 1943-1945 : A Brutal Story by Richard Lamb.

Goes into good detail about the pro-Allied Italian troops, the German occupation of northern Italy, etc..  A lot of the negative reviews are from Fascist sympathizers, so the author seems to have pissed someone off somewhere.  Should be a good read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: HisMajestyBOB on January 14, 2012, 05:21:24 AM
Quote from: HisMajestyBOB on January 02, 2012, 11:40:02 AM
Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life beyond Our Solar System

It's basically exactly what it says. It goes through the history of searching for extrasolar planets, the methods used, and the potential future.

Tim should definitely read this book.

After finishing the book, I'll add to my review.

It gives an excellent overview of the history of planet-finding, and the various techniques for finding planets. However, the last chapter, on astrobiology, was extremely interesting but far to short. It only covered the very surface of the topic. It did have some interesting speculation, such as how plants might be black or other dark colors on planets around small red dwarf stars in order to absorb a greater stretch of the light spectrum, but not nearly enough. It easily could have had another few chapters on that.

There's a book exclusively on astrobiology that I'm looking at, but haven't bought yet. Hopefully it will cover what this book didn't.


Currently reading Court of the Red Tsar, a biography of Stalin. It focuses on the personal lives of Stalin and his inner circle. While it does of course talk about politics, that isn't its main focus. It's been pretty interesting so far, but I haven't even gotten to the Purges yet.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:46:32 AM
Finished Michel Houellebecq's The Map and the Territory.  It's probably his weakest novel.  It lacks energy--and when a Houllebecq novel lacks energy, holy shit, that's what they call a true vacuum.

Which is sort of the point, as the protagonist, Jed Martin, artist, is almost inhumanly emotionless; in this regard he is a complete departure from Daniel, from 2005's The Possibility of an Island, although his existence is remarkably similar to that book's Daniel 24 and Daniel 25 (the former's far-off clone descendents), albeit without even the dying spark of yearning even those transhumans had.  Like, I know it's the point--but like the author himself once said, it is "a flatter, more terse, more dreary discourse" that he's invented here.  It still has some points of interest in the first two thirds, but not quite enough to justify their length.

It only finally picks up when Michel Houellebecq is murdered.

The character, that is.  He's introduced during Jed's portraiture period, when Jed paints a picture of Houllebecq.  He acts basically like Houllebecq acts in public, i.e. a sad and complete loser.  And then he and his dog get his head cut off.  Then shit really gets rolling and Jed closes in on his own natural death (which is where the author should have begun, because that's his forte), and Jed eventually completes one last phase of his artistic career before he eats it:

QuoteHe then treated the images [of the forest] according to a method that belongs essentially to montage, even if it is a very particular form of montage, where he occasionally keeps only a few photograms out of three hours' shooting; but it is well and truly montage that enables him to achieve those moving plant tissues, with their carnivorous suppleness, peaceful and pitiless at the same time, which constitute without any doubt the most successful attempt, in Western art, at representing how plants see the world.  [...] That feeling of desolation, too, that takes hold of us as the portraits of the human beings who had accompanied Jed Martin through his earthly life fall apart under the impact of bad weather, then decompose and disappear, seeming in the last videos to make themselves the symbols of the generalized annihilation of the human species.  They sink and seem for an instant to put up a struggle before being suffocated by the superimposed layers of plants.  Then everything becomes calm.  There remains only the grass swaying in the wind.  The triumph of vegetation is total.

So, you know, it ends like literally every Houllebecq novel ends, with the human race in some combination of dead, dying, or deserving to die.  So it does have that to recommend it.

But I can't say I was disappointed.  I knew it wouldn't be as good as The Possibility of an Island, and was unlikely to be as good as Platform, Elementary Particles, or Extension of the Domain.  But you know what was really missing?  The dozens of pages of padding in the form of bluntly phrased pornography.  What the fuck happened, you fucking drunk, did you grow up?  Lame.

Of course, since the rest of you are cultureless abominations, I suppose I'll discuss it with Mihali when the booze wears off.  :frog:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:49:29 AM
OMFG spoilers!   :mad:  I'm 50 pages in.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:51:45 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:49:29 AM
OMFG spoilers!   :mad:  I'm 50 pages in.

Sorry.  I thought you'd already finished. :(

I also tend to be spoiler-proof myself and I forget other people are sensitive.  But I don't think I really spoiled it, as you'll see; I mean, unless the spoiler was "It wasn't as good as previous books."
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:53:33 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:51:45 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:49:29 AM
OMFG spoilers!   :mad:  I'm 50 pages in.

Sorry.  I thought you'd already finished. :(

Oh, I'm finished alright...
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:54:35 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:53:33 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:51:45 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:49:29 AM
OMFG spoilers!   :mad:  I'm 50 pages in.

Sorry.  I thought you'd already finished. :(

Oh, I'm finished alright...

Oh, come on.  Seriously?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:56:46 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:54:35 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:53:33 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:51:45 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 02:49:29 AM
OMFG spoilers!   :mad:  I'm 50 pages in.

Sorry.  I thought you'd already finished. :(

Oh, I'm finished alright...

Oh, come on.  Seriously?

Want to make something of it, pretty boy?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 02:58:37 AM
I am sorry.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 03:01:08 AM
What do your damn italics mean?   :glare:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 03:08:17 AM
To emphasize that I am, in fact, sorry, apologetic, and contrite.

If I hampered your enjoyment of a book by my favorite author, I feel bad.

I also suggest you keep reading, because it gets good toward the end, and I don't think my spoiler (and it was inadvertent :( ) is going to fuck up the experience irreversibly.

I mean, Houellebecq isn't a twisty dude.  I knew the entire plot to Elementary Particles and Platform before I read them... but then again, that may be because I'm impervious to having my shit ruined (I knew how Sixth Sense ended and it didn't bug me), so sometimes I'm an asshole who doesn't take others' different approach to fiction into consideration; although I did think you were done, I should have probably checked or tagged it in some fashion.  Like I said, I feel bad now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 03:11:19 AM
:hug:  No, I never give a shit about spoilers, I was joking entirely.   SHE JUMPS IN FRONT OF A TRAIN -- "Anna Karenina" is still worth reading.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 03:14:13 AM
YOU SON OF...

It was the booze crack, wasn't it?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 03:19:35 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 03:14:13 AM
YOU SON OF...

It was the booze crack, wasn't it?

I'm not on the booze crack.   :sleep:  Just the general insomnia.... For what it's worth, I thought you had been making fun of my general désespoir because I'm a fancy public defender trainee.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on January 17, 2012, 03:20:58 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 03:11:19 AM
:hug:  No, I never give a shit about spoilers, I was joking entirely.   SHE JUMPS IN FRONT OF A TRAIN -- "Anna Karenina" is still worth reading.
But what about Android Karenina?

(https://languish.org/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fthebooklion.files.wordpress.com%2F2010%2F06%2Fandroid-karenina-cover.jpg&hash=275cedf3b0a4f18e0999d69572dd78d3fc059be0)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 03:22:09 AM
Oh.

That's not even a Photoshop.  That's a thing that exists.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 03:29:52 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 03:19:35 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on January 17, 2012, 03:14:13 AM
YOU SON OF...

It was the booze crack, wasn't it?

I'm not on the booze crack.   :sleep:  Just the general insomnia.... For what it's worth, I thought you had been making fun of my general désespoir because I'm a fancy public defender trainee.

Eh, I might still do that if public defense still exists by the time I belatedly get admitted to the bar.  It's what I wanted, and trained for. -_-
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on January 17, 2012, 08:21:00 AM
Quote from: Capetan Mihali on January 17, 2012, 03:11:19 AM
:hug:  No, I never give a shit about spoilers, I was joking entirely.   SHE JUMPS IN FRONT OF A TRAIN -- "Anna Karenina" is still worth reading.

Fuck. Asshole.


;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on January 21, 2012, 10:20:32 PM
Quite enjoying Aldiss' Cracken At Critical. ripping dystopia of a pulpier age happening mostly on a moonbase! AI sentience, telepathy, rants about various scientific theories. fun stuff. Makes me want to revisit Splinter In The mind's Eye. maybe.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Eddie Teach on January 21, 2012, 11:02:06 PM
I've been reading lots of pulps lately. One about a young man discovering he's a wizard and falling in love with an elf queen. One about Israeli forces taking out Libyan nukes and Pakistan's plant. One about James Bond climbing in the Himalayas. And now starting one about a 25 year old murder.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: OttoVonBismarck on January 21, 2012, 11:46:05 PM
Quote from: Barrister on January 12, 2012, 12:43:43 PM
Just finished the Steve Jobs bio.

Man was that man an asshole.  There's just no getting around it.  It's even the question that was put to him by his biographer, and numerous other people - why are you so mean sometimes?  Jobs had no real answer (or insight) - saying either 'it's just who I am', or 'you need to be blunt to get the best out of people'.  He was a man fascinated with zen buddhism and studied it all of his life, but never came remotely close to acheiving that calm buddhist demeanour.

I kind of wish the book had spent more time discussing both his early life and the start of apple.  That felt rushed.  Perhaps because the author felt those areas have been well written about in other books (they have).  But the dicussions of the last five years are so are pretty much common knowledge, with little new insight from the book - or at least to me.

It was also interesting because it makes the point that Jobs vision was the same for pretty much all of his career - the tightly integrated, well designed and beautiful single box.  You can see it in the original Mac, at NeXT, the iMac an onwards (original Apple II was much more Woz designed, but even then there were Jobsian influences on subsequent models).  Very, very few people have that kind of clarity of vision for that length of time.

The writing itself is very matter of fact - it doesn't get in the way, but neither does it make it worth reading if you have little interest in the subject.  It is however very well researched, with hundreds of interviews and of course unique access to Jobs himself (he was extremely protective of his privacy).  If you have an interest in the computer industry then it is worth taking a look at.

I'll be honest as much as I make fun of Macs, I really do like Apple. I think MacBooks in particular are pretty amazingly well made, and OSX is really an amazing operating system. In the tablet market pretty much anything other than an iPad is a waste of money.

But I've never been able to think of Steve Jobs without thinking "douchebag." This dates back to the 80s for me, when I read in a magazine that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were doing a job for Atari. Wozniak did 100% of the work, Steve was just the middle man. Job told Woz the job paid something like $500, in truth it paid $5000 and Jobs pocketed $4750 and gave Woz $250 as his share of the $500 Woz thought the job paid.

I probably have the numbers wrong since I'm going from memory, but the general gist is 100% true.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on January 22, 2012, 11:56:26 AM
I read Heir to the Empire to get me in a Star Wars mood for The Old Republic (the MMO). I liked the book. It was a fun, galaxy-spanning space opera. I won't, however, be picking up the next book in the series. The problem? The films. Characters from the films are sacrosanct, and cannot really grow or be challenged (much less killed). Luke, Leia, Han, etc. are all altruistic saints; there can be no grey areas. As a result, there's no suspense as to the eventual outcome; however brilliant Thrawn may be, he will be overcome through charity and good works. As a kid, this was fine. As an adult, it means I identify much more with the bad guys, who, as mere flawed mortals, must use the mundane traits of logic, courage, and dedication to do battle with our magical ubermensch heroes. When you start to empathize more with the faceless stormtroopers than with the Jedi Knight who slaughters them, I think it's safe to say you've moved beyond the Star Wars universe. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: AnchorClanker on January 22, 2012, 01:28:39 PM
Just started Preston's biography of Francisco Franco - so far so good.  I had no idea he was such a momma's boy.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on January 22, 2012, 02:30:05 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2012, 02:22:12 PM
Cracked open Anthony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin, 1945.

Hitler, Stalin, Guderian, tanks, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape.

Rape rape rape.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on January 22, 2012, 02:31:23 PM
Quote from: Kleves on January 22, 2012, 11:56:26 AM
I read Heir to the Empire to get me in a Star Wars mood for The Old Republic (the MMO). I liked the book. It was a fun, galaxy-spanning space opera. I won't, however, be picking up the next book in the series. The problem? The films. Characters from the films are sacrosanct, and cannot really grow or be challenged (much less killed). Luke, Leia, Han, etc. are all altruistic saints; there can be no grey areas. As a result, there's no suspense as to the eventual outcome; however brilliant Thrawn may be, he will be overcome through charity and good works. As a kid, this was fine. As an adult, it means I identify much more with the bad guys, who, as mere flawed mortals, must use the mundane traits of logic, courage, and dedication to do battle with our magical ubermensch heroes. When you start to empathize more with the faceless stormtroopers than with the Jedi Knight who slaughters them, I think it's safe to say you've moved beyond the Star Wars universe. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.

I've commented about Heir to the Empire further up. Couldn't get through it again. But I agree that using the main characters *well* is difficult, especially in the post-Death Star II world.

I'm almost done with the first X-Wing book which I originally read over 10 years ago. It's not high literature, but fun enough as action adventure based around Rogue Squadron, led by Wedge. In fact, Wedge and Ackbar are the only major movie characters in the book. It takes place a year or two after Endor, so it's before HttE. Besides, the dogfight sequences should be partially familiar to anyone who played X-Wing or TIE-Fighter. ;)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on January 22, 2012, 04:01:29 PM
Quote from: Syt on January 22, 2012, 02:31:23 PM
I'm almost done with the first X-Wing book which I originally read over 10 years ago. It's not high literature, but fun enough as action adventure based around Rogue Squadron, led by Wedge. In fact, Wedge and Ackbar are the only major movie characters in the book. It takes place a year or two after Endor, so it's before HttE. Besides, the dogfight sequences should be partially familiar to anyone who played X-Wing or TIE-Fighter. ;)
I read a ton of the X-Wing books as a kid and I loved them. Maybe I'll give them a shot again.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on January 22, 2012, 04:05:08 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on January 12, 2012, 02:22:12 PM
Cracked open Anthony Beevor's The Fall of Berlin, 1945.

Hitler, Stalin, Guderian, tanks, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape, rape.

As incredibly depressing as Stalingrad was, it doesn't hold a candle to 1945.

And his D-Day was no fucking picnic, either.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on January 22, 2012, 04:09:56 PM
Quote from: OttoVonBismarck on January 21, 2012, 11:46:05 PM
But I've never been able to think of Steve Jobs without thinking "douchebag." This dates back to the 80s for me, when I read in a magazine that Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were doing a job for Atari. Wozniak did 100% of the work, Steve was just the middle man. Job told Woz the job paid something like $500, in truth it paid $5000 and Jobs pocketed $4750 and gave Woz $250 as his share of the $500 Woz thought the job paid.

I probably have the numbers wrong since I'm going from memory, but the general gist is 100% true.

Yeah, that's the gist.  The whole back story on the completely arbitrary and unfair division of shares when Apple first went public takes the definition of "douchebag" to an entirely new level.  And when he was asked why some guys like Wozniak and others got virtually absolutely nothing, he was like, "Meh".
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on January 22, 2012, 04:10:24 PM
I read this Stalingrad, D-Day, and Spanish Civil War ones.  The Stalingrad one kind of bothered me.  Especially the descriptions of the Typhus epidemic and the lice.  Ugh.  I've avoided the Berlin one.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on January 22, 2012, 05:04:52 PM
The parts of Stalingrad that got to me the most were the German POW camp and shitting on a shovel.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on January 22, 2012, 05:13:01 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on January 22, 2012, 04:10:24 PM
I read this Stalingrad, D-Day, and Spanish Civil War ones.  The Stalingrad one kind of bothered me.  Especially the descriptions of the Typhus epidemic and the lice.  Ugh.  I've avoided the Berlin one.

I tried reading the Spanish Civil war one and just couldn't get through. The theme: Everybody is a dick.

I already knew that.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 01, 2012, 08:05:05 PM
Finished the supposed last book in the Dread Empire series by Glen Cook, A Path to coldness of heart (Awful title).

For supposedly a book to finish the series, [spoiler]NOTHING GETS RESOLVED. The Star Rider survives, the Dread Empire survives and there is sorta a good ending for everybody. Bleh.[/spoiler]

Rather disappointing. Sorta dreading(tee hee) any new Black Company novels now.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 01, 2012, 11:43:49 PM
Quote from: Kleves on January 22, 2012, 11:56:26 AM
I read Heir to the Empire to get me in a Star Wars mood for The Old Republic (the MMO). I liked the book. It was a fun, galaxy-spanning space opera. I won't, however, be picking up the next book in the series. The problem? The films. Characters from the films are sacrosanct, and cannot really grow or be challenged (much less killed). Luke, Leia, Han, etc. are all altruistic saints; there can be no grey areas. As a result, there's no suspense as to the eventual outcome; however brilliant Thrawn may be, he will be overcome through charity and good works. As a kid, this was fine. As an adult, it means I identify much more with the bad guys, who, as mere flawed mortals, must use the mundane traits of logic, courage, and dedication to do battle with our magical ubermensch heroes. When you start to empathize more with the faceless stormtroopers than with the Jedi Knight who slaughters them, I think it's safe to say you've moved beyond the Star Wars universe. Ah well, it was fun while it lasted.
Eh, [spoiler]Chewabaca [/spoiler]gets killed when the galaxy gets invaded by extragalactic biotech sadists and Han becomes a bitter and cynical. Also bad stuff happens to the young generation which effects the old.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Zoupa on February 02, 2012, 12:36:49 AM
Just finished The Neon Rain, from James Lee Burke.

Dave Robicheaux is one cool cat :frog:

Any of you guys read the rest of his stories?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on February 02, 2012, 03:47:13 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on February 01, 2012, 08:05:05 PM
Finished the supposed last book in the Dread Empire series by Glen Cook, A Path to coldness of heart (Awful title).

For supposedly a book to finish the series, [spoiler]NOTHING GETS RESOLVED. The Star Rider survives, the Dread Empire survives and there is sorta a good ending for everybody. Bleh.[/spoiler]

Rather disappointing. Sorta dreading(tee hee) any new Black Company novels now.

I remember I read Annals of the Black Company (The Black Company; Shadows Linger; The White Rose) and maybe another output of similar format waaaaaaay back when '86 or '87 :blink:. Embarassingly way back when. :D

They were great BTW.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on February 02, 2012, 09:25:36 AM
Currently reading A Sacred Hunger, a novel about Liverpool merchants in the slave trade.  Co-winner of the Booker Prize.

S'ok.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on February 02, 2012, 09:29:22 AM
I just read a fantastic novel by an Australian Elliot Perlman called The Street Sweeper. Hard to explain what it's about. It's a Holocaust novel but it's also a novel about American civil rights. It's a love story. It's a story about heroism and kindness and the way that all of us are connected to each other.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 07:41:30 AM
Quote from: Ed Anger on January 22, 2012, 05:13:01 PM
Quote from: Razgovory on January 22, 2012, 04:10:24 PM
I read this Stalingrad, D-Day, and Spanish Civil War ones.  The Stalingrad one kind of bothered me.  Especially the descriptions of the Typhus epidemic and the lice.  Ugh.  I've avoided the Berlin one.

I tried reading the Spanish Civil war one and just couldn't get through. The theme: Everybody is a dick.

I already knew that.

I read a great book on the Spanish Blue Division some time back, Franco's volunteers for the Eastern Front.  Man, talk about volunteering for a trip to Hell.
As unit actions go, they acquitted themselves a hell of a lot better than some other foreign detachments, but still.  A lot of brave, forgotten men.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on February 03, 2012, 08:19:54 AM
Finished Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey, won the Booker a couple of years before Yi's one. It has followed me around, unread, from house for more than 20 years. It was worth the wait - set mainly in Australia in the min 19th century, follows the lives of  two unlikely compulsive gamblers. Very good.

Not read any trash for a while so indulging myself with some Space Opera by Peter Hamilton. Writing is lolbad but enjoying the plot. 9% in according to kindle.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:42:03 AM
Whenever I want to turn off my brain, I pick up some WH40K stuff.  Talk about checking out intellectually.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on February 03, 2012, 08:50:23 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:42:03 AM
Whenever I want to turn off my brain, I pick up some WH40K stuff.  Talk about checking out intellectually.

Like fiction and shit?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:58:22 AM
Quote from: The Brain on February 03, 2012, 08:50:23 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:42:03 AM
Whenever I want to turn off my brain, I pick up some WH40K stuff.  Talk about checking out intellectually.

Like fiction and shit?

Both the fiction and the RPG rulebooks and companions.  As far as the fiction goes, I started with the Horus Heresy series.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 03, 2012, 09:01:11 AM
The Cain W40K books are actually tolerable.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on February 03, 2012, 09:06:28 AM
Never touched a 40k novel. Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader RPG books are what I read these days. The space marine RPGs hold no interest.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on February 03, 2012, 09:00:14 PM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:42:03 AM
Whenever I want to turn off my brain, I pick up some WH40K stuff.  Talk about checking out intellectually.

:thumbsup:  Exactly why I like them.  They're great mindless pulp sci-fi fodder.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on February 04, 2012, 08:38:34 AM
Finally finished The Demon Princes series by Jack Vance.  Great stuff.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on February 04, 2012, 05:11:57 PM
Just got back from the local PB bookstore. Left with Mote in God's Eye, a couple Michael Moorcock and a Fritz Liber book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 05, 2012, 07:07:13 PM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:58:22 AM
Quote from: The Brain on February 03, 2012, 08:50:23 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:42:03 AM
Whenever I want to turn off my brain, I pick up some WH40K stuff.  Talk about checking out intellectually.

Like fiction and shit?

Both the fiction and the RPG rulebooks and companions.  As far as the fiction goes, I started with the Horus Heresy series.
Try the Ciaphas Cain series.

Also, you guys know any good books on Ancient Greek sexuality/gender?

Probably won't be able to find it on kindle, but worth a shot.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 05, 2012, 07:21:51 PM
Cain books = Tainted.  :mad:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 01:46:47 AM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 05, 2012, 07:07:13 PM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:58:22 AM
Quote from: The Brain on February 03, 2012, 08:50:23 AM
Quote from: CountDeMoney on February 03, 2012, 08:42:03 AM
Whenever I want to turn off my brain, I pick up some WH40K stuff.  Talk about checking out intellectually.

Like fiction and shit?

Both the fiction and the RPG rulebooks and companions.  As far as the fiction goes, I started with the Horus Heresy series.
Try the Ciaphas Cain series.

Also, you guys know any good books on Ancient Greek sexuality/gender?

The Iliad.  The Odyssey.  The Oresteia.  The Trojan Women.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 06, 2012, 02:00:29 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 01:46:47 AM

The Iliad.  The Odyssey.  The Oresteia.  The Trojan Women.
I've read the first three.

Not what I was talking about though, as you're well aware.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 02:26:00 AM
Then you've learned the ancient Greek approach to sexuality and gender: powerful men can fuck what they want, and women are worthless.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on February 06, 2012, 09:45:08 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 02:26:00 AM
Then you've learned the ancient Greek approach to sexuality and gender: powerful men can fuck what they want, and women are worthless.

Indeed.  The Greeks took an abnormal delight in humiliating women.  You should see some of the more risque pottery that's been uncovered.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 06, 2012, 07:13:30 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 02:26:00 AM
Then you've learned the ancient Greek approach to sexuality and gender: powerful men can fuck what they want, and women are worthless.
Thanks Sherlock, I wouldn't have guessed.  :rolleyes:

I want to see the complexity and detail of it all.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 07:15:06 PM
Greeks of a socially inferior status would rage greatly when their rape chattel was taken by Greeks of socially superior status, and the Muses would sing of it.  But they'd be even more angry when their homosexual partners died, because men are actual people.

Also, it's important to kill your rape chattel's existing children at or around the same time you kill their previous owner.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 06, 2012, 07:20:06 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 07:15:06 PM
Greeks of a socially inferior status would rage greatly when their rape chattel was taken by Greeks of socially superior status, and the Muses would sing of it.  But they'd be even more angry when their homosexual partners died, because men are actual people.

Also, it's important to kill your rape chattel's existing children at or around the same time you kill their previous owner.
While you certainly have a way with words, this is not a scholarly dissertation. :contract:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 06, 2012, 07:21:54 PM
I believe these are major texts:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sexuality-Greek-Culture-Marilyn-Skinner/dp/0631232346/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Making-Sex-Gender-Greeks-Freud/dp/0674543556/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_2

This is an interesting sounding reappraisal:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greeks-Greek-Love-Reappraisal-Homosexuality/dp/0297819976
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/jan/05/history.society
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Razgovory on February 06, 2012, 07:25:04 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 06, 2012, 07:13:30 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 02:26:00 AM
Then you've learned the ancient Greek approach to sexuality and gender: powerful men can fuck what they want, and women are worthless.
Thanks Sherlock, I wouldn't have guessed.  :rolleyes:

I want to see the complexity and detail of it all.

I can link you some pictures, but it's NSFW.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 07:43:10 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 06, 2012, 07:20:06 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 07:15:06 PM
Greeks of a socially inferior status would rage greatly when their rape chattel was taken by Greeks of socially superior status, and the Muses would sing of it.  But they'd be even more angry when their homosexual partners died, because men are actual people.

Also, it's important to kill your rape chattel's existing children at or around the same time you kill their previous owner.
While you certainly have a way with words, this is not a scholarly dissertation. :contract:

I think there's a lot you can infer from Greek fiction.  All rape, all the time.  Also, more intrinsically interesting than some monograph by a guy living off student loans, that's probably basing his research on the same thing, albeit in addition the writings of a proto-fascist and a power bottom too dumb to figure out what organ his thoughts are occurring in.

Yeah, I'm gonna go see if Youtube or google has a presentation of The Trojan Women.  Copyright violation, probably, but how the hell else am I supposed to watch a play?

P.S. if you do find something, mention it, I'll probably read it. :P
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: BuddhaRhubarb on February 07, 2012, 01:48:01 PM
Whipping Girl - Julia Serrano. One of the best, most up to date books on the whole "trans" thing. She raves (sometimes but not always effectively)  a lot about sexism, patriarchy, fear mongering, but at the same time manages to find a gentler, less "constructed" view of the spectrum of Gender identities that people live out. Her main point though is that Trans-women aren't ever going to get respect as women in western and other cultures, until women get respect as women.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 07, 2012, 03:50:29 PM
Just finished 'The Black Jacobins' by C.L.R. James. 

It's a brilliant history of the Haitian revolution and war of independence written in 1938.  The book places what happened in San Domingo at the heart of the French Revolution and, in James's Marxist analysis, as assuming more general importance.  He's convincing.  It's also pleasant to read an unashamedly Marxist perspective on the French Revolution.  He admires Robespierre though he sees him as ultimately betraying his left-wing, as is to be expected, he is a bourgeois revolutionary.  Or the line asking when did property ever listen to reason except when cowed?

His added essay at the end 'From Toussaint to Castro' is a brilliant, brilliant piece on the West Indies in general and in particular on the culturally unique identity.  The indigenous were wiped out, the slaves were divorced from Africa, the planters vulgarised Europeans and the Mulattoes entirely of the West Indies.  He tells the story of the abolition of slavery in the rest of the West Indies through the 19th century, tying that with Naipaul's writing and Castro's revolution.  It's very good.

The best thing though is James's writing.  It is, like Wedgwood's Thirty Years War a history worth reading for the style with which it's written.  Here's the end to the preface of the First Edition, from 1938:

QuoteThe analysis is the science and the demonstration the art which is history. The violent conflicts of our age enable our practiced vision to see into the very bones of previous revolutions more easily than heretofore. Yet for that very reason it is impossible to recollect historical emotions in that tranquility which a great English writer, too narrowly, associated with poetry alone.
   Tranquility today is either innate (the philistine) or to be acquired only by a deliberate doping of the personality. It was in the stillness of a seaside suburb that could be heard most clearly and insistently the booming of Franco's heavy artillery, the rattle of Stalin's firing squads and the fierce shrill turmoil of the revolutionary movement striving for clarity and influence. Such is our age and this book is of it, with something of the fever and the fret. Nor does the writer regret it. The book is the history of a revolution and written under different circumstances it would have been a different but not necessarily a better book.

There are wonderful sentences and explanations throughout.  It's an incredible work and really very inspiring to look more into especially Haitian history and Toussaint.  Very worth reading.

I've just started 'Snowdrops'.  It's a thriller that was short-listed for the Booker Prize last year.  Written by the Economist's former Moscow correspondent its starting point is a body found in spring as the snow melts away.  Apparently a 'snowdrop' in Muscovite slang.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 06:37:29 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 07:43:10 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 06, 2012, 07:20:06 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 06, 2012, 07:15:06 PM
Greeks of a socially inferior status would rage greatly when their rape chattel was taken by Greeks of socially superior status, and the Muses would sing of it.  But they'd be even more angry when their homosexual partners died, because men are actual people.

Also, it's important to kill your rape chattel's existing children at or around the same time you kill their previous owner.
While you certainly have a way with words, this is not a scholarly dissertation. :contract:

I think there's a lot you can infer from Greek fiction.  All rape, all the time.  Also, more intrinsically interesting than some monograph by a guy living off student loans, that's probably basing his research on the same thing, albeit in addition the writings of a proto-fascist and a power bottom too dumb to figure out what organ his thoughts are occurring in.

Yeah, I'm gonna go see if Youtube or google has a presentation of The Trojan Women.  Copyright violation, probably, but how the hell else am I supposed to watch a play?

P.S. if you do find something, mention it, I'll probably read it. :P
Here you go

Greek Prostitutes in the Ancient Mediterranean, 800 BCE-200 CE
http://www.amazon.com/Prostitutes-Mediterranean-Wisconsin-Classics-ebook/dp/B00752HKWW/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1328657576&sr=1-2

I've only read the sample and have already learned an incredibly degrading new word. 
Chamaitype, a word for a common whore, especially a streetwalker that literally means "thing pounded in the dirt"
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 07:55:04 PM
That's fucking hot.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 07:58:44 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 07:55:04 PM
That's fucking hot.
In theory, but in reality I think I'd prefer to use one of those couch things the Greeks used.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 08:22:45 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 07:58:44 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 07:55:04 PM
That's fucking hot.
In theory, but in reality I think I'd prefer to use one of those couch things the Greeks used.

You've been in Asia too long. :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 08:24:17 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 08:22:45 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 07:58:44 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 07:55:04 PM
That's fucking hot.
In theory, but in reality I think I'd prefer to use one of those couch things the Greeks used.

You've been in Asia too long. :(
Maybe in S. Carolina they still prefer to fuck on a dirt floor rather than a couch, but in New England I'm pretty sure my view prevails.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on February 07, 2012, 08:24:59 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 08:22:45 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 07:58:44 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 07:55:04 PM
That's fucking hot.
In theory, but in reality I think I'd prefer to use one of those couch things the Greeks used.

You've been in Asia too long. :(
Yeah.  Talk about the decadent East.  Herodotus would have much to say about Tim :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 08:27:20 PM
Look I could see it in a fit of passion if you're out with your girl in the park or something, but as a regular thing?  No.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 09:38:45 PM
Also, "The reign of the phallus: sexual politics in ancient Athens" which is on Google books in part seems interesting.

Athens was an even more incredibly fucked up and brutal society than I imagined.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 09:55:23 PM
I misunderstood the statement.  But it was a funny joke about Asians and their pillow girlfriends.  Live with it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 07, 2012, 10:35:20 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 07, 2012, 09:55:23 PM
I misunderstood the statement.  But it was a funny joke about Asians and their pillow girlfriends.  Live with it.
Seriously? <_<
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 08, 2012, 12:35:09 AM
They exist.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 08, 2012, 11:41:15 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 08, 2012, 12:35:09 AM
They exist.
I was annoyed you thought I was one of those guys.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 09, 2012, 12:06:53 AM
I don't, but that's why it's a joke.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on February 09, 2012, 07:36:30 AM
Ready Player One. I liked it. 

Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. I enjoyed it.  Got it off the dollar store for Kindle on Amazon.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 09, 2012, 07:39:31 AM
By the way, got that book and it's pretty good as a scholarly look at the subject, but the amount of Greek they use (and define once) is wicked annoying. I'm constantly flipping back to recheck vocab.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 09, 2012, 03:17:55 PM
Do they do that thing where they do it in Greek script, too?  That's obnoxious.  I get it, I can read it (although not as well as Cyrillic), but it's lazy and pretentious at the same time.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on February 09, 2012, 07:29:33 PM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 09, 2012, 03:17:55 PM
Do they do that thing where they do it in Greek script, too?  That's obnoxious.  I get it, I can read it (although not as well as Cyrillic), but it's lazy and pretentious at the same time.
No, it's at least in English.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 09, 2012, 09:22:10 PM
Tried to read Abercrombie's The Heroes. Realized within 5 pages I really, really didn't give a fuck about any of the characters. Or the North part of his world. Pass.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on February 09, 2012, 09:23:35 PM
 :hmm:  Want to sell your copy?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 09, 2012, 09:28:22 PM
Quote from: Habbaku on February 09, 2012, 09:23:35 PM
:hmm:  Want to sell your copy?

It is on my ipad.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on February 09, 2012, 09:54:12 PM
Give you $20.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on February 09, 2012, 09:55:31 PM
 :lol:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on February 19, 2012, 08:52:07 AM
I'm in the market for a decent history of WW2.

Requirements:
- global perspective, covering all theaters
- covering not only the military but also social, political, economical aspects
- comprehensive
- can be in multiple volumes
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on February 19, 2012, 09:12:32 PM
Quote from: Ed Anger on February 09, 2012, 09:55:31 PM
:lol:

Bro, that's a good deal.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on February 19, 2012, 11:19:21 PM
Quote from: Syt on February 19, 2012, 08:52:07 AM
I'm in the market for a decent history of WW2.

Requirements:
- global perspective, covering all theaters
- covering not only the military but also social, political, economical aspects
- comprehensive
- can be in multiple volumes

Ank really likes Overy's "Why We Won"; with some exceptions, I didn't care for it much, but those exceptions involved the social, political, and economic aspects of the war.

I think your requirements are in a bit of tension with each other.  Most anything that's written for above a smart kid's level is going to be specialized, I suspect...
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on February 20, 2012, 11:14:55 PM
Starting The Lessons Of Modern War: Volume II: The Iran-Iraq War
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on February 21, 2012, 12:55:51 AM
Finished Richard Lamb's War in Italy, 1943-1945 : A Brutal Story recently.  Excellent read regarding the Italian co-belligerent armies, the trials of the Salo Republic, relations between Hitler and Mussolini, the Allies and just about everything one could hope for regarding the pro-Allied Italian partisans.  Bonus for the coverage on the de Gaulle-backed attempt at annexing portions of northwestern Italy near the end of the war.

Now off to volume I of Norman Davies' God's Playground : A History of Poland.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on February 21, 2012, 01:37:29 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 19, 2012, 11:19:21 PM
Quote from: Syt on February 19, 2012, 08:52:07 AM
I'm in the market for a decent history of WW2.

Requirements:
- global perspective, covering all theaters
- covering not only the military but also social, political, economical aspects
- comprehensive
- can be in multiple volumes

Ank really likes Overy's "Why We Won"; with some exceptions, I didn't care for it much, but those exceptions involved the social, political, and economic aspects of the war.

I think your requirements are in a bit of tension with each other.  Most anything that's written for above a smart kid's level is going to be specialized, I suspect...

Guess so. However, David Stephenson's "1914-1918" did a pretty good job of explaining WW1 not only in military terms (though not as detailed there as e.g. Keegan), but also the diplomacy, economy, home fronts etc. which was very interesting. McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" also comes to mind.

I find that these days I prefer my war histories to provide more meat than just the military part and a word or two about the politics involved.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 01, 2012, 06:25:41 AM
Finished the trilogy that starts with The Blade Itself. I was reasonably entertained, in spite of the lack of real depth.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 09, 2012, 09:25:11 AM
Started reading a biography of Savronela.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 09, 2012, 09:32:00 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 19, 2012, 11:19:21 PM
Quote from: Syt on February 19, 2012, 08:52:07 AM
I'm in the market for a decent history of WW2.

Requirements:
- global perspective, covering all theaters
- covering not only the military but also social, political, economical aspects
- comprehensive
- can be in multiple volumes

Ank really likes Overy's "Why We Won"; with some exceptions, I didn't care for it much, but those exceptions involved the social, political, and economic aspects of the war.

I think your requirements are in a bit of tension with each other.  Most anything that's written for above a smart kid's level is going to be specialized, I suspect...

Actually, there seems to be a German series, just finished - 10 volumes, 13 or 14 books total, started in 1979 and recently finished. Each book at 800-1100 pages. But that seems slightly excessive, and the quality of the installments seems to vary as well.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 09, 2012, 09:34:57 AM
Go WW1 instead. Imperial Germany is dreamy. :wub:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 16, 2012, 05:12:18 PM
Apparently you people don't read books no more. All Nintendos and shit these days I guess.

Anyway, finished the biography of Savonarola (Donald Weinstein, 2011). It was very good I thought. I have never read a book about Savonarola before, only descriptions in various histories of Florence.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on March 16, 2012, 06:29:43 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 09, 2012, 09:32:00 AM
Quote from: Ideologue on February 19, 2012, 11:19:21 PM
Quote from: Syt on February 19, 2012, 08:52:07 AM
I'm in the market for a decent history of WW2.

Requirements:
- global perspective, covering all theaters
- covering not only the military but also social, political, economical aspects
- comprehensive
- can be in multiple volumes

Ank really likes Overy's "Why We Won"; with some exceptions, I didn't care for it much, but those exceptions involved the social, political, and economic aspects of the war.

I think your requirements are in a bit of tension with each other.  Most anything that's written for above a smart kid's level is going to be specialized, I suspect...

Actually, there seems to be a German series, just finished - 10 volumes, 13 or 14 books total, started in 1979 and recently finished. Each book at 800-1100 pages. But that seems slightly excessive, and the quality of the installments seems to vary as well.

Well, if it's 10,000 pages long, it doesn't count. :P

Quote from: The BrainApparently you people don't read books no more. All Nintendos and shit these days I guess.

Anyway, finished the biography of Savonarola (Donald Weinstein, 2011). It was very good I thought. I have never read a book about Savonarola before, only descriptions in various histories of Florence.

I'm reading a history of China by some guys.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on March 16, 2012, 07:03:03 PM
Finally got to reading, A Day of Battle by David Ascoli. About half way through it and very good so far. Incompetently led French vs. Aggressively led Prussian/Germans. Had the French even been led by average leadership, they could have capitalized on some serious Kraut errors.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: FunkMonk on March 30, 2012, 09:47:16 PM
Reading Robert Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers. It's a gem. :wub:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on March 30, 2012, 10:02:16 PM
Quote from: The Brain on March 16, 2012, 05:12:18 PM
Apparently you people don't read books no more. All Nintendos and shit these days I guess.


Nah we were just wondering who Savronela was.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: PRC on March 30, 2012, 10:36:34 PM
Tom Holland has a new book coming out in May (maybe it's already out in the UK?).  Here is an article he wrote in the Guardian which plays up the books angle:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/30/fall-roman-empire-rise-islam

Quote
The fall of the Roman empire and the rise of Islam

Rome's collapse inspired many gripping tales, from Gibbon's history to Dune and Battlestar Galactica. The story of Arthur's Camelot has its origins in this era of political convulsion, as does a narrative that has taken on vast global importance – the foundation of Islam


Whenever modern civilisations contemplate their own mortality, there is one ghost that will invariably rise up from its grave to haunt their imaginings. In February 1776, a few months after the publication of the first volume of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon commented gloomily on the news from America, where rebellion against Britain appeared imminent. "The decline of the two empires, Roman and British, proceeds at an equal pace." Now, with the west mired in recession and glancing nervously over its shoulder at China, the same parallel is being dusted down. Last summer, when the Guardian's Larry Elliott wrote an article on the woes of the US economy, the headline almost wrote itself: "Decline and fall of the American empire".

Historians, it is true, have become increasingly uncomfortable with narratives of decline and fall. Few now would accept that the conquest of Roman territory by foreign invaders was a guillotine brought down on the neck of classical civilisation. The transformation from the ancient world to the medieval is recognised as something far more protracted. "Late antiquity" is the term scholars use for the centuries that witnessed its course. Roman power may have collapsed, but the various cultures of the Roman empire mutated and evolved. "We see in late antiquity," so Averil Cameron, one of its leading historians, has observed, "a mass of experimentation, new ways being tried and new adjustments made."

Yet it is a curious feature of the transformation of the Roman world into something recognisably medieval that it bred extraordinary tales even as it impoverished the ability of contemporaries to keep a record of them. "The greatest, perhaps, and most awful scene, in the history of mankind": so Gibbon described his theme. He was hardly exaggerating: the decline and fall of the Roman empire was a convulsion so momentous that even today its influence on stories with an abiding popular purchase remains greater, perhaps, than that of any other episode in history. It can take an effort, though, to recognise this. In most of the narratives informed by the world of late antiquity, from world religions to recent science-fiction and fantasy novels, the context provided by the fall of Rome's empire has tended to be disguised or occluded.

Consider a single sheet of papyrus bearing the decidedly unromantic sobriquet of PERF 558. It was uncovered back in the 19th century at the Egyptian city of Herakleopolis, a faded ruin 80 miles south of Cairo. Herakleopolis itself had passed most of its existence in a condition of somnolent provincialism: first as an Egyptian city, and then, following the conquest of the country by Alexander the Great, as a colony run by and largely for Greeks. The makeover given to it by this new elite was to prove an enduring one. A thousand years on – and some 600 years after its absorption into the Roman empire – Herakleopolis still sported a name that provided, on the banks of the Nile, a little touch of far-off Greece: "the city of Heracles". PERF 558 too, in its own humble way, also bore witness to the impact on Egypt of an entire millennium of foreign rule. It was a receipt, issued for 65 sheep, presented to two officials bearing impeccably Hellenic names Christophoros and Theodorakios and written in Greek.

But not in Greek alone. The papyrus sheet also featured a second language, one never before seen in Egypt. What was it doing there, on an official council receipt? The sheep, according to a note added in Greek on the back, had been requisitioned by "Magaritai" – but who or what were they? The answer was to be found on the front of the papyrus sheet, within the text of the receipt itself. The "Magaritai", it appeared, were none other than the people known as "Saracens": nomads from Arabia, long dismissed by the Romans as "despised and insignificant". Clearly, that these barbarians were now in a position to extort sheep from city councillors suggested a dramatic reversal of fortunes. Nor was that all. The most bizarre revelation of the receipt, perhaps, lay in the fact that a race of shiftless nomads, bandits who for as long as anyone could remember had been lost to an unvarying barbarism, appeared to have developed their own calendar. "The 30th of the month of Pharmouthi of the first indiction": so the receipt was logged in Greek, a date which served to place it in year 642 since the birth of Christ. But it was also, so the receipt declared in the Saracens' own language, "the year twenty two": 22 years since what? Some momentous occurance, no doubt, of evidently great significance to the Saracens themselves. But what precisely, and whether it might have contributed to the arrival of the newcomers in Egypt, and how it was to be linked to that enigmatic title "Magaritai", PERF 558 does not say.

We can now recognise the document as the marker of something seismic. The Magaritai were destined to implant themselves in the country far more enduringly than the Greeks or the Romans had ever done. Arabic, the language they had brought with them, and that appears as such a novelty on PERF 558, is nowadays so native to Egypt that the country has come to rank as the power-house of Arab culture. Yet even a transformation of that order barely touches on the full scale of the changes which are hinted at so prosaically. A new age, of which that tax receipt issued in Herakleopolis in "the year 22" ranks as the oldest surviving dateable document, had been brought into being. This, to almost one in four people alive today, is a matter of more than mere historical interest. Infinitely more – for it touches, in their opinion, on the very nature of the Divine. The question of what it was that had brought the Magaritai to Herakleopolis, and to numerous other cities besides, has lain, for many centuries now, at the heart of a great and global religion: Islam.

It was the prompting hand of God, not a mere wanton desire to extort sheep, that had first motivated the Arabs to leave their desert homeland. Such, at any rate, was the conviction of Ibn Hisham, a scholar based in Egypt who wrote a century and a half after the first appearance of the Magaritai in Herakleopolis, but whose fascination with the period, and with the remarkable events that had stamped it, was all-consuming. No longer, by AD 800, were the Magaritai to be reckoned a novelty. Instead – known now as "Muslims", or "those who submit to God" – they had succeeded in winning for themselves a vast agglomeration of territories: an authentically global empire. Ibn Hisham, looking back at the age which had first seen the Arabs grow conscious of themselves as a chosen people, and surrounded as he was by the ruins of superceded civilisations, certainly had no lack of pages to fill.

What was it that had brought the Arabs as conquerors to cities such as Herakleopolis, and far beyond? The ambition of Ibn Hisham was to provide an answer. The story he told was that of an Arab who had lived almost two centuries previously, and been chosen by God as the seal of His prophets: Muhammad. Although Ibn Hisham was himself certainly drawing on earlier material, his is the oldest biography to have survived, in the form we have it, into the present day. The details it provided would become fundamental to the way that Muslims have interpreted their faith ever since. That Muhammad had received a series of divine revelations; that he had grown up in the depths of Arabia, in a pagan metropolis, Mecca; that he had fled it for another city, Yathrib, where he had established the primal Muslim state; that this flight, or hijra, had transformed the entire order of time, and come to provide Muslims with their Year One: all this was enshrined to momentous effect by Ibn Hisham. The contrast between Islam and the age that had preceded it was rendered in his biography as clear as that between midday and the dead of night. The white radiance of Muhammad's revelations, blazing first across Arabia and then to the limits of the world, had served to bring all humanity into a new age of light.

The effect of this belief was to prove incalculable. To this day, even among non-Muslims, it continues to inform the way in which the history of the Middle East is interpreted and understood. Whether in books, museums or universities, the ancient world is imagined to have ended with the coming of Muhammad. Yet even on the presumption that what Islam teaches is correct, and that the revelations of Muhammad did indeed descend from heaven, it is still pushing things to imagine that the theatre of its conquests was suddenly conjured, over the span of a single generation, into a set from The Arabian Nights. That the Arab conquests were part of a much vaster and more protracted drama, the decline and fall of the Roman empire, has been too readily forgotten.

Place these conquests in their proper context and a different narrative emerges. Heeding the lesson taught by Gibbon back in the 18th century, that the barbarian invasions of Europe and the victories of the Saracens were different aspects of the same phenomenon, serves to open up vistas of drama unhinted at by the traditional Muslim narratives. The landscape through which the Magaritai rode was certainly not unique to Egypt. In the west too, there were provinces that had witnessed the retreat and collapse of a superpower, the depredations of foreign invaders, and the desperate struggle of locals to fashion a new security for themselves. Only in the past few decades has this perspective been restored to its proper place in the academic spotlight. Yet it is curious that long before the historian Peter Brown came to write his seminal volume The World of Late Antiquity – which traced, to influential effect, patterns throughout the half millennium between Marcus Aurelius and the founding of Baghdad – a number of bestselling novelists had got there first. What their work served to demonstrate was that the fall of the Roman empire, even a millennium and a half on, had lost none of its power to inspire gripping narratives.

"There were nearly twenty-five million inhabited planets in the Galaxy then, and not one but owed allegiance to the Empire whose seat was on Trantor. It was the last half-century in which that could be said." So begins Isaac Asimov's Foundation, a self-conscious attempt to relocate Gibbon's magnum opus to outer space. First published in 1951, it portrayed a galactic imperium on the verge of collapse, and the attempt by an enlightened band of scientists to insure that eventual renaissance would follow its fall. The influence of the novel, and its two sequels, has been huge, and can be seen in every subsequent sci-fi epic that portrays sprawling empires set among the stars – from Star Wars to Battlestar Galactica. Unlike most of his epigoni, however, Asimov drew direct sustenance from his historical model. The parabola of Asimov's narrative closely follows that of Gibbon. Plenipotentiaries visit imperial outposts for the last time; interstellar equivalents of Frankish or Ostrogothic kingdoms sprout on the edge of the Milky Way; the empire, just as its Roman precursor had done under Justinian, attempts a comeback. Most intriguingly of all, in the second novel of the series, we are introduced to an enigmatic character named the Mule, who emerges seemingly from nowhere to transform the patterns of thought of billions, and conquer much of the galaxy. The context makes it fairly clear that he is intended to echo Muhammad. In an unflattering homage to Muslim tradition, Asimov even casts the Mule as a mutant, a freak of nature so unexpected that nothing in human science could possibly have explained or anticipated him.

Parallels with the tales told of Muhammad are self-evident in a second great epic of interstellar empire, Frank Herbert's Dune. A prophet arises from the depths of a desert world to humiliate an empire and launch a holy war – a jihad. Herbert's hero, Paul Atreides, is a man whose sense of supernatural mission is shadowed by self-doubt. "I cannot do the simplest thing," he reflects, "without its becoming a legend." Time will prove him correct. Without ever quite intending it, he founds a new religion, and launches a wave of conquest that ends up convulsing the galaxy. In the end, we know, there will be "only legend, and nothing to stop the jihad".

There is an irony in this, an echo not only of the spectacular growth of the historical caliphate, but of how the traditions told about Muhammad evolved as well. Ibn Hisham's biography may have been the first to survive – but it was not the last. As the years went by, and ever more lives of the Prophet came to be written, so the details grew ever more miraculous. Fresh evidence – wholly unsuspected by Muhammad's earliest biographers – would see him revered as a man able to foretell the future, to receive messages from camels, and to pick up a soldier's eyeball, reinsert it, and make it work better than before. The result was yet one more miracle: the further in time from the Prophet a biographer, the more extensive his biography was likely to be.

Herbert's novel counterpoints snatches of unreliable biography – in which Paul has become "Muad'Dib", the legendary "Dune Messiah" – with the main body of the narrative, which reveals a more secular truth. Such, of course, is the prerogative of fiction. Nevertheless, it does suggest, for the historian, an unsettling question: to what extent might the traditions told by Muslims about their prophet contradict the actual reality of the historical Muhammad? Nor is it only western scholars who are prone to asking this – so too, for instance, are Salafists, keen as they are to strip away the accretions of centuries, and reveal to the faithful the full unspotted purity of the primal Muslim state. But what if, after all the cladding has been torn down, there is nothing much left, beyond the odd receipt for sheep? That Muhammad existed is evident from the scattered testimony of Christian near-contemporaries, and that the Magaritai themselves believed a new order of time to have been ushered in is clear from their mention of a "Year 22". But do we see in the mirror held up by Ibn Hisham, and the biographers who followed him, an authentic reflection of Muhammad's life – or something distorted out of recognition by a combination of awe and the passage of time?

There may be a lack of early Muslim sources for Muhammad's life, but in other regions of the former Roman empire there are even more haunting silences. The deepest of all, perhaps, is the one that settled over the one-time province of Britannia. Around 800AD, at the same time as Ibn Hisham was drawing up a list of nine engagements in which Muhammad was said personally to have fought, a monk in the far distant wilds of Wales was compiling a very similar record of victories, 12 in total, all of them attributable to a single leader, and cast by their historian as indubitable proof of the blessings of God. The name of the monk was Nennius; and the name of his hero – who was supposed to have lived long before – was Arthur. The British warlord, like the Arab prophet, was destined to have an enduring afterlife. The same centuries which would see Muslim historians fashion ever more detailed and loving histories of Muhammad and his companions would also witness, far beyond the frontiers of the caliphate, the gradual transformation of the mysterious Arthur and his henchmen into the model of a Christian court. The battles listed by Nennius would come largely to be forgotten: in their place, haunting the imaginings of all Christendom, would be the conviction that there had once existed a realm where the strong had protected the weak, where the bravest warriors had been the purest in heart, and where a sense of Christian fellowship had bound everyone to the upholding of a common order. The ideal was to prove a precious one – so much so that to this day, there remains a mystique attached to the name of Camelot.

Nor was the world of Arthur the only dimension of magic and mystery to have emerged out of the shattered landscape of the one-time Roman empire. The English, the invaders against whom Arthur was supposed to have fought, told their own extraordinary tales. Gawping at the crumbling masonry of Roman towns, they saw in it "the work of giants". Gazing into the shadows beyond their halls, they imagined ylfe ond orcnéas, and orthanc enta geweorc – "elves and orcs", and "the skilful work of giants". These stories, in turn, were only a part of the great swirl of epic, Gothic and Frankish and Norse, which preserved in their verses the memory of terrible battles, and mighty kings, and the rise and fall of empires: trace-elements of the death-agony of Roman greatness. Most of these poems, though, like the kingdoms that were so often their themes, no longer exist. They are fragments, or mere rumours of fragments. The wonder-haunted fantasies of post-Roman Europe have themselves become spectres and phantasms. "Alas for the lost lore, the annals and old poets."

So wrote JRR Tolkien, philologist, scholar of Old English, and a man so convinced of the abiding potency of the vanished world of epic that he devoted his life to conjuring it back into being. The Lord of the Rings may not be an allegory of the fall of the Roman empire, but it is shot through with echoes of the sound and fury of that "awful scene". What happened and what might have happened swirl, and meet, and merge. An elf quotes a poem on an abandoned Roman town. Horsemen with Old English names ride to the rescue of a city that is vast and beautiful, and yet, like Constantinople in the wake of the Arab conquests, "falling year by year into decay". Armies of a Dark Lord repeat the strategy of Attila in the battle of the Catalaunian plains – and suffer a similar fate. Tolkien's ambition, so Tom Shippey has written, "was to give back to his own country the legends that had been taken from it". In the event, his achievement was something even more startling. Such was the popularity of The Lord of the Rings, and such its influence on an entire genre of fiction, that it breathed new life into what for centuries had been the merest bones of an entire but forgotten worldscape.

It would seem, then, that when an empire as great as Rome's declines and falls, the reverberations can be made to echo even in outer space, even in a mythical Middle Earth. In the east as in the west, in the Fertile Crescent as in Britain, what emerged from the empire's collapse, forged over many centuries, were new identities, new values, new presumptions. Indeed, many of these would end up taking on such a life of their own that the very circumstances of their birth would come to be obscured – and on occasion forgotten completely. The age that had witnessed the collapse of Roman power, refashioned by those looking back to it centuries later in the image of their own times, was cast by them as one of wonders and miracles, irradiated by the supernatural, and by the bravery of heroes. The potency of that vision is one that still blazes today.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 30, 2012, 10:43:08 PM
My current read is The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Rise-Fall-Ancient-Egypt/dp/0747599491) by Toby Wilkinson. I'm enjoying it.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on March 31, 2012, 03:14:34 AM
Quote from: Josephus on March 30, 2012, 10:02:16 PM
Quote from: The Brain on March 16, 2012, 05:12:18 PM
Apparently you people don't read books no more. All Nintendos and shit these days I guess.


Nah we were just wondering who Savronela was.

For shame. How can you have forgotten? It's only been 10 years.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on March 31, 2012, 02:16:00 PM
Quote from: 11B4V on March 16, 2012, 07:03:03 PM
Finally got to reading, A Day of Battle by David Ascoli. About half way through it and very good so far. Incompetently led French vs. Aggressively led Prussian/Germans. Had the French even been led by average leadership, they could have capitalized on some serious Kraut errors.

And still gotten steamrolled by an army twice as big as theirs.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on March 31, 2012, 03:09:56 PM
PRC,

You had me at Tom Holland.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on March 31, 2012, 06:40:43 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 30, 2012, 10:43:08 PM
My current read is The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Rise-Fall-Ancient-Egypt/dp/0747599491) by Toby Wilkinson. I'm enjoying it.

I read that   it's really, really good.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: mongers on March 31, 2012, 06:52:51 PM
This thread reminds me, I really should make the effort to read an additional book this year.  :bowler:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on March 31, 2012, 10:35:10 PM
Quote from: Malthus on March 31, 2012, 06:40:43 PM
Quote from: Syt on March 30, 2012, 10:43:08 PM
My current read is The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Rise-Fall-Ancient-Egypt/dp/0747599491) by Toby Wilkinson. I'm enjoying it.

I read that   it's really, really good.

Yeah. I admit I didn't know very much about ancient Egyptian history, and therefore Old Egypt was for me a rather monolithic entity with a rather fixed set of religious beliefs, pyramids and the occasional battle. The constant changes in politics, culture and spirituality Wilkinson describes are a bit of an eye opener.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on April 05, 2012, 11:41:07 PM
For Brain:

Bestiality: An Historical, Medical, Legal and Literary Study (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bestiality-Historical-Medical-Legal-Literary/dp/1410209474/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333687144&sr=1-3)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on April 06, 2012, 01:22:23 AM
Just finished Let Our Fame Be Great.

It's by a British journalist based in Russia who travels to the North Caucasus and to the diaspora communities and tells the history of Russia's involvement in the region.  Largely it's a history of massacres and mostly forgotten genocides.  The first two parts deal with the Circassians and the Mountain Turks, the last two with Chechnya.

Not outstanding but worth reading.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on April 06, 2012, 02:07:15 AM
Quote from: Syt on April 05, 2012, 11:41:07 PM
For Brain:

Bestiality: An Historical, Medical, Legal and Literary Study (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bestiality-Historical-Medical-Legal-Literary/dp/1410209474/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333687144&sr=1-3)

Somewhat weird book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on April 20, 2012, 09:37:15 AM
Just started Dominic Sandbrook's 'Never Had it So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles'.  I think after this there's 'White Heat' covering the Wilson years (:mmm:) and a book on the early 70s so I've plenty to get through.

It's very interesting so far a lot of it covers the same ground as Peter Hennessy's books on the same era but with a slightly lighter touch.  I also think this is slightly better at conveying MacMillan's character.

So far though it's good.  Worth a read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 20, 2012, 03:42:56 PM
Read a couple good things lately.
I'm surprised only one other (I think) person commented on Umberto Eco's Prague Cemetery. It was almost written for a Languish audience taking place as it does in the end of the 19th century with scenes set during Garibaldi's run to unify Italy, the Dreyfuss Affair and the writing of the Protocols of Zion. REally a well done book.

I've also just finished Wade Davis' Into The Silence, (The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest) which is somewhat self-explanatory. A very good read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on April 20, 2012, 05:13:19 PM
Quote from: Josephus on April 20, 2012, 03:42:56 PM
Read a couple good things lately.
I'm surprised only one other (I think) person commented on Umberto Eco's Prague Cemetery. It was almost written for a Languish audience taking place as it does in the end of the 19th century with scenes set during Garibaldi's run to unify Italy, the Dreyfuss Affair and the writing of the Protocols of Zion. REally a well done book.

:yes:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on April 20, 2012, 08:09:11 PM
Reading the Deathstalker series. Shlocky sci fi space opera, fun read.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 20, 2012, 09:07:44 PM
Quote from: Darth Wagtaros on April 20, 2012, 08:09:11 PM
Reading the Deathstalker series. Shlocky sci fi space opera, fun read.

That series gets progressively worse.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on April 20, 2012, 09:14:21 PM
I saw on Wikipedia that the last few books are set in some weird future time, so I won't bother with those unless  I get them cheap.


I will admit I really liked the toy wars and the reformed mass murderer presiding over them in a Santa outfit.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 20, 2012, 09:15:46 PM
I think Simon Green was high when he wrote those books.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on April 20, 2012, 09:30:03 PM
He was on something.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valdemar on April 23, 2012, 02:54:24 AM
Finally got around to starting "world without end" by Ken Follet, the sort of follower to Pillars of the Earth that I read a decade or so ago.

It keeps me entertained, but doesn't really have the same qualities as Pillars did, I am a tad disappointed.

V
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 23, 2012, 07:25:32 AM
Problem with World Without End is that it was pretty much the same story as the first, set some hundred years later. Doesn't have the same ooomph as the original.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on April 29, 2012, 10:02:45 PM
Wife and I dumped the kid for the night on his grandparents. :thumbsup:

We went out for supper (the elsewhere mentioned underwhelming italian restaurant), then went to the bookstore.

We bought some books on potty training.   :huh:

Plus for daddy - I bought 1493 (on the Columbian exchange of plants and animals post-1492), and...

The Wind In The Willows.   :cool:

Haven't read Wind in the Willows for 25 years or so, but so far as fucking good as I vaguely remember it to be. :punk:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: katmai on April 29, 2012, 10:04:54 PM
Quote from: Barrister on April 29, 2012, 10:02:45 PM
Wife and I dumped the kid for the night on his grandparents. :thumbsup:

We went out for supper (the elsewhere mentioned underwhelming italian restaurant), then went to the bookstore.

We bought some books on potty training.   :huh:

Plus for daddy - I bought 1493 (on the Columbian exchange of plants and animals post-1492), and...

The Wind In The Willows.   :cool:

Haven't read Wind in the Willows for 25 years or so, but so far as fucking good as I vaguely remember it to be. :punk:


See i would never comment Thrilling on this post.
No siree!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on April 29, 2012, 10:06:12 PM
Quote from: katmai on April 29, 2012, 10:04:54 PM
Quote from: Barrister on April 29, 2012, 10:02:45 PM
Wife and I dumped the kid for the night on his grandparents. :thumbsup:

We went out for supper (the elsewhere mentioned underwhelming italian restaurant), then went to the bookstore.

We bought some books on potty training.   :huh:

Plus for daddy - I bought 1493 (on the Columbian exchange of plants and animals post-1492), and...

The Wind In The Willows.   :cool:

Haven't read Wind in the Willows for 25 years or so, but so far as fucking good as I vaguely remember it to be. :punk:


See i would never comment Thrilling on this post.
No siree!

Don'y you dare try your sarcasm about a post on a time-honoured children's classic. :mad:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: katmai on April 29, 2012, 10:07:18 PM
The movie is better!
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ed Anger on April 29, 2012, 10:08:24 PM
I haven't read shit in months.  :(
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on April 29, 2012, 11:16:58 PM
Mine is somewhat loose. And very dark.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on April 30, 2012, 07:14:02 AM
Quote from: Barrister on April 29, 2012, 10:02:45 PM
Wife and I dumped the kid for the night on his grandparents. :thumbsup:


The Wind In The Willows.   :cool:

Haven't read Wind in the Willows for 25 years or so, but so far as fucking good as I vaguely remember it to be. :punk:

Wind in the Willows is awesome :hug:

The chapter Piper At The Gates of Dawn is surreal. (also the name of Pink Floyd's first record...bit of trivia there for you)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on April 30, 2012, 09:45:41 AM
Read Knockemstiff by Donald Pollock. Short stories about white trash in southern Ohio. Brilliantly written, somewhat disturbing. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 30, 2012, 09:50:54 AM
Quote from: Gups on April 30, 2012, 09:45:41 AM
Read Knockemstiff by Donald Pollock. Short stories about white trash in southern Ohio. Brilliantly written, somewhat disturbing.

Heh, I've been reading stuff of that ilk recently.

Check out The Devil All The Time, same author. I liked it better than Knockemstiff - it's a novel set very much in the same setting. Definitely an author to watch.

Also, Edge of Dark Water by Joe Lansdale.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on April 30, 2012, 09:56:38 AM
Thanks Malthus, waiting for The Devil All The Time to come out in paperback/become cheaper at Amazon but will certainly buy.

The Lansdale sounds good.

You might like the Nick Harkaway books if you haven't tried them already. Urban fantasy with lots of humour.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Maladict on April 30, 2012, 11:17:54 AM
Looking for a book on the Great Game. Non-fiction, obviously. Anyone?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 30, 2012, 12:10:12 PM
Quote from: Gups on April 30, 2012, 09:56:38 AM
Thanks Malthus, waiting for The Devil All The Time to come out in paperback/become cheaper at Amazon but will certainly buy.

The Lansdale sounds good.

You might like the Nick Harkaway books if you haven't tried them already. Urban fantasy with lots of humour.

I'll check out The Gone-Away World ...
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on April 30, 2012, 12:15:22 PM
Quote from: Maladict on April 30, 2012, 11:17:54 AM
Looking for a book on the Great Game. Non-fiction, obviously. Anyone?

One I liked is called Shooting Leave. Adventures by mad Englishment spying out central asia in the Great Game.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: barkdreg on April 30, 2012, 12:25:59 PM
Ordered all the Culture novels from Iain M Banks on amazon. Goodbye, outdoor activities.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on April 30, 2012, 12:38:39 PM
Quote from: Barrister on April 29, 2012, 10:02:45 PM
Plus for daddy - I bought 1493 (on the Columbian exchange of plants and animals post-1492), and...

I am a few chapters away from finishing it.  There are a couple roll eye moments on some of the broad conclusions he reaches but the strength of the book is in the detailed research he has done.

The book is loaded with interesting factoids -  you will be an able cotributor in the history thread for some time. 
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on April 30, 2012, 02:28:45 PM
Finished volume I of God's Playground a few days ago.  Loved the last half.

Read both What It Is Like To Go To War and Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.  Matterhorn has some hiccups, but was a pretty solid piece of (semi-autobiographical) fiction.  WIILTGTW is an excellent lesson on soldier psychology and a series of recommendations as to what we should to to prepare soldiers for war and to re-integrate them after.

Now off to a combination of books :

Volume II of God's Playground
A Knight's Own Book of Chivalry by Geoffroi de Charny
Six Weeks (The Short and Gallant Life of the British Officer in the First World War) by John Lewis-Stempel
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on April 30, 2012, 02:35:27 PM
Quote from: Maladict on April 30, 2012, 11:17:54 AM
Looking for a book on the Great Game. Non-fiction, obviously. Anyone?

Tournament of Shadows was a fun read.

http://www.amazon.com/Tournament-Shadows-Great-Empire-Central/dp/1582430284

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on April 30, 2012, 06:12:02 PM
Just put in my order for four Smiley titles with Penguin.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 03, 2012, 03:01:31 PM
Re-read Storm of Steel. Ernst Jünger is awesome. :wub:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Maladict on May 03, 2012, 04:29:20 PM
Quote from: Malthus on April 30, 2012, 12:15:22 PM
One I liked is called Shooting Leave. Adventures by mad Englishment spying out central asia in the Great Game.
Quote from: Barrister on April 30, 2012, 02:35:27 PM
Tournament of Shadows was a fun read.
http://www.amazon.com/Tournament-Shadows-Great-Empire-Central/dp/1582430284

Thanks guys  :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 04, 2012, 12:27:33 AM
Anyone know of any good books on Operation Market-Garden more recent that A Bridge too Far?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on May 04, 2012, 12:30:45 AM
It Never Snows in September is suppose to be good. Havent read it. That's the only suggest I got.


Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sophie Scholl on May 04, 2012, 02:30:05 AM
Decided to continue my Loyalist/Canadian perspective tour of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 by reading Simon Girty Turncoat Hero and 1812: War with America.  I had never actually heard of Girty before, despite his infamous reputation in the States during and after the war.  I guess he's much more of a Pennsylvania/Ohio/Michigan person, whereas I was raised far more in the Mohawk Valley/Cherry Valley/Iroquois traditions where I'm from.  Quite an interesting character to say the least.  I'm almost finished with his book and am expecting the other in the mail shortly. 

For the curious:
http://www.amazon.com/Simon-Girty-Turncoat-Phillip-Hoffman/dp/0984225633/ref=pd_ys_iyr6
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0674034775/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kleves on May 12, 2012, 10:47:35 PM
Anyone have any WWI book recommendations? Anything is fine, but I would particularly like a book on the eastern front.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 12, 2012, 11:58:43 PM
Quote from: Kleves on May 12, 2012, 10:47:35 PM
Anyone have any WWI book recommendations? Anything is fine, but I would particularly like a book on the eastern front.

Storm of Steel, obviously. The White War: Life And Death On The Italian Front 1915-1919 by Mark Thompson I found really enjoyable. Hew Strachan's The First World War vol 1 is a must if you're serious about WW1.

But the east is harder... Not that many books in English that I'm aware of. I recently read The Eastern Front 1914-1917 by Norman Stone. A reasonable introduction to the subject, but it's from 1975.

Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on May 13, 2012, 12:25:08 AM
I second Brain's suggestions. Also, Keegan's First World War is a classic. For a more general overview (including politics/economics etc.) I suggest Stephenson's 1914-1918 (I like it better than Keegan, actually, because Keegan focuses on the military part; but Keegan is more readable). And there's of course Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman about the first weeks of the war.

Slightly related, there's Davies' White Eagle - Red Star about the Polish-Soviet War 1919/20, and Orlando Figes' A People's Tragedy which covers revolutionary Russia 1895-1922.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Kolytsin on May 13, 2012, 12:25:48 AM
I've heard of Norman Stone before, but never read his book.  Good books depend on what you are looking to investigate.  To copy some references from my copy of Makers of Modern Strategy, tactics are analyzed by Timothy Lupfer, The Dynamics of Doctrine: The Changes in German Tactic Doctrine during the First World War (1981).  Outstanding are Tony Ashworth, Trench Warfare 1914-1918: The Live and Let Live System (1980) and Eric J. Leed, No Man's Land: Combat and Identity in World War I.  The grand military-political treatment of World War I are covered by Gerhard Ritter, The Sword and the Scepter: The Problem of Militarism in Germany (1967-1973), especially volume. 4 "The Reign of German Militarism and the Disaster of 1918"   If you want to study the nature of World War I, you should try The Century of Total War (1954) or the sober assessment by Geoffrey Best, Humanity in Warfare (1980)

On the Russian army on the eve of the first world war see Allan K. Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army: The Old Army and the Soldier's Revolt or D.C.B. Lieven, Russia and the Origins of the First World War.  You can also try Florence Farmborough,  With the Armies of the Tsar: A Nurse at the Russian Front, 1914-1918 or Sir Alfred Knox  With The Russian Army, 1914-1918
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on May 13, 2012, 07:08:16 AM
I'm about half way through my Smiley books and the realization struck me that Le Carre writes very similarly to Iris Murdoch.  :D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 13, 2012, 08:35:00 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on May 13, 2012, 07:08:16 AM
I'm about half way through my Smiley books and the realization struck me that Le Carre writes very similarly to Iris Murdoch.  :D

Porn?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on May 13, 2012, 11:16:20 AM
Quote from: Admiral Yi on May 13, 2012, 07:08:16 AM
I'm about half way through my Smiley books and the realization struck me that Le Carre writes very similarly to Iris Murdoch.  :D
:o  I don't think so.

Though I LOVE them both :mmm:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Scipio on May 13, 2012, 07:59:12 PM
I'm rereading the Gandalf's a Dick Trilogy for the second time.

I don't know why I like Abercrombie's stuff.  But I do.  And that scares me.

Oh, Amazon has a sale on kindle editions of 20 novels that were made into films.  99 cents each.  Including slaughterhouse Five, I Am Legend, Soylent Green, Lonely are the Brave, and others.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 14, 2012, 08:57:09 AM
Started the new John Irving book. :)
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on May 14, 2012, 01:32:47 PM
I ordered a Turtledove book through the Interlibrary loan. I feel unclean.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 01:35:40 PM
Last night I read:

The Potty Book (for boys) - surprising the kid likes this book a lot; and
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - you know what, the Cat in the Hat is kind of a dick
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on May 14, 2012, 03:11:21 PM
Quote from: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 01:35:40 PM
Last night I read:

The Potty Book (for boys) - surprising the kid likes this book a lot; and
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - you know what, the Cat in the Hat is kind of a dick

Is that your opinion or your kid's?

"Daddy, I like the potty book, but that cat in the hat? Well...he's a dick."

:D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 03:19:57 PM
Quote from: Josephus on May 14, 2012, 03:11:21 PM
Quote from: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 01:35:40 PM
Last night I read:

The Potty Book (for boys) - surprising the kid likes this book a lot; and
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - you know what, the Cat in the Hat is kind of a dick

Is that your opinion or your kid's?

"Daddy, I like the potty book, but that cat in the hat? Well...he's a dick."

:D

:D

Nah, the kid loves the Cat in the Hat.  On literally every single page, if the Cat in the Hat isn't front and centre of the illustration he asks "Wheres Cat?"
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Sheilbh on May 14, 2012, 06:54:01 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on April 20, 2012, 09:37:15 AM
Just started Dominic Sandbrook's 'Never Had it So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles'.  I think after this there's 'White Heat' covering the Wilson years (:mmm:) and a book on the early 70s so I've plenty to get through.

It's very interesting so far a lot of it covers the same ground as Peter Hennessy's books on the same era but with a slightly lighter touch.  I also think this is slightly better at conveying MacMillan's character.

So far though it's good.  Worth a read.
Finished this and there's two interesting features that you get from the book as a whole.  One is that it's probably the most negative book on MacMillan I've ever read.  I could be wrong but I think Sandbrook thinks other historians are rather beguiled by MacMillan because he's very interesting, intelligent, charming and witty.  His own verdict is that he is all of those things and very much a failure.  It's quite damning.  Which is an interesting corrective opinion.

The second really interesting thing at the end is the narrative of Alec Douglas Home becoming PM.  I had no idea he was quite as devious as he was.  Almost House of Cards-ish moments of manipulation going on.

I'm looking forward to the second volume - it's all about Wilson :mmm:

Edit:  Another interesting point is that the most interesting/unusual figure described is Enoch Powell.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on May 31, 2012, 10:16:06 AM
Started on David Stevenson's With Our Backs To The Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918. Very promising so far.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Gups on May 31, 2012, 10:26:46 AM
Quote from: Sheilbh on May 14, 2012, 06:54:01 PM
Quote from: Sheilbh on April 20, 2012, 09:37:15 AM
Just started Dominic Sandbrook's 'Never Had it So Good: A History of Britain from Suez to the Beatles'.  I think after this there's 'White Heat' covering the Wilson years (:mmm:) and a book on the early 70s so I've plenty to get through.

It's very interesting so far a lot of it covers the same ground as Peter Hennessy's books on the same era but with a slightly lighter touch.  I also think this is slightly better at conveying MacMillan's character.

So far though it's good.  Worth a read.
Finished this and there's two interesting features that you get from the book as a whole.  One is that it's probably the most negative book on MacMillan I've ever read.  I could be wrong but I think Sandbrook thinks other historians are rather beguiled by MacMillan because he's very interesting, intelligent, charming and witty.  His own verdict is that he is all of those things and very much a failure.  It's quite damning.  Which is an interesting corrective opinion.

The second really interesting thing at the end is the narrative of Alec Douglas Home becoming PM.  I had no idea he was quite as devious as he was.  Almost House of Cards-ish moments of manipulation going on.

I'm looking forward to the second volume - it's all about Wilson :mmm:

Edit:  Another interesting point is that the most interesting/unusual figure described is Enoch Powell.

Shelf - Have you tried Kynaston's books - (so far) Austerity Britain and Family Britain?

If not, you'd like 'em a lot
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on June 16, 2012, 03:56:00 AM
Quote from: The Brain on May 31, 2012, 10:16:06 AM
Started on David Stevenson's With Our Backs To The Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918. Very promising so far.

And I finished it. It was excellent. Recommended.

I also started reading All The Kaiser's Men: The Life and Death of the German Soldier on the Western Front by Ian Passingham, but turned out it was horrible so I stopped after less than 20 pages. The inaccurate sweeping statements, self-contradictions and cereal box depth of analysis made it obvious that the author is less well equipped for intellectual pursuits.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Darth Wagtaros on June 17, 2012, 11:21:14 AM
Star Force.  Worth finishing the series I guess. ?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Threviel on June 17, 2012, 12:42:55 PM
Just finished reading The Somme by Peter Hart. Fuck WW1 was a disgusting clusterfuck. Good book, but a little one-sided with very little about what the Germans were doing.

So, anyne have any tip about a book from the german perspective on the western front?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on June 17, 2012, 04:00:54 PM
Quote from: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 01:35:40 PM
Last night I read:

The Potty Book (for boys) - surprising the kid likes this book a lot; and
The Cat in the Hat Comes Back - you know what, the Cat in the Hat is kind of a dick

For a kid who isn't potty trained, my kid every nights asks for "Potty Book" at story time.

:unsure:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Syt on June 18, 2012, 12:50:10 AM
Quote from: Threviel on June 17, 2012, 12:42:55 PM
Just finished reading The Somme by Peter Hart. Fuck WW1 was a disgusting clusterfuck. Good book, but a little one-sided with very little about what the Germans were doing.

So, anyne have any tip about a book from the german perspective on the western front?

Not sure if there's that many specialized German view accounts of the battle.

These seem interesting:

Through German Eyes: The British and the Somme 1916 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-German-Eyes-British-Somme/dp/0297846892)
The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-German-Army-Somme-1914-1916/dp/1844152693)

From a German perspective, Verdun would be the equivalent trauma of what the Somme 1916 was for the British.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Threviel on June 18, 2012, 01:10:39 AM
Quote from: Syt on June 18, 2012, 12:50:10 AM
Quote from: Threviel on June 17, 2012, 12:42:55 PM
Just finished reading The Somme by Peter Hart. Fuck WW1 was a disgusting clusterfuck. Good book, but a little one-sided with very little about what the Germans were doing.

So, anyne have any tip about a book from the german perspective on the western front?

Not sure if there's that many specialized German view accounts of the battle.

These seem interesting:

Through German Eyes: The British and the Somme 1916 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Through-German-Eyes-British-Somme/dp/0297846892)
The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-German-Army-Somme-1914-1916/dp/1844152693)

From a German perspective, Verdun would be the equivalent trauma of what the Somme 1916 was for the British.

I'm more looking for books about the whole war in the west from the german perspective. Or French for that matter. Those two books look interesting though.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Valdemar on June 18, 2012, 04:40:16 AM
Quote from: Barrister on June 17, 2012, 04:00:54 PM
Quote from: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 01:35:40 PM

For a kid who isn't potty trained, my kid every nights asks for "Potty Book" at story time.

:unsure:

You potty train using a book? What to you do, smack his behind with it when he fails you? :D

Seriously, best potty training is to take of the diaper during summer period, and be prepared to use the washing machine more often for a little while :)

V
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Habbaku on June 24, 2012, 06:25:08 PM
Now reading Simon Schama's Citizens.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Ideologue on June 24, 2012, 06:47:56 PM
PRC: that was a cool article a few pages back.

Mihali: did you ever finish The Map and the Territory?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on June 24, 2012, 07:03:34 PM
Reading Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword.

It is as good as you anticipated but not at all what you thought it might be....
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Admiral Yi on June 27, 2012, 09:07:20 PM
Reading Victor Klemperer's "I Will Bear Witness," memoirs of living as a Jew in Nazi Germany.

Gotta say it's a bit of a snoozer so far.

January 13:  Ate potatoes, stayed inside, read a book.

January 16: Ate potatoes, stayed inside, read a different book.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: mongers on June 27, 2012, 09:11:07 PM
Bought a book on Wednesday, which I intend to read by years end. :gasp:

It's a dictionary:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Chambers-Dictionary/dp/0550102892/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340849368&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Chambers-Dictionary/dp/0550102892/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340849368&sr=8-1)
:D
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on June 28, 2012, 03:24:46 AM
Finnaly started digging into Zamulin's , Demolishing the Myth: The Tank Battle at Prokhorovka. Pro-Russian for sure, but not in the Propaganda or Fanboi way. Far more detailed on the Russian side than even Glantz's book. The guy sure did his research in the russian archives.  Dont know yet what I think of it. He does refute a Glantz theory and has interesting stuff on Rotmistrov (not highly regarded in JS's circle after Kursk).




Anyhoo awaiting; ZHITOMIR-BERDICHEV: German Operations West of Kiev 24 December 1943-31 January 1944 Volume 1 [Hardcover]. To come out   :yes: :yes:

and

DAYS OF BATTLE: Armoured Operations North of the River Danube, Hungary 1944-45 [Hardcover]



Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: The Brain on June 28, 2012, 03:26:58 AM
Read A History of Medieval Heresy and Inquisition by Jennifer Kolpacoff Deane. A very nice introduction to the subject.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: 11B4V on June 28, 2012, 07:01:09 AM
Just ordered Glantz's two vol set BARBAROSSA DERAILED: THE BATTLE FOR SMOLENSK 10 JULY-10 SEPTEMBER 1941 . 1000 pages of east front fun.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: jimmy olsen on June 28, 2012, 07:23:54 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on June 24, 2012, 07:03:34 PM
Reading Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword.

It is as good as you anticipated but not at all what you thought it might be....
Can you elaborate?
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Barrister on June 28, 2012, 07:31:21 AM
Quote from: Valdemar on June 18, 2012, 04:40:16 AM
Quote from: Barrister on June 17, 2012, 04:00:54 PM
Quote from: Barrister on May 14, 2012, 01:35:40 PM

For a kid who isn't potty trained, my kid every nights asks for "Potty Book" at story time.

:unsure:

You potty train using a book? What to you do, smack his behind with it when he fails you? :D

Seriously, best potty training is to take of the diaper during summer period, and be prepared to use the washing machine more often for a little while :)

V

No, we just bought him a book (about a little boy named Henry who learns to use the potty) to get him used to the idea.  But he really likes it, and asks to be read it almost every night. :mellow:
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on July 03, 2012, 03:32:52 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 28, 2012, 07:23:54 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on June 24, 2012, 07:03:34 PM
Reading Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword.

It is as good as you anticipated but not at all what you thought it might be....
Can you elaborate?

I thought it would be yet another book giving the history of the rise and expansion of Islam.  What it turned out to be was a well argued refutation of the common starting point that Muhammad actually existed and then turns to explain the rise of Islam in terms of myth making which borrowed heavily form the surrounding social, political and religious context.

I find it particularly interesting because Islam has so much in common with Christianity both in terms in which its myths were constructed and the reasons they were constructed in such a manner.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Malthus on July 03, 2012, 04:02:46 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on July 03, 2012, 03:32:52 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 28, 2012, 07:23:54 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on June 24, 2012, 07:03:34 PM
Reading Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword.

It is as good as you anticipated but not at all what you thought it might be....
Can you elaborate?

I thought it would be yet another book giving the history of the rise and expansion of Islam.  What it turned out to be was a well argued refutation of the common starting point that Muhammad actually existed and then turns to explain the rise of Islam in terms of myth making which borrowed heavily form the surrounding social, political and religious context.

I find it particularly interesting because Islam has so much in common with Christianity both in terms in which its myths were constructed and the reasons they were constructed in such a manner.

Interesting. I did not know that the actual existence of Mohammed was in dispute.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: garbon on July 03, 2012, 04:06:49 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 03, 2012, 04:02:46 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on July 03, 2012, 03:32:52 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 28, 2012, 07:23:54 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on June 24, 2012, 07:03:34 PM
Reading Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword.

It is as good as you anticipated but not at all what you thought it might be....
Can you elaborate?

I thought it would be yet another book giving the history of the rise and expansion of Islam.  What it turned out to be was a well argued refutation of the common starting point that Muhammad actually existed and then turns to explain the rise of Islam in terms of myth making which borrowed heavily form the surrounding social, political and religious context.

I find it particularly interesting because Islam has so much in common with Christianity both in terms in which its myths were constructed and the reasons they were constructed in such a manner.

Interesting. I did not know that the actual existence of Mohammed was in dispute.

Yeah I wonder how well argued the refutation can be then.  After all, their are accounts of several tribes in Arabia with their "would-be" Mohammeds.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: Josephus on July 03, 2012, 04:15:49 PM
Jonathan Fenby's The Penguin History of China (the fall and rise fo a great power, 1850-2009)

Excellent general introduction to the history of modern China from the last Emperors to post Olympics Beijing. Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Grand unified books thread
Post by: crazy canuck on July 03, 2012, 04:29:10 PM
Quote from: Malthus on July 03, 2012, 04:02:46 PM
Quote from: crazy canuck on July 03, 2012, 03:32:52 PM
Quote from: jimmy olsen on June 28, 2012, 07:23:54 AM
Quote from: crazy canuck on June 24, 2012, 07:03:34 PM
Reading Holland's In the Shadow of the Sword.

It is as good as you anticipated but not at all what you thought it might be....
Can you elaborate?