Books on War


I’ve been sitting on this post for a while.  Here’s a summary of 43 Books About War Every Man Should Read:

The Persian Expedition by Xenophon.
Greek Tragedy by Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles.
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. 
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae by Steven Pressfield.
The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece by Victor Davis Hanson. 
The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
The Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian. 
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford.
The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. 
Napoleon: A Life by Paul Johnson.
On War by Carl von Clausewitz. 
The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: From Marathon to Waterloo by Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy. 
Civil War Stories by Ambrose Bierce.
Ulysses S. Grant: Memoirs and Selected Letters by Ulysses S. Grant.
Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American by B.H. Liddell Hart.
Memoirs of General William Tecumseh Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman. 
Daring and Suffering: A History of the Great Railroad Adventureby William Pittenger. 
Incidents and Anecdotes of the Civil War by Admiral David Porter.
The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. 
Company K by William March. 
Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence.
The Liberator by Alex Kershaw. 
With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by E.B. Sledge.
Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific by Robert Leckie. 
Losing the War by Lee Sandlin.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: A Novel by Louis de Bernieres.
Knight’s Cross: A Life of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel by David Fraser.
American Patriot: The Life and Wars of Colonel Bud Day by Robert Coram.
What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes.
A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo. 
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram.
Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile.
My War Gone By, I Miss It So by Anthony Loyd.
War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges.
The Heart and the Fist: The education of a humanitarian, the making of a Navy SEAL by Eric Greitens.
Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer.
Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization by John Robb. 
The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene. 
The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost by Victor Davis Hanson.
On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by Dave Grossman. 
WAR by Sebastian Junger.
Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel.

For things like a summary of the books, check out the original post.

Image from Moyan_Brenn via flickr

Amazon Kindle Matchbook


Personally, I like this.  After the cost of layout, etc… there isn’t any additional cost to an ebook.  It is sort of like giving people mp3s when they purchase a CD.  Don’t think about this as being like giving people mp3s.  Why?  Well, mp3s are easy to rip from a CD.  It is way hard to take a book of any length and make an ebook…hard enough I’d almost call it impossible.

Doing this would make me buy a real book for the bookshelf and get the ebook.  I’ll certainly do this in cases where ebooks are free.  Amazon Kindle Matchbook

atlas shrugged

I just finished Atlas Shrugged: (Centennial Edition) by Rand, Ayn on Kindle for Android!

Buffalo Palace by Terry C. Johnston (Scratch book 2)


I have continued reading the Scratch series of books with Buffalo Palace.  You can read more abou the first book, Dance on the Wind, here.  It ends with Titus Bass working in St. Louis wanting to head west.

This second book picks up with Bass 31 years old actually leaving St. Louis.  Headed west to “that land” he’s been ichin’ to see from when he left home at 15.  In this book, Bass gets to see the buffalo he’s wanted to see for so long (and he finds out they are difficult to kill).  He crosses the grass sea of the plains with no indian trouble.  Then, once he’s out west, he starts trapping.  He doesn’t have much luck because he doesn’t know how to trap.

A group of free trappers walks up on him while sleeping one morning.  He throws in with them and, at location 2727, we see them accept Titus and give him a nickname.  Here’s the quote:

“Scratchin’ is what he’s doing,” Silas said. “So—I say let’s give him a new name what’s fittin’ for all them nits he’s been digging at.” “We gonna call him nit?” Hooks asked with a silly grin. “Nawww,” Cooper growled as he stood and stepped over behind Bass with his warm tin cup of coffee in hand—which he slowly began to pour on Titus’s head. … Then Cooper flung his cup aside and spread a hand over the crown of Bass’s head, raising his eyes to the black of that winter night, his voice booming in declaration. “Henceforth and for yonder time—let all men know this here pilgrim…no longer be called Titus Bass, greenhorn … but from now on he be the free trapper we gonna know as—Scratch!”

After having some run-ins with indians, getting some pelts stolen, and having more indian run-ins Titus meets up with another group of people.  This second group of people really take Scratch in after a serious wound.  For three years, they trap together, throw in with some indians, and have even more indian battles.

All in all, if you liked the first Scratch book, you should continue the story with Buffalo Palace.  if you haven’t read it yet, go pick yourself up a copy.  Here is a link to Dance on the Wind at Amazon.

Oh, towards the end, there is a great observation on this era in American History (from location 6105):

In the span of less than two momentous years, a breed was born out here among these rich valleys sheltered and shadowed by the high and snowy places. A novice who was at first content to follow others up the Missouri River to the beaver country, William H. Ashley had ended up fathering a whole new strain of frontiersmen. Unlike their predecessors, those “longhunters” who had roamed the hardwoods forests back east of the Mississippi, these fledgling grandsons were only beginning to tramp across an unfathomable territory much more hostile in both geography and native inhabitants than anything ever before encountered by their eastern forebears. Unlike their grandfathers had ever done back east, men of this new breed would live their simple existence permanently in the mountains—but without a permanent base. Such rootlessness, such unending wandering, suited this new breed just fine. This was the dawn of a glorious era. The mountain man had been born.

Game of Thrones: Fire and Ice Book 1


Last week I finished Game of Thrones:  Book 1 — Fire and Ice.  This is based on the book not the TV show.

I bought this book because I had heard of the TV show.  I’d seen a few adverts for it.  I liked Lord of the Rings and Sean Bean (I think) as Boromear.  I’d also read some articles talking about the accents.  In short, I was interested.  And I like to read.  So, I bought this first book.  Sure, I could have bought the whole series at once; however, I would have been out more if I didn’t like it. I started small.  So, here we go.

First off, the book is hard to read.  The author uses words that aren’t in general use, and so I had to read it.  Normally, I can read 3 out of 5 words or skip a sentence or two and still follow what is going on.  I couldn’t here.  I’m also bad a remembering character’s names.  I remember them as who did what when sort of thing.  Until I was 1/3 of the way through the book, I found myself flipping back to try and remember who was who.

Chapters.  The book doesn’t have chapters per say.  Well, it does; however, they aren’t numbered 1, 2, 3, etc…  Each chapter focuses on a different person in the story and a different place.  So, rather than progress linearly, it jumps around.  Until I got used to this, I found it hard to follow.

Language.  There’s bad language in the book; however, I don’t remember it being any more than one might find in The Plainsman about Titus Bass.  In a way, I see it less as gratuitous language and more reflecting how real people might talk in a situation.

Violence.  Sure, there’s violence in the book.  There are sword battles, fighting, and the like.  What one might expect in a fantasy book.  Again, very similar to the Bass/Scratch books.

Sex.  When I was in Thailand, I had thought about getting the TV Show but a colleague talked me out of it.  He said there was lots of sex, etc… in it.  I don’t know about the TV Show, but there is sex in the book.  Not detailed porn sex, but people do have sex.  I expect that HBO played this up quite a bit for the TV Series.  In book form, it is easy enough to read over.

Now for a short summary.  At 800+ pages, you’ll want to know a bit about the book before you start reading it.

The plot of the story is a good one; however, it took me a while to get into it (because of the words and style of writing).  By the end of the book though, I want to see how the story continues.  I expect I’ll get the second book sometime.

It starts off with Ned Stark living in the North of a fictional land on an island (think the UK).  His friend Robert is king.  Ned became king because of a series of battles that were fought against a previous king whose family is almost extinct but in exile across the sea (think the English Chanel).  They are trying to get an army to reclaim their kingdom.

Robert asks Ned to move to the south and help him rule as the Hand of the King.  Ned goes; however, along the way, discovers a nefarious plot that involves the queen and her family.  The kingdom degenerates into anarchy because of some situations that happen (spoilers so I won’t detail them)

The book ends with Ned’s son–left to rule Ned’s lands while he was gone–marching off to war with those in the south.  Along the way, the exiled family gets some power but then looses in a dramatic way.  It looks like they’ll get it back though.

Ordering your Private World — Gordon MacDonald

Ordering Your Private World Gordon MacDonald

Back in 2006, I posted about reading Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald (link to the kindle book on Amazon here). Now, I don’t remember many specifics about the book…so this post is less of a review and more of a “Yes!  I found the book!” post.

See, one thing has stuck with me since reading the book:  to gauge how “ordered” someone has their life, don’t ask them how they are doing…ask them what they’ve been reading.  For me, I can look back over the past years–6ish since I read it–and I see the times I have the least order in my life (and feel the most stressed, etc…) are the times I quit reading.  I don’t read non-fiction all the time because I think it is important to mix things up.

Many times over the past 6 years, I’ve mentioned this to people; however, I could never remember the title of the book.  I was looking today for some of my old posts on Body for Life (or pictures from back when I did it) and came across the post I linked to above.  I thought I would post about it here simply because that simple measure has stuck with me for so long.

So, my question to you:  what have you been reading lately?  If you aren’t reading anything, why not?

Dance on the Wind by Terry C. Johnston (Scratch book 1)

Dance On The Wind Terry C JohnstonCover

I just finished–well, before the Christmas break I finished–Dance on the Wind by Terry C. Johnson.  This is the first book in the nine book series following Titus “Scratch” Bass as he leaves home, heads west, and becomes a mountain man.

Dance begins with Bass at home working on the family farm.  He’s got a girlfriend who he “courtin’.”  But he is unsettled and yearns for more.  His thoughts often turn to his grandpa who came to Kentucky when it was still the frontier.  One day, after a shootin’ match, he meets a man headed out west.  With freedom calling, Bass runs away from home one evening when he’s 16.  He then meets up with a group of riverboatmen who take him to the other side of the “falls.”  After they get through them, Bass asks to stay on and go to New Orleans with them.  This first book gets him to New Orleans and started back on the Nachez Trace.  Near St. Louis, he decides to go there.

In St. Louis, Bass gets a job as a blacksmith.  Towards the end of the book, he meets up with a real life mountain man.  After wasting all of Bass’ savings, the mountain man dies.  Bass mopes until he finally decides to head west.  This book ends with him setting out to the mountains.

Yes, this book is fiction.  I doubt Bass was a real person.  However, Johnston’s research of the time, area, and the “mountain man era” make “the Scratch books” a favorite with my family.  if you are at all interested in that time or the mountain men, start reading this series.

[Update 2013-02-02 15:18:01] Earlier this week, I started reading Buffalo Palace:  The Plainsman / Scratch book 2.  Once I’m done, I’ll post my review of it.

[Update 2013-02-06 08:26:04] I’ve finished Buffalo Palace.  My review is here.

Bookmooch — Update

Book Mooch logo

Way back in 2008, I blogged about bookmooch.  Well, I never really did anything with it until we came to England.  Perhaps because I didn’t have many books to offer, no one wanted my books…or perhaps it was because I couldn’t send things out of the country reliably….  Who knows.

Anyway, since the middle of 2012, I’ve sent 4 or 5 books out via bookmooch and have enough points to request 10 books or so.  Currently, I’m reading Game of Thrones, book 1 on my kindle.  After I finish it, I’ll request a book as I’m trying NOT to have more than one book going at a time.

[Update 2012-12-30 08:44:45] I realized I didn’t have a link to anywhere in this post.  I do now :^)