Author Topic: What book are you reading now?  (Read 300382 times)

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Offline dangerboy

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1400 on: May 20, 2018, 10:57:31 »
Just got "Arnham: The Battle fir the Bridges, 1944" by Antony Beevor https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32934807-arnhem.

I have read a number of books on Operation Market Garden and would normally say, oh yet another book about the battle. However, I really like Antony Beevor's writing and find that he is one of those military history writers that always has something new and interesting in his books. I am thinking that this book will just as good as his previous books.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1401 on: May 20, 2018, 11:51:54 »
Just finished the Bolitho series by Alexander Kent.For bing reading buying the ereader version worked well for me.Part of the series featured Canada and the american colonies.one of the books dealt with the American attempt to invade Canada around 1812 via the Great Lakes which probably caused the burning of the White House.

Offline winnipegoo7

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1402 on: May 20, 2018, 12:10:49 »


Quote
War from the Ground Up: Twenty-First Century Combat as Politics is a 2012 book on war and military strategy written by Emile Simpson, a former British Army officer. The book analyzes the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) in terms of Carl von Clausewitz's theory of war, arguing that modern counter-insurgencies have more in common with domestic political struggles than the traditional state-on-state conflicts described by Clausewitz. The book was favorably reviewed by Michael Howard, a prominent military historian, among others.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_from_the_Ground_Up

Offline Dimsum

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1403 on: May 20, 2018, 12:11:37 »
I'm halfway through New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson.  It's a take on how life would be in NYC when sea levels rise 15 meters and drown out the lower parts of the city from various points of view, from government officials to bankers to folks on the "street".  So far I'm enjoying it, but I have a feeling I'd get the geographical references more if I've been/lived there.
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Offline Brihard

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1404 on: May 20, 2018, 17:39:19 »
I'm halfway through New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson.  It's a take on how life would be in NYC when sea levels rise 15 meters and drown out the lower parts of the city from various points of view, from government officials to bankers to folks on the "street".  So far I'm enjoying it, but I have a feeling I'd get the geographical references more if I've been/lived there.

Ooh, neat! He wrote a great trilogy years ago about the colonization of Mars. A gifted author.
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Offline kratz

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1405 on: May 20, 2018, 17:45:56 »
I'm halfway through New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson.  It's a take on how life would be in NYC when sea levels rise 15 meters and drown out the lower parts of the city from various points of view, from government officials to bankers to folks on the "street".  So far I'm enjoying it, but I have a feeling I'd get the geographical references more if I've been/lived there.

Thank you for mentioning the book.

I'd read it, but overlay Toronto, Vancouver or Halifax streets in my mind. The perspectives covered in the book might make more sense to me that way.
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Offline Dimsum

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1406 on: May 20, 2018, 21:34:09 »
Ooh, neat! He wrote a great trilogy years ago about the colonization of Mars. A gifted author.

I've heard about the Mars trilogy but haven't read it yet.  I've read Aurora, 2312, Shaman and this one so far.  2312 got a little weird for me but everything else was awesome.

And kratz, thanks for the tip.  I was pretty much doing the same.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Journeyman

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1407 on: May 21, 2018, 08:44:22 »
.....Emile Simpson, War from the Ground Up: Twenty-First Century Combat as Politics
I thought War from the Ground Up  was an excellent book, especially when read with Hew Strachan's The Direction of War

Simpson was a student of Strachan.  As such, the latter book provides more detail and insight into the higher, strategic-level concepts  Simpson presents.  Simpson's theories on "the narrative," which (in addition to consistency -- a Western weakness) requires an understanding of the audiences;  I assume that the cultural aspects got much practical depth from his time with the Gurkhas.

Offline winnipegoo7

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1408 on: May 21, 2018, 09:38:21 »
To be honest "War From the Ground Up" is a little over my head at points, but it has definitely blown my mind. I'll have to check out Strachan's book sometime.

Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1409 on: May 21, 2018, 21:20:26 »
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett...another continuation book from The Pillars of the Earth..probably one of the best books I've ever read. Looking forward to cracking this one open.

I just finished this book finally. The last 150 pages I could not put it down. I don’t believe Pierre was not a real person, I guess he was an an amalgam of every wicked ******* one could imagine.
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1410 on: May 22, 2018, 08:44:38 »
I don’t believe Pierre was not a real person, I guess he was an amalgam of every wicked ******* one could imagine.
I haven't read any of the books, so I don't know if "Pierre" is some reference to our 15th Prime Minister.    :whistle:

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1411 on: May 22, 2018, 10:47:57 »
I haven't read any of the books, so I don't know if "Pierre" is some reference to our 15th Prime Minister.    :whistle:

Sadly, for me, he was a real person.

Offline FJAG

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1412 on: May 27, 2018, 11:25:45 »
I've just finished Michael V. Hayden's The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies (2018) Penguin Press, New York, NY

https://www.amazon.com/Assault-Intelligence-American-National-Security/dp/0525558586

For those of you who may not remember, Hayden was a four-star USAF general and the director of the National Security Agency (Initially under Bill Clinton and then George W Bush 1999 - 2005) and then the director of the  Central Intelligence Agency (under George W Bush 2006 - 2009)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Hayden_(general)

IMHO Hayden presents a balanced view of the challenges currently confronting the US intelligence community and how the situation came to be. His balance can be seen in that he pulls no punches in detailing the failings that came about during the Obama administration. Those who look at the controversies which surround his tenure in those jobs will see that he definitely leans to the right.

The thrust of his book, however, details the fact that the US is currently under cyber attack from Russia through a massive effort to destabilize American democracy and that the current administration is doing nothing about it.

Hayden details that there is a convergence of the way Americans gravitate (intentionally and by way of search engines tuned to reinforce an individual's preconceptions) to information, regardless as to whether it is true or not, that is mutually reinforced by a swirl of Russian-influenced social media, alt-right websites and talk radio, Presidential tweets, Russian press like RT and some US mainstream media like Fox News. While there is no overarching plan and each of these entities work towards their own purposes, the sum total is a dovetailing of these elements that further Russian intents to fracture US society and keep the US focused on it's internal problems rather than fulfilling it's role as the world's leader.

What is even more troubling to Hayden is that the current US administration is deliberately not treating this issue with any of the seriousness it deserves. He firmly places the blame on Trump who is deliberately avoiding mounting a concerted response to what is currently, in Hayden's eyes, the greatest security threat facing the US. He considers this situation to be an appalling national security lapse that while not necessarily leading to social collapse, threatens America's core democratic structures, processes and attitudes.

He believes the country's intelligence community is under tremendous stress from Trump who, having been given overwhelming intelligence that Russia is engaged in a cyber war with the US, not only refuses to lead a strong response to those attacks but instead is acting aggressively in undermining the intelligence community that provided him the evidence.

A good and compelling read for all.

 :cheers:
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Offline Colin P

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1413 on: June 04, 2018, 12:12:58 »
Just finished the Bolitho series by Alexander Kent.For bing reading buying the ereader version worked well for me.Part of the series featured Canada and the american colonies.one of the books dealt with the American attempt to invade Canada around 1812 via the Great Lakes which probably caused the burning of the White House.

A great set of books, war of 1812 is why you have a "Whitehouse", cover up the burn marks caused by Royal Marines, Canadian Militia and Natives :)

Offline FJAG

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1414 on: June 04, 2018, 14:31:11 »
Continuing my quest to understand what's going on down south, I'm now nearing the end of David Frum's Trumpocarcy: The Corruption of the American Republic.

https://www.amazon.ca/Trumpocracy-Corruption-American-David-Frum/dp/0062796739/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528134760&sr=8-1&keywords=trumpocracy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Frum

David Frum is a conservative Republican who is a senior editor for The Atlantic and was a speech writer in the George W Bush White House. While a life long Republican he voted for Clinton in 2016 because he simply couldn't stomach voting for Trump. You may know him as the son of Barbara Frum.

I think this quote from Peter R Blake, a reviewer on Amazon, best sums up the book:

Quote
Well written. David clearly shows his disgust with Trump as a person and symptom of a much greater malaise. David brings his understanding of politics, history, democracy and deep social patterns and trends together to help explain how Trump got elected and continues to enjoy support from his "base". Whereas, Clinton's "deplorables" remark sought to dehumanize Trump's base, David does show that they are people that have legitimate issues, but also have made a number of choices that compromise their "souls", democracy and their own economic positions even more. While I know Trump will pass and will cause great damage during his tenure, I am more deeply worried about the social patterns and trends, which the author identified well - the attributes of momentum and inertia come to mind. Tremendous positive energy is needed, instead of the swamp gas flames of today. In the end David attempts to forecast potential "silver lining" side effects and provides advice on how to combat the social and political malaise at a local level.

I would add that Frum really hits the nail on the head with his astute observations that it wasn't only the Democrats who completely failed to understand the mood of the conservative side of the country but also the Republican leadership which ought to have seen the writing on the wall after Romney's defeat. Frum analyses the pre-existing conditions that were in place when Trump decided to run and then looks to the enablers and appeasers who allowed him to advance. From there he puts his heart and soul into explaining why Trump is a clear and present danger to democracy in the US (and it's not only because he's a high level kleptocrat and narcissist). The trouble here is that the swamp that is being drained is being refilled with raw sewage.

The introductory line to his book sums up his premise nicely:

Quote
Democracy is a work in progress. So is democracy's undoing.

Well worth the read for those who despise Trump and would like reinforcement of their feelings but, more importantly, an excellent read for those who support Trump despite the niggling feeling in the back of their minds that they might have made and may still be making a mistake.

 [cheers]
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Offline winnipegoo7

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1415 on: July 30, 2018, 12:45:34 »



The Exile: The Stunning Inside Story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in Flight
https://www.amazon.ca/Exile-Stunning-Inside-Story-Flight/dp/1620409844


I thought that I knew a fair bit about Al Qaeda, but I was wrong. Mind blowing book.

Here's a review from Foreign Affairs magazine:
Quote
Scott-Clark and Levy tapped a remarkable array of sources to put together this detailed and intimate investigation into how Osama bin Laden, his family, and some of his closest collaborators spent the decade that began with the planning of the 9/11 attacks and ended with bin Laden’s death in Pakistan at the hands of U.S. Special Forces. The authors reveal the complex set of relations among bin Laden’s many wives and children, the disagreements within al Qaeda (most of its senior figures opposed the 9/11 plan), and the challenge posed to the organization by the brutal sectarianism of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of its affiliate in Iraq. The books sheds considerable (although not conclusive) light on the question of whether senior Pakistani officials knew that bin Laden was hiding in their country. Perhaps the book’s most fascinating sections explain how a large group of senior al Qaeda figures and bin Laden family members found unlikely refuge in Iran after the 9/11 attacks. They were both guests and hostages, providing Iran with some immunity from al Qaeda attacks and representing potential bargaining chips—ultimately never cashed in—during negotiations with the United States.
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/capsule-review/2017-10-16/exile-stunning-inside-story-osama-bin-laden-and-al-qaeda-flight

Offline Journeyman

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1416 on: July 31, 2018, 08:46:18 »
I've just finished Michael V. Hayden's The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies (2018) Penguin Press, New York, NY
I'm wrapping up James Clapper's Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence.  He writes about Snowden's intelligence leaks, and the media's salacious cherry-picking, often inaccurately and out of context, when the Int Community was under all kinds of political and media fire.  Clapper notes with gratitude that Hayden was consistently out there on CNN, Fox, etc  trying to explain the whole story (that those still working within the IC could not).


Oh, and I also just finished Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity  by Condoleezza Rice and Amy Zegart.

Offline FJAG

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1417 on: July 31, 2018, 15:06:55 »
About half way through



https://www.amazon.ca/Restless-Wave-Causes-Fights-Appreciations/dp/1501178008/

So far so good. Seems even handed and provides some interesting insight to the man and the events of his time.

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Offline Dimsum

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1418 on: July 31, 2018, 15:15:06 »
I'm slowly working my way through Chasm City by Alastair Reynolds.

So far (1/3 through) looks like revenge/noir in his Revelation Space sci-fi universe.  If you've read his other Revelation Space novels, I think you'll like this one - the books and printsf subreddits seem to have most people recommending it as their favourite of his works.
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

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Offline FJAG

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1419 on: August 02, 2018, 17:54:49 »
Have now finished McCain's The Restless Wave (see above)

A good book with his take on recent politics starting from his 2008 presidential run and going back and forth a bit. Not really an autobiography but more his take on key issues and events during his years in the Senate.

Two quotes stood out for me. The first respected Putin:

Quote
China is the challenge of the century, but Putin is the clear and present danger, the immediate threat to America, and the world we have helped to make and thrive in. We must fight him as cleverly and as determinedly as he fights us. We will stop him when we stop letting our partisan and personal interests expose our national security interests, even the integrity of our democracy and the rule of law, to his predation

The second respects the polarization of society and politics and Congress:

Quote
There are a lot of contributing factors to the gridlock that frustrates so many. Chief among them is how much more polarized we are as a society. We are secluding ourselves in ideological ghettos. We don't have to debate rationally or even be exposed to ideas that contradict ours. We have our own news sources. We exchange ideas mostly or exclusively with people who agree with us, and troll those who don't. Increasingly we have our own facts to reinforce our convictions and any empirical evidence that disputes them is branded as "fake." That's a social trend that's going to be very hard to turn around given the prevalence in our daily lives of media and communications technology that enables it . . . We have to recover our sense that we're part of a community that's larger than our political cohort, that we all, despite our disagreements, have shared interests and values.

That requires, paradoxically, taking politics more and less seriously. If you're alarmed by our descent into all-consuming partisanship, by the fact that much of the grassroots energy in both parties is with the closed-minded absolutists on the fringes, what are you doing about it? Are you voting in primary elections? Are you helping choose party leaders for your country, your state? Are you running for leadership positions yourself? Are you showing up for precinct committee meetings, district elections, town halls for elected officials? Because I guarantee you, voters on the Far Right and Far Left are. They show up. And if those are the voices party leaders and elected officials hear from most then those voices will exercise influence over local and state parties, over the national party, and over our national affairs that exceed the strength of their actual numbers. If you want politics to be more civil, if you want Congress to argue less and get more done, then show up.

Words to live by.

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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1420 on: August 02, 2018, 18:15:10 »
I am on the 3rd book of Ken Folletts' Century TriologyEdge of Eternity.

I found the first 2 books, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, fairly captivating.  I'm finding my interest fading a little bit on the final book as it starts to center on the rock band/junkie aspect of the timeline.  Hopefully the last 30% of the book finishes off with a zing to make this a very good trilogy.

I've got One Day in August next on the shelf and in hardcover;  looking forward to it as I do most of my reading now on a Kobo.
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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1421 on: August 10, 2018, 17:24:43 »
Being Prime Minister     by J D M Stewart Dundurn: Toronto, 2018) 338 pages index, bibliography and end notes. Lib of Congress: FC26.P7S74 2018
Anecdotes about the lives beyond politics of prime ministers.  e.g. travel, security, health, celebrities and pets.  Suitable to pick up and read during television commercial breaks. It will contribute to your witty remarks at socials.

Offline StygianFire

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1422 on: August 11, 2018, 13:33:31 »
I am currently in the middle of reading Into The Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War by Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer. I'm about halfway done, reading it on downtime whenever I get some.

Offline FJAG

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1423 on: August 13, 2018, 20:42:06 »
Have now finished reading Hillary Clinton's What Happened.

https://www.amazon.ca/What-Happened-Hillary-Rodham-Clinton/dp/1501175564

In short: If you are looking for a good book that gives insight into what happened during the 2016 election or a suggestion for how the Democrats will move forward, this isn't it.

There are two sections worth reading.

The first is her view of the "email" issue. This is a pretty fair appraisal of the reality of what the issue was (minor at best) and how the press fell into Trump's trap of making it THE campaign and credibility issue to help him deflect from his lack of a platform and his own problems in the campaign. She certainly has no love for FBI Director Jim Comey and blames him (IMHO quite rightly) for undercutting her campaign at a critical time with his disclosure of the Weiner laptop emails (which was another non-event but which seriously undermined her support) This chapter is well written and her arguments well presented.

The second relates to the Russian interference in the campaign. Again there is a good marshalling of facts, a well presented tie-in of Russian activities with the Trump campaign (yes I believe there was collusion) and an analysis of what these activities mean for American democracy in the future (there'll be more of this until and unless the US gets its stuff together.)

All told that was 67 worth while pages out of a book of approximately 445. The remainder was a collection of name dropping, fluffy justifying, a fair bit of kumbaya-ism and basically not very good writing.  I never was much of a fan of Clinton's although I thought that she stood head and shoulders above her competition when it came to policies and competence. I still do but this book definitely left me disappointed and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone in particular. While she offers some reasons, I don't think that she truly has a a handle on why people who weren't hard core Republicans nonetheless voted for Trump or failed to come out to vote for her. Unless the Democrats figure that out within the next year and come up with a good counter-strategy they may lose another election.  McCain's book (see above) was heads and shoulders better than this one.

(Interesting side fact - Other than FD Roosevelt and H Truman (five terms 1932-1952) the Democrats have never managed to have more than two consecutive terms in the White House)

 :cheers:
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1424 on: August 14, 2018, 00:35:24 »
The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies, by Bill Corbett, 2nd Edition.

Apparently they keep turning up new peaks over 11,000 feet, so the 2nd Edition has four more than the first.

I like the amazing stories of the first, and more remote, ascents. Many of these peaks see few ascents even now, with all the fancy gear, fitness programs and helicopters. It's humbling to read about the guys - and some gals - who suffered mightily to bag these peaks. I also like that the author has done many of these climbs himself, so comes across as a very credible writer when describing some of the routes.

https://www.amazon.ca/11-000ers-Canadian-Rockies-2nd/dp/1771601329

'An award winner at the Banff Mountain Book Festival, this comprehensive, full-colour climber’s guide and history celebrates in words and images these breathtaking summits and the lively, often forgotten accounts of the pioneering climbers and their original routes.

This new edition of The 11,000ers of the Canadian Rockies thoroughly updates route and access information, particularly taking into account the warming trends and glacier retreat that are significantly reshaping the landscape through which mountaineers travel. For those seeking fresh challenges or high peaks to bag, this revision introduces four more mountains on the threshold of 11,000 feet, bringing the potential total to 58 that reach the magic mark.

Each entry provides a vivid description of the peak, an extensive history of early and subsequent ascents (and ski descents) and a detailed description of moderate to intermediate routes, including access and approach information. The text is liberally illustrated in full colour and features dozens of route and climbing photos and detailed area maps.'
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