Author Topic: What book are you reading now?  (Read 272590 times)

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Offline Xylric

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1425 on: August 14, 2018, 02:10:52 »
Hemingways' Men at War.

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1426 on: August 17, 2018, 23:40:42 »


https://www.amazon.ca/President-Missing-Novel-James-Patterson/dp/0316412694

Take one heroic former Ranger, widower president with a serious blood disease, an ambitious Vice-President, a Speaker of the House intent on impeaching the President for treason, an imminent, massive Jihadist terrorist cyber attack that will send the US back to the Dark Ages, two defecting terrorists, a traitor in the White House and a classical music loving assassin and what do you get?

Strangely enough you get a fast-paced and tightly knit thriller that will keep you turning all of its 528 pages. The plot has just enough hidden twists to keep you interested although it does runs a bit into the incredulous. The characters are a bit superficial and there aren't any secondary character or plot arcs to take you off the main story line. The writing style is pure Patterson (take that as you may but the man has sold over 275 million books). Clinton comes through with what was undoubtedly some background information on the ins and outs of a President's thought processes and the milieu of Washington and in a bit of a cri de coeur in the epilogue on how America has to pull together and give up partisan politics.

The collaboration was a bit over-hyped but all in all it makes a decent bit of light reading.

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Offline Xylric

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1427 on: August 17, 2018, 23:44:28 »
So, it's fiction, but the epilogue is a commentary by the former president? I'll have to see if I can sneak it under the tree for my father this Christmas.

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1428 on: August 17, 2018, 23:53:26 »
So, it's fiction, but the epilogue is a commentary by the former president? I'll have to see if I can sneak it under the tree for my father this Christmas.

Definitely fiction.

Actually to be really accurate that portion is in a speech that the President gives to Congress in the last two chapters (127 and 128) which is followed by a very short epilogue but Patterson has a habit of chopping things into very short chapters. In my mind the three are actually one real epilogue. (But then I haven't sold 275 million books so what do I know)

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Offline Xylric

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1429 on: August 18, 2018, 00:15:59 »
Definitely fiction.

Actually to be really accurate that portion is in a speech that the President gives to Congress in the last two chapters (127 and 128) which is followed by a very short epilogue but Patterson has a habit of chopping things into very short chapters. In my mind the three are actually one real epilogue. (But then I haven't sold 275 million books so what do I know)

 :cheers:

His writing style does take some getting used to, but I think having very short chapters is a decent factor in the number of copies he's sold. Makes it easier for people who don't have the time to sit and read.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1430 on: August 19, 2018, 22:59:38 »
"Natural Born Heroes" by Christopher McDougall

Using the kidnapping of a German general on the Island of Crete during WWII as a thread to hold all the disparate parts of the story together, the book looks at everything from nutrition, exercise, martial arts and even spirituality as a way of exploring the ancient Greek idea of Heroism and Heroes. The conclusion is actually the opposite of the title; Heroes can indeed be created.

This has interesting implications for us in how we recruit, train and educate our young people, and it is especially telling when we look at the differences between what we do today, and how Cretan partisans and some eccentric British SOE types were able to perform fantastic feats of physical and mental endurance on minimal sleep and a small handful of food, in terrible weather conditions and over mountainous terrain, while eluding thousands of German solders swarming over the island looking for them.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1431 on: August 20, 2018, 01:47:54 »
"The Day The World Came To Town" by Jim DeFede, about Gander NL in 9/11 and Operation Yellow Ribbon. 

It's pretty dusty in the room...
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1432 on: August 20, 2018, 02:14:30 »
"Natural Born Heroes" by Christopher McDougall

Using the kidnapping of a German general on the Island of Crete during WWII as a thread to hold all the disparate parts of the story together, the book looks at everything from nutrition, exercise, martial arts and even spirituality as a way of exploring the ancient Greek idea of Heroism and Heroes. The conclusion is actually the opposite of the title; Heroes can indeed be created.

This has interesting implications for us in how we recruit, train and educate our young people, and it is especially telling when we look at the differences between what we do today, and how Cretan partisans and some eccentric British SOE types were able to perform fantastic feats of physical and mental endurance on minimal sleep and a small handful of food, in terrible weather conditions and over mountainous terrain, while eluding thousands of German solders swarming over the island looking for them.

If you haven't you should also read this book 'Ill met by Moonlight' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ill_Met_by_Moonlight

It's also a movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ill_Met_by_Moonlight_(film)

Might be the one that your book is based upon?
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Journeyman

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1433 on: August 20, 2018, 09:15:23 »
Doing a bunch of 'in-depth' stuff right now, so I have some completely inconsequential reading:

Cary Elwes, As You Wish:  Inconceivable Tales from the Making of 'The Princess Bride' -- a gift from the daughter, who said (lovingly, I'm sure), "It's summer;  take this book and some beer, head down to the lake, and chill the f**k out."

As.....you...…...wi-iiish"   ;D

Offline dapaterson

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1434 on: August 20, 2018, 09:41:36 »
You've always struck me as more of an Inigo Montoya than a Dead Pirate Roberts...
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Offline Journeyman

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1435 on: August 20, 2018, 10:17:45 »
You've always struck me as more of an Inigo Montoya than a Dead Dread Pirate Roberts...
Interesting typo.   ;D

...but I'm perfectly OK with either;  there are worse character choices.   :nod:

Offline Thucydides

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1436 on: August 20, 2018, 12:46:17 »
If you haven't you should also read this book 'Ill met by Moonlight' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ill_Met_by_Moonlight

It's also a movie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ill_Met_by_Moonlight_(film)

Might be the one that your book is based upon?

Natural born Heroes isn't based on "Ill Met by Moonlight", but does tell a parallel story, including background information about the various SOE members who participated in the kidnapping. The author started this project far too late to interview the actual participants, but does use a great deal of biographical and material from many researchers, including ones who had contact with the raiders. The author and several guides also attempt to recreate the trek of the SOE party across the island, so there is a real sense of what was accomplished (and how amazingly difficult it was).

This is the thread which ties in all the other elements of the book, since the author is interested in "how could they accomplish that?".
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1437 on: August 20, 2018, 14:21:06 »
Natural born Heroes isn't based on "Ill Met by Moonlight", but does tell a parallel story, including background information about the various SOE members who participated in the kidnapping. The author started this project far too late to interview the actual participants, but does use a great deal of biographical and material from many researchers, including ones who had contact with the raiders. The author and several guides also attempt to recreate the trek of the SOE party across the island, so there is a real sense of what was accomplished (and how amazingly difficult it was).

This is the thread which ties in all the other elements of the book, since the author is interested in "how could they accomplish that?".


With your opening phrase, I was left wondering what other "kidnapping of a German general" did the SOE do during the war, then recognized the "parallel" aspect.  Having not yet read the book but still a fan of the film "Ill Met By Moonlight" as well as intrigued by the life and accomplishments of Patrick Leigh Fermor (and Billy Moss - his SOE colleague in the Kreipe kidnapping and author of Ill Met By Moonlight), it caught my interest.  Luckily it is available at my local library so I have put it on hold.

However, a quick look at some of the comments in bibliocommons has tempered my enthusiasm.  For those not as interested in the connection between "running" (which seems to be the author Christopher McDougall's primary interest) and SOE/Cretan resistance activities, maybe have a look at "Abducting a General: The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete" by Patrick Leigh Fermor.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2018, 14:24:27 by Blackadder1916 »
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1438 on: August 21, 2018, 14:37:33 »

With your opening phrase, I was left wondering what other "kidnapping of a German general" did the SOE do during the war, then recognized the "parallel" aspect.  Having not yet read the book but still a fan of the film "Ill Met By Moonlight" as well as intrigued by the life and accomplishments of Patrick Leigh Fermor (and Billy Moss - his SOE colleague in the Kreipe kidnapping and author of Ill Met By Moonlight), it caught my interest.  Luckily it is available at my local library so I have put it on hold.

However, a quick look at some of the comments in bibliocommons has tempered my enthusiasm.  For those not as interested in the connection between "running" (which seems to be the author Christopher McDougall's primary interest) and SOE/Cretan resistance activities, maybe have a look at "Abducting a General: The Kreipe Operation and SOE in Crete" by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

Kidnap of Heinrich Kreipe

'The success of the operation was put into question several months after its conclusion. The outcome came to be seen as a symbolic propaganda victory rather than a strategic one. The relatively harmless Kreipe was replaced by Müller who ordered a series of large scale reprisals against the civilian population of the island known as Holocaust of Kedros. The operation entered popular imagination through the biographical works of the several of its participants, most notably Moss's book Ill Met by Moonlight.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidnap_of_Heinrich_Kreipe
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1439 on: August 21, 2018, 15:24:07 »
Patrick Leigh Fermor's book, well worth the read:

Quote

https://www.amazon.ca/Abducting-General-Kreipe-Operation-Crete/dp/1444796585

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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1440 on: August 21, 2018, 15:48:06 »
Kidnap of Heinrich Kreipe

'The success of the operation was put into question several months after its conclusion. The outcome came to be seen as a symbolic propaganda victory rather than a strategic one.  . . .

But could not the same be said about any number of SOE/commando operations.  Their stories made for enjoyable cinema adventures in the post-war years but, viewed individually, could many be quantified as strategic victories.
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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1441 on: August 28, 2018, 15:05:48 »
Just finished Billy Mitchell's War with the Navy: The Interwar Rivalry Over Air Power by Thomas Wildenberg:
https://www.amazon.ca/Billy-Mitchells-War-Navy-Interwar/dp/0870210386



Fascinating and illuminating book, great details--significant second part deal with continuing clashes after Mitchell's court martial.  The fellow really was a nasty piece of work, professionally and personally.

Excerpts from a review by historian Prof. Robert Farley, who knows his airpower and battleships (https://www.uky.edu/pattersonschool/people/faculty/dr-robert-farley):
Quote
Why, in the wake of World War I, did the relationship between the US Army Air Service and the US Navy go so bad so quickly? Thomas Wildenberg’s Billy Mitchell’s War with the Navy: The Interwar Rivalry Over Air Power chronicles the conflict between aviation enthusiasts (personified and led by William Mitchell) and the establishment Navy during the interwar period. With control over aviation assets at stake, the sides argued over the effectiveness of airpower against warships and shipping. Mitchell and his acolytes took a maximalist position, holding the air forces had effectively rendered surface navies obsolete, and that the United States government should redirect money away from battleships and aircraft carriers and towards heavy bombers...

The Navy and the Air Service fought for high stakes.  In the United Kingdom, the Royal Air Force was stitched together from the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service, putting all military aviation assets under one banner.  The USN wanted to avoid this outcome at all costs, while Billy Mitchell wanted to create a similar arrangement in the US. In context of severe defense cuts at the end of the World War I, everything seemed to be on the table...

It’s fair to say that Wildenberg is not impressed by Billy Mitchell, and that he generally tilts towards the Navy’s side of the conflict. Wildenberg lands clear punches, demonstrating that while Mitchell was an effective organizational commander and an excellent propagandist, he had severe shortcomings as a strategist.  The subject is complicated, because while planes can’t sink battleships as easily as Mitchell suggested, they surely can sink them. Mitchell’s claims for the capacity of aircraft to sink warships were wildly overstated, and were wrong in many of the particulars. But it’s less clear that they were so wrong as to be unproductive...

...Mitchell’s advocacy was surely unproductive in terms of the details of how aircraft could be used for coastal defense. Heavy, level bombers were nearly useless in World War II for attacks against naval vessels, as warships proved far too fast, maneuverable, and heavily armed to succumb to high altitude level bombing...

...Dedicated dive and torpedo bombers, usually (although not always) developed by navies, would sink the vast majority of warships during the war.  Level bombers did better against civilian shipping, but this was not envisioned to be a serious operational task  in the early inter-war period.  And Mitchell was egregiously wrong about the effectiveness of carriers and carrier aircraft...

...Navy exercises and planning in the 1930s demonstrated the potential effectiveness of dive and torpedo bombers, even if it took some time in practice to develop effective anti-aircraft techniques.  The Air Corps entered the war with an excess of optimism about the role that B-17s could play in coastal defense, while simultaneously lacking any understanding of how heavy bombers might support the anti-submarine effort (although obviously the Navy hardly covered itself with glory on this score in the first year of the war)...

This is an interesting book, and if it had come out earlier I would have found it useful in my own work.  The research appears sound, and the argument is largely correct.  I can’t help feel, however, that the case could have been made more carefully. The book could also have been organized more clearly, as some of the early chapter are much longer than their later counterparts (this may be my own pet peeve). Nevertheless, it’s a good one volume account of how bitterly the Navy and the Air Service fought for prominence in the interwar period.
http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2014/04/sunday-book-review-billy-mitchells-war-with-the-navy

"The Soviets are our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy." —Gen. Curtis LeMay, U.S. Air Force
https://www.wearethemighty.com/articles/the-complete-haters-guide-to-the-us-navy

More on the book at the publisher, United States Naval Institute Press:
https://www.usni.org/store/books/clear-decks-50-90/billy-mitchells-war-navy

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Offline Seahawk

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1442 on: August 28, 2018, 15:27:30 »
I just finished rereading Tom Clancy's Without Remorse and The Sum of All Fears.
Just great, great books. I definitely think that he's one of the best authors of military thrillers (didn't he actually create the genre).

Without Remorse is so different from his other books. It's so dark and deep in some places. Revenge was the main theme, and wow, that's just all I can say...

The Sum of All Fears is also a great work (that's why I reread it anyways). Although there's so much information in it about bombs and whatever that it could get boring if you don't skip those parts. That said, I do think one could learn quite a lot by reading all those section. So I'm planning to one day read it again and actually focus on those parts...

Anyone here a big fan of Tom Clancy? What's you favorite Clancy book? (I have at least five that I can't choose between :)

Offline Sandyson

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1443 on: September 11, 2018, 11:53:02 »
Unexplained Mysteries of World War II by William B Breuer.  John Wiley & Sons: NY, 1997.238 pages.

   Summer reading is at an end but this was interesting. It consists of seven parts: Puzzling Events, Odd Coincidences, Curious Happenings, Uncanny Riddles, People Who Vanished, Peculiar Premonitions, and Strange Encounters. The events are described in a few paragraphs to a few pages.  Examples of event titles in various parts are: "Switzerland: Hitler's Next Conquest?", "The Spy Who Chose the Wrong House", "Belated Surrender on Guam", "Who Tried to Murder de Gaulle?", "A Bell Tolls for a Sailor", and "Unlikely Reunion on the Rhine". It describes mostly American related events but there is mention of others especially British.
   If you had to choose a book as a gift for someone in the military, but weren't too sure of particular interests, this would be a safe choice.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1444 on: September 11, 2018, 12:15:04 »
My preferred non-work reading is hard (scientifically plausible) sci-fi, and I just finished "A Fire Upon the Deep" by Vernor Vinge.  It's an interesting read about first contact between descendants of humanity and aliens, from both points of view.  Also, it was written in 1992 before the Internet, but there is a quite a bit about discussion forums, "fake news" and things that we're seeing now.

https://www.tor.com/2017/05/11/complicated-simplicity-vernor-vinges-a-fire-upon-the-deep/

In the same vein, I'm now reading Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky, a newer book about the last humans meeting essentially a scientific experiment gone wrong, from both points of view.  For any severe arachnophobes, the "experiment" winds up breeding giant intelligent spiders and the novel talks a lot about their society. 
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 #1445 on: September 13, 2018, 10:08:33 »
Against my cheap ******* thrifty nature, I spent the $16 for the e-version of Woodward's Fear: Trump in the White House.

Offline Xylric

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1446 on: September 13, 2018, 20:55:06 »
I've decided that I want to have finished reading the books I was left by my grandfather, so my current reading list for the next week are quite reasonable:

Ernest Hemingway's Men at War
Lewis Henry Morgan's Iroquois
Pierre Berton, both Marching as to War and The Invasion of Canada

and for a little bit of light reading,

Robert Harris' Fatherland.

At this rate, I should be finished by the end of the year.

Offline Dan M

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1447 on: September 14, 2018, 07:56:53 »
For those of you in the GTA and interested in cheap books, this weekend (Sept 13 to Sept 16) the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra is having its annual used book sale at Sheridan Mall in Mississauga. Lots of books on all topics, CDs and DVDs etc, cheaply priced. On Sunday, everything goes for half price.

Sheridan Mall is in the area of Erin Mills Parkway and QEW if you're interested.

Cheers,
Dan.
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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1448 on: September 14, 2018, 09:55:34 »


and for a little bit of light reading,

Robert Harris' Fatherland.


If you like Fatherland, check out Robert Harris' book Enigma. Those two are my favourite books by him.
All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us... they can't get away this time.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: What book are you reading now?
« Reply #1449 on: September 14, 2018, 10:20:48 »
The Book of Negroes.
Freedom Isn't Free   "Never Shall I Fail My Brothers"

“Do everything that is necessary and nothing that is not".