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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment?

 
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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/4/2016 11:25:11 AM   
AstaSyneri

 

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The Saxon series by Bernard Cornwell (most recently redubbed The Last Kingdom series), currently in book four.

This is an excellent "feel the times" series about the 9th century British Isles that just could have been.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1951
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/10/2016 5:00:50 PM   
BellaDonna


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Neil Gaiman - American Gods

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Post #: 1952
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/13/2016 8:30:55 PM   
warspite1


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Jutland: The Unfinished Battle (Nicholas Jellicoe) Seaforth Publishing

With the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland approaching I was keen to read another account of the battle. I was drawn to this book as it was written by Nicholas Jellicoe, the grandson of the British Commander in Chief of The Grand Fleet at the time of the battle, and had a good review from Robert Massie (of Castles of Steel fame).

The story of the battle and how it panned out is frustrating and sad in equal measure, but I have to say this was an enjoyable read and the positives far outweigh the negatives. So what were these?

The negatives

The main complaint I have with this book is the lack of diagrams and drawings that allow the reader to properly understand what was happening at various times. To many (most?) of us I would imagine that being able to understand what is happening through the use of nautical terms is not a gift we possess. Note: this book is far from being an outlier in this regard. Indeed it is rare that a book on any military campaign provides the reader with sufficient information. Particularly annoying when a passage makes mention of somewhere that was not even identified on the all too few maps and diagrams in the first place! But I digress.

The second issue is that I bought the book as I wanted to see Jutland from another perspective – but the book started with mini biographies of Fisher and Tirpitz in a kind of Bullock’s Hitler and Stalin Parallel Lives type fashion. Do not get me wrong, the information was interesting to someone who knows relatively little about these key characters, and I would have expected something on these individuals given their contribution to the fleets that fought the battle, but I felt that there was too much that was irrelevant to the story of Jutland. There was also a large section on the subsequent submarine campaign – and Jellicoe’s role, as First Sea Lord, in trying to defeat it. Again very interesting in its own right, but not what I bought the book for.

The final complaint is that there was some repetition, as well as some grammatical and the odd factual mistake and also, in a few places, some points/sentences that seemed out of place in terms of what was being described/discussed. Thankfully these were rare.

The positives

All that said, I have to say that the above did not spoil the book for me and the book was written in an easy-to-read style that made the book a pleasure and not a chore (a lack of maps and diagrams notwithstanding!).

I suspect the title refers to the battle that is still raging over who was to blame for Jutland not being another Trafalgar and which side actually won the battle? It is clear that the author is trying to set the record straight with regard to the poor press that Jellicoe has received, both at the time and in the years subsequently, but I have to say he does this in a measured, even-handed way and is not slow to criticise his grandfather where he thinks it necessary and appropriate. The German performance is also put into perspective and both failings and successes, good decisions and bad, are acknowledged.

The book contains brief but interesting bios of the four leading Admirals during the battle: Jellicoe, Scheer, Beatty and Hipper, allowing the reader access to the background of each and the route they took to be where they were on 31st May 1916.

I do not want to put in any spoilers for those who do not know much about the battle, what took place and how it ends, but the book brings out the many, many failings of the British – from the Admiralty, through all levels down – that contributed to the failure of The Grand Fleet, with such a material advantage, to annihilate their German contemporaries. Of course every story has two sides and there is more than one way of looking at most things in life. What is interesting is that despite these many failings, it is clear that Admiral Scheer was, even then, incredibly lucky to get his fleet home – and Hipper even luckier.

Conclusion

I have my own views on the extent to which Admiral Jellicoe was at fault for what happened on 31st May-1st June 1916. What is clear is that he was incredibly let down by certain subordinates and others. One intriguing question though is, to what extent he, as Commander in Chief, was responsible for, or at least contributed to, his subordinates failings? There is much here to ponder over.

Was this book worth the cost? Absolutely.


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 4/13/2016 8:32:35 PM >


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Post #: 1953
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/13/2016 9:45:55 PM   
Red Lancer


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Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?

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Post #: 1954
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/13/2016 11:13:11 PM   
wodin


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The link below will take you to Tactical Wargames Blog and the first book article to be published. Lots of great WWI and WWII nonfiction and fiction reads..with links to the Amazon page.

Please go take a look. Tell me what you think.

Oh I also have Jack Sheldon and Jason Marks lined up for an interview at some point, most likely around Summer. Plus I shall do a book review once a month if possible.

LINK TO BOOK ARTICLE

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Post #: 1955
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/13/2016 11:27:44 PM   
Zorch

 

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Thank you.
My Jutland book isn't out for another month.

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Post #: 1956
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/14/2016 12:00:51 AM   
wodin


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Ive got a few on the go..

Bloody Stalingrad trilogy by A McGregor

Verdun 1916 by W Buckingham

Moonlight Massacre by M LoCicero

Attrition: Fighting the First World War by W Philpott

The Eastern Front: Memoirs of a Waffen SS Volunteer, 1941-1945 by L Degrelle

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Post #: 1957
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/14/2016 5:29:55 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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Post #: 1958
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/14/2016 8:32:07 AM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


I found Rules of the Game to be a difficult read.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1959
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/15/2016 5:41:53 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


I found Rules of the Game to be a difficult read.
warspite1

It arrived today - I am moist with anticipation!!


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Zorch)
Post #: 1960
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/16/2016 11:55:21 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 36980
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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


I found Rules of the Game to be a difficult read.
warspite1

It arrived today - I am moist with anticipation!!

warspite1

First couple of chapters in and....... this is GOOD!!


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1961
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/19/2016 6:16:00 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 36980
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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


I found Rules of the Game to be a difficult read.
warspite1

It arrived today - I am moist with anticipation!!

warspite1

First couple of chapters in and....... this is GOOD!!

warspite1

So pleased about the tip-off for this book. Its unputdownable - or would be if it wasn't for work

I suspect I will not end up agreeing with all that the author writes (based on some of the routes he is going down) and the conclusions he draws but that does not matter. This is such an interesting read. Absolute quality.


The 5th Battle Squadron



Attachment (1)

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 4/19/2016 6:17:49 PM >


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1962
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 2:22:50 PM   
Red Lancer


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Glad you like it.

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(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1963
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 6:59:03 PM   
Jagdtiger14


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This one seems interesting:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/hitlers-top-nuclear-scientists-dubbed-7734885

If the author is correct, it seems the NAZI's could have had the bomb around May/June 1946?

What if?: The Germans had attacked Poland in March '41 rather than September '39? I think he did promise the navy not until 1941?

_____________________________

Conflict with the unexpected: two qualities are indispensable; first, an intellect which, even in the midst of this obscurity, is not without some traces of inner light which lead to the truth; second, the courage to follow this faint light. KvC

(in reply to Red Lancer)
Post #: 1964
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 7:14:51 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jagdtiger14

This one seems interesting:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/hitlers-top-nuclear-scientists-dubbed-7734885

If the author is correct, it seems the NAZI's could have had the bomb around May/June 1946?

What if?: The Germans had attacked Poland in March '41 rather than September '39? I think he did promise the navy not until 1941?
warspite1

I don't think he could wait that long. He had a head start on the Western Allies, but that was being eroded every month as the British and French could out produce him. Of as much (and as we know ultimately) more concern is that this delay would also play into Stalin's hands as he re-built his army following the purges.

I am not sure the German economy was looking to rosy by 1939 either although this (economics) is not my area of expertise.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Jagdtiger14)
Post #: 1965
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 7:55:58 PM   
Jagdtiger14


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Actually, the German economy was doing quite well. Zero unemployment, 8% GDP growth, and inflation near zero. The problem was that there was high deficit spending, and a high national debt. The Germans had a way around some of that with an IOU system within the Industrial community. The economy was cooling off from its high in 1937. GDP in 1938 was less than 1937, and 1939 less than 1938.

The argument that Germany attacked Poland for economic reasons comes from a British Marxist historian with no proof for his theory...some other British historian debunked him.

The reason Hitler attacked Poland was ideologically driven. I don't know about the British economy, but the one that would have mattered the most to Germany was France, and they were a basket case until 1939 when they began their re-armament...and even then there was trouble in the streets concerning the economy...how that would have played out over another year and a half? The beginning of the war settled these issues.

_____________________________

Conflict with the unexpected: two qualities are indispensable; first, an intellect which, even in the midst of this obscurity, is not without some traces of inner light which lead to the truth; second, the courage to follow this faint light. KvC

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1966
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 8:01:16 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jagdtiger14

The argument that Germany attacked Poland for economic reasons comes from a British Marxist historian with no proof for his theory...some other British historian debunked him.

The reason Hitler attacked Poland was ideologically driven.
warspite1

Re the former - no idea, you lost my interest at Marxist
Re the latter - without wishing to state the bleedin' obvious, Hitler wanted Lebensraum in the East and poor Poland was always in the way .


< Message edited by warspite1 -- 4/21/2016 8:12:06 PM >


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England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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Post #: 1967
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 8:50:42 PM   
Jagdtiger14


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quote:

Re the former - no idea, you lost my interest at Marxist Re the latter - without wishing to state the bleedin' obvious, Hitler wanted Lebensraum in the East and poor Poland was always in the way .


Not sure why I would lose your interest at Marxist.

Sorry for stating the bleeding obvious then. I think what you wrote would fall under "ideological"?

Here (from Wikipedia):

A major historiographical debate about the relationship between the German prewar economy and foreign policy decision-making was prompted in the late 1980s, when the British Marxist historian Timothy Mason claimed that an economic crisis had caused a "flight into war" in 1939. Mason argued that the German working-class was opposed to the Nazi dictatorship in the over-heated German economy of the late 1930s.[53] However, Mason’s thesis was debunked by historian Richard Overy who wrote that Germany's economic problems could not explain aggression against Poland and that the reasons for the outbreak of war were due to the ideological choices made by the Nazi leadership. For Overy, the problem with Mason's thesis was that it rested on the assumptions not shown by records.[54] Overy argued that there was a difference between economic pressures induced by the problems of the Four Year Plan, and economic motives to seize foreign industry, materials and reserves of neighboring states

< Message edited by Jagdtiger14 -- 4/21/2016 8:52:35 PM >


_____________________________

Conflict with the unexpected: two qualities are indispensable; first, an intellect which, even in the midst of this obscurity, is not without some traces of inner light which lead to the truth; second, the courage to follow this faint light. KvC

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1968
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 8:52:53 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jagdtiger14

Actually, the German economy was doing quite well. Zero unemployment, 8% GDP growth, and inflation near zero. The problem was that there was high deficit spending, and a high national debt. The Germans had a way around some of that with an IOU system within the Industrial community. The economy was cooling off from its high in 1937. GDP in 1938 was less than 1937, and 1939 less than 1938.

The argument that Germany attacked Poland for economic reasons comes from a British Marxist historian with no proof for his theory...some other British historian debunked him.

The reason Hitler attacked Poland was ideologically driven. I don't know about the British economy, but the one that would have mattered the most to Germany was France, and they were a basket case until 1939 when they began their re-armament...and even then there was trouble in the streets concerning the economy...how that would have played out over another year and a half? The beginning of the war settled these issues.

I generally agree. I've also heard it said that the German economy was dependent on the resources Stalin supplied after Sept. 1939 to make up for those lost to the Anglo-French blockade. Supposedly Germany could not have attacked France without the Soviet raw materials.

Is AJP Taylor the historian you refer to? He had some good insights, but most of his conclusions about Hitler were wrong.

(in reply to Jagdtiger14)
Post #: 1969
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 8:53:29 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jagdtiger14

quote:

Re the former - no idea, you lost my interest at Marxist Re the latter - without wishing to state the bleedin' obvious, Hitler wanted Lebensraum in the East and poor Poland was always in the way .


Not sure why I would lose your interest at Marxist.

Sorry for stating the bleeding obvious then. I think what you wrote would fall under "ideological"?

Here (from Wikipedia):

A major historiographical debate about the relationship between the German prewar economy and foreign policy decision-making was prompted in the late 1980s, when the British Marxist historian Timothy Mason claimed that an economic crisis had caused a "flight into war" in 1939. Mason argued that the German working-class was opposed to the Nazi dictatorship in the over-heated German economy of the late 1930s.[53] However, Mason’s thesis was debunked by historian Richard Overy who wrote that Germany's economic problems could not explain aggression against Poland and that the reasons for the outbreak of war were due to the ideological choices made by the Nazi leadership. For Overy, the problem with Mason's thesis was that it rested on the assumptions not shown by records.[54] Overy argued that there was a difference between economic pressures induced by the problems of the Four Year Plan, and economic motives to seize foreign industry, materials and reserves of neighboring states
warspite1

And once again we seem to be talking past each other. Please ignore my posts as, not sure why, but clearly something has got lost in translation.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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Post #: 1970
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 9:14:30 PM   
Jagdtiger14


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Warspite: Ok, no problem. We seem to do this a lot. I'm just a farm boy from Wisconsin, and you speak the Queen's English...so...

_____________________________

Conflict with the unexpected: two qualities are indispensable; first, an intellect which, even in the midst of this obscurity, is not without some traces of inner light which lead to the truth; second, the courage to follow this faint light. KvC

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1971
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 9:17:14 PM   
Jagdtiger14


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quote:

Is AJP Taylor the historian you refer to? He had some good insights, but most of his conclusions about Hitler were wrong.


No, he is not (see post #1968). AJP Taylor makes for some interesting reading, but I agree with you that he is flawed and not exactly well regarded from what I've heard/read.



_____________________________

Conflict with the unexpected: two qualities are indispensable; first, an intellect which, even in the midst of this obscurity, is not without some traces of inner light which lead to the truth; second, the courage to follow this faint light. KvC

(in reply to Zorch)
Post #: 1972
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 9:21:25 PM   
warspite1


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Has anyone read the Robert Harris trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum, Dictator - and have any opinions on the books?



< Message edited by warspite1 -- 4/21/2016 9:25:24 PM >


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Post #: 1973
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/21/2016 11:02:11 PM   
british exil


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Has anyone read the Robert Harris trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum, Dictator - and have any opinions on the books?




I read the books a few years back and quite enjoyed them. I got a bit of the feeling of ancient Rome and its inhabitants. Got the feeling that I was learning whilst enjoying a great story.

I read Imperium in 2007, so can't remember too many details, but I do know that I read the Lustrum in the follow up. I didn't know that Dictator had been printed, too little time to read nowadays, with real life, gaming and family.
Will have to order it for my holiday reading though.

In my opinion well worth reading.

Mat

Mat

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Post #: 1974
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/22/2016 6:07:42 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: british exil


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Has anyone read the Robert Harris trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum, Dictator - and have any opinions on the books?




I read the books a few years back and quite enjoyed them. I got a bit of the feeling of ancient Rome and its inhabitants. Got the feeling that I was learning whilst enjoying a great story.

I read Imperium in 2007, so can't remember too many details, but I do know that I read the Lustrum in the follow up. I didn't know that Dictator had been printed, too little time to read nowadays, with real life, gaming and family.
Will have to order it for my holiday reading though.

In my opinion well worth reading.

Mat

Mat
warspite1

Thanks Mat. Some holiday reading me thinks.

< Message edited by warspite1 -- 4/22/2016 6:09:16 AM >


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



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Post #: 1975
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/27/2016 8:05:02 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


I found Rules of the Game to be a difficult read.
warspite1

I understand what you mean. I am almost halfway through and while the opening chapters about the build up to the battle were brilliant, the last few chapters have proven something of a trial.

It seems pretty clear where the author is going with all this but in order to make his case, does he really need to talk about the guest list for the (future) King George V's wedding, the fact that George's elder brother was intellectually challenged! or Evan-Thomas's links to the Royal Family??

Meanwhile back at sea with the Mediterranean Fleet, the author at least provides many diagrams to help explain key points, but there is still much that a non-sailor would find hard to follow.

Still enjoying the book overall, but I cannot wait for the point to be made so we can get back to the battle!!


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Zorch)
Post #: 1976
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/27/2016 8:17:10 AM   
Orm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Has anyone read the Robert Harris trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum, Dictator - and have any opinions on the books?



I only read Lustrum and I enjoyed it.

If you are looking for fictional books during the Roman Empire I can recommend Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom. It is the first book in a series and focus on a besieged city during the second half of the third century. The protagonist is sent to the city to protect it from an expected attack by the Sassanid Persians.

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(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1977
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/27/2016 8:26:17 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Orm


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Has anyone read the Robert Harris trilogy - Imperium, Lustrum, Dictator - and have any opinions on the books?



I only read Lustrum and I enjoyed it.

If you are looking for fictional books during the Roman Empire I can recommend Fire in the East by Harry Sidebottom. It is the first book in a series and focus on a besieged city during the second half of the third century. The protagonist is sent to the city to protect it from an expected attack by the Sassanid Persians.
warspite1

No it wasn't Roman books specifically, I have read a few Robert Harris novels and wondered if these were up to the quality of his other stuff.


_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty. Horatio Nelson October 1805



(in reply to Orm)
Post #: 1978
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/27/2016 9:13:28 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: Red Lancer

Have you read Gordon's Rules of the Game - if so how does it compare?
warspite1

I have not, but the Jellicoe book has me keen for more and so have this on order. I will let you know. I guess Making Sense of the Troubles will have to take a back-seat for now....


I found Rules of the Game to be a difficult read.
warspite1

I understand what you mean. I am almost halfway through and while the opening chapters about the build up to the battle were brilliant, the last few chapters have proven something of a trial.

It seems pretty clear where the author is going with all this but in order to make his case, does he really need to talk about the guest list for the (future) King George V's wedding, the fact that George's elder brother was intellectually challenged! or Evan-Thomas's links to the Royal Family??

Meanwhile back at sea with the Mediterranean Fleet, the author at least provides many diagrams to help explain key points, but there is still much that a non-sailor would find hard to follow.

Still enjoying the book overall, but I cannot wait for the point to be made so we can get back to the battle!!


Yes, he belabors his point a little too much.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 1979
RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 4/27/2016 9:26:08 PM   
Red Lancer


Posts: 3888
Joined: 11/16/2005
From: UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zorch
Yes, he belabors his point a little too much.


That is a valid point of view if you consider the book to be only about the conduct of Jutland. The book is perhaps more about understanding command culture.

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(in reply to Zorch)
Post #: 1980
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