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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? - 12/7/2018 12:34:11 AM   
SundiataWTF

 

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Just finished Neptune's Inferno. It focuses on the naval side of the campaign for Guadalcanal. It uses battle reports, letters between high ranking officers and oral histories from participants at all levels and from both sides build an epic narrative that reads like a thriller. Highly recommended!

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 12/10/2018 5:22:21 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SundiataWTF

Just finished Neptune's Inferno. It focuses on the naval side of the campaign for Guadalcanal. It uses battle reports, letters between high ranking officers and oral histories from participants at all levels and from both sides build an epic narrative that reads like a thriller. Highly recommended!
warspite1

This book divides opinion on these forums like no other. Glad you enjoyed it - I didn't last more than a chapter or so....

If you like that then I'd recommend Guadalcanal (Frank).


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 12/10/2018 7:09:49 PM   
Titanwarrior89


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This forum.

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"Before Guadalcanal the enemy advanced at his pleasure. After Guadalcanal, he retreated at ours".

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 12/10/2018 8:12:24 PM   
alfresco

 

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Just started The Liberation Trilogy by Rick Atkinson.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 12/10/2018 9:31:44 PM   
Aurelian

 

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Just about finished book 5 of Mark Berent's Wings of War series.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 12/18/2018 6:14:47 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Annoyingly I'm having to temporarily shelve Shattered Sword for a couple of weeks or so. I've ordered (and should have delivered on Tuesday) Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II.
warspite1

Finished reading this. The book was broadly as expected - better in some areas (the author had obviously done some research) but as expected, or worse, in others.

Even allowing for the lowest guestimate, 1.5m Indians died. That is a huge number and their story deserves to be told. About the best thing I can say about this book is that the Bengal Famine is now more widely known.

By the standards of today, Empires were, by their very nature, wrong - even the most benign. But humans being humans, they have been a constant throughout history. I totally reject the current trend to view historical figures and historical events through a 21st Century lens. This is as absurd as it is pointless. By this methodology every history book would be reduced to denouncing just about everything ever done by anybody. Just think about it.

Unfortunately the author makes the mistake (although no doubt intentional on her part) of creating a work so one-sided as to border in places on fantasy (the description of Bengal pre the British should begin "once upon a time"). She doesn't seem to realise that doing this actually detracts from the message she seeks to get across. This method of telling the story of course panders to those who don't need converting, but to readers who are interested in the full story, such bias immediately leaves one wondering what is actually true.

At least 1.5m Indians died and that is an absolute tragedy, they died on the British Government / Government of India's watch and that needs to be explained and not air brushed out of history. But the author's contention is that the famine and its aftermath were deliberate acts by Churchill. She does not successfully make that case, although presented as it is, the evidence makes for some unpleasant reading at times.

But the lack of balance in her book is what is most damaging to her argument. For example she makes great play of being 'astonished' at Leopold Amery's view of Hitler from the early 1930's, but there is no mention of Gandhi believing Hitler to "not be as bad as he is depicted", as late as 1940. There are two sides to every story but this book contains only one. That is the route she chose to go down fair enough, but it simply means that her account needs to be treated with caution.

In summary, this was worth reading - but needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.


_____________________________

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/5/2019 8:00:02 AM   
warspite1


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Further to watching 100 days to Victory, I've ordered this - which generally seems to have good reviews.




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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/5/2019 11:08:23 AM   
Zorch

 

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King Arthur: The Making of the Legend by Nicholas Higham. A scholarly examination of the mythological and quasi-historical King Arthur.


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/5/2019 12:51:25 PM   
altipueri

 

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Ghandi actually contributed to the famine because his hindu nationalists threatened farmers who had surplus grain to prevent them selling it to relieve famine elsewhere. So blood is on his hands.

Also Churchill arranged for extra ships to take grain, and both US and Australia contributed. A devasating explosion at Bombay docks didn't help - it destroyed about 45,000 tonnes of grain.

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Annoyingly I'm having to temporarily shelve Shattered Sword for a couple of weeks or so. I've ordered (and should have delivered on Tuesday) Churchill's Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II.
warspite1

Finished reading this. The book was broadly as expected - better in some areas (the author had obviously done some research) but as expected, or worse, in others.

Even allowing for the lowest guestimate, 1.5m Indians died. That is a huge number and their story deserves to be told. About the best thing I can say about this book is that the Bengal Famine is now more widely known.

By the standards of today, Empires were, by their very nature, wrong - even the most benign. But humans being humans, they have been a constant throughout history. I totally reject the current trend to view historical figures and historical events through a 21st Century lens. This is as absurd as it is pointless. By this methodology every history book would be reduced to denouncing just about everything ever done by anybody. Just think about it.

Unfortunately the author makes the mistake (although no doubt intentional on her part) of creating a work so one-sided as to border in places on fantasy (the description of Bengal pre the British should begin "once upon a time"). She doesn't seem to realise that doing this actually detracts from the message she seeks to get across. This method of telling the story of course panders to those who don't need converting, but to readers who are interested in the full story, such bias immediately leaves one wondering what is actually true.

At least 1.5m Indians died and that is an absolute tragedy, they died on the British Government / Government of India's watch and that needs to be explained and not air brushed out of history. But the author's contention is that the famine and its aftermath were deliberate acts by Churchill. She does not successfully make that case, although presented as it is, the evidence makes for some unpleasant reading at times.

But the lack of balance in her book is what is most damaging to her argument. For example she makes great play of being 'astonished' at Leopold Amery's view of Hitler from the early 1930's, but there is no mention of Gandhi believing Hitler to "not be as bad as he is depicted", as late as 1940. There are two sides to every story but this book contains only one. That is the route she chose to go down fair enough, but it simply means that her account needs to be treated with caution.

In summary, this was worth reading - but needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.



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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/5/2019 12:52:44 PM   
loki100


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3 recent offerings ranging from the engaging to the very poor.

So lets start at the bottom. Hill The Red Army and the Second World War, poorly edited (its full of typos despite being a Cambridge Uni Press book) and in essence an endless repetition of two sort of interesting insights. The contribution (to my knowledge) was the argument that the 1937-8 purges as such were not the reason for the poor Red Army leadership in 1941. He points out the Soviets had 9 divisions in 1929 and it was the expansion, allied to the destruction of the training cadre, that really caused the problem.

The rest revolves around constantly re-iterating that Soviet doctrine used recon as a form of combat not of information gathering in the Western or German style. Its a valid point but the Soviet model also made some sense in terms of wider capacity and overall doctrine. The other bit is to point out that Soviet command and control was weakened both by lack of investment in communications technology as well as overall weaknesses in the command cadre.

Really not recommended and it makes me doubt the value of other volumes in the same series.

Much better is David Stahel's edited Joining Hitler's Crusade. At a purely technical level its a really good eg of how to do and write up comparative political or historical case studies. 3 main sections looking first at the varying motivations of the states that joined the Germans in Barbarossa, then the volunteers from the various Nazi occupied states in Western Europe and then the motivations of collaboration of citizens from within the Soviet Union. Most of the chapters really cover the decision to join and are skimpy on what happened during the war and the varying exit strategies. But a good enjoyable read and I learnt a lot.

Finally read Wahro's Franco-Prussian War. Excellent stuff, better written than his earlier study of the Austro-Prussian war. Came out of it with a real understanding of just why MacMahon walked into the trap at Sedan, the almost-WW1 style horror of Gravelotte and how the French squandered the huge advantage the Chassepot rifle gave them. My only grumble is a poor treatment of the Paris Commune - not just because it sits at the end of his real focus but the casual assumption it was some sort of Marxist-Leninist dictatorship. Doesn't detract from an excellent book though and there are plenty of more balanced studies of the Commune.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/5/2019 1:00:03 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: altipueri

Ghandi actually contributed to the famine because his hindu nationalists threatened farmers who had surplus grain to prevent them selling it to relieve famine elsewhere. So blood is on his hands.

...



thats an incredibly partial misreading of the record.

Don't forget this was the third famine the British Empire quite deliberately set off in Bengal. The first was caused by the East India Company. It was able initially to make a vast amount of money by simply looting accumulated assets, once this ran out they carried on with the same rate of expropriation but from current production - which of course led to mass poverty and famine. It was also the same model that Stalin was later to use to fund industrial expansion.

The second was during the Boer War when food was extracted from Bengal (during a period of drought) to feed the British Army in S. Africa.

Was Churchill the only guilty party? Quite probably not. Did he repeat what the British had already done before - yes. Did the consequences of that expropriation worry him? Probably not. Did Indian nationalists seek to exploit the situation - I can easily believe the answer is yes.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/5/2019 3:12:52 PM   
Zorch

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: loki100

3 recent offerings ranging from the engaging to the very poor.

...

Finally read Wahro's Franco-Prussian War. Excellent stuff, better written than his earlier study of the Austro-Prussian war. Came out of it with a real understanding of just why MacMahon walked into the trap at Sedan, the almost-WW1 style horror of Gravelotte and how the French squandered the huge advantage the Chassepot rifle gave them. My only grumble is a poor treatment of the Paris Commune - not just because it sits at the end of his real focus but the casual assumption it was some sort of Marxist-Leninist dictatorship. Doesn't detract from an excellent book though and there are plenty of more balanced studies of the Commune.

+1 on Wawro.
Alistair Horne's The Fall of Paris: The Siege and the Commune, 1870-71 is excellent, but dated.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/8/2019 8:54:28 PM   
mikkey


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Another book from the Wild Weasel pilot in Vietnam War Billy Sparks: Takhli Tales

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/9/2019 6:46:58 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

Further to watching 100 days to Victory, I've ordered this - which generally seems to have good reviews.



warspite1

A few chapters in and this is proving to be an excellent book. Very readable.


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



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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/15/2019 6:41:59 PM   
warspite1


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As soon as 100 Days is finished - time to give War and Peace a go... looks like a bit of a monster .

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/30/2019 5:02:24 PM   
warspite1


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...and it is. Tolstoy appears to like writing whole character's speeches in French - and then putting the English translations at the bottom of the page. One obvious question is..... er why? Just because Russian aristos spoke French doesn't mean a French quote is required in a novel - I mean, when they speak Russian there is no quote in Russian.... strange. All the same I'm sort of enjoying it - but would not have wanted to attempt it without having seen the TV series (and so can cheat on learning who is who).

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/30/2019 6:30:25 PM   
loki100


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

As soon as 100 Days is finished - time to give War and Peace a go... looks like a bit of a monster .


spoiler alert - skip the interminable discussion about freemasonry, kicks in somewhere post the first phase of the Napoleonic wars and it is ... tedious.

In any language.

Not sure if that was in the TV series (as I missed that)

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 1/30/2019 7:29:28 PM   
Blond_Knight


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The Terror. The Audible book is quite good, the narrator does a very good job with the various characters voices.
Ive found the AMC show to be a 'Terror lite' by comparison, although at 28 hours some might think the audiobook drags.
But hey, its winter now so it really helps set the mood during dark, cold morning commutes.

< Message edited by Blond_Knight -- 1/30/2019 7:30:06 PM >

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2019 1:31:59 AM   
Infierno


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Picked up the following from a discount book store near my work:

God's War: A New History of the Crusades by Cristopher Tyerman

Stalingrad: The Infernal Cauldron by Stephen Walsh

Leningrad: State of Siege by Michael Jones.

Not particularly familiar with any of these authors, but a cursory flip through each had me interested.

Also, very interested in checking out Shattered Sword after seeing it praised so highly in earlier posts.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2019 3:45:27 AM   
Rosseau

 

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"House to House: Playing the enemy's game in Saigon," by Keith Nolan. The Mini-Tet communist offensive caused much more damage to the city then Tet. They figured 200 houses destroyed for every VC killed. Exactly as Ho planned it, and Allied morale dropped significantly about this time.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2019 6:52:11 PM   
Infierno


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Went into a used book store today trading in a bunch of old novels, and I couldn't help myself...

Picked up The Mask of Command and The Face of Battle by John Keegan. Mask in particular is very fascinating -- a comparison of the styles of leadership between various generals throughout history. Looking forward to digging into these.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2019 7:02:31 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Infierno

Also, very interested in checking out Shattered Sword after seeing it praised so highly in earlier posts.
warspite1

If you are in any way interested in naval warfare in WWII then you MUST buy this book. It's a stonkingly good read.


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2019 10:01:25 PM   
Lovejoy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

...and it is. Tolstoy appears to like writing whole character's speeches in French - and then putting the English translations at the bottom of the page. One obvious question is..... er why? Just because Russian aristos spoke French doesn't mean a French quote is required in a novel - I mean, when they speak Russian there is no quote in Russian.... strange. All the same I'm sort of enjoying it - but would not have wanted to attempt it without having seen the TV series (and so can cheat on learning who is who).


It depends on the translated edition you have. In the edition I have, the translator translated the French sections into English in the book(with a note saying the original language was French) and then put the French text in the appendix. Some of the other translated editions don't do this.

< Message edited by Lovejoy -- 2/2/2019 10:02:20 PM >

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/2/2019 10:02:51 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lovejoy

quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

...and it is. Tolstoy appears to like writing whole character's speeches in French - and then putting the English translations at the bottom of the page. One obvious question is..... er why? Just because Russian aristos spoke French doesn't mean a French quote is required in a novel - I mean, when they speak Russian there is no quote in Russian.... strange. All the same I'm sort of enjoying it - but would not have wanted to attempt it without having seen the TV series (and so can cheat on learning who is who).


It depends on the translated edition you have. In the edition I have, the translator translated the French sections into English in the book(with a note saying the original language was French) and then put the French text in the appendix. Some of the other translated editions don't do this.
warspite1

Sadly I have the annoying version


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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/17/2019 5:52:13 PM   
warspite1


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Has anyone read this? Interested to hear any thoughts on the book if so.




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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/17/2019 8:12:43 PM   
RFalvo69


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I'm reading "Shanghai 1937: Stalingrad on the Yangtze", by Peter Harmsen.

https://smile.amazon.com/Shanghai-1937-Stalingrad-Peter-Harmsen-ebook/dp/B014QI1P6E/ref=smi_www_rco2_go_smi_g5171374337?_encoding=UTF8&%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0&ie=UTF8

It is an eye-opener on a mostly unknown part of WWII (if one considers the Sino-Japanese conflict the real start of the war).

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/17/2019 10:28:28 PM   
Anachro


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I'm re-reading LotR and it somehow remains extremely fresh and engrossing.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/20/2019 8:15:48 PM   
satchel


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Just finished Making the Corps by Thomas E. Ricks, and I recommend the book. (I reckon many of the members of this forum have already read this non-fiction work, which was first published in 1997.)

Its narrative follows a platoon of United States Marines recruits through the course of their basic training. In parallel with that story, it analyzes the recent history of the Corps, focusing most closely on the period from 1970 to 1990. The author's main point is that the Marine Corps has an internal culture and a self-perception that are significantly different from those of the other three main branches of the US military, especially regarding its discipline, its veneration of its own history, and its insecurity, as to whether the people and government of the US will continue to feel that maintaining the Marine Corps is necessary, for national defense.

The book's other principal subject, besides the story of recruit platoon 3086 and the overall evolution of the Corps in the years since the American withdrawal from Vietnam, is the role that two people had, in shaping today's Marine Corps: Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb (under Reagan, 1987-1988) and the man he recommended to be the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray Jr. (held command 1987-1991). These two are greatly responsible for defining the mission and the approach of today's Marine Corps: Webb, by authoring an influential novel based on his tours of duty as a Marine in Vietnam, Fields of Fire, and by his recommendation of Gray; the Commandant had a hands-on role in shaping the principles of the modern-day Marine Corps.

This book is not very complex or in-depth. But I found it to be at just the right level, due to my own lack of military experience, and relative ignorance about the nature of the US Marine Corps. Ricks is definitely pro-Corps, this book is ultimately more of a celebration of the Corps, than an objective assessment of its relative prowess or strategic worth. The book is well-written overall, in its pace and balance of "showing vs. telling," although I found Ricks's technique flabby. (Instead of saying It very closely resembles something similar to combat, how does It's like combat sound?)

Now I'm about to pick up The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene. It's a fiction novel, and its main character is a ex-military assistant police commissioner, in British West Africa (ostensibly based on Greene's own experience in Sierra Leone) during World War Two. Events leave the assistant commissioner pulled in different directions by his duty, his love for his family and associates, and his spiritual faith in his church.

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/24/2019 12:36:36 PM   
Commanderski


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Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II by Adam Makos

It's about the battle between one of the first Pershing tanks and a Panzer IV. The book starts from about near the end of the battle of Falaise Pocket so you have sort of a history of how the Sherman tanks performed and some of their tactics and you get a history of the men involved.

Read through about half the book in one night, you really don't want to put it down. The best book by this author so far.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804176728/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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RE: What Book Are You Reading at the moment? - 2/27/2019 4:18:52 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JoannYoung


quote:

ORIGINAL: sabre1

The Constitutional Reader from Hillsdale College. I'm taking their Constitution course 101 for free. I think you can still sign up if interested. It's the same course their students are required to take their first semester.

Well, I know a little about it. Well, there is a game called Lord of the Ring. Currently, I am Animal Farm by George Orwell.

soojan

Yes please. I don't know abot it too. But I like animal Farm it is my friends like Rachel Pilsem.


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