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Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 1:21:43 PM   
cantona2


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Just about a third of the way through this book. What's the forumistas general consensus on it? Obviously its a general overview and it doesn't go into great detail, unlike Shattered Sword though this book only focus on a single battle not the whole war, but its a great overview of the Japanese side so far. Especially the lead up to war part.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 3:03:41 PM   
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I was thought it was a good read with alot of interesting information.  Also a easy read.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 3:06:15 PM   
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I loved the book and found it essential reading as part of increasing my understanding of the Pacific threatre.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 3:52:00 PM   
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Great book, well written, and packed with useful facts especially on the decision making side.
A great insight into the Japanese mindset before and during WWII

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 3:57:00 PM   
ckammp

 

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The book suffers from being dated (published 1970) and Toland's blatant Japanese bias. Despite that, it is full of useful information and presents the war from a viewpoint seldom seen among Western authors.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 4:21:31 PM   
Empire101


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Well, I think bias is too strong a word to describe this book.
I think the book is written from a sympathetic viewpoint.That is how I feel he has interpreted the facts.

It was written in the 70's, but that certainly does not invalidate the time and research put into this book.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/19/2012 6:10:24 PM   
ilovestrategy


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I literally wore out my paperback, thats how much I love this book.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/20/2012 10:49:32 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

I have it for years (10+) and I wholeheartedly recommend it!


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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/20/2012 11:01:56 AM   
LargeSlowTarget


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Good book, well written and easy to read since not "too scientific".

Regarding his bias - well, since his book "Infamy" Toland is considered to be a revisionist (he bolsters the thesis that FRD knew in advance of the pending PH attack but did nothing).

< Message edited by LargeSlowTarget -- 5/20/2012 11:02:36 AM >


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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/20/2012 11:44:11 AM   
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Just wanted to add my recommendation, I think Empire101 had it best with 'sympathetic', but not too biased. Definitely gives a good understanding of the politics and how the tensions between military and the last remnants of the old genro statesmen class played out, resulting in the militarist government, and the inevitability of the war.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/21/2012 3:18:15 PM   
Schanilec

 

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I really liked 'Rising Sun'. Also 'The Last 100 Days'.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/21/2012 3:33:13 PM   
The Gnome


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I really loved Rising Sun, I wish I had more free time to read, I would definitely dig into his other works as well.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/21/2012 5:16:15 PM   
bushpsu

 

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I very nice book to start off a study of the Pacific War. I read this the first time some 35 years ago and still think of it as one of those must haves.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/22/2012 7:55:41 AM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: LargeSlowTarget

Good book, well written and easy to read since not "too scientific".

Regarding his bias - well, since his book "Infamy" Toland is considered to be a revisionist (he bolsters the thesis that FRD knew in advance of the pending PH attack but did nothing).


I don't recall any hint of this in "Rising Sun"...


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/22/2012 3:13:13 PM   
Schanilec

 

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Since it was one of the first books with a Japanese point of view it seemed revisionist. My two pennies.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/22/2012 6:57:22 PM   
Nikademus


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Its a good book. worth a read. I'm careful these days when using the 'bias' label. Its a thorny slope. Books that challenge one's world view often get accused of being biased. A typical example is Glantz. I often see his works on the Eastern Front labeled as either "biased" or having a very pro Soviet viewpoint because they utilize Soviet archive material. If so, then what of the works that came before that largely were based on Western sources? Are they biased towards the West by default?

This isn't to say i havn't come across a few books that do read to me as biased but in the end, you take away from any book what you will, and thats based totally on one's own agenda and world view.

Blah blah. All that said, its worth a read. Getting a good look at how the Japanese saw things is a key to understanding how things were. I don't agree with Tolland's views on a number of things, but its still a good book. My only warning is that it goes heavily into politics which can be challenging to wade through. Not as bad as wadding through Clay Blair's 2nd volume on the Uboat war....but it can fatigue.



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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/23/2012 12:47:59 AM   
spence

 

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I enjoyed the book greatly and it certainly offered up a great deal of information that was never before included in other Western histories.

As far as bias is concerned I would agree that it was more sympathetic to the Japanese than I had previously encountered in histories but I would hardly call it bias.

(IIRC Mr Toland married a Japanese woman...it's probably all her fault)

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/23/2012 1:55:00 AM   
rmielech

 

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It's told from the Japanese point of view. That's not bias. It's the point of the book. It might SEEM biased if you're expecting equal time, but you're not going to get that with this book. The title and subtitle will tell you that. Toland also wrote a great book about WW1. Haven't seen that on the shelves for a bit, but if you can find it, get it.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/24/2012 12:47:35 AM   
spence

 

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IIRC that was called "1918" and was a really great exposition of that last year of WWI.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/24/2012 3:43:44 PM   
Schanilec

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: spence

I enjoyed the book greatly and it certainly offered up a great deal of information that was never before included in other Western histories.

As far as bias is concerned I would agree that it was more sympathetic to the Japanese than I had previously encountered in histories but I would hardly call it bias.

(IIRC Mr Toland married a Japanese woman...it's probably all her fault)



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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/24/2012 5:50:55 PM   
vettim89


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I find Toland's writing to be an essential addition to any PTO library. There are few sources that cover the political environment in Japan both prior to and during the war. If you call not potraying the Japanese people as mindless drones at the mercy of their military leadership bias, then you could call Toland biased. I feel like he is one of the few people who actually looked at the other side and its motivations with more than a cursory glance

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/24/2012 11:07:10 PM   
ckammp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: vettim89

I find Toland's writing to be an essential addition to any PTO library. There are few sources that cover the political environment in Japan both prior to and during the war. If you call not potraying the Japanese people as mindless drones at the mercy of their military leadership bias, then you could call Toland biased. I feel like he is one of the few people who actually looked at the other side and its motivations with more than a cursory glance



In the forward, Toland makes clear his belief that the war started due entirely to American racism towards Japanese and other Asians.
That's not "sympathy", that's pure bias.
Throw in his descriptions of Japanese soldiers as supermen who can kill three enemies with one shot, compared to American soldiers who are portrayed as bumbling and undisciplined, whose only tactics are frontal attacks which seem to always end with the Americans running away. One wonders how, with every Japanese soldier seemingly capable of killing ten Americans, Japan lost the war.
Toland was no historian - all he wanted to due was make money selling books. And publishing a book in 1970 that showcased Asian military competence at the expense of Americans = Pulitzer Prize = lots of money.
The book would have been much better if Toland had simply shown the Japanese as the brave, competent people they were, while not degrading the Americans.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/24/2012 11:39:17 PM   
Apollo11


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Hi all,

quote:

ORIGINAL: ckammp

In the forward, Toland makes clear his belief that the war started due entirely to American racism towards Japanese and other Asians.
That's not "sympathy", that's pure bias.
Throw in his descriptions of Japanese soldiers as supermen who can kill three enemies with one shot, compared to American soldiers who are portrayed as bumbling and undisciplined, whose only tactics are frontal attacks which seem to always end with the Americans running away. One wonders how, with every Japanese soldier seemingly capable of killing ten Americans, Japan lost the war.
Toland was no historian - all he wanted to due was make money selling books. And publishing a book in 1970 that showcased Asian military competence at the expense of Americans = Pulitzer Prize = lots of money.
The book would have been much better if Toland had simply shown the Japanese as the brave, competent people they were, while not degrading the Americans.


I have read the book (both in original English and translated) several times in past 25+ years and I have never got any of the impressions you write about above...


Leo "Apollo11"

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/25/2012 12:15:00 AM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ckammp



In the forward, Toland makes clear his belief that the war started due entirely to American racism towards Japanese and other Asians.
That's not "sympathy", that's pure bias.


I think not sir. Nowhere in the forward is this assertion made, as Apollo 11 has already pointed out.

quote:


Throw in his descriptions of Japanese soldiers as supermen who can kill three enemies with one shot, compared to American soldiers who are portrayed as bumbling and undisciplined, whose only tactics are frontal attacks which seem to always end with the Americans running away. One wonders how, with every Japanese soldier seemingly capable of killing ten Americans, Japan lost the war.
Toland was no historian - all he wanted to due was make money selling books. And publishing a book in 1970 that showcased Asian military competence at the expense of Americans = Pulitzer Prize = lots of money.
The book would have been much better if Toland had simply shown the Japanese as the brave, competent people they were, while not degrading the Americans.


Again, a total misrepresentation of what is in this book. I have read this book many times and nowhere does Tolland make the assertion that a). that the Americans are bumbling and undisciplined, and b). That Japanese soldiers were supermen capable of killing ten Americans for every Japanese soldier lost.
He does mention in the battle for Okinawa some tactical mistakes made by some green US troops against veteran Japanese troops, but green troops versus veteran troops usually ends in disaster for the less well trained.

He certainly does not pull any punches about all the mistakes made by the Japanese at Guadacanal, The Solomons, The Marianas etc.

Not wanting to be pedantic, but for every mistake that is mentioned in the book that the Americans made, Tolland probably comes up with three Japanese mistakes that they made, hardly biased in favour of Japan.




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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/25/2012 12:43:13 AM   
ckammp

 

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From the forward:
"America's greatest mistake in World War II, I blieve, was in failing to recognize that she was fighting two different kinds of war simultaneously: one in Europe against another Western people and philosophy, Nazism, one in Asia which was not only a struggle against
an aggressive nation fighting for survival as a modern power but an ideological contest against an entire continent. Millions of Orientals saw Japan's battle as their own, as a confrontation of race and color; they also saw in japan's victories their own liberation from Western domination.
"Each nation, the United States not excepted, has made its contribution to the welter of evil which now comprises the Far East question. We shall all do well to drop for all time the pose of self-righteousness and injured innocence and penitently face the facts."
If we had done so, it is very probable that our negotiations with Japan in 1941 would have ended in peace, not war"

What part of that do you not understand?

Japan is "fighting for survival" due to American racism. If only America would have admitted her guilt, apologized, and given Japan everything she demanded, the war would not have happened.

From the Oxford ENGLISH Reference Dictionary:

bias 1 a predisposition or prejudice

Toland book is biased towards Japan.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/25/2012 10:32:09 AM   
ilovestrategy


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I cannot agree that he was biased. I've read that book many times and he was always quick to point out the Japanese errors. I've never had the impression that you have.

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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/25/2012 11:19:25 AM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ckammp

From the forward:
"America's greatest mistake in World War II, I blieve, was in failing to recognize that she was fighting two different kinds of war simultaneously: one in Europe against another Western people and philosophy, Nazism, one in Asia which was not only a struggle against
an aggressive nation fighting for survival as a modern power but an ideological contest against an entire continent.


The authors opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

quote:


Millions of Orientals saw Japan's battle as their own, as a confrontation of race and color; they also saw in japan's victories their own liberation from Western domination.


Here the author does talk about race, but from the Asian viewpoint.
Your assertion that...'In the forward, Toland makes clear his belief that the war started due entirely to American racism towards Japanese and other Asians', falls somewhat flat don't you think? Nothing to do with Americas racism.

quote:



"Each nation, the United States not excepted, has made its contribution to the welter of evil which now comprises the Far East question. We shall all do well to drop for all time the pose of self-righteousness and injured innocence and penitently face the facts."


The 'Each nation, the United States not excepted'... quote, is not from the author, but from Tyier Dennett, who wrote those sentences in 1922.

quote:


What part of that do you not understand?


I'm too much of a gentleman to rise to this comment.

quote:


Japan is "fighting for survival" due to American racism. If only America would have admitted her guilt, apologized, and given Japan everything she demanded, the war would not have happened.


Your opinion, not Tollands.




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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/25/2012 5:49:49 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ckammp

From the forward:
"America's greatest mistake in World War II, I blieve, was in failing to recognize that she was fighting two different kinds of war simultaneously: one in Europe against another Western people and philosophy, Nazism, one in Asia which was not only a struggle against
an aggressive nation fighting for survival as a modern power but an ideological contest against an entire continent. Millions of Orientals saw Japan's battle as their own, as a confrontation of race and color; they also saw in japan's victories their own liberation from Western domination.
"Each nation, the United States not excepted, has made its contribution to the welter of evil which now comprises the Far East question. We shall all do well to drop for all time the pose of self-righteousness and injured innocence and penitently face the facts."
If we had done so, it is very probable that our negotiations with Japan in 1941 would have ended in peace, not war"

What part of that do you not understand?



There is truth in what he wrote and this is echoed in other books including John Caputo, Edward Drea and most recently Frank McClynn. The US and the West had their own agenda in regards to Asia and did not wish to cede that agenda or control to the Japanese. Japan was a "Have not" nation looking to emulate what the West had done in the previous centuries....expand via colonial/imperialistic/Manifest Destiny etc. The US was a "have" nation, rich in resources, population and industry. It had already acheived it's goal and didn't want the apple cart upset. Thats bad for business. Was Roosevelt any less wrong for wanting China to be the Big man of Asia, (with suitibly lucrative trading and economic ties for the US) vs. Japan wanting to be the Big Man? Is this bias? Its called compeating agendas.

McClynn recently said the same thing. Myopic policies towards Asia helped push that region into armed conflict. Takes two to tango. Does this make the US completely wrong? no. Was there serious sympathy for the plight of the Chinese in the US? Yes. Was Japan still "wrong"?

Ultimately yes. But not because of what she wanted to achieve. But in 'how' it was achieved. The brutalities created by a militarily dominated government that deliberately sought to create a martial society that stressed cultural and spiritual superiority beget a cruelty that leaves scars to this day. Personally though I find the Nazi plan more sinister as it was organized, planned, deliberate genocide and displacement, carried out with a chilling clinical detachment. Its a big irony that Japan's war actually set into motion and ultimately accelerated the end of colonialism and Western dominance in Asia. Party was over for all sides concerned.

So Tolland is not saying "the war was the US's fault....Japan was innocent" He's simply pointing out that the situation wasn't black and white. I like how McClynn put it. "Western histories tend to portray Japanese militarists as simply "springing" out of the ground starting in 1931 and causing havoc" The truth is more complex and involves the West. Japan didn't simply decide to "do evil" and the US and Britian didn't jump on the white horse and say "Hiyo Silver....somebody's in trouble!"

If that was the case.....then why didn't the US immediatley jump to Britian and France's side in 1939?

Not evidence of bias. Tolland, like a few other authors is simply drilling down and trying to explain the hows and whys. That doesn't make him right in all his assertations, but the book is thought provoking. If you want a real example of bias, its when i continually see references (some admittedly tongue in cheek....others not so) about his "Japanese wife" WTF? Why arn't authors of books devoted to Allied subjects questioned about the ethnicity of their spouses? Does David Glantz have a Russian bride? That might explain why he gets accused of being Pro Soviet. hmmm.....

< Message edited by Nikademus -- 5/25/2012 6:02:17 PM >


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RE: Tolland - Rising Sun - 5/25/2012 5:56:58 PM   
Empire101


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus


quote:

ORIGINAL: ckammp

From the forward:
"America's greatest mistake in World War II, I blieve, was in failing to recognize that she was fighting two different kinds of war simultaneously: one in Europe against another Western people and philosophy, Nazism, one in Asia which was not only a struggle against
an aggressive nation fighting for survival as a modern power but an ideological contest against an entire continent. Millions of Orientals saw Japan's battle as their own, as a confrontation of race and color; they also saw in japan's victories their own liberation from Western domination.
"Each nation, the United States not excepted, has made its contribution to the welter of evil which now comprises the Far East question. We shall all do well to drop for all time the pose of self-righteousness and injured innocence and penitently face the facts."
If we had done so, it is very probable that our negotiations with Japan in 1941 would have ended in peace, not war"

What part of that do you not understand?



There is truth in what he wrote and this is echoed in other books including John Caputo, Edward Drea and most recently Frank McClynn. The US and the West had their own agenda in regards to Asia and did not wish to cede that agenda or control to the Japanese. Japan was a "Have not" nation looking to emulate what the West had done in the previous centuries....expand via colonial/imperialistic/Manifest Destiny etc. The US was a "have" nation, rich in resources, population and industry. It had already acheived it's goal and didn't want the apple cart upset. Thats bad for business. Was Roosevelt any less wrong for wanting China to be the Big man of Asia, (with suitibly lucrative trading and economic ties for the US) vs. Japan wanting to be the Big Man? Is this bias? Its called compeating agendas.

McClynn recently said the same thing. Myopic policies towards Asia helped push that region into armed conflict. Takes two to tango. Does this make the US completely wrong? no. Was there serious sympathy for the plight of the Chinese in the US? Yes. Was Japan still "wrong"?

Ultimately yes. But not because of what she wanted to achieve. But in 'how' it was achieved. The brutalities created by a militarily dominated government that deliberately sought to create a martial society that stressed cultural and spiritual superiority beget a cruelty that leaves scars to this day. Personally though I find the Nazi plan more sinister as it was organized, planned, deliberate genocide and displacement, carried out with a chilling clinical detachment. Its a big irony that Japan's war actually set into motion and ultimately accelerated the end of colonialism and Western dominance in Asia. Party was over for all sides concerned.

So Tolland is not saying "the war was the US's fault....Japan was innocent" He's simply pointing out that the situation wasn't black and white. I like how McClynn put it. "Western histories tend to portray Japanese militarists as simply "springing" out of the ground starting in 1931 and causing havoc" The truth is more complex and involves the West. Japan didn't simply decide to "do evil" and the US and Britian didn't jump on the white horse and say "Hiyo Silver....somebody's in trouble!"

If that was the case.....then why didn't the US immediatley jump to Britian and France's side in 1939?

Not evidence of bias. Tolland, like a few other authors is simply drilling down and trying to explain the hows and whys. That doesn't make him right in all his assertations, but the book is thought provoking. If you want a real example of bias, its when i continually see references (some admittedly tongue in cheek....others not so) about his "Japanese wife" WTF? Why arn't authors of books devoted to Allied subjects questioned about the ethnicity of their spouses wives? Does David Glantz have a Russian bride? That might explain why he gets accused of being Pro Soviet. hmmm.....


I could'nt have put it better myself sir!

_____________________________

Our lives may be more boring than those who lived in apocalyptic times,
but being bored is greatly preferable to being prematurely dead because of some ideological fantasy.
- Michael Burleigh


(in reply to Nikademus)
Post #: 29
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