What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Gage, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

  2. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    canuck, Chris C and TTH like this.
  3. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    Product Details - Cornell University Press

    Really gets into the nitty gritty of the "stuff" Soviet troops carried and used. If you have any interest in the Eastern front, this book is one I would recommend for the unique insights it gives of the life of the common soldier.
    Wobbler, TTH and Waddell like this.
  4. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake The Mayor of London's latest dress code

    Piers Brandon: The Dark Valley, A Panorama of the 1930s.
    A great review of the years leading up to the Second World War. A recommendation from James Holland.
    Tolbooth and Orwell1984 like this.
  5. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

  6. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    You can't write about that battle without being critical, it was the Fredericksburg of the US Army's Northwest Europe campaign. For the harshest view of all, see Cecil B. Currey's excellent Follow Me and Die.
    stolpi likes this.
  7. TTH

    TTH Senior Member

    I am re-reading Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa by Joseph H. Alexander. There are quite a few books about Tarawa and the quality of literature on the battle is pretty high, but this is to my mind the best of the bunch and the one any military professional should read. Alexander is a former USMC officer. He gives a highly detailed combat narrative but he really excels at analysis of the battle on every level, from strategic to technical. He shows why the Americans and the Japanese made the decisions they did, and in the process he clears up many misconceptions about the battle. He pays due tribute to the fine leaders and staff of the 2nd Marine Division and demonstrates clearly how their planning, preparations and command decisions won the battle. The book is mostly well written (except for occasional barbarisms like employing 'impact' as a verb, over-use of the comic book phrase 'warrior,' etc) and it is very thoroughly researched. This is a must-read for any serious student of the Pacific War.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2020
  8. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    One of the problems I've had for the last 4-6 months is inability to finish many books. When this arrived I stopped reading about Longstop Hill and read this instead. It's a small format book and not very thick, but really does give a good account of the history of the regiment from after Dunkirk until the end of the Tunisian campaign. As a bonus (to my mind) Ray actually gives a summary of the regiment's actions up until Dunkirk which I did not expect. Lots of personal accounts add colour to the events. Recommended.


    Home | The 57th and 67th Anti-tank Regiments
    Wobbler and Waddell like this.
  9. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Enemy Below by Ted Sweet, a wireless operator on 149sq, which was mentioned on another thread a few weeks back. I was really impressed with this one as it’s well written and differs from some of the more formulaic latter war accounts by the varied nature of the authors tour. His first dozen trips were on Stirlings, for mine laying and clandestine drops, while the latter ones were a mixture of day and night sorties. Plenty of technical info on radio duties and the two years spent training.

    Attached Files:

    Wobbler, Orwell1984 and Chris C like this.
  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Another of my late father's collection, The Fall of Singapore, by Frank Owen:

    Dave55, stolpi, Wobbler and 1 other person like this.
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    A bit of a change right now. Heseltine, by Julian Critchley. Westland and all.

  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    This is the first time I have really read about the lead up to the fall of Singapore. What a bloody shambles!!
  13. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    It's not an attempt at a proper analysis, but all the same:-

    "Defences are bad for morale – for both troops and civilians."

    Percival to Simson, his Chief Engineer.

  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Yes, Percival seemed a funny character, delayed destroying fuel dumps and communication centres, because it might send the wrong message to the local populous. Mind you, who would have wanted to be in his position on New Years Day 1942. :surr:
    A-58 likes this.
  15. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Obviously never heard the term "force multiplier"
    A-58 likes this.
  16. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    The mystery to me is that during his time as an intelligence officer in Ireland, working against the Republicans, he was viewed not only as very active (proactive in today's parlance, taking the fight to the enemy with initiative), but also a hard-nosed, no-nonsense bastard. Similarly, at Camberley, Dill, who ran the staff college while he was an instructor, judged him to be an excellent officer with bags of potential.

    What happened?
    A-58 likes this.
  17. Robert-w

    Robert-w Well-Known Member

    Promoted beyond his level of competence. All too frequent a story - prime example in British military history was General Sir Redvers Henry Buller, VC, GCB, GCMG. An excellent regimental officer, a brilliant cavalry commander and a complete dud as a general - leading the army to some of its most humiliating defeats in the South African War. WW1 saw Sir Aylmer Gould Hunter-Weston (Hunter Bunter) another promoted too far.
    A-58 likes this.
  18. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Interesting comments about General Percival. I too wonder what happened, why so quick to capitulate when he could've made a longer miserable fight of it as in Bataan. But in contrast to Bataan, there wasn't a huge concentrated civilian population at risk to have to feed, care for, etc. Maybe age was catching up with him, and the extreme burden of command thrust upon him was a bit much.

    Was a relief attempt in the making for Singapore? Or were they left to wither on the vine as Bataan which was wrote off as lost at the beginning of hostilities regardless of what War Plan Orange called for. There was a relief attempt for Wake Island, but was called off when the news of the defender's surrender was made known. The relief attempt for Wake Island would have made for an interesting event.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
    bamboo43 likes this.
  19. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

    Ok, so I'm stealing this cover image from amazon, but the aspect ratio of the picture is might be wrong. My copy measures something like 30.3cm wide and 24.4cm high. The book (Topography Is Fate) is mainly a book of gorgeous photos taken by an American named Matthew Arnold at battle sites in Tunisia and Libya. (I think security prevented him from taking photos in Egypt.) Generally the photos take up a full page and the opposite page may be blank.

    There is a forward and an essay. Unfortunately the essay is the sort of stereotypical nonsense you might fear to get from an artist - even if the medium is photography. e.g. in discussion two pictures: "The horizon line slices across the center of both images, as in many of the photographs in Topography Is Fate, thereby prompting the viewer to contemplate the fate of the soldiers who once stood in those same positions." I mean, no, not really. The horizon does not prompt anything from me. The 75-80 year old remains of bunkers, sangars, and buildings - or even the empty landscapes where there were once battles - those do make me think about the men who fought there. But not the horizon.

    Fortunately the essay does not take up too many pages. It is an expensive book but if you can get it used and are very interested in the North African campaign I highly recommend it.

  20. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member


    I picked this up on my socially distanced stroll around the Lashenden Air Museum a couple of weeks ago. Really good descriptions of life in the RAF during the 30s, taking in Hendon air displays and the changes as the force rapidly expanded. Cross was one of the two pilot survivors from the sinking of the Glorious following the Norway campaign, which is covered in detail. Following that he took up increasingly higher level appointments in the western desert, where he was stationed for three years, advocating army and air co-operation. He pulls no punches assessing the other personalities of the time, particularly Bader, Leigh-Mallory, Coningham and Broadhurst, quite happily listing their strengths and weaknesses in his eyes.
    A separate chapter deals with his brother Ian, who completed a tour on Wellingtons and was later shot down during the channel dash, ending up as a POW and unfortunately as one of the 50 murdered following the Great Escape. He'd kept a private diary of his operational flights so Kenneth was able to provide his brothers story. Kenneth was actually present at the sentencing of the Gestapo responsible for the murders, rounding off a very poignant section of the book.
    This book covers such a wide array of WW2 topics, meaning it should provide something for anyone interested in the RAF in my opinion. Recommended.

Share This Page