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Showing posts from December, 2011

book report: No Simple Victory by Norman Davies (2006)

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I think Norman Davies has succeeded in his objective in this book, No Simple Victory, with this reader to show in this World War 2 tome that the western theater was a side show to the main theater in the USSR. Regarding Belarus and the western Ukraine he writes, They saw both the most intense warfare and the worst civilian horrors: the deportations, the Soviet and German occupations, the scourging of the Lebensraum and the Holocaust...They provided the ground over which the war's two biggest campaigns - Barbarossa and Bagration - were fought. It is no accident that Belarus lost a higher proportion of its civilian population than any other country in Europe, and that the Ukraine loast the highest absolute number. The history of these countries deserves to be better publicized. p. 20 Germany invaded the Ukraine years after Stalin committed genocide against that country with his induced famine there (my blog about that here). Germany also invaded after Stalin's great purge, when …

book report: D-Day: The Battle for Normandy by Beevor (2010)

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Anthony Beevor has given us WW2 history geeks another well-researched gift in Cover of D-Day: The Battle for NormandyD-Day: The Battle for Normandy. A few years ago, before I started writing these book reports I had read his tome, Stalingrad: The Fateful Seige, which was a tremendous read. Beevor has no kind words for the British General Bernard Montgomery. He is embarrassed with Monty's lack of initiative and decisiveness. He is frustrated with the fear of the landing craft captains who released their tanks and men too far from the shore in the rough surf resulting in unnecessary losses and deaths. He admires the American generals and respectful of the German generals who tried repeatedly to make Hitler's fantasy battle plans come true, despite their better judgment. The German army was the better army on the ground in Normandy. They had better weaponry, better soldiers, and better tactics but the Allies had more. They had more men, more bullets, more tanks, and more support …

enough with the Flat Earth myth

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This comes up so much, especially by people with an axe to grind against conservative Christianity, that I needed a link to permanently come back to, so I will point to the "Christianist" site, Wikipedia, Myth of the Flat Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . I appreciate the quote from the most belligerent "Christianist" Stephen J. Gould, "there never was a period of 'flat earth darkness' among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the earth's roundness as an established fact of cosmology."

book report: December 1941 by Shirley (2011)

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Some people turn to fiction for a light literary snack, but my weakness is war history. and this book was just right for my sweet tooth. But this book is distinct from most of the other histories I read. Author Craig Shirley gives his readers the milieu of an historical event, in this book, the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th. For me anyway, it was fascinating to learn that the newspapers were still printing Hollywood gossip in addition to reporting on the battles raging around the world.
The book is organized simply, by each day of the month of December. Shirley brilliantly weaves the trivial and mundane with the politics and the sacrifices of soldiers and citizens alike. He provides sufficient background to the events on each day. The book ends before the war resolves, yet sets up all the obstacles and fear inducing losses in the Pacific. If one is unfamiliar with the 2nd World War, this book's focus on one month is a great foundation for understanding the Pacific Theate…