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Military History

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 Military/political has become my favorite type of book, I finished

 

'Supreme Commander'  'MacArthur's Triumph in Japan'  Seymour Morris Jr

 

 this morning. The Reconstruction of Japan being one of the most amazing events in world history. Two days ago I read

 

 'The Fall of Japan' 'William Craig' 

 

 A dry, more technical, history of the military and political events leading to Japan's surrender.

 

 And days prior,

 

'The Last Lion'  'Winston Spencer Churchill' 'ALONE' William Manche ster'

 

 You may guess I have been at a library used book sale - 25 big paperback or hardback books $20!

 

 Just the week prior I had finished installing 120 lineal foot of bookshelves so have been unpacking books, and buying as this luck allowed.

 

 I am a carpenter, but a very avid reader. Military runs in my family, but all civilization, all which lifted us above animals, has war and the defenses from it as the cause.

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 Is there an edit function once posted? I hurried, (just got a job on the phone wile typing the above) - and am error prone anyway. Bold all over place and other things.

 

 The obvious thing on war is suffering and I suppose, like an ambulance tech, I block that out pretty much. The saying through the great wars of the modern times, and back through antiquity, has been that the generals are always fighting the last war again - to the losses of their troops and success. This is how fast our societies move forward. Or you could say; societies are shoved forward by war.

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^ You can edit posts once you have made a set number (might be 10, not sure).

 

I've read a few military/war books over the last few years:

 

The Hardest Day, by Alfred Price, which is about the toughest day during The Battle of Britain.

 

Band of Brothers, by Stephen E. Ambrose and Beyond Band of Brothers, by Major Dick Winters (which, in case you don't know, is about a US parachute regiment that went from D-Day through to the capture of Berchtesgaden.  The first book is the one that made the story famous, the second is a more personal account from the company CO that also fills in some gaps).

 

The Secrets of Station X, by Michael Smith, which details the code breaking efforts that took place at Bletchley Park.

 

Always on the look out for more, but as with all reading there is always something else to read.

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I did like 'Band of Brothers' a lot, and found out Ambrose lived right near me. Good movie as well and Sobel is wonderful, played by the Friends actor Schwimmer

 

 

 I have to run off and do some work -

 

 "The Longest Day" was the Movie of the Invasion - good movies.

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Kimble, welcome here :).

 

^ You can edit posts once you have made a set number (might be 10, not sure).

I can confirm it's 10.

 

My boyfriend knows a lot about military history, he owns a few of the books mentioned in this thread. He doesn't read much nowadays though he has read more books in the past. A lot of his military books are about ie. tanks or planes of a specific country in a specific time frame or something like that.

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Hi Kimble, welcome! I have read a few military history books and memoirs. One of my favourites was The Forgotten Soldier  by Guy Sajer about a German soldier on the Russian Front. I also enjoyed a couple of books by Robert Leckie about Guadalcanal and the Pacific campaign. 

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""My boyfriend knows a lot about military history, he owns a few of the books mentioned in this thread. He doesn't read much nowadays though he has read more books in the past. A lot of his military books are about ie. tanks or planes of a specific country in a specific time frame or something like that.""

 

 The first man, presumably, would have some conflicts over resources, then about 10,000 years ago in Pakistan and Iraq the first villages appeared as agriculture began supporting a fixed population. Next walls and forts as surplus agricultural were available, and the first classes who did not work in ag.

 

 Once man became fixed and had something desirable he had to stand and defend it. He would have to fight mobile raiders. In a town artisans arise and military products are produced as being a necessity as much as food production and preparing, storing. A leader/managerial class would evolve - ones who then had intellectual time and resources to run this community.

 

 Virtually all archaeology is going to have defense/offense, religion, and burial as a core. With a professional artisans, some professional soldiers, priests, and leaders man became us. And military was foremost. Reverse entropy, defend or revert to warring pastoral tribes.

 

 You have a walled city and inside professional soldiers, Priests, and rulers as the top of a pyramid supported by an agricultural base. This is the thing which allowed intellectual advancing - the top people were going to be the exceptional ones and they could think, innovate, and direct resources as they were freed from constant labour of producing their needs directly. War was the biggest issue always. Use it or lose it.

 

 If you are interested in what man is, in societies and governing, politics, technology, industry, philosophy, science, architecture, military is the foundation of it all. This need to produce the innovation which defeated the Generals who were always fighting the last war again, and thus losing, drove man forward - where peace typically was the period between when commerce and the ideas learned from war were stored up to be spent on the next burst of fighting.

 

 Paradigm shifts in war are the landmarks in human advancement. Castles in the medieval age everywhere, then cannons in the 1300's and they were obsolete. Henry V and his long bow. The first tanks and aircraft, aircraft carriers, in WWI, and then being the main issue in WWII, you got with the times or lost.

 

 Societies with their politics and philosophy are military - Assyrian, Mongol, Roman, Germanic, Viking, Aztec, Zulu, Shogunate, Persian, each had a huge war industry, one which drove production and innovation - in materials, strategy, governance, and the philosophy of their societies.

 

 Without war we would be digging in the ground with digging sticks and driving goats with some rudimentary oral tradition of superstition and ancestors. War is the imperative which drove us to innovate and industry. The surplus from this gave more and more people freedom from endless toil in agriculture to higher works - including thought. War is man's greatest achievement, unintentionally, but actually. It forces a complex society to form, and then to use that society to innovate and produce the most it can. War destroys an indolent and slothful and static society.

 

 The other side is ethics. In the absence of structured fighting Nobility almost cannot exist. Our ideals of bravery leading us to sacrifice ourselves in fighting for your people. Ethics and military - one of the most fascinating things to think on. Take Nagasaki - it is realistic to say it saved 6 million lives at the cost of 120,000. (includes radiation poisoning deaths) But even if it saved none - it would fascinating in that way too, military ethics holds evil and good in its span. And it is the base of all we are. Manichaeism in effect.

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I disagree. War isn't the foundation of human progress, but the fear of extinction and the improvement of our lives. War is the most immediate agent of death and degradation, and therefore the biggest short-term menace to our well-being.

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"and therefore the biggest short-term menace to our well-being"

 

 Well, naturally any caught in conflict is in risk for their well being.

 

But who do you mean by OUR? It is not any threat to me.

 

I would be happy to discuss ethics, risk, well-being, history, war, or anything related - but you could take a more concise position so we would know what we actually are talking about.

 

 Things are never simple, take the plague in Europe - one could say it provided a huge good. Lots of direct suffering resulting in billions having increased happiness. The plague ended the Feudal period, and the Feudal time was vital for us - as was ending it when it did.

 

 I think you need to read Candide to get a bit broader look. Pangloss and his 'All is for the best in this best of all possible worlds' then google Leibniz, and then google utilitarianism of JS Mill.

 

 Time to learn a bit of grown up thinking and move on from the fifth form wisdoms.

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kimble, everybody is entitled to an opinion and all opinions are as valid as any other. Personally I think war is the opposite of civilization. To be blunt,  I think your last statement was insulting to woolf woolf; you don't know anything of her thought processes, or what she may have read or even experienced..

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Things are never simple, take the plague in Europe - one could say it provided a huge good. Lots of direct suffering resulting in billions having increased happiness. The plague ended the Feudal period, and the Feudal time was vital for us - as was ending it when it did.

 

I don't think the plague itself was what provided the huge good, but some people's resilience to overcome the most difficult of situations. While you believe war and the plague as advancements of society, I believe mankind's ability to adapt is the true progress. Perhaps we become more lucid in dire times.

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kimble, everybody is entitled to an opinion and all opinions are as valid as any other. Personally I think war is the opposite of civilization. To be blunt,  I think your last statement was insulting to woolf woolf; you don't know anything of her thought processes, or what she may have read or even experienced..

 And I think Woof-Woof's post to me was unintentionally insulting in that he said I was wrong about everything but offered no argument.

 

"all opinions are as valid as any other."

 

 This is the most preposterous thing I have ever heard. An un-reasoned, uninformed, opinion is worth nothing - a reasoned, informed opinion is worthwhile as it presents a logical position where discussion can allow you to learn why you are right or wrong.

 

 Jewish scholars argue to learn. By defending a position you do not actually hold you are forced to see why your beliefs are correct - or not. If you bothered to present a cosmology you have spent thousands of hours forming and someone popped out and gave a tweet-esk post incoherently saying basically 'you are wrong' they have not said anything.

 

 I was brusk with woofwoof to encourage him to present a reasoned contradictory position and so learn by doing a bit of research and thinking. Instead he says I am wrong about the plague. OK, but so what, it means nothing without some reasoning why.

 

 From your response I am thinking I will soon be gone, this telling me off. I came to a books forum to discuss ideas - books are what form ideas, they are condensed lives and history so we can see big pictures. They are philosophies so we can see what we learn in a logical, and deeper, light.

 

 Notice the thread header: Military History. I am here to discuss it if any one wishes. If you or WoofWoof, or anyone wishes to talk about man, history, war, industry, science, religion - I am ready to talk, here I am, please present a reasoned reply or position or idea, and not just gainsaying. Or just gainsay - what ever.

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Sure, discussion is great and welcome, insults are something else. What gave you the right to be brusque, is the point I am making. You could have asked him to expand on his opinion or asked him what led him to think so.

Good luck.  

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I disagree. War isn't the foundation of human progress, but the fear of extinction and the improvement of our lives. War is the most immediate agent of death and degradation, and therefore the biggest short-term menace to our well-being.

 

^ This is an opinion. It is not insulting, offensive, or even judging anyone else's beliefs, it is just a simple 'I disagree, here is what I think instead.'

 

 

 Time to learn a bit of grown up thinking and move on from the fifth form wisdoms.

 

^ This is an insult, directed at a specific person and suggesting they are immature. This is not appropriate.

 

I don't think the plague itself was what provided the huge good, but some people's resilience to overcome the most difficult of situations. While you believe war and the plague as advancements of society, I believe mankind's ability to adapt is the true progress. Perhaps we become more lucid in dire times.

 

^ This is another example of an opinion, again not featuring any insults to anybody. 

 

 And I think Woof-Woof's post to me was unintentionally insulting in that he said I was wrong about everything but offered no argument.

 

"all opinions are as valid as any other."

 

 This is the most preposterous thing I have ever heard. An un-reasoned, uninformed, opinion is worth nothing - a reasoned, informed opinion is worthwhile as it presents a logical position where discussion can allow you to learn why you are right or wrong.

 

 I was brusk with woofwoof to encourage him to present a reasoned contradictory position and so learn by doing a bit of research and thinking. Instead he says I am wrong about the plague. OK, but so what, it means nothing without some reasoning why.

 

 From your response I am thinking I will soon be gone, this telling me off. I came to a books forum to discuss ideas - books are what form ideas, they are condensed lives and history so we can see big pictures. They are philosophies so we can see what we learn in a logical, and deeper, light.

 

 Notice the thread header: Military History. I am here to discuss it if any one wishes. If you or WoofWoof, or anyone wishes to talk about man, history, war, industry, science, religion - I am ready to talk, here I am, please present a reasoned reply or position or idea, and not just gainsaying. Or just gainsay - what ever.

 

1. Woolf Woolf was not insulting - not offering an argument is not an insult. He also did not say you are incorrect, he said he does not agree with you. Not the same thing. He was just expressing an opinion. Maybe you want more information - ask politely.

 

2. For the sake of you not accusing me of landing down on you, Kimble, and nobody else - I actually agree with you, not all opinions are as valid as any other. However everyone is *entitled* to their opinions,even if wrong. I have no opinions on this topic, I am not saying anyone is right or wrong here.

 

3. This is a book forum, for amicable discussion (not necessarily debate) of books and their content. We have a specific debate forum for broader topics outside the scope of books, and for topics which might cause actual debate rather than amicable discusions. I personally would deem a 'Military History' thread in the 'Non Fiction' section as a place for suggesting or talking about specific military history themed books, without getting into debates about military history.

 

Now please, let that be an end to it.

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OK, I am reading 'Alexander The Great' right now, by Robin Fox, a very rigorous biography on the subject where such is possible, no detailed contemporary accounts being existent.

 

 But then all it is is a bunch more of the of same old warring and politics, that have been unpleasant for mankind for a million years, (but my contention being that it has been the fairy godmother after all as through the intellectual and technological and philosophical gains man has received much more than was lost by his warlike ways) (three point two million if you count Lucy and her ilk) - and one opinion is as valid as another's it would seem, so we have it in print here, on the book forum, that war is not good, so there it is, summed up, and my thesis stands corrected.

 

 I have read thousands of hours on history and military history, I have lived in lots and lots of places, been on archaeological digs from Orkney to Iran, but apparently all this ultimate war and hundreds of millions of lives lost must be approached very tenderly less some fragile person may have their feelings hurt, in a small way.

 

 But then I am being sarcastic, ironic, and that is pointless.

 

 So ban me if you wish, it does not matter to me at all - and I will inevitably get to religion if I stick around - next thing you know St Thomas Aquinas, or Jesus may be talked of, or mentioned. Of the 230 recognized philosophers 200 were Christians! Like the Nobel Prize winners, there is a trend there. The remarkable intellectualism of Christianity has a huge place in history - the biggest when talking of contemporary, secular, history. This is gotten from books.

 

 So I guess I would end up talking of ideas and philosophy rather than the fiber and ink of what you say this forum is really about - "We have a specific debate forum for broader topics outside the scope of books, and for topics which might cause actual debate"

 

 

 I suppose if I started a thread on 'Book Burning' here I should not discuss the intellectual and philosophical side, but stick to book titles burnt, maybe the temperature, Fahrenheit 451, maybe even mention Savonarola by name, but not his actual purpose...........

 

 What ever, I am almost certainly in the wrong place -

 

 Oh, and I am simultaneously reading on the History of Poland, that crossroads of war. Coming soon in the book que is 'Boudica'. Man, this military stuff, its all around.

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Military history is of interest to me but far more in terms of individuals experiences - their own memories and how it affected them. Usually serving personnel in whichever country's armed forces but not exclusively - I have a biography of a secretary working in Berlin in WW2 to read shortly which I'm looking forward to, as well as that of a diplomat caught up in Moscow at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917. I started reading quite a few British memoirs by pilots/soldiers etc from the 2 world wars but even more fascinating are the German ones (when translated). We grew up believing "the enemy" to be evil and in reality of course, the people on the ground had the same fears and feelings as people on "our side".

 

War to me is a sign that we are still an evolving species; I don't believe there is anything good or positive about war but that's just my simple view. It is, however, mine.

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Just finished "A Table in the Presence"  by Lt Carey Cash .....Not too far back in History, (The start of the Iraqi war)

finished at lunch today, fairly easy read 240 pages,

highly recommended if you are a spiritual type

Edited by shades

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Clearly one of the greatest WW 2 books I have ever read was written by General Leslie R. Groves "Now it Can Be Told". The hands on experience of the development of the atomic bomb. The book is crammed with facts and details you will never see on Television. Also,your learn of General Groves serious and dangerous attempts of espionage in his attempts to learn and to stamp out any efforts of the Germans to produce enriched uranium. 

The second greatest book, "Studka Pilot" by Hans Rudel. This book is so entertaining I could not put it down. Hans Rudel the only soldier(airman) to receive the solid gold iron cross in German history. The book is a roller coaster  of adventure, all of which is true. You can see videos of him on Youtube.

The third greatest "To Hell and Back" by Audrey Murphy. Bravery beyond belief. You read in detail his version of making a last stand on a burning armoured vehicle firing away with a heavy machine gun. Further, you learn of his Nazi soldier hunt. I mean this man was a dangerous soldier.

Fourth," Marine" Sniper-93 confirm Kills by Carlos Hathcock. I am so surprised that he was not awarded the Medal of Honour for his three days of crawling through a jungle and open field on his belly so that he could eliminate a North Vietnamese General, one of his daring exploits. Mr. Hathcock had no mercy and sent many to Budda Heaven.

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