The ASL Book Club

Tuomo

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Any suggestions for balanced history books about the 1948 Israeli war? I see plenty of offerings on Amazon, but reading the 1-star reviews tends to dredge up comments about the overall balance of the author's political/cultural perspective. I'd like it if the author touched on those aspects, but I'd appreciate some detachment/perspective/whatever. Plus the military stuff, of course.

Just finished The Balfour Declaration by Jonathan Schneer, which purported to give a perspective on such things going back to WW1, but actually spent 90% of its time tracking various Middle East diplomats and leaders through WW1 - their comings and goings, their meetings and discussions, their points of contention, their waxing and waning of influence, etc., as the British encountered and eventually got behind both Zionism and Arab Independence as a way of subverting the Ottoman Empire. While courting the Ottomans themselves with bribes to several factions to detach them from the Triple (plus 1, apparently) Alliance.

Remember how the crappy Star Wars movies devolved into shots of spaceships taking off from or landing at new planets? "Oh, OK, now more people are going to talk for a while. Oh look, we're taking off again." This book is the literary equivalent of that - meeting after meeting after meeting, as if that's what I came to read about. The author does point out some historical signposts along the way, noting Britain's classic imperialism ("Perfidious Albion" indeed) that generally served itself in the moment without thinking ahead to the powderkeg of what they were helping to create in Palestine, but that's a very light patina on top of what's generally a massive tome of Who Met Whom. If I had been Schneer's editor, I'd have asked him to cut it down by 75% and just get to the military/historical events without the deep (and brother, I mean DEEP) dive into the minutiae of the meeting logistics.
 

jtsjc1

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Just got From The Realm Of A Dying Sun Vol 1 last week. I'm finishing up another book and I may read this one next. Vol 2 will be out later this year. It is about the IV SS Panzerkorps and the late war battles in Warsaw, Operation Spring Awakening, Budapest and more. Another book I would highly recommend is World War II Order Of Battle by Shelby L. Stanton. It is an excellent encyclopedia of the US OOB. Maybe the best book I've seen on US OOB in WWII.
 

Michael Dorosh

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What is most surprising about Korea is the US Military wasn't too far removed from WWII and some of these mistakes and bad decisions should have been corrected. MacArthur made some horrendously bad tactical decisions and he had Almond being his biggest fan went right along.
Well, you have to understand that the US Army just wasn't used to starting a war on time, they usually let the British and French do the fighting for 2 or 3 years first.....
 

KhandidGamera

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Reading Craig Symonds book "The Battle of Midway". This is the "Shattered Sword" for the American side. Just getting to the critical 5 minutes, but so far he does a very good job of laying out sequence of events and a lot of important
detail about the good and the bad of American performance: Hornet's performance was awful, Yorktown got it right, a really mixed airgroup, but a lot of veteran pilots. It confirms Parshall's account of how Yamamoto bullied Japanese decision making to make the Midway campaign.
High recommend.

As a result of Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnaughts and Age of Sail - got my naval bug on again, joined usni - $65 a year for some really good book discounts.

Amazon purchase triumph for me for the year - brand new in plastic for a steal, listed as "good":
11990

"Everything you ever wanted to know about Japanese Cruisers but were afraid to ask"
 

Michael Dorosh

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I started this book, a loan from my brother-in-law. Got discussed a bit in one of the Facebook wargaming art groups where I said it was pretty heavy on technical jargon. The author did a great job of describing the history of the Italian submarine service and the different types of midget subs, etc., but left me a bit cold. Not ready to give up yet as I'm told Chapter 8 is where it starts to get interesting, but it will take a good deal of patience to plow through the other stuff I think.
 

JimWhite

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Reading Craig Symonds book "The Battle of Midway". This is the "Shattered Sword" for the American side.
I recently finished "Shattered Sword" and found it to be a great read. It took aim at much of the commonly accepted history I've heard all my life about the battle and was very persuasive in the author's conclusion.

Highly recommended to anybody who enjoys naval history.
 

Yuri0352

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As a result of Ultimate Admiral: Dreadnaughts and Age of Sail - got my naval bug on again, joined usni - $65 a year for some really good book discounts.
I've been a member ever since I was a PFC and I first read a copy of Proceedings in the USS Tripoli's library. I especially look forward to the November issues which are USMC-themed. I have the highest recommendations for their Naval History magazine as well, a publication which also includes articles on several foreign naval forces throughout history.
 

djohannsen

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I've been a member ever since I was a PFC and I first read a copy of Proceedings in the USS Tripoli's library.
I assume that you maintain your membership in the Marine Corps Association? I did for about the first decade after I left the gun club, but then let my membership lapse. I should probably rectify this.
 

Yuri0352

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I assume that you maintain your membership in the Marine Corps Association? I did for about the first decade after I left the gun club, but then let my membership lapse. I should probably rectify this.
I never was a member of the Association, however I'm about to spend the big bucks to join the Marine Corps Memorial in San Francisco.
 

von Marwitz

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I recently finished "Shattered Sword" and found it to be a great read. It took aim at much of the commonly accepted history I've heard all my life about the battle and was very persuasive in the author's conclusion.

Highly recommended to anybody who enjoys naval history.
I agree. I read that book two years ago, I believe, and I found it extremely interesting way beyond its detailed description of the battle of Midway itself.

von Marwitz
 

Jumbo

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Reading Craig Symonds book "The Battle of Midway". This is the "Shattered Sword" for the American side. Just getting to the critical 5 minutes, but so far he does a very good job of laying out sequence of events and a lot of important
detail about the good and the bad of American performance: Hornet's performance was awful, Yorktown got it right, a really mixed airgroup, but a lot of veteran pilots. It confirms Parshall's account of how Yamamoto bullied Japanese decision making to make the Midway campaign.
High recommend.
Read "Shattered Sword" and enjoyed it very much - great reading.
Reading your post has moved me to order Symonds' "The Battle of Midway".
Thank you.
 

Yuri0352

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I have just finished 'Rampage' by James M. Scott. This is the story of the battle for Manila in 1945, and a painfully detailed account of the atrocities committed by the Japanese military upon the civilian population of the city, even while the battle was taking place. The book is very revealing in its descriptions of the personalities and motivations of generals MacArthur and Yamashita. I found the book to be quite fascinating, however the graphic and heartbreaking accounts of the atrocities as recounted by the filipino civilian survivors were very difficult to read for prolonged periods. The portion of the book regarding Yamashita's war crimes trial was especially compelling. The trial chapter certainly addressed several legal questions, and leaves the reader to ponder whether a trial would be conducted in such a manner during the current age.

Certainly a book which is comparable to Iris Chang's 'The Rape of Nanking'. Highly recommended.
 

lluis61

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I have just finished 'Rampage' by James M. Scott. This is the story of the battle for Manila in 1945, and a painfully detailed account of the atrocities committed by the Japanese military upon the civilian population of the city, even while the battle was taking place. The book is very revealing in its descriptions of the personalities and motivations of generals MacArthur and Yamashita. I found the book to be quite fascinating, however the graphic and heartbreaking accounts of the atrocities as recounted by the filipino civilian survivors were very difficult to read for prolonged periods. The portion of the book regarding Yamashita's war crimes trial was especially compelling. The trial chapter certainly addressed several legal questions, and leaves the reader to ponder whether a trial would be conducted in such a manner during the current age.

Certainly a book which is comparable to Iris Chang's 'The Rape of Nanking'. Highly recommended.
I finished it a few weeks ago, and I can't be more in agreement with your comment about the book. It's a hard reading, but very documented and well written.
 

pwashington

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They originally had release for late last year. Hopefully it comes out in April. Its available from Amazon UK for about $50 USD and there my preorder says available by Feb. 7. I doubt it but it would be nice. Like of said many times on the forum buy this book! I have the 1st edition and there isn't another book out there with more info on the battle of Berlin. Apparently it has now been updated, I can't imagine it getting better but I'm in.
Update from Stonebooks.com:

News from Aaron Stephan Hamilton
17 February 2020
Many thanks to the author for sending us complete details about the new edition of his Bloody Streets: The Soviet Assault on Berlin, April 1945:
"The revised and expanded edition published by Helion is at the printers. This new edition offers a highly illustrated, thoroughly rewritten and expanded text. It's completely revised maps depict the battle day-by-day throughout the city's various districts.
"The main text is over 500 pages in length, with 24 tables and nearly 300 black and white images. A separate map book of over 60 pages is included. The map book contains nearly 50 color and black/white maps (to include period aerial imagery). In addition, there are a dozen color images of Berlin's ruins and military vehicles after the battle.
"The second edition benefited from a decade of new research that resulted in nearly 200 additional pages of new material being added. Extensive new German and Soviet era primary documents were acquired. Among those new documents were details about the German Flak Towers and how they participated in the ground fighting, and new accounts of the street fighting and various breakouts from German veterans published in English for the first time. Scores of new Red Army's front-line soldier accounts were translated and incorporated. These accounts provide new details of the fighting along the Seelow Heights, Polizeipraesidium, Treptower Park, Berlin Zoo and other locations by the men who fought there.
"Arguably, the most significant new material I acquired over the last decade was the Operation War Diaries for the 1st Belorussian, 2nd Belorussian and 1st Ukrainian Fronts. These documents offered an unparalleled view into the operational decisions and tactical problems faced by the Red Army during their final battles in April-May 1945. Their material has never been utilized in previous works on the battle of Berlin. The 'Lessons Learned' produced at the battalion and regimental level cover all topics from use of tanks, artillery in the city and tactical urban combat. They reveal with authority what worked and did not work tactically during the Red Army's assault into the city."
 
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