If you are a history geek like me, and I assume you are because you are reading the blog, then here is a project that should be interesting. In the late 90’s and early 00’s there was a much bandied statistic floating around that 1,000 World War II vets died every day. If that number were true then it is probably not true anymore because there probably are not enough World War II vets left to keep dying in those numbers for very long.
One thing that modern technology allows is to capture the memories of individual and put them into a form accessible to both the public and historians. One project like that is the Veteran’s History Project by the Library of Congress. What this project does is it “collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.” The project makes all of this material available through its own website and includes not just narratives but also pictures and videos made by the veterans.
What is neat about this project is that it depends on non-historians to collect the material for it. The veterans themselves can submit their own stories or people who just want to preserve history can go out and interview vets for inclusion in the database. They have a VHP Field Kit that people can download to help guide them in their interviews of vets. I plan on filling one of the kits out with my own experiences and also interviewing my brother and father who are also both vets. My dad was in Vietnam and my brother was in Operation Desert Fox in 1990 while I was in both Bosnia in 1995 and Iraq 2004-2005.
This is a great project for history teachers to get involved in. Not only does it make the kids aware of the men and women who walk among them every day who put their lives on the line in service to the country, it also preserves the memories of the men and women for future generations. I can imagine finding and interviewing a vet being a pretty enlightening project for high school sophomores or juniors.
Old Soldiers is an older book but one I just got around to reading. It is another foray by David Weber into the Concordiat universe created by Keith Laumer and populated by the sentient AI tanks known as BOLOs.
I you have read Weber’s earlier book Bolo! then you will understand the back story of the two main characters. Menaka Trevor and the BOLO Lazarus. Both were featured in a novella in that anthology. This book picks up after the events in BOLO! with what the Concordiat does with Trevor and Lazarus after they are the only survivors f their battalion following the defense of the planet Chartres against a Melconian attack.
Spoilers below! Continue reading
From now until Christmas Eve I have reduced the price of The Simple Survival Smart Book by 25%. Instead of the regular price of $14.99 it is now $11.20. As always, if you buy the Print version the Kindle e-book is free. Follow the below link to purchase or you can find it on Amazon by searching for Simple Survival Smart Book.
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When the SHTF you are going to want to have this book in your rucksack. What is inside is the basic knowledge you will need to ensure that you are not a victim when the State of Nature returns. Combining the knowledge of a lifetime of woodsmanship and 23 years of Combat Arms experience in the US Army I have broken all the most critical tasks and requirements down into a simple reference Guide to help the average person get a grasp on what they need to be able to do and have to survive if society were to collapse tomorrow.
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There is an interesting piece on Medium.com recently about basic training and encouraging new soldiers to read. I read, and read a lot, and have always tried to encourage others to read, not only my fellow soldiers when I was in the Army, but people in general.
I find that the idea of having a reading list and free copies of said books available to basic trainees to read in their less-than-copious free time is an awesome idea and I am chagrined that I did not do it when I was a Drill Sergeant at Fort Knox many years ago.
I don’t necessarily agree with all the titles on the list, I would remove some and add a few others, mot notably Storm of Steel, The Face of Battle, and Helmet for My Pillow. That being said, the idea is an excellent one and I would hope the Army would pick up on it and actually sponsor it so that Drill Sergeants do not have to finance such a worthy idea themselves.
The original article is linked below. KNUCKLE-DRAGGERS NEED TO READ TOO:
The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System is one of those topical books that come along every once in a while just at the time you are starting to think about the subject at hand. I must admit that I probably have a little bit of confirmation bias in my review of this book because I was already thinking much of what he says, I just did not have the hard data to back it up as he does.
The book is 302 pages of text separated into three topical parts consisting of eleven chapters and a conclusion. There are also 18 pages of notes and an 18 page bibliography. The three parts are Money & Geopolitics, Money & Markets, and Money & Wealth.
The basic premise of the book is that central banks and the IMF have been playing extremely shady games with the dollar since the crash of 2008 and that it is inevitable that the dollar will lose its status as the reserve currency of the world because of this unless action is taken on several fronts. The Fed has been largely responsible for much of this by its loose money policies in pursuit of inflation and the lingering effects of the successive rounds of quantitative easing that have occurred.
He also claims that the housing bubble that burst in 2008 has been replaced by a student loan bubble and that stock market gains since 2008 don’t represent wealth creation except for investment bankers and other finance professionals. I thought that one of the more astute observation in the book is that Fed policies are making any eventual recovery worse by using a band aid on a chest wound.
The discussion of the Euro, the Yen, and SDRs from the IMF was especially illuminating. He no doubt absolutely correct that only finance and news geeks have probably ever heard of SDRs. I have heard of them but the explanation of what they are and how they are used in the book is the best explanation I have seen so far. I also found that his discussion of gold and silver to be right on point. His examination of sovereign metal purchases over the past view years and the way to view was excellent. I think he is right that those of us buying metals will be very happy in a few years as fiat money goes away and we see our metal holdings revalued to where they should actually be. Goldbugs will have the last laugh on that one, unless there is a governmental gold confiscation scheme as there was in the 1930’s, which is not outside the bounds of the possible in a dollar collapse situation
The central take-away from the book is that a correction is coming and it will make 2008 look mild in comparison. He deploys a broad range of arguments and data to support his contention. His prescriptions for how to put the dollar back on a sound footing are realistic and because of that highly unlikely to happen. Absent radical action to put the dollar on a sound footing hard times are coming. They might take 10-20 years to get here but when they do the wise will be prepared. This book gives some ideas on how to be prepared and what is likely to occur.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who takes in interest in the sorry state of the economy and the ineffectual efforts thus far undertaken by the US Government to address the structural failures that led to the collapse of 2008 and are leading us to an even harder crash in the near future.