Book Review: The Battlefields of the First World War: The Unseen Panoramas of the Western Front by Peter Barton

The Battlefields of the First World War: The Unseen Panoramas of the Western Front by Peter Barton is one of the most visually stunning books about WWI I have ever read.  This work is more than just a history of British participation on the Western Front.  It makes use of officially produced trench panoramas to illuminate conditions of trench warfare better than almost any other pictorial record of WWI I have run across. The book itself is 358 pages in length with a bibliography, picture credits, list of further reading, and index.  In addition, and one of the things that makes this book outstanding it includes two CD-ROMs that contain … More after the Jump…

Book Review: At the Edge of the World: The Heroic Century of the French Foreign Legion by Jean-Vincent Blanchard

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] I would hazard to guess that when most people think of the French Foreign Legion they think of hard faced mercenaries doing France’s dirty work, the idealized Beau Geste bringing civilization to the North African Desert or legionnaires fighting to the last man at Camerone.  At the Edge of the World  by Jean-Vincent Blanchard tells the real story of the French Foreign Legion and it needs no embellishment. The stats: the book is 222 pages of text separated into two … More after the Jump…

Veterans Day 2017

Happy Veterans Day To all my fellow veterans!   Somebody has to be at the pointy end of the stick and you all took up the challenge,

Today is Veteran’s Day in the US and Armistice Day in Britain and France. It is a day to remember the end of the fighting in World War I on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. It is also the day set aside in the US to remember all veterans, not just those of World War I but also those that served in our nation’s other wars and those that served during peacetime. It takes something special to serve your country and a little bit more to do so voluntarily. There is always the possibility of going to war and giving your life for your country while in the military. I hope that everyone takes a moment today and remembers the sacrifices of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and fought for the United States. If you meet a vet today, shake his hand and thank him for his service. Remember, less than 1% of US citizens currently serve, yet they do so to protect that other 99%.

US Department of Veterans Affairs site about Veterans Day

Book Review: The Thai Way of Counterinsurgency by Jeff M. Moore PhD

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author and/or publisher. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Anybody who has read this blog over the past few years will know that I am not a big fan of COIN doctrine as currently espoused by the US Army.  My objections to COIN are mainly that it doesn’t work, not because the US gets it wrong but because the US is the wrong vehicle to execute the COIN fight in a foreign land.  Foreigners are automatically hamstrung in implementing a successful COIN strategy by the fact that they are … More after the Jump…

Book Review: What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars by David Wood

I kind of had an idea of what to expect from this book just from reading the title and I was not wrong.  Perhaps I am not the person to critically review a work of this type as I knew from the introduction on that I would disagree with most of the premises in the book. But first as always, the stats.  What Have We Done is 272 pages of text separated into 15 chapters and a prologue. The chapters are topical and cover different aspects of the moral injury the author is claiming most, if not all, soldiers suffer in combat. Before I get into my issues with the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney

A Generation of Sociopaths is an interesting book with an interesting thesis, to say the least.  The main thesis of the book is that the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1944 and 1964) has used its power at the voting booth to essentially bankrupt the nation and impoverish those of us in succeeding generations to ensure that the Boomers themselves enjoy the kind of life they want to have. First the details.  The book is divided into 17 topical chapters that are internally organized somewhat chronologically.  There is an afterword, appendices, a large notes section, and an index. The first chapter presents the central thesis of the book, that … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

Liberal Fascism is to me, a fascinating look inside the historical and philosophical roots of the modern liberal/progressive movement. It is also a scathing indictment of the totalitarian tendencies of the modern liberal/progressive movement but that is essentially the whole point of the book. The numbers first. The book contains 406 pages of text in an introduction, 10 chapters, and an afterword. There are also 50+ pages of endnotes and an index. The book was published in 2007 in the waning days of the Bush presidency but the intervening 10 years have not done anything to change the conclusions if anything, the author’s conclusions seem prescient. The book itself should … More after the Jump…

The Limes – Relics of an Empire

Many people have heard of Hadrian’s Wall in the UK and same have even heard of the Antonine Wall a little farther north.  What many people have never heard of or if they have heard of do not know where they are located are the Roman Limes(pronounced leem-ez) that stretched around the entire periphery of the ancient Roman Empire.  In many places the Limes ran along rivers or inaccessible mountains but in places where this was not possible the Romans built and garrisoned physical fortifications to mark the extent of their territory and prevent outside invaders from getting in an attacking or raiding within Roman territory. Because my wife and … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Hooligans of Kandahar by Joseph Kassabian

Every war that America has been in has seen its share of post-war soldier memoirs, The Hooligans of Kandahar is one of the better ones to come out of America’s most recent war. Specifically, this semi-fictionalized account chronicles one infantry squad’s (typically 8-12 men) deployment to Kandahar in Afghanistan in 2011-2012. The author, in an effort to secure the anonymity of his comrades has chosen to make the book semi-fictional and use nicknames instead of given names for the characters throughout. This was probably a smart idea as any current or former combat arms soldier can tell you that some serious crazy stuff goes on in any tight unit whether … More after the Jump…

D-Day 73rd Anniversary

This is an annual tradition at Battles and Book Reviews.  This year is the 73rd anniversary of the Allied Landings at Normandy in France during WWII. Just a reminder for everyone to stop today and take a moment to reflect on the events that happened 68 years ago today on the shores of Normandy in France.  This year, the text of General Dwight Eisenhower’s message to the troops of the Allied invasion force the morning of the invasion. Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are … More after the Jump…

1,000 Years and It Still Resonates, The Origins of a Phrase

Most everybody today has heard some variation on the phrase “Kill them all, let God sort them out’” This phrase gained modern fame during the Vietnam War but it is actually a modern updating of a quote that is over 1,000 years old and was first uttered in Southern France during what are known as the Albigensian Crusades at the Siege of Béziers in July, 1209 by the Papa; Legate and Cistercian monk Arnauld Amalric. The Albigensian Crusades were a series of campaigns waged in France between 1209 and 1226 to stamp out what is known as the Cathar Heresy. The Cathars were a Gnostic group or sub-faith within the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying To Destroy America by James E. Mitchell Ph.D.

Enhanced Interrogation is the book that should have been written 10 years ago when the hype about America torturing captured terrorists was at its height.  Unfortunately, it has only appeared now when false “facts” and attitudes towards the interrogation of terrorists have settled into the collective psyche of the left and attained a life of their own. The book itself is 300 pages of text divided into twelve mostly chronological chapters detailing the establishment, working, and closing down of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program during the Bush administration in the months and years immediately following the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Dr. Mitchell was a psychologist who worked at … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Knights of Jerusalem: The Crusading Order of Hospitallers 1100–1565 (World of the Warrior) by David Nicolle

Knights of Jerusalem is not the book you would expect to read about one of the Crusading orders, it is not a list and description of battles the order fought, with blow by blow accounts of the most famous of these battles such as the Horns of Hattin or the Great Siege of Malta.  This is a history of how the order came into existence and how it operated and even continues to operate almost 1,000 years later when so many of its fellow orders in the Church Militant have disappeared.  The book focuses on the history of the order from its founding until the end of the Crusading era … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West by Martin van Creveld

After reading this latest work from Dr. van Creveld, it is no wonder that Pussycats: Why the Rest Keeps Beating the West had to be self-published as I cannot imagine a mainstream publisher would touch a manuscript that like this that so eloquently gores just about all of the sacred cows of the modern liberal movements but especially that of feminism and the infantilism of Western society. The book itself consists of five chapters with subparts, a conclusion, 29 pages of notes, and an index.  The chapters are arranged topically with the conclusion tieing the different strands together into a coherent whole. As usual, Dr. van Creveld is insightful and devastating when … More after the Jump…