Book Review: War Dogs by Greg Bear

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I complained earlier this year about the lack of good science fiction. Well, I can quit complaining. War Dogs by Greg Bear is a very good book and just what I have been waiting for. This book is science fiction going back to what it should be, a rollicking good tale with a scientific bent. This is a thinking person’s book as the storyline is not laid out on a straight A-B line you have to pay attention while reading to start to put the pieces together. That is one of the things I like about it. It shows that the author has some respect for his readers when he … More after the Jump…

Book Review: 1916: a Global History by Keith Jeffrey

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[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] There has been a flurry of new books dealing with World War I since the middle of 2013 and the approach of the centennial of the war.  There have been several good books, a few great books, many mediocre books, and even a few very barely readable books.  1916: A Global History by Keith Jeffrey is one of the great books to come out about the war recently. First the numbers, there are 378 pages of text divided into twelve topical … More after the Jump…

Podcast: NGO’s: A Rambling Rant

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A fairly rambling discussion about NGO’s and what they really accomplish. I will admit upfront that I don’t have a very good opinion of NGO’s. It seems to me that after 150 years of digging wells in Africa we should have seen more progress than a continuing need for more wells and clean water. It is also a fact that advocacy NGO’s such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch spend an inordinate amount of effort going after western nations instead of the non-western countries that are the biggest and most egregious rights violators. My theory is that this is because western countries actually listen to them as opposed to … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Strategy: It’s Different aspects

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This podcast is a wider discussion of strategy and the different aspects and types of strategy there are. Strategy is not one overarching concept except at its most basic. There are different nuances to strategy and strategy development that exist depending on the level at which the strategy is being developed and implemented. Download this episode (right click and save)

Book Review: Hidden Warships by Nicholas A. Veronico

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While not strictly military history, Hidden Warships is a very interesting book nonetheless.  It details how and where to visit many shipwrecks and sunken ships from World War II all over the world. The book is 237 pages of text with many images in both color and B/W.  It is organized into five topical parts with an epilogue, appendices, bibliography, and an index.  The bibliography is especially noteworthy as it lists an extensive series of websites where you can go to learn more not just about wreck-diving but the course of the naval war in World War II.  Each chapter includes a brief historical note about the ship or ships that are … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Tactical, Operational, & Strategic; What Do They Mean?

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A discussion of what the different terms Tactical, Operational, & Strategic actually mean and how they are so often misused both in history books but especially within the media. Download this episode (right click and save)

Book Review: McNamara’s Folly: The Use of Low-IQ Troops in the Vietnam War by Hamilton Gregory

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[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] McNamara’s Folly is a book about a topic that needed a separate treatment.  The book itself is not large at 212 pages of text. The book is separated into six topical parts with endnotes called “sources”, an index, and appendices. I wish the book had a bibliography but the endnotes are fairly extensive if you do have to search through them to find the first citation for a full record. The first two parts of the book are the author’s … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Tomorrow War by J.L. Bourne

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I will admit that I am a fan of dystopian fiction. There is something about the idea that people can lose everything and persevere that I find a cross between fascinating and uplifting. It also helps that modern conditions are such that there are pretty much innumerable methods to get from modern society to subsistence savagery. Tomorrow War: The Chronicles of Max [Redacted presents a somewhat new twist on the trope of modern society collapsing. One that has been warned about by think tanks but I don’t think has really been tackled by fiction authors yet. The basic plot details the adventures of a character name Max. Max is some kind … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Air Power and It’s Limits

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This podcast discusses Air Power and its limits.  Specifically I expose the myth that it is possible to win a war with airpower alone.  The example of Kosovo often held up as showing airpower can win wars is discussed as well as the utility, or lack thereof, of airpower in the current fight against ISIS in Syria. Download this episode (right click and save)

CSA PRL Book Review: The Philippine War by Brian McCallister Linn

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The 2014 US Army Chief of Staff Professional Reading List (PRL) was released in the Summer of 2014 and I was relieved in the extreme to see that there was only one novel on the list, Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer.  The list is different than earlier lists because it is organized topically instead of by position as earlier lists were.  I have read many of the books on the list already and decided to read the ones I have not and post my thoughts on the books on the list.  This review is the next in that series. Most people that have heard of the Spanish-American War at the turn of … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Great Northern War Compendium edited by Steve Kling

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[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] The Great Northern War Compendium is a massive two-volume work that covers just about everything you ever wanted to know about the Great Northern War (assuming you have ever heard of this obscure to English speakers war), and probably some that you don’t. Some stats.  The two volumes together comprise 660 pages consisting of over 70 articles arranged in chronological order from the wars beginning in 1700 to its conclusion in 1721.  Each volume has an index and in addition there … More after the Jump…

Podcast: Victory in War: What is it?

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This is a somewhat rambling podcast that deals with Victory in war and what it really is.  I submit that victory is not achieving stability as some recent pundits have asserted but defeating your enemy.  I explain why I mean defeat in the Clausewitzean terms of “compelling your enemy to do your will“.  I also examine the idea that war tends to extremes but never reaches those extremes because victory is achieved before the logical extreme is reached.

Book Review: The End of All Things by John Scalzi

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I have read all of the Old Man’s War universe books and after a significant disappointment with another sci-fi author recently I was really looking forward to reading The End of All Things, the next installment in the OMW universe from Scalzi. I was to find that I both was and was not disappointed at the same time with this outing in Colonial Union (CU) and Conclave space. I was disappointed because of the way that the story is laid out and not disappointed because the story itself is just plain good. The story is laid out as four distinct but connected novellas instead of being one continuous narrative. That … More after the Jump…

Proportionality in War

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What is proportionality and should it be applicable in wartime?  Ironically I recorded this last week before the Paris attacks.  I find that is is somewhat topical given the events of the Friday night.  I plan on recording another discussing war theory more frankly and relating it to current events this week for publication around Friday or so.