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.

Book Review: For Two Cents, I’ll Go With You by Marcia Maxwell

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For 2 Cents, I’ll Go With You: A Novel of the Great War is the story of Pat, a farm boy who grew up in a small village in Michigan. His friend Aubrey has joined the Army and convinces Pat he should do the same so they can go to Paris and have adventures and meet beautiful women. As it turns out, things don’t quite go as hoped. Pat starts out at a camp in Georgia, then moves on to Pennsylvania where he is trained by a few memorable nurses on how to be a surgical assistant. He meets up with a band of three other men in Georgia who … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776 by Richard R. Beeman

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[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] This is a repost of a review that originally appeared on the blog in June, 2013.  The book is now coming out in paperback and if you did not read it then I recommend you read it now as it gives you a great sense of the times in which our nation was forged and the risks,  hazards, and courage displayed by the Founding Fathers. Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor: The Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776 by Richard Beeman is … More after the Jump…

Syria – What’s Really Going to Happen?

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This is my inaugural podcast.  I plan on making this a regular feature.  Generally they will be about current world events and should usually run 10-15 minutes in length.  The length is because I record them in my truck on the way to work so you will hear background noise and probably get to hear me swear at other drivers on occasion.  Yes, other drivers irritate me as well, especially folks that are in such a hurry they pass unsafely such as on blind curves or inclement weather. I will relate current events to historical antecedents and try to explain my view of how I think the history of various regions … More after the Jump…

Book Review: OinK! by David Osterhout

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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] When most folks think of Military History they naturally think of war. Oink! Only In Korea! by DavidOsterhout breaks that mold.  It is military history but only peripherally is war involved because it takes place in 1980 in Korea where north and south are technically still at war.  I will admit I was skeptical when first approached about reviewing this title but as I remembered some of the crazy stuff that happened to and around me during my military career I agreed to … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–-1945 by Nicholas Stargardt

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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 have been thousands if not hundreds of thousands of books written about World War II and Germany since 1945. There have even been social histories written in the seemingly never ending attempts to fathom how a nation like Germany supported Hitler and his murderous regime. The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939–-1945 seeks to explain not the how, but the what. As in what was it like under the Nazis and what did the average German see and feel. … More after the Jump…

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

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What would you do if you were suddenly thrust back in time 200 years? Imagine life before indoor plumbing, automobiles, electricity and modern medicine. Claire Randall, a British Army Nurse during World War II, was on a second honeymoon with her husband, who she hasn’t seen in six years, when she discovers a portal through time hidden in a stone formation on a hill in the Scottish Highlands. She is thrust back in time to the year 1743, just a few short years before “the forty-five” will come to pass. Claire struggles to survive in this brutal new world, torn between the love she left behind and the new love … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Rome’s Revolution by Richard Alston

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The end of the Roman Republic and founding of the Empire is one of those events in history that has been recounted so often in histories and also in stage and theater that everyone thinks they know what, why, and how it happened. Rome’s Revolution by Richard Alston will show you that you don’t necessarily know what you think you know and that most accounts of the fall of the Roman Republic are simplistic accounts at best.  The author is a professor of Roman History and brings an expert’s perspective to the story that is missing from many popular accounts. The book itself is 337 pages of text with extensive notes, … More after the Jump…

Book Review: War Made New by Max Boot

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The hot topic in military history and military doctrine development circles since the early 1990’s has been the concept of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA).  An RMA is defined as a development, generally technology, which alters the conduct of war so thoroughly that warfare becomes unlike what it was before.  In science this is called a paradigm shift.  The most common examples of RMA’s that are bandied about are gunpowder, steam ships, breech loading rifles, tanks, aircraft carriers, the modern staff system, and information technology.  There are others but those are the most common.  As a military historian, I am skeptical of the whole notion though plenty of folks … More after the Jump…

Book Review: A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z Williamson

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I have read all of Michael Z Williamson’s previous books and found them to be excellent combat sci-fi with a little politics and social commentary thrown in.  A Long Time Until Now is not excellent.  In fact, it was a total disappointment.  I pre-ordered this book on Amazon in February and eagerly awaited its release in May given the dearth of my kind of sci-fi recently.  Unfortunately, with the release of this book my wait continues. Williamson’s Freehold books are nothing more than political commentary dressed up as sci-fi but if you can ignore the politics they are rollicking good adventures on their own. A Long Time Until Now is none of those … More after the Jump…

Book Review: How the West Won by Rodney Stark

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How the West Won: The Neglected Story of the Triumph of Modernity by Rodney Stark is a refreshing look at history. What I found most refreshing is that the book looks at the rise of Christianity as a good thing, even a necessary thing, instead of the calamity it is presented as in much historical writing. What I also found both new and intriguing is the idea that the disunity of the West has been one of the vital factors that contributed to the West achieving modernity where other cultural groups did not and that empires are in and of themselves bad things. Stark takes special care to demonstrate how the rise … More after the Jump…

Pompeii and Herculaneum

I recently visited Pompeii and Herculaneum on a visit to Italy with my family.  This is my report of the visit. We went to Herculaneum first, mainly because I knew it was the smaller site and our hotel was in Pompeii itself so I wanted to get to the hotel quicker after a day of slogging around in the hot sun.  Herculaneum is also the more interesting site to me because it is better preserved.  In many of the buildings in Herculaneum you can still see the charred wood beams sticking out.  Unfortunately, neither Pompeii nor Herculaneum have anything remotely resembling a museum displaying artifacts found in the ruins, there … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Currency Wars by James Rickards

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Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis by James Rickards  is an older book, written in 2012 but it maintains it’s relevance because not only does the book go far to explain current global economic conditions, it explains how we got to where we are today and the macroeconomic logic behind why nothing will likely change absent significant political will among the world’s economic cognoscenti in large private banks, central banks, and international financial organizations. The book itself is 258 pages of text divided into three topical parts with notes, selected sources, and an index. The first part describes what financial war is and how they start.  Interestingly, it … More after the Jump…