The House on Pooh Corner

The below photo is the House at Pooh Corner (Our name) in Bosnia in the summer of 1996 as my platoon was returning to our camp after spending the day guarding some UN folks who were excavating a Mass Grave nearby.   I was deployed to Bosnia in 1996 with 3/4, later 1/4 Cavalry out of Schweinfurt, Germany.  I ran across this photo last night and decided to post it today.  I am not in the picture because I am behind the camera. The picture is not very good quality because I had to scan it, digital cameras still being in the future except for the rich in 1996.  I used … More after the Jump…

My First Book is Officially Released-22 January, 2014

I just want to take the opportunity to announce that my first foray into publishing was released on Tuesday, 22 January, 2014.  It is a survival/forest quick reference book titled The Simple Survival Smart Book.  I started working on the idea several years ago and finally finished it recently while I was stuck in the house after surgery and had no other excuses for not working on it.  It is available on Amazon as both a paperback and Kindle version.  So everyone get on over there, buy it, an make me rich.  Don’t forget to write a customer review about how awesome it is while you are at it.

Congress makes Courageous Decision to CUT Military Retired Pay

In the news: Ryan Defends Reduction to Cost-of-Living Adjustments for Early Military Retirees

In a stunning display of which segment of society politicians are really afraid of last week politicians in Washington agreed to cut military retired pay in an effort to offset the sequester cuts that they put in place just two years ago.  Unsurprisingly there has been absolutely zero talk about attempting to curb growth in other entitlement spending such as SNAP and TANF (welfare)being the two largest programs.  The logic behind it is clear.  There are more people receiving welfare than military retirees thus making welfare recipients a more powerful voting bloc.

Military RetirementThe numbers just for SNAP & TANF
SNAP – 46,670,373 people or 14% of US population cost = $71.8 Billion annually
TANF – 12,800,000 people or 4.1% of US population cost = $131.9 Billion annually
By contrast here are the numers for military retiress – 2,300,000 military retirees in the US or roughly .7% of US population cost = $52.4 billion annually

What is the difference between the two groups?  Easy, military retirees dedicated a significant portion of their lives to serving the nation, welfare recipients did not.

Total honesty, I myself am a military retiree and feel betrayed by both my country and my elected representative.  My Congressman (John Carter, TX-32) voted yes.  I made a deal with the nation, I would serve and go where they wanted me to and fight who they told me to fight, in return I would receive a set amount of benefits after twenty years service.  I did so for 23 years and went to two wars.  Now I find out that my country is not going to keep up their end of the bargain.

For some reason I am not surprised at this, just disgusted.

Remember Those who Served both Today and all through the Year

The following is an excerpt from The Sky Behind Me: A Memoir of Flying & Life. Taken from chapter 14, this piece is dedicated to my fellow veterans, of Vietnam and all wars Americans have been involved in through the years. For non-veteran readers, please keep in mind that returning GIs want nothing more than to be welcomed home, that politics and ideology play no part in that welcome. When I returned from Vietnam all those years ago I was expecting hostility, judgement, interrogation and doubt concerning my effort in that conflict, and my behavior in the war zone. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the following event took place instead. … More after the Jump…

Bookbub: Has anyone tried it out?

This post is Non-History but still relevant to the Blog.  I tend to do quite a bit of internet searching in the course of writing and just general news reading.  Because I do a lot of book reviews on her I tend to spend a lot of time on publisher webpages and bookselling websites. This post mainly concerns a new service I have recently become aware of.  Bookbub is a site that purports to only send you recommendations for books that you want to read at deep, deep discounts.  The site is a startup based out of Cambridge, MA and seems to be trying to be Groupon for books.  They must … More after the Jump…

Contributor Request

What I would like to do is ask if any of the regulars or even other visitors to the site feel up to making the occasional contribution?  I won’t promise to take on everybody who wants to contribute but I will fairly consider everyone. I am looking for two to three people to start with who would write 1 piece a month or so. I would make you authors on the site and you would have the ability to write and publish your own stuff.  If you are interested contact me at the following link: Patrick Shrier

More after the Jump…Contributor Request

Back from Vacation, posting to resume shortly

I just returned from vacation in Croatia and will be back to posting updates soon.  I also got some pretty good material and photos while on the trip to be used in some upcoming posts.  I got a very good fix of Roman history this trip as Illyria and Dalmatia were both conquered during the Republic and stayed Roman for almost 8 centuries.

Database Migration & Unavoidable Errors

I migrated my database today to a new server that has more storage.  I have noticed since then that most posts have replaced the occasional space with this character Â.  I have fixed the most recent of my posts but to honest, I will be damned if I have the time or energy to go over all 332 posts I have made over the past 3 years and remove them.  Call me lazy or whatever you want.  I will remove these crazy characters from posts as I go along but I will probably tire of the exercise long before I finish.  I just wanted to give a heads up and explanation.

Politics is going elsewhere

I have decided to take my political musings and move them elsewhere. I don’t want my personal politics to drive any readers away so I am going to try and focus this blog on history and reviews of books I have read.  The only vaguely political thing I will keep up are my monthly updates in the area of world conflict and geopolitics. All my political stuff will in the future be hosted at my new political and everything else site @:  Join me there for lively debate.

Book Promotion: The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines by Eddie Thompkins

Loyal readers, I was approached by Mr Thompkins via email about reviewing his novel The Mogadishu Diaries: Bloodlines. This is a self-published work and one I will not be able to read for at least a month because of the pile of other books I have recently gotten from publishers. I plan on reading this book and writing up a review on it but in the meantime in the interests of encouraging other people to write and giving them a chance to publicize their own work I offered to let him post a promotional piece here at Battles & Book Reviews. Below is the text he sent me to promote … More after the Jump…

Deutsche Telekom’s hacker tracker

Deutsche Telekom has website they recently put up that has a live “radar” like view of where the most hacker attacks in the world are coming from.  It is at their Overview of current cyber attacks.  If anybody thinks that the internet is a safe place they should look at this site, which logs roughly 450,000+ attacks per day just on the honey pot systems Telekom has set up to monitor cyber attacks.  Below is a screen shot of the site The ubiquity of cyber attacks should convince anyone that the US creation of Cyber Command a few years ago was a good idea.  The modern dependence on both computers and the … More after the Jump…

What is Military History?

The title of this piece is a very good question in my opinion. The question really came home to me recently when I was reading the Calls for Papers in the bi-annual newsletter of the Society of Military History of which I am a member. It strikes me more and more often that Military History, like other branches of history is increasingly splintered and Balkanized. Much as traditional history is now more concerned with what the average person did than with the trajectory of nations or kingdoms, modern military history seems to focus more and more on the experience of the average soldier instead of how and why wars were … More after the Jump…