Book Review: The Big Stick by Eliot A. Cohen

The Big Stick by Eliot A. Cohen is an examination of the usefulness and/or necessity of having credible military force as part of US international relations. First the numbers, the book is 243 pages of text divided into 8 topical chapters with an introduction and postscript.  There are 36 pages of endnotes and an index as well. The central thesis of the book is that the United States has to have a credible military capability in order to engage with the wider world.  The basic idea is that even if we wanted to, it is impossible for the US to disengage and take up the kind of isolationist stance that … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Stand Down: How Social Justice Warriors are Sabotaging America’s Military by James Hasson

Unless you have been living in a cave you should be aware that political correctness and the “war for social justice” is everywhere in the last 10-15 years.  This book details how the social justice warriors (SJWs) have infiltrated the American military and the corrosive effect SJW policies has had on military readiness. The author is a former US Army officer and combat veteran.  The numbers: there are 182 pages of text divided into 9 topical chapters with 38 pages of notes and an index.  The first chapter defines the problems that the author sees and chapters 2-8 describe the various issues and how the SJW influence has affected the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Napoleon in 100 Objects by Gareth Glover

[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] This is a very interesting book that takes a look at the life of Napoleon Bonaparte through using 100 objects contemporary to his life to tell the story.  It is an interesting concept and one that the author does a generally very good job at. The numbers, the book is not divided into contemporary chapters, instead there are 100, I will call them micro chapters, for each object.  There is 282 pages of text and a 7-page index. The objects … More after the Jump…

Book Review-Life in Medieval Europe by Danièle Cybulskie

[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 expected this book to be somewhat similar to the classic “A World Lit Only by Fire” by William Manchester.  It is in that it describes medieval life and it is different in that it presents a more realistic appreciation of what life was actually like in the Middle Ages vice the depressing picture painted by Manchester. First, the stats.  The book is 117 pages of text divided into six topical chapters.  There are no notes in the text but … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Beneath the Killing Fields: Exploring the Subterranean Landscapes of the Western Front by Matthew Leonard

Beneath the Killing Fields is a study and description of the subterranean remnants from WWI (tunnels, mines, etc.) that for the most part were covered up and forgotten in the post-war period. This is actually a pretty interesting book if you can get past the author’s obvious contempt for every other branch of historical study beyond modern conflict archaeology. The author waxes eloquent at several different places about how his particular field of study is the only one that illuminates the lived experience of conflict on the western front. I am not going to argue here, I will simply point out that without the work of those other branches of … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Yank and Rebel Rangers: Special Operations in the American Civil War, by Robert W. Black

The literature on elite military forces typically involves spectacular and legendary stories of specialized units performing extraordinary battlefield operations. Special operations forces consist of highly skilled and trained soldiers who can work in austere and asymmetric environments. From the Biblical account of King David’s “mighty men”[1] to the modern-day SEAL Team Six, specialized forces have played a pivotal role throughout military history. Of the myriad of special operations forces, the units known as Rangers have a celebrated history and lineage that has evolved in today’s US Army, 75th Ranger Regiment. Their past includes well-known units such as Rogers’ Rangers of American Revolution fame; Mosby’s Rangers, the Confederate cavalry shock troops … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck

I just recently finished reading Panzer Commander: The Memoirs of Colonel Hans von Luck (last night), I don’t know why but for some reason I am on a war memoir kick right now and digging through my library and re-reading all the war memoirs I have.   Colonel Luck’s memoir is very interesting, he had a very interesting career in both the Reichswehr and Wehrmacht in the years preceding and during World War II. Colonel Luck opened the war in Poland and fought on all the major fronts of the war to include the invasion of Russia, the Western Desert, and D-day before ending the war once again in the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Strange death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam by Douglas Murray

Since 2015 and the flood of refugees and others hit Europe immigration has turned into a hot button political issue. The Strange Death of Europe is an analytical approach to the phenomenon of mass migration into Europe. First the numbers. The book is 320 pages of text divided into 19 topical chapters with an introduction, notes, and an index. If you live in Europe then you cannot help but be aware that immigration, particularly that by Muslims has increased markedly in the past few years. Indeed, it is so noticeable that the stresses imposed by it, not even to mention terrorism, are starting to make themselves felt in European politics … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Templars, The Rise and the Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors by Dan Jones

British historian and journalist, Dan Jones, dives deep and wide in examining one of the most famous Catholic knight orders – the Knights Templar – in The Templars, The Rise and the Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors. Published in 2017, this book complements Jones’ earlier works, The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England and The War of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors. The Templar epoch reflected a rags to riches, and back to rags, and eventually to the systematic eradication of a significant contributor to virtually all of the campaigns to secure Christianity’s most holy sites in the … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook by Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson has made somewhat of a reputation for coming up with novel ways to look at history. The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook continues that tradition. First, the stats. The book is 432 pages of text in IX parts and 60 chapters arranged both chronologically and thematically. It includes an appendix, 54 pages of notes and a 44 page bibliography.  The main focus of the book is analyzing history from a network centric viewpoint. This is actually a fairly interesting take on things. This is especially so given the usual big-man view of most history. The first several chapters are an in-depth explanation … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler

In this captivating account of drug use in the Third Reich, author Norman Ohler takes us on a journey through the history of Germany and explains how, and why, it became a center of pharmaceutical research. Although the National Socialist Party presented themselves as clean cut, and Hitler praised abstinence, it is clear that much of the Nazi hierarchy, including Hitler himself, were very reliant on drugs and, indeed, that their use was widespread both in the armed forces and in civilian life. In 1925 the immensely powerful chemical and pharmaceutical corporation I.G. Farben was created out of an amalgamation of many different companies. In the following year German exports … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power by Victor Davis Hanson

I have been a fan of Dr. Hanson’s work since I first read The Western Way of War: Infantry Battle in Classical Greece years ago while pursuing my undergrad degree in Military History.  Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power is almost 20 years old at this point and I wish I had read it back then.  Since I did not, let me review it now. First the facts: the book is 464 pages of text divided into ten topical chapters with a preface, epilogue, and afterword.  There is a glossary, further reading section, and index as well. The book is an examination of nine land … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford

The Rise of the Robots is not history, in fact it is a forward looking book but so interesting that I am going to review it.  As regular readers know I do not always review only history books, I also review current events, contemporary politics, and some fiction.  I essentially write reviews for all the books I like to read in the hopes that they give value to my readers.  I picked this book off the shelf at my local library because it seemed interesting and I was not disappointed. First the facts.  The book is 284 pages of text separated into 10 chapters with an introduction, conclusion, index, and … More after the Jump…

Book Review: The Future of Land Warfare by Michael O’Hanlon

There is no end of speculation among policymakers and think tanks about what the future of warfare will look like and what the future US military should look like.  The Future of Land Warfare is another entry in that speculation. The facts.  The book is 202 pages of text divided into six topical chapters with a couple of appendices plus extensive notes and an index. The layout of this book is pretty straightforward and it almost reads as a slightly less dry White Paper.  O’Hanlon starts out by examining the historical context of US force structure and chapter 2 examines potential and likely adversaries in the coming decades.  The analysis … More after the Jump…

Book Review: Spaceport Earth: The Reinvention of Spaceflight by Joe Pappalardo

There is no doubt that private space companies have reinvigorating American efforts to return to space on US systems since the unceremonious lapse of American manned launch capabilities with the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011.  Spaceport Earth is more about that reinvigoration in the US than about global launch capability although it does touch on that. First the facts.  The book is 218 pages of text divided into 10 topical chapters and an epilogue.  A source list, acknowledgements, and an index. The book essentially covers developments in private space since the first flight of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipOne in 2003 through to the book’s publication last year.  Many things … More after the Jump…