May 28th, 2016
I've been busy, so posting this and that have been low on my priorities; still, I've been reading a bit more often, so the list of books I've finished since my last post has gotten surprisingly lengthy.
First book to bring up to date is Osprey Raid #28: Run the Gauntlet: The Channel Dash 1942. I've read a lot about the history of World War II in my life, and I was aware of the German naval vessels run through the English Channel during the war, but until I read this book, I didn't understand a lot about the strategic importance of these ships and their basing. I found this book to be enlightening.
Next was Osprey Weapon #18: The Bazooka, a weapon named from a comic strip, and rather silly looking, but effective both as its intended antitank role, but also in suppressing fortifications such as pillboxes. The book details its development and various subtypes and therefore was moderately interesting.
Then, Finished Business by David Wishart. This novel is another amongst several series which are mysteries set in Ancient Rome. In this one, the protagonist finds his way into a conspiracy while investigating a murder. Telling much more tells too much, but I found the book enjoyable. Still, this is part of a series, and much of the interaction between characters are based on history that you only get from reading these books from the first novel on. Still, I think it would standalone fairly well.
Next we have Osprey Warrior #28: Green Beret in Vietnam: 1957 – 73. Having grown up expecting to be drafted into the armed forces due to the Vietnam War, in a manner of speaking the Green Berets were something of a symbol of it all. This book gives a fairly bare bones description of this force and its mission. Pretty solid.
Then, Birdseye: The Adventures of a Curious Man by Mark Kurlansky. The author has written a number of non-fiction books that have been generally fascinating, though I don't find myself enjoying his fiction. This is a lesser book by him, though it has its moments. It details the life and accomplishments of the man who succeeded in bringing frozen foods to the American table and in so doing changed our diets. He led quite a life, and Kurlansky does a fairly good job of detailing it. Not quite as well done as his book, Salt, though.
Next, Osprey Vanguard #6: The LEE/GRANT Tanks in British Service. This type of tank was one of the first vehicles that the US sent to the United Kingdom to help support them in WWII. It was used in both the Western Desert and in Southeast Asia (primarily Burma). Although the artwork isn't as good as they get later in Osprey publication, the historical data is quite good, detailing a number of important battles in which these tanks participated. Not a bad read.
Then, Director's Cut, a short piece I found on the Internet written by James Morrow, that seems to discuss some scenes that Cecil B. DeMille didn't use in The Ten Commandments that were particularly troubling. Fiction, but thought-provoking. Very very short piece.
Next was Osprey Vanguard #7: 2nd SS Panzer Division 'DAS REICH', a unit history from WWII about a Waffen SS division that fought on many fronts during the war. Art was meh, historical data was fair. Older, out-of-print, not horrible, but clearly not good enough to reprint, as Osprey often does with the better books.
Then we have Symmetry Volume One, a graphic novel recently released. In this comic, the world is a utopia, but an accident of nature occurs, disturbing the perfection. The storyline deals with what happened next. Pretty solid, but I think I'll stick to the graphic novels rather than hunt up the individual comics.
I've got several more books in various stages of being read (only one above 50%, though), so there's more to come!
I read many Osprey books too and I was wondering is there a list of the good enough to reprint, as Osprey often does with the better books?
The Grant/Lee had a renaissance in SE Asia as while the main gun was used on hard targets the turret 37mm was focused on anti-personnel making the tank harder to sneak up on. This was mentioned in a later Osprey book that focused on all Grant/Lee service.
I particularly like the series of Warrior books on the various US Vietnam service roles.
Originally, I bought the Osprey books that dealt with pre-gunpowder as a guide or at least a stimulation for me to paint miniatures for RPG gaming. Occasionally a topic outside that realm interested me and I'd pick the book up, such as the series that dealt with Desert Storm. Now, I find myself reading them for basic information with the occasional tidbit such as the one you mention above that's a bit fun and curious.
Me too for the learning facts I did not know. I find some authors are better than others and follow them.
Mark Stille on ships
David Fletcher on tanks
Steven J. Zaloga
Gordon L. Rottman
I must admit that I don't really notice most of the authors. The artists, OTOH...