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Books of Interest

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message 1: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) My copy of Yamashita's Ghost arrived today and it looks like a book that may interest a few members here.

Yamashita's Ghost War Crimes, MacArthur's Justice, and Command Accountability by Allan A. Ryan by Allan A. Ryan
I don’t blame my executioners. I will pray God bless them.

So said General Tomoyuki Yamashita, Japan’s most accomplished military commander, as he stood on the scaffold in Manila in 1946. His stoic dignity typified the man his U.S. Army defense lawyers had come to deeply respect in the first war crimes trial of World War II. Moments later, he was dead. But had justice been served? Allan A. Ryan reopens the case against Yamashita to illuminate crucial questions and controversies that have surrounded his trial and conviction, but also to deepen our understanding of broader contemporary issues—especially the limits of command accountability.

The atrocities of 1944 and 1945 in the Philippines—rape, murder, torture, beheadings, and starvation, the victims often women and children—were horrific. They were committed by Japanese troops as General Douglas MacArthur’s army tried to recapture the islands. Yamashita commanded Japan’s dispersed and besieged Philippine forces in that final year of the war. But the prosecution conceded that he had neither ordered nor committed these crimes. MacArthur charged him, instead, with the crime—if it was one—of having “failed to control” his troops, and convened a military commission of five American generals, none of them trained in the law. It was the first prosecution in history of a military commander on such a charge.

In a turbulent and disturbing trial marked by disregard of the Army’s own rules, the generals delivered the verdict they knew MacArthur wanted. Yamashita’s lawyers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, whose controversial decision upheld the conviction over the passionate dissents of two justices who invoked, for the first time in U.S. legal history, the concept of international human rights.

Drawing from the tribunal’s transcripts, Ryan vividly chronicles this tragic tale and its personalities. His trenchant analysis of the case’s lingering question—should a commander be held accountable for the crimes of his troops, even if he has no knowledge of them—has profound implications for all military commanders

message 2: by Liam (new)

Liam (dimestoreliam) | 96 comments Absolutely, Rick. Thanx for the heads-up.

message 3: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments Thanks Rick one for the TBR.

message 4: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Happy to share :)

message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Camp (DickCamp) | 34 comments Rick, my wife and I wrote an article about Yamashita's trial for the Oct 2008 Leatherneck, titled "Talking with the Enemy." The article was based on an interview we conducted with Col. Harry Pratt, the Marine who was assigned as his translator. We enjoyed the hell out talking with the olde timer...who was in his 90s. His mind was clear and sharp! Semper Fi, Dick Camp

message 6: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) That's an interesting bit of information, I'm keen to read this book so I will let you know if any thing of interest pops up.

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is a new title covering a different aspect of the Vietnam War that may interest a few members here:

Vietnam Rough Riders A Convoy Commander's Memoir by Frank McAdams by Frank McAdams
In the Vietnam War, American “rough riders” drove trucks through hostile territory delivering supplies, equipment, ammunition, weapons, fuel, and reinforcements to troops fighting on the war’s ever-shifting front lines. But, all too often, the convoys themselves became the front lines.

Frank McAdams, a Marine Corps lieutenant, learned that the hard way during a tour of duty that began right after the 1968 Tet Offensive and the siege at Khe Sanh. In this compelling memoir he recounts his personal battles—not only with a dangerous enemy but also with an incompetent superior and a sometimes indifferent military bureaucracy.
A decidedly different take on the Vietnam experience, his chronicle focuses on the ambush-prone truck convoys that snaked their way through dangerous terrain in narrow mountain passes and overgrown jungles. When an ambush occurred, strong leadership and quick thinking were required of officers like McAdams to protect both the convoy’s mission and the lives of its men.

McAdams describes convoys he led through hot zones like the notorious “Ambush Alley” stretching from Danang through Hai Van Pass to Phu Bai in the north, and the provincial area in the south known as “the Arizona” that surrounded the villages of Phu Loc and An Hoa. He also highlights the fierce three-day firefight that ensnared him and his men near the Song Cau Du River at Hoa Vang, and provides a particularly gripping account of the fighting at Thuong Duc.

McAdams deals frankly with his fraught dealings with a commanding officer whose ineptness and treatment of his troops made the CO fear for his own life. And he writes movingly of his wife’s love and encouragement in the face of an emotionally tough separation and also of his difficulty in re-engaging with life stateside.

Fast-paced and compulsively readable, his book offers an insightful look at a largely neglected aspect of the Vietnam War, while reminding us of how frequently the crucible of war reveals one’s true character.

message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard Camp (DickCamp) | 34 comments I haven't read the book yet, but I intend to. I am intimately familiar with Rough Riders, having escorted several convoys from Khe Sanh to Dong Ha and back again just prior to the Tet offensive of 1968. I was tasked by the battalion commander to use my rifle company to protect the first convoy from Dong Ha to Khe Sanh immediately after one was ambushed just after making the turn at Ca Lu. The convoy was bringing 175mm guns to KSCB. I will tell you that the route was ambush heaven...jungle right down to the road, narrow one lane road, and several bridges that could be blown to trap the convoy. We were always in a quandary as to whether to spread the company out throughout the convoy or to keep us all together. Fortunately, we were not tested. Have a great day and Semper Fi, Dick Camp

message 9: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Mar 28, 2013 03:56PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here are a few books, the first title is available now the other two are due out in a few months, that may interest some members here:

Masters of Command Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, and the Genius of Leadership by Barry Strauss by Barry Strauss
In Masters of Command, Barry Strauss compares the way the three greatest generals of the ancient world—Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar—waged war and draws lessons from their experiences that apply on and off the battlefield.

Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar—each was a master of war. Each had to look beyond the battlefield to decide whom to fight, when, and why; to know what victory was and when to end the war; to determine how to bring stability to the lands he conquered. Each general had to be a battlefield tactician and more: a statesman, a strategist, a leader.

Tactics change, weapons change, but war itself remains much the same throughout the centuries, and a great warrior must know how to define success. Understanding where each of these three great (but flawed) commanders succeeded and failed can serve anyone who wants to think strategically or has to demonstrate leadership. In Masters of Command, Barry Strauss explains the qualities these great generals shared, the keys to their success, from ambition and judgment to leadership itself.

The result of years of research, Masters of Command is based on surviving written documents and archeological evidence as well as the author’s travels in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, and Tunisia in the footsteps of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar.

Masters of the Battlefield Great Commanders from the Classical Age to the Napoleonic Era by Paul Davis by Paul Davis
"The personality of a general is indispensable," Napoleon once said. "He is the head, he is the all, of an army." In Masters of the Battlefield, Paul K. Davis offers vivid portraits of fifteen legendary military leaders whose brilliance on and off the battlefield embody this maxim.

Hailing from the earliest days of Greek warfare to France at the turn of the nineteenth century, these men stand out for their tactical abilities--generals who made a difference in combat, grasping the way an enemy would think or move and reacting not just to ensure victory, but do so in the face of superior forces. Among the leaders discussed in this encompassing work of military history are Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, Belisarius, Chinggis Khan, Oda Nobunaga, the Duke of Wellington, and Napoleon Bonaparte. Davis briefly explores the biography of each commander, considering how his upbringing, early experiences, and social and cultural background might have translated into his leadership abilities. Relying on vast research, Davis describes the nature of armies and warfare of the time, from the phalanx battle of Ancient Greece to the artillery-heavy Swedish army under Gustavus Adolphus. He also examines the course of the wars in which each general fought as a background to the particular battles that best illustrates their abilities, and discusses each battle in detail, aided extensively by detailed battlefield maps. Davis concludes each section with an analysis of the tactical skills and principles at which each general excelled.

In analyzing these remarkable leaders, Davis offers a picture of warfare throughout history, and shows this history to be directed--and oftentimes wholly decided--by the abilities of a single man. Masters of the Battlefield tells the stories of men who defined eras, reshaped nations, and who, through the introduction of new weapons and tactics, revolutionized the nature of warfare.

The Savior Generals How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost—From Ancient Greece to Iraq by Victor Davis Hanson by Victor Davis Hanson
Leading military historian Victor Davis Hanson returns to non-fiction in The Savior Generals, a set of brilliantly executed pocket biographies of five generals who single-handedly saved their nations from defeat in war. War is rarely a predictable enterprise--it is a mess of luck, chance, and incalculable variables. Today's sure winner can easily become tomorrow's doomed loser. Sudden, sharp changes in fortune can reverse the course of war.

These intractable circumstances are sometimes mastered by leaders of genius--asked at the eleventh hour to save a hopeless conflict, created by others, often unpopular with politics and the public. These savior generals often come from outside the established power structure, employ radical strategies, and flame out quickly. Their careers often end in controversy. But their dramatic feats of leadership are vital slices of history--not merely as stirring military narrative, but as lessons on the dynamic nature of consensus, leadership, and destiny

message 10: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Do other members like to go back and read older books covering great leaders and campaigns? I do :)

I started collecting the series of books written by Theodore Ayrault Dodge:

Alexander A History of the Origin and Growth of the Art of War from the Earliest Times to the Battle of of Ipus, 301 Bc by Theodore Ayrault Dodge & Hannibal by Theodore Ayrault Dodge & Caesar by Theodore Ayrault Dodge & Gustavus Adolphus by Theodore Ayrault Dodge by Theodore Ayrault Dodge Theodore Ayrault Dodge

Or the combined & condensed edition:

Great captains The art of war in the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon by Theodore Ayrault Dodge by Theodore Ayrault Dodge Theodore Ayrault Dodge

message 11: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) For those who like acounts of great leaders in history this book may interest you:

Frederick the Great A Military History by Dennis Showalter by Dennis Showalter
Frederick the Great is one of history's most important leaders. Famed for his military successes and domestic reforms, his campaigns were a watershed in the history of Europe - securing Prussia's place as a continental power and inaugurating a new pattern of total war that was to endure until 1916. However, much myth surrounds this enigmatic man - his personality and his role as politician, warrior and king. Showalter's cleverly written book provides a refreshing, multidimensional depiction of Frederick the Great and an objective, detailed reappraisal of his military, political and social achievements.Early chapters set the scene with an excellent summary of 18th century Europe - The Age of Reason; an analysis of the character, composition and operating procedures of the Prussian army; and explore Frederick's personality as a young man. Later chapters examine his stunning victories at Rossbach and Leuthen, his defeats at Prague and Kolin and Prussia's emergence as a key European power.Written with style and pace, this book offers brilliant insights into the political and military history of the 18th century, and one of history's most famous rulers.

message 12: by Mike (new)

Mike | 71 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Do other members like to go back and read older books covering great leaders and campaigns? I do :)

I started collecting the series of books written by Theodore Ayrault Dodge:..."

I have not heard of him before but the series looks interesting, although there are few reviews.

message 13: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Mar 31, 2013 07:54PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) The first three of his book covering Alexander, Caesar and Hannibal are supposed to be very good. I have managed to collect hardback editions of all three but have not read them yet. The author was an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War and wrote these books after the war but they have not aged and tell a great story of these men and their campaigns with details on weapons & tactics used at that time.

message 14: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I received my copy of; Small Wars, Far Away Places today and I dare say that it may well interest a few members here.

Small Wars, Far Away Places- The Genesis of the Modern World 1945-65 by Michael Burleigh by Michael Burleigh
The collapse of Western colonial empires after the Second World War led to any number of vicious struggles for power whose bloody consequences haunt us still. Acclaimed historian Michael Burleigh's brilliant analytic skills and clear eye for common themes underpins this powerful account of those struggles. He takes us on a historical journey from Palestine to Pakistan, from Cuba to Indo-China and reframes mid-20th century history by forcing us to look away from the Cold War to the hot wars that continue to afflict us. The result is a dazzling work of history, which examines the death of colonialism with passion, insight and genuine understanding of what it feels like to be caught in the middle of realpolitik.

“Surveying our perilously unstable world, it is fashionable to lament that when the Cold War wound down the constraints it had imposed on risky action went with it. More usefully, Michael Burleigh’s vividly written and stimulating book shows how the problems we face today are often the legacy of the immediate post-war era.

Many have to do with crumbling empires (not just our own), and it is here that the contemporary resonances are clearest. Though scarcely a man of the Left, Burleigh faces up squarely to the less than glorious episodes that stained the British record. As we smile at President Ahmadinejad’s unshakeable conviction that between them MI6 and the BBC continue to rule the world, it is as well to recall that in living memory we ran most of what mattered in Iran.

In 1949 the Iranian government received £1 million in tax revenues from the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later BP), while our Exchequer grabbed £28 million. And this at a time when 90 per cent of Iranians were illiterate. And when the politics of the country threatened to go the wrong way for our interests, the Secret Intelligence Service plotted with the CIA to topple the Mossadegh government in 1953 and reinstate the Shah – an event that was later to lead to the rise of theocratic neo-primitives like Ahmadinejad.

Then there was Kenya. As elderly Africans claiming mistreatment during the emergency from 1952-60 line up to plead their cause before British courts today, and conveniently mislaid official files from the period are disinterred, the account of the voodoo viciousness of the Mau Mau and of the instances of brutalism of the British makes dismal reading.

Burleigh is scathing about Kenya’s fatuously lordly and serenely incompetent governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, and the racist assumptions and dissolute habits of many of the settlers (“the abrupt sunsets were like a starting pistol”.)

Where generosity is due he is fulsome, notably in his description of the counter-insurgency campaign in Malaya in the Fifties, led by Field Marshal Sir Gerald Templer against the communist-inspired guerrilla war. This time the British tactics were well thought through, and succeeded in isolating the mostly Chinese insurgents from the Malay majority. The psy-war aspects of the campaign – treating detainees demonstrably well, or dropping photographs of the mistresses of supposedly puritanical Chinese communist leaders into the jungle – were as smart as they were effective.

The Americans had shown lamentable gullibility in the post-war era, when President Roosevelt had believed there were few problems that a quartet composed of the Soviet Union, China, the United States and Britain couldn’t sit down and resolve amicably. His naivety was to be echoed by protesters in New York who, when Churchill warned of the communist menace in his Fulton speech in 1946, bawled “Winnie, Winnie, go away, the UNO is here to stay.”

Ironically, the Korean War of 1950 was to show that both were right, to the extent that the UN Security Council passed a resolution to repel North Koreans invading the South. For years the exact origins of the war remained obscure, but Burleigh’s account, based on new evidence, is clear enough.

Kim Il-sung persuaded Stalin and Mao that his 100,000 troops could overwhelm the South’s 60,000 quickly, and the Soviet leader was happy for the Koreans to fight to the last Chinese. The stupidity of the Russians, the Chinese and above all Kim Il-sung himself in assuming the US would not intervene is extraordinary. We must hope that his grandson, Kim Jong-un, avoids the same mistake.

The French come out badly in the post-war independence struggles in Algeria and south-east Asia. It is easy to forget who got the US into Vietnam in the first place, and sobering to reflect that the American OSS, precursor of the CIA, worked with Vietnamese communists against the Japanese during the war.

As the Viet Minh threat rose the US gave the French financial help, but it was hopeless: the main support for their puppet ruler Bao Dai came from southern landowners and a religious sect, and the inveterate playboy was happiest on his yacht on the French Riviera. Burleigh gives Eisenhower credit for refusing to commit US forces. That fell to President Kennedy, a Democrat keen to project a macho, anti-communist image – it was how he got himself into the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba. US special forces were sent to Vietnam in 1961, and the rest we know.

Burleigh’s panorama includes Pakistan, Hungary and Suez, Israel and Cuba. There are colourful and astute portraits of leading personalities, from Harold Macmillan (a Whig “actor-manager” in Enoch Powell’s eyes) to Nikita Khrushchev, whose bald pate Stalin would tap with his pipe to show that it was empty.

If the author has a message for the British today it is that by punching myopically above your weight you can end up socking yourself on the chin – a lesson not without relevance as David Cameron feels obligated to take the lead in Syria.

The relief of reading history that is not suffused with infantile Leftism, patrician liberalism or romantic patriotism is immense. Instead we get the raw truth, conveyed in scintillating language by a master of historical irony and of the grimly entertaining. If history for grown-ups is what you’re after, this is it.” - By George Walden (The Telegraph)

message 15: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Apr 17, 2013 04:56PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I recently read a very interesting book on the British soldier during the Seven Years War (or the French-Indian War as it was known in America) titled; Redcoats. It lead me to order a copy of this book that may also interest some members here: With Zeal and with Bayonets Only.

Redcoats The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763 by Stephen Brumwell by Stephen Brumwell

With Zeal and with Bayonets Only The British Army on Campaign in North America, 1775-1783 by Matthew H. Spring by Matthew H. Spring

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'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) For those who enjoy a good bit of military history here is an excellent book that provides an interesting history of warfare and a period of change that still resonates with us today:

The Age Of Battles The Quest For Decisive Warfare From Breitenfeld To Waterloo by Russell F. Weigley by Russell F. Weigley
In THE AGE OF BATTLES, Russell Weigley has written a comprehensive history of Western warfare from 1631 to 1815. These years saw a revolution in the way the West made war. During the Middle Ages, warfare had been a desultory process, characterized chiefly by raiding and sieges. Wars were lengthy and inconclusive. Beginning in the seventeenth century, however, military visionaries such as Sweden’s King Gustavus Adolphus sought to force decision into warfare by fighting bloody set-piece battles, which tested to the limit the valor and resources of opposing armies. This new reliance on battle required much of soldiers. Officers had to develop the skill of effectively maneuvering large masses of men, while the common soldier had to exhibit an unwonted discipline amidst the horrors of the battlefield. As a result, Western armies became professionalized, and what had once been a combat of gentlemen and their retainers became a duel between experts. The statesmen and generals who pioneered the new style of war hoped that its greater decisiveness would also tend to reduce the barbarities associated with older and more protracted forms of warfare. Efforts were made to develop codes regulating military conduct during war, and to protect civilian lives and property. Western leaders trusted that war, while growing more intense because of the reliance on battle, would also become limited.

The ambitions of the theorists were not to be realized. The increased regularity of major battles ultimately did not make warfare more decisive. Even the spectacular victories of Napoleon Bonaparte could not end resistance to his designs or stave off his eventual defeat. And while conditions did generally improve for civilians caught in the path of war, frustration often caused armies to lapse into older habits of brutality. Weigley concludes his study by noting that this failure to find decision demonstrates the futility of war as an instrument of statesmanship.

Here is narrative history in the grand manner, deeply and passionately informed by a wide understanding of every aspect of the topic: the historical circumstances and political conditions of the contending adversaries, the strategic thinking and the personalities of the military commanders, the tactical manoeuvring on the field of battle, the role of armaments and technology, and the performance of the soldiers.

"One of the most interesting, important, and ambitious books about the conduct, and perhaps the ultimate futility, of war." - Gunther E. Rothenberg

"[A] highly scholarly and wonderfully absorbing study." - John Bayley, The London Review of Books

"What Russell F. Weigley writes, the rest of us read. The Age of Battles is a persuasive reminder that even in the age of 'rational' warfare, one can honestly wonder why war seemed an unavoidable policy choice." - Allan R. Millett, The Journal of American History

message 17: by happy (last edited Apr 24, 2013 10:34PM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 93 comments Question, Does anyone have any recs for books on the Indian Mutiny of 1857?

The only one I've read is Hibbert's The Great Mutiny India 1857 by Christopher Hibbert


message 18: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Apr 24, 2013 10:59PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Happy,

Hibbert's is a pretty good account but so it this more recent title:

The Indian Mutiny 1857 by Saul David by Saul David

I have a copy of this book but have not read it yet but his early book; The Thin Red Line was a damn good read.

The Indian Mutiny by Julian Spilsbury by Julian Spilsbury

The Thin Red Line An Eyewitness History of the Crimean War by Julian Spilsbury by Julian Spilsbury

message 19: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 93 comments Thnx AR,
I knew I could count on you :)

message 20: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Love to share a good book Happy :)

message 21: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is another decent account but more specific in that it covers Bahadur Shah Zafar II, the last Mughal Emperor and the uprising in Delhi:

The Last Mughal The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857 by William Dalrymple by William Dalrymple

message 22: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments Just seen this and wondered if it was of interest to anyone here: Bolivar American Liberator by Marie Arana by Marie Arana

message 23: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) I've already ordered a copy Geevee :)

It does sound like a very interesting account eh!

message 24: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments Ha ha I should have realised. It does look worth a read - in for me an area I've read little or nothing.

message 25: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Same here, let me know if you decide to get a copy, maybe we could organise a buddy read within this group?

message 26: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Apr 25, 2013 06:25PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Guess what I just picked up at the PO Box Geevee? Yep - Bolivar: American Liberator. I've had a quick browse through the book and it does look pretty good :)

Bolivar American Liberator by Marie Arana by Marie Arana

message 27: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Some members who enjoy military history from the 18th Century might like the looks of this book:

The Global Seven Years War, 1754-1763 Britain and France in a Great Power Contest by D.A. Baugh by D.A. Baugh

message 28: by Liam (new)

Liam (dimestoreliam) | 96 comments I can hardly wait to get hold of a copy of Small Wars, Far Away Places- The Genesis of the Modern World: 1945-65! Thanx for the post, Rick. Speaking of "posts" here's another book on roughly the same subject Last Post: The End Of Empire In The Far East that some may find of interest; I've had a copy in one of my 'to-read' stacks for a while, but haven't gotten to it yet...

message 29: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Another good book Liam, thanks for the details on Last Post.

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'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) This new book may spark some interest with members of this group:

Napalm An American Biography by Robert M. Neer by Robert M. Neer
Napalm, incendiary gel that sticks to skin and burns to the bone, came into the world on Valentine’s Day 1942 at a secret Harvard war research laboratory. On March 9, 1945, it created an inferno that killed over 87,500 people in Tokyo—more than died in the atomic explosions at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It went on to incinerate sixty-four of Japan’s largest cities. The Bomb got the press, but napalm did the work.

After World War II, the incendiary held the line against communism in Greece and Korea—Napalm Day led the 1950 counter-attack from Inchon—and fought elsewhere under many flags. Americans generally applauded, until the Vietnam War. Today, napalm lives on as a pariah: a symbol of American cruelty and the misguided use of power, according to anti-war protesters in the 1960s and popular culture from Apocalypse Now to the punk band Napalm Death and British street artist Banksy. Its use by Serbia in 1994 and by the United States in Iraq in 2003 drew condemnation. United Nations delegates judged deployment against concentrations of civilians a war crime in 1980. After thirty-one years, America joined the global consensus, in 2011.

Robert Neer has written the first history of napalm, from its inaugural test on the Harvard College soccer field, to a Marine Corps plan to attack Japan with millions of bats armed with tiny napalm time bombs, to the reflections of Phan Thi Kim Phuc, a girl who knew firsthand about its power and its morality.

"Napalm is a brilliantly conceived, masterfully executed, and deeply disturbing book. Robert M. Neer offers a vivid examination of the military-technological partnership that drives the evolution of warfare, with moral considerations lagging far behind." - Andrew J. Bacevich, (Editor Of the Short American Century: A Postmortem)

"No one else has told so deeply and compellingly the story of how 'Napalm was born a hero but lives a pariah'--a terrifying weapon associated with America's Vietnam War whose history went back much further, as did the dishonest efforts of leaders to cope with its reputation." - Michael S. Sherry, (Author Of in The Shadow Of War: The United States Since The 1930s)

"Napalm is a revelation. In a story that takes us from Harvard Stadium to Vietnam, Robert M. Neer retells the past 70 years of American history through a single extraordinary and terrible invention. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the American way of war and its humanitarian dilemmas." - John Fabian Witt, (Author Of lincoln’s Code: The Laws Of War In American History)

"In this engrossing study, historian Neer recounts the prodigious youth and reviled old age of an iconic weapon...Neer's thoroughly researched, well-written account mixes lucid discussions of chemical engineering and the law of war with gut-wrenching depictions of napalm's nightmarish effects. More than that, it furnishes a thought-provoking lesson on evolving attitudes toward military means and ends." - Publishers Weekly

"Readers expecting a polemic may be pleasantly surprised at this lucid account of the technical, political and ethical features of a notorious symbol of American inhumanity in war...Napalm receives an overdue but thoroughly satisfying history." - Kirkus Reviews

"Robert M. Neer, a lawyer and historian who teaches at Columbia University, reads history with a brilliant eye for the horrible detail. He has written a third of an extraordinary book and two-thirds of an adequate one, though the quality of the first third is more important than the limits of the later portions. Writing the first complete American history of napalm, Neer nevertheless tells a familiar story about war, science, and the paradoxes of progress. Still, he bizzarely overlooks the democratic politics of state violence in an extended study of a horrifying weapon of modern mass war. This decision to downplay the main source of policy thinking and funding behind the napalm scourge is especially glaring in light of the book's earlier chapters, which demonstrates a deep attention to significant moral and political questions. Readers can only come away from Napalm hoping that Neer will have more to say on the crucial subject of state violence in the future." — Chris Bray (Bookforum)

message 31: by happy (last edited Apr 27, 2013 11:58PM) (new)

happy (happyone) | 93 comments That looks good AR. One ancedote, When I was a wee little lad, my father was stationed at Ft. Sill OK (the US Army Field Artillery Center). This was at the height of Viet Nam. Each qtr the base put on a Fire Power demonstration. One of the thing they demonstrated was Napalm. A flight of 4 F-4s would drop 8 canisters about two miles away. You could feel the heat from the stuff in the grand stands!

message 32: by James (new)

James | 8 comments I'll second that on the napalm, Happy - I started my career in the Marine Corps as a mortarman, and sometimes we marked targets for A6 Intruder bombers. We'd drop a white phosphorus (WP) round on the target, then the A6s would come through at low altitude and drop napalm on our marker. We were one to two miles away, but when the napalm went off a wave of intense heat washed over us a few seconds later. Scary stuff.

message 33: by Liam (last edited Apr 28, 2013 10:04AM) (new)

Liam (dimestoreliam) | 96 comments Not that anyone probably cares, but just for the record Napalm Death were a thrash metal band, not a punk band. I actually liked Lawnmower Deth [sic] a bit more, myself (no, I'm not making this up, I swear!)...

message 34: by James (new)

James | 8 comments Did they ever tour with Dread Zeppelin? It takes a certain unhinged genius to conceive of an Elvis-impersonation reggae rendition of Stairway to Heaven.

message 35: by Liam (new)

Liam (dimestoreliam) | 96 comments James wrote: "Did they ever tour with Dread Zeppelin? It takes a certain unhinged genius to conceive of an Elvis-impersonation reggae rendition of Stairway to Heaven."

As far as I know, Lawnmower Deth never made it to the U.S. even for one gig, but that would have been a hell of a bill. Only in A2 could a gig like that even be conceived of, hahaha...

message 36: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited May 03, 2013 01:12AM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) This book may interest a few members of the group:

21st Century Mahan Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era by Benjamin Armstrong by Benjamin Armstrong
Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Seapower upon History is well known to students of naval history and strategy, but his other writings are often dismissed as irrelevant to today's problems. This collection of five of Mahan's essays, along with Benjamin Armstrong's informative introductions, illustrates why Mahan's work remains relevant to the 21st century and how it can help develop our strategic thinking. People misunderstand Mahan, the editor argues, because they have read only what others say about him, not what Mahan wrote himself. Armstrong's analysis is derived directly from Mahan's own writings. From the challenges of bureaucratic organization and the pit falls of staff duty, to the development of global strategy and fleet composition, to illustrations of effective combat leadership, Armstrong demonstrates that Mahan's ideas continue to provide today's readers with a solid foundation to address the challenges of a rapidly globalizing world.

About the author:
LCDR Benjamin Armstrong, USN, is a 1999 Naval Academy graduate and naval aviator. His writing has appeared in Proceedings and the Infinity Journal. Currently, he is a MPhil/PhD candidate with the Department of War Studies at Kings College, London.

message 37: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Something a bit different in regards to military history but it does sound interesting:

The Rocky Road to the Great War The Evolution of Trench Warfare to 1914 by Nicholas Murray by Nicholas Murray
Nicholas Murray’s The Rocky Road to the Great War examines the evolution of field fortification theory and practice between 1877 and 1914. During this period field fortifications became increasingly important, and their construction evolved from primarily above to below ground. The reasons for these changes are crucial to explaining the landscape of World War I, yet they have remained largely unstudied.

The transformation in field fortifications reflected not only the ongoing technological advances but also the changing priorities in the reasons for constructing them, such as preventing desertion, protecting troops, multiplying forces, reinforcing tactical points, providing a secure base, and dominating an area. Field fortification theory, however, did not evolve solely in response to improving firepower or technology. Rather, a combination of those factors and societal ones—for example, the rise of large conscript armies and the increasing participation of citizens rather than subjects—led directly to technical alterations in the actual construction of the fieldworks. These technical developments arose from the second wave of the Industrial Revolution in the late nineteenth century that provided new technologies that increased the firepower of artillery, which in turn drove the transition from above- to belowground field fortification.

Based largely on primary sources—including French, British, Austrian, and American military attaché reports—Murray’s enlightening study is unique in defining, fully examining, and contextualizing the theories and construction of field fortifications before World War I.

About the author:
NICHOLAS MURRAY is an associate professor of history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He obtained his undergraduate degree in war studies at King’s College London and both his master’s and doctoral degrees in history from the University of Oxford. He was vice president and secretary of the Oxford University Strategic Studies Group and has taught at Middlebury College and the State University of New York–Adirondack. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

message 38: by happy (new)

happy (happyone) | 93 comments Another one to the TBR - Thanks Rick :D

message 39: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments This may be a quirky for people but it arrived for me today:

Muddling Through: The Organisation of British Army Chaplaincy in World War One by Peter Howson

As with many other aspects of the British army the outbreak of World War One started a process of change that was to result in a radically different provision of chaplaincy care once the war was over.

Nothing was ever simple with army chaplaincy. The war saw an increase in the number of churches becoming involved with the army. The structure had already been under pressure in the first decade of the century with the Catholic Church insisting on new rules for its chaplains. The creation of the Territorial Force added a new dimension after 1907, bringing new players into the mix including the Jewish community. These chaplains challenged the traditional Garrison Church based ministry of the regulars.

The book examines the muddled state of chaplaincy in August 1914 and looks at how chaplains were mobilized. It then reviews how organizational changes were often the result of pressure from the different churches. The unilateral decision of the Church of England, in July 1915, to leave the unified administration in France that had existed since August 1914 is examined in the light of the availability of the relevant volume of the diaries of Bishop Gwynne, a key participant in the change. Chapters also look at the experience of other Imperial forces and of the casualties suffered by chaplains.

These all provide evidence of the expectations that various groups had of army chaplains. It is often forgotten that two chaplains were captured during the retreat from Mons in 1914. They were never far from the fighting throughout the war. The experiences of the war meant that the pre-war structure needed reform. The final chapter looks at the structure that was created in 1920 and then survived virtually unchanged until 2004. Army chaplaincy has always been a mix of Church, Army and State. Such a coming together inevitably lead to confusion. Not surprisingly one of the themes was the muddle that resulted. Even so army chaplaincy ended the war with a much higher profile than the one it had in 1914.
This was recognised by the addition of 'Royal' creating the RAChD. Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, and other faith groups, as well as military historians will find this book of interest as it overturns a number of myths and puts chaplaincy in its wider context.

message 40: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments A couple of interesting facts from the book above - 96 chaplains killed by enemy action. Three chaplains were awarded the Victoria Cross; 67 Distinguished Service Orders; 449 Military Crosses, 35 bars (second award), and 3 second bars (meaning a recipient won the MC three times). These awards show the courage of these men under fire.

39 were taken POW during the war on all fronts; 19 alone were captured on 21st-24th March 1918 showing how many stayed with the wounded during the great retreat from the Kaiserslacht.

message 41: by Mike (new)

Mike | 71 comments Geevee wrote: "This may be a quirky for people but it arrived for me today:

Muddling Through: The Organisation of British Army Chaplaincy in World War One by Peter Howson..."

Good to see this group get some doubt they were brave.

message 42: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited May 03, 2013 05:11PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Some truly amazing men back in those days, sounds like an interesting book Geevee, let us know how it goes.

Added the cover for you as well:

Muddling Through The Organisation of British Army Chaplaincy in World War One by Peter Howson

message 43: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Here is another book covering German tactics/operations on the Western Front during WW1 that may interest a few members:

Landrecies to Cambrai Case Studies of German Offensive and Defensive Operations on the Western Front 1914-17 by Graeme Chamley Wynne by Graeme Chamley Wynne
Interest in the First World War, or Great War, continues unabated. New angles are sought, fresh interpretations penned. Equally, much previously published material resides long-forgotten in the pages of now-rarely-consulted journals and periodicals. "Landrecies to Cambrai" reprints an extensive series of articles that ran, on an irregular basis, in the "Army Quarterly" from January 1924 until April 1939. Each article presents a detailed account of a specific German military operation on the Western Front - usually with detail down to battalion level. The author utilised an extensive array of original German sources, including regimental histories and operational-level narratives, ensuring a remarkable amount of colour and detail are present in the text. Operations covered in this title include: the night attack at Landrecies, 25 August 1914; Neuve Chapelle, 10-12 March 1915; Aubers Ridge, 9 May 1915; the fight for Hill 70, 25-26 September 1915; the German attack at Vimy Ridge, May 1916; the German defence during the Battle of the Somme July 1916; the German defence of Bernafay and Trones Woods, 2-14 July 1916; Mametz Wood and Contalmaison, 9-10 July 1916; Delville Wood, 14-19 July 1916; the Somme, 15 September 1916; the capture of Thiepval, 26 September 1916; in front of Beaumont-Hamel, 13 November 1916; Battle of Arras, 9 April 1917; the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 9 April 1917; the fight for Inverness Copse, 22-24 August 1917; the fight for Zonnebeke, 26 September 1917; and, Cambrai - the action of the German 107th Division. This title is complemented by additional material, including a new introduction by the editor, Duncan Rogers, and an extensive new bibliography including full references to all regimental histories quoted. All original maps are also included. "Landrecies to Cambrai" offers a unique perspective and much hitherto-overlooked material relating to a wide variety of German operations on the Western Front 1914-17.

message 44: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Some truly amazing men back in those days, sounds like an interesting book Geevee, let us know how it goes.

Added the cover for you as well:

[bookcover:Muddling Through: The Organisation of Briti..."

Thanks Rick - appreciated.

message 45: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments Mike wrote: "Geevee wrote: "This may be a quirky for people but it arrived for me today:

Muddling Through: The Organisation of British Army Chaplaincy in World War One by Peter Howson..."

Good to see this gr..."

Aye Mike they were and still do a great service to personnel in UK garrisons and especially on operational tours. It's a subject that I find interesting. I have a WWII New Zealand official history on chaplains which I must read one day too.

Do you know of any books on the US Armed Forces chaplains like this?

message 46: by Mike (new)

Mike | 71 comments Geevee wrote: "Do you know of any books on the US Armed Forces chaplains like this?..."

I do not.

message 47: by Liam (last edited May 05, 2013 09:35AM) (new)

Liam (dimestoreliam) | 96 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "This book may interest a few members of the group:

21st Century Mahan Sound Military Conclusions for the Modern Era by Benjamin Armstrong by Benjamin Armstrong
Alfred Thayer Mahan's ..."

This looks like an interesting premise- judging from the synopsis, Mahan's works vis-a-vis naval warfare are, unsurprisingly, sort of in the same category as Clausewitz's works on land warfare, i.e. everyone likes to refer back to them, but few actually take the time to read the original books (I'm as guilty as anyone in this regard, having not yet read On War (3 Volumes) by Carl von Clausewitz , though that is partially due to the fact that decent copies tend to be somewhat expensive & difficult to find...). This book brings to mind another: are any of you familiar with The Clausewitz Delusion How the American Army Screwed Up the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (A Way Forward) by Stephen L. Melton ? I haven't read it yet, though I have a copy sitting here in one of my stacks... Apparently the author was a prof at West Point. I'm not sure I understand just what he's getting at, but it looks like it might be an interesting read...

message 48: by Geevee (last edited May 05, 2013 10:04AM) (new)

Geevee | 111 comments Not read it Liam - it looks as if it will heavily criticise the US Army. Clealry mistakes were made but to pin that all to a 19th century military theorist seems rich. The British military made mistakes in both wars too and didn't follow the principles he mentions. For me it's the same as any war/conflict: first plans always change and the enemy challenges strategy and tactics and then battles of minds, men and equipment commence. In most modern wars the shape and tactics used by an army will be wholly different from that at the end to those employed at the begining - that's situation and war not Clausewitz.

message 49: by Liam (new)

Liam (dimestoreliam) | 96 comments Yeah, I want to see what the guy has to say before making a final judgement, but I have some problems with what seems to be his premise as well. Among those problems is the fact that I suspect damned few, if any, of the responsible U.S. Army commanders had even cursorily read Clausewitz's work, never mind seriously studying it. Incidentally, I was mistaken about his having taught at West Point; he was actually on the faculty at CGSC.

message 50: by Geevee (new)

Geevee | 111 comments Hi Liam, sorry is the CGSC the US Army's Command and General Staff College? If so I expect he might upset a few colleagues and past students. I had to Google it to see what it stood for.

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