Author Topic: What are you currently reading?  (Read 195410 times)

Offline Gardener

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2025 on: November 16, 2018, 12:32:20 PM »
On Managing Yourself (Harvard Business Review).

THOUGHTS TO ADD TO A HARVARD COMMENCEMENT
(scroll down at link)
https://fatherfeeney.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/the-point-july-1952/
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Off and on for Advent. Probably only while at work.
 
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Offline red solo cup

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2026 on: December 01, 2018, 07:14:00 AM »
Disraeli: A Picture of the Victorian Age by Andre Maurois
"It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry"
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2027 on: December 01, 2018, 11:47:10 PM »
Just finished "Vietnam in Wonderland" by William (Bill) Price, sent to me by his lovely wife and our very own CarleenDiane.

It is here: https://www.amazon.com/Vietnam-Wonderland-William-Price/dp/0615402461

On one hand, it's a very small book, so I'm unsure if I would have paid $22 for it. However, it is chock full of interesting, and often overlooked, quotes, facts, social realities, etc. of that time period.

Like a "nap of the earth" (often called map of the earth) chopper ride, it's at times disorienting until you pick up on the author's method of presentation. And yet, just when you think you have it, he throws you for a loop and bends in a direction your mind and stomach weren't quite ready for. Why? I suspect that it's because, like a chopper in low altitude combat flights, the tracers of incoming societal fire necessitate it. The truth is often winding, and its paths beset with the punji sticks and trip wires of false understandings. The path itself is indeed straight, but its navigation is what is winding in order to sidestep and defuse the obstacles placed by the enemy.

From personal anecdotes bolstering the reality that the fighting men of the USMC, Army, Navy, and Air Force did not lose the war (our politicians and bureaucrats ripped it from underneath them), to historical analysis showing the social changes, political subterfuge, and all of it mixed up in a ball of purposeful and accidental; disorienting and yet clear at the same time.

"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe

Off and on for Advent. Probably only while at work.
 
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Offline james.rogerson

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2028 on: December 02, 2018, 01:42:58 AM »
"Speak, Memory" by Vladimir Nabokov.
 
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Offline MilesChristi

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2029 on: December 05, 2018, 03:42:23 PM »
Macbeth
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
    And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
    Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
    World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
 
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Offline Carleendiane

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2030 on: December 05, 2018, 06:26:26 PM »
Just finished "Vietnam in Wonderland" by William (Bill) Price, sent to me by his lovely wife and our very own CarleenDiane.

It is here: https://www.amazon.com/Vietnam-Wonderland-William-Price/dp/0615402461

On one hand, it's a very small book, so I'm unsure if I would have paid $22 for it. However, it is chock full of interesting, and often overlooked, quotes, facts, social realities, etc. of that time period.

Like a "nap of the earth" (often called map of the earth) chopper ride, it's at times disorienting until you pick up on the author's method of presentation. And yet, just when you think you have it, he throws you for a loop and bends in a direction your mind and stomach weren't quite ready for. Why? I suspect that it's because, like a chopper in low altitude combat flights, the tracers of incoming societal fire necessitate it. The truth is often winding, and its paths beset with the punji sticks and trip wires of false understandings. The path itself is indeed straight, but its navigation is what is winding in order to sidestep and defuse the obstacles placed by the enemy.

From personal anecdotes bolstering the reality that the fighting men of the USMC, Army, Navy, and Air Force did not lose the war (our politicians and bureaucrats ripped it from underneath them), to historical analysis showing the social changes, political subterfuge, and all of it mixed up in a ball of purposeful and accidental; disorienting and yet clear at the same time.

Bill's selling price was 12 dollars. Someone is screwing around with the price. 22 dollars? Crazy!

Thank you Gardener for reviewing the book. That was great. Read it to hubby and he was pleased you put your thought into that review. God bless. 22 bucks? Crazy, lol.
To board the struggle bus: no whining, board with a smile, a fake one will be found out and put off at next stop, no maps, no directions, going only one way, one destination. Follow all rules and you will arrive. Drop off at pearly gate. Bring nothing.
 

Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: What are you currently reading?
« Reply #2031 on: Today at 10:56:44 AM »
Just finishing "Red Platoon" by Clinton Romesha; a story about the assault on Combat Outpost Keating, in Nuristan, Afghanistan. 50 american soldiers in the outpost are suddenly assaulted by a force of 300 guerrillas, and what happens in the next few hours as they fight to save their lives and prevent their base from being overrun. Here is a review from Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Red-Platoon-Story-American-Valor/product-reviews/0525955054
Quote

I’ve taught History at USMA (West Point), served 24 years on active duty, and published a book myself. I’ve read military history for nigh on 50 years now, with a very heavy emphasis on memoirs. How many, I couldn’t say for sure, but probably 1000+.

And I have never read a memoir as powerful, gripping, and vivid as this one.

The narrative of the fight for Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan is structured with a personal depth, fluidity, and originality of presentation such as I have never encountered. Nothing else is even close to this book in getting the reader into the minds and personalities of the soldiers involved, and touching them in a human way that equals or exceeds the best character development I’ve ever encountered in the most moving literature in any genre.

This is also superbly-researched history, as the author does an excellent job of weaving a tale that places COP Keating within the larger scheme of things in Afghanistan, and presents aspects of the battle that the author pulled together from participants and documents long after the battle. Logistics, air support, Quick Reaction Force (QRF) employment, are related to the facts on the ground, in the fight, for which this Staff Sergeant served in multiple roles as a platoon sergeant and squad leader, team leader and assistant base defense commander.

He clearly focuses in Red Platoon’s role in the fight—his platoon—and the actions of Blue and White platoons on Keating and nearby outpost Kitsche are sketched out insofar as their actions bore on Red Platoon’s part of the fight. That is perfectly in keeping with the author’s intent to portray the battle fought by him and his platoon, and it also serves as a continual reminder to readers that SSG Romesha’s vision was limited dramatically by the fog of war. Indeed, the book’s narrative portion and primary focus is on his continual confrontation with the fog of war and his relentless attempts to see through it and take action.

Clinton Romesha doesn’t fall into a common narrative difficulty faced by memoirists, which is to treat every comrade as a flawless hero and cover everyone’s faults. Yet, precisely by examining and critiquing those faults, mistakes, miscommunications, and mishaps, he accomplishes two things that separate his work from anything else I’ve read: (1) he weaves a far more complete, human, and intimately accurate narrative of the fight, and (2) in pointing out flaws, he also highlights the strengths each soldier, each human being, each buddy, truly deserves credit for, and thereby honors them more highly, sincerely, and grippingly than in any memoir or battle history I’ve ever seen. These are young American soldiers, not fictional superheroes. But even with their mistakes and human flaws made plain, their grit, determination, comradeship, and professionalism shine through with brilliant and touching clarity.

This microhistory of a one-day battle on a remote outpost necessarily reads differently than most first-person memoirs. It also reads differently than a historian’s microhistorical recreation of a day’s fighting by a small unit in an utterly desperate situation. Because the microhistory here is provided by an active participant, who observed, recalled, and recreated this battle with an immediacy that even the best historians can’t attain, and which even the most gallant participants can never recall and articulate—and wrestle with—so fully, effectively, and touchingly.

I am at a loss right now to praise this book adequately, and am not sure I could ever do so in any case. This is a one-of-a-kind tale that takes the reader into the innermost workings of a dismounted cavalry troop of the 4th Infantry Division, fighting a battle against all odds, and eventually prevailing. It is impossible for a reader to walk away from this experience without a sense of awe for the training, dedication, commitment, courage, tenacity, and skill of the very human young American soldiers who held Keating against all odds.

Clinton Romesha obviously used this book to come to grips with what he saw and did at COP Keating, and to pay homage to men he loved closer than brothers after passing with them through this crucible. Although his book differs in so many important ways from other books that have moved me deeply about American soldiers and Marines at war, I will close by placing his book on my personal top shelf, along with “Company Commander” by Charles McDonald, “With the Old Breed at Pelelieu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge, “Visions from a Foxhole: A Rifleman in Patton’s Ghost Corps” by William A. Foley. I hate to omit other deeply moving accounts deserving of mention, but I am so impressed with Romesha’s book; the fighting man he proved himself to be; and the fighting men he led, followed, served with, and boldly risked his life for and helped lead to victory; that I feel it appropriate to simply call it, The Best I’ve Ever Seen.

There are many questions left unanswered by his narrative, which I would like to talk to Romesha about someday, or research elsewhere. But no book can cover everything, from every angle, at every operational level, with the gripping power Romesha achieves in his narrative of Red Platoon. So I’ll simply repeat my bottom line and close with it: The Best I’ve Ever Seen.
I would caution that the book has a lot of profanity, as the author accurately portrays the dialogue and humor of the book. Also what is sad is that in the midst of this life and death struggle, there is not a single mention of a prayer being offered or anything like that. Also, military life is pretty much as Gardener has described it in other posts, its a marvel to me that such a collection of such flawed individuals would perform so admirably and bravely in such an extreme situation. One of the best combat books I've read.
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