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Book Bonanza

Courtesy review copies that arrived this week from authors and publishers. Sweet!


Magic and Mayhem: The Delusions of American Foreign Policy From Korea to Afghanistan by Derek Leebaert

Operation Dark Heart: Spycraft and Special Ops on the Frontlines of Afghanistan by Anthony Shaffer

Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior by Hugh Shelton

Soft Spots: A Marine’s Memoir of Combat and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Clint van Winkle

I really enjoyed Leebaert’s early Cold War history, The Fifty Year Wound and therefore, have high hopes for Magic and Mayhem.  By contrast, Operation Dark Heart has already been the subject of controversy when the Pentagon bought up the entire first edition in order to wheedle an idiosyncratic list of redactions from the publisher for the second edition.

A note to readers, General Shelton, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and LTC Anthony Shaffer are both associated with the new military affairs and history site, Command Posts.

In addition to review copies, I shelled out some hard-earned cash for a few other titles:


The Ruin of the Roman Empire: A New History  by James J. O’Donnell

Worlds at War: The 2,500-Year Struggle Between East and West by Anthony Pagden

The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall by Christopher Hibbert

What new books have you just picked up?

8 Responses to “Book Bonanza”

  1. Joseph Fouche Says:

    Leebaert taught me that, when writing about the Cold War era, any slow patch can be covered by pulling out George Kennan and kicking him around. The same ploy works equally well for any discussion of contemporary grand strategy.

  2. zen Says:

    "Leebaert taught me that, when writing about the Cold War era, any slow patch can be covered by pulling out George Kennan and kicking him around."
    A process not unlike George Kennan’s actual career. 🙂

  3. J. Scott Says:

    Zen, A few disconnected titles: The (Mis) Behavior of Markets, by Benoit Mandelbrot (very good), Applied Imagination, by Alex Osborn (old title, ridiculous beginning, but ok overall), Success Through Failure, Henry Petroski (only read a few pages, not bad), Fooled By Randomness, NN Taleb (Black Swan was very good, haven’t started this one), Flatland, by Edwin A. Abott (old title, new to me–so far, so good), The Ruin of Kasch, Roberto Calasso (haven’t started–bought after reading Hill’s Grand Strategies), On the Rails, by Linda Hiemann (found this recommended at chicagoboyz), and Dante’s Inferno, the Mark Musa translation (read this many moons ago, but this don’t remember the power conveyed in this translation). I did pick up the Oxford History of Islam and read a few essays and almost finished with Islamic Imperialism. That is all for now. The "Ruin" and the Hibbert (I’ve read Hibbert’s Virgin Queen–not bad) book look very good, I’ll have to add to the list.

  4. onparkstreet Says:

    1. Graham Greene, Complete Short Stories
    2. David Kilcullen, Counterinsurgency
    3. Still finishing up an Iris Murdoch novel Under The Net, which I don’t quite "get." No matter. It fascinates.
    Picked up a copy of The American Interest. The Sept/Oct. issue is military-themed and has a review by Dr. Kilcullen: "Learning From the Al-Anbar Awakening."
    I finally decided that good quality magazines and short story collections were better suited to my schedule….of laziness….
    – Madhu

  5. onparkstreet Says:

    Oh wait. Those are not particularly "new" books, except for Counterinsurgency. For fiction, I tend to ignore quite a lot of the "hot off the press" stuff, although I may make an exception for Franzen’s Freedom. We’ll see.
    – Madhu

  6. Dave Says:

     Leebaert’s To Dare and to Conquer was also very good.

  7. Lexington Green Says:

    Currently reading The Expansion Of New England: The Spread Of New England Settlement And Institutions To The Mississippi River 1620-1865 By Lois Kimball Matthews Rosenberry (1909).  Next up, A Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan,1841-2 (1843) by Lady Florentia Sale.  Both freebies off Google Books, onto the Kindle. 

  8. Arherring Says:

    Just finished The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies. Currently reading The Junior Officer’s Reading Club by Patrick Hennessey. On deck is The Ghosts of Cannae by Robert L. O’Connell or American Insurgents, American Patriots by T. H. Breen. I haven’t decided.

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