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text 2017-09-16 16:32
Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 496 pages.
The British Army and the First World War (Armies of the Great War) - Timothy Bowman,Mark Connelly,Ian F. W. Beckett

I'm three chapters in and so far I'm finding it very enlightening. I suspect that I'm not going to like the second half of the book as much, though, as in subsequent chapters the authors are going to transition away from descriptions of the composition and assemblage of the army to an account of their operations. Perhaps it's a consequence of having read Faulkner's Pershing's Crusade so recently, but I feel as though not covering the social history of the army in more detail is a missed opportunity.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-07-31 09:53
Babylon 5: Legions of Fire: #2 Armies of Light and Dark by Peter David
Armies of Light and Dark - Peter David,J. Michael Straczynski

This book covers the years 2268 to 2273 and focuses more on Vir and his "growing-up" as it's called.

 

Vir allies himself with Technomages (among them Galen from "Crusade") who, already in the first part, helped him prevent an assassination attempt on Sheridan. Together they manage to destroy a Shadow base on a border world that the Drakh, with Centauri help, began to put into use again. But not before a bioweapon is launched towards Earth. Also with Galen's help Vir manages to get his exile overturned and slowly learns what's really going on on Centauri Prime and with Londo.

 

Vir really grows up from the bubbling buffoon, afraid of his own shadow, to a sarcastic, battle-weary tactician who has to weigh the ongoing existence of the Centauri against the threat posed by the Drakh and their associates and who is willing to stretch, if not cross boundaries (such as coercion and even murder) - and who's not afraid of dying yet because of a simple prophecy that shows him succeeding Londo to the throne. And somehow, he convinces the Technomages and Sheridan, who catches on that something is not right on Centauri Prime, to let him fight from within first - and so it comes that he's forming his own rebellion movement.

 

Meanwhile, Londo's adversaries within the Centauri government are gaining power, but they are not willing to remove him... yet. But otherwise, they're ruthless in their brainwashing the general population against the Alliance and secretly (and often unwittingly) working to further the Drakh's agenda, removing every obstacle, one of those being Lou Welch, a welcome cameo, who's investigating and later killed by one of the Hitler Youth-members. A chilling glimpse into the making and sustaining of a dictatorial state with a puppet as leader.

 

This is a pretty intense 2nd part of a trilogy, filled with regret, grief, manipulation, self-disgust and sacrifice, fleshing out especially Vir and also the Technomages. On to the conclusion.

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text 2015-12-02 02:39
December Wrap up
Girl meets boy - Ali Smith
The Girl in 6E - A. R. Torre
Nailbiter Volume 1: There Will Be Blood - Joshua Williamson
Nailbiter Vol. 3: Blood In the Water - Joshua Williamson,Mike Henderson
Nailbiter Vol. 2: Bloody Hands - Joshua Williamson,Mike Henderson
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 3: Animal Armies - Jeff Lemire
Sweet Tooth, Vol. 4: Endangered Species - Jeff Lemire
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - Allie Brosh
The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed - Patrick Rothfuss,Nate Taylor

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review 2014-10-28 02:33
"We Are Consumers of War"
Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid - Samantha Nutt

And it's only when you have time to think, unarmed in the midst of a fierce gunfight, that you understand how utterly and hopelessly f***** you really are.

 

Just within a few pages, Dr. Nutt pulls you into the seriousness of war, poverty and violence plagued communities around the world. Not only does she describe the helplessness that comes with seeing hundreds of women and children dying of hunger, but also the disgusting brutality consuming peacekeepers that in return fracture the image of neutral humanitarian operations. 

 

The conflict described is alive and real. There is a great deal of power in Dr. Nutt's words, definitely take a read and reflect on what kind of impact -if any- this would have on how you make your donations and where you spend your time volunteering. Are you doing more harm than good?

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review 2014-02-12 00:50
Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe - John A. Lynn II

Really interesting argument about the importance of women as supporting players in medieval and early modern warfare, with great illustrations and examples. The author is limited by sketchy source data, so he doesn't answer many of my questions. But that is something he cannot help.

 

On the whole, a good read that does its best with the material available and opens up a new field for analysis.

 

The basic argument is that before 1650 or so, when governments made a serious effort to professionalize their armies, soldiers traveled with an equal number of women and children whose activities were crucial to their survival. These women did violate some of society's traditional expectations, but for the most part they did not try to imitate men. On the contrary, the gender-determined division of labor made their skills as laundresses, providers of food and drink, seamstresses, and managers of the family budget just as important as their men's contributions to the war effort.

 

#6 on my History Challenge and #10 on my TBR Challenge (#5/9 was Russia's People of Empire, which I enjoyed and may review later—haven't decided yet what to say).

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