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text 2019-01-18 16:15
My weekend reading opportunity
Operation Don's Main Attack: The Soviet Southern Front's Advance on Rostov, January-February 1943 - David M. Glantz

Thanks to MLK Day, this weekend will be a three-day weekend for me. In a lot of ways it affords me an opportunity similar to that of Labor Day, in tat it's a break early enough in the semester that I don't have a whole lot of accumulated assignments to grade. And while I'm recording a couple of interviews later today, those will be my last for the month. So for the most part, I have an opportunity for lots of self-directed reading in the days ahead.


While I'm thinking of taking advantage of it by reading a Ross Macdonald novel, I will likely use the time to tackle the David Glantz book that is awaiting my review. This was one of those reviewing plums that was too tempting to pass up, especially as I have been preparing to delve into Glantz's body of work in order to fill one of the most glaring gaps in my understanding of the Second World War. That being said, starting with Glantz is in a lot of ways like teaching yourself to swim by jumping into a fast-moving river, as his books are dense with detail and with very little context provided. He's far from the most reader-friendly author (especially for the novice), but I've committed to reviewing his book so I'll need to read it sometime soon.

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text 2019-01-10 02:05
Book Review: Attack of the Bandit Cats
Attack of the Bandit Cats - Geronimo Stilton

Title: Attack of the Bandit Cats
Author: Geronimo Stilton
Series: Geronimo Stilton, #8
Format: Ebook
Length: 116 pages


Favourite Character: Thea Stilton
Least Favourite Character: Trap Stilton
Favourite line: N/A


Mini-Review: Cute read, and Benjamin stole the show as always with his adorableness.

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url 2019-01-05 21:52
Obsidian Blue: Authors and Readers

Signal boost for a great post by OB -- everyone should read this.


And while you're at it, why not go the whole hog and also read Moonlight's The Shaming of Blythe Harris?


To Kathleen Hale and her ilk:


And for the record:

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review 2018-12-28 17:01
The Blitz as a lived experience
The Blitz: The British Under Attack - Juliet Gardiner

For the British, there is perhaps no more iconic event of the 20th century than the Blitz. The German bombing campaign that stretched from September 1940 until June 1941 was an event that people experienced throughout the British isles, from London and the southeast to Belfast in Northern Ireland. As such it was a shared experience, albeit one filtered through the personal circumstances of the individual and their particular experience of the war. Yet for all of the specific moments in which the Blitz touched their lives, it was an inescapable experience for everyone,


Encapsulating this within the covers of a single book is just one of the challenges undertaken by Juliet Gardiner in writing a history of the event. Another is to penetrate the shared mythology of the event that has grown up around it over the decades in order to convey the realities of the experience and the response of its survivors. In both respects her book is an unqualified success, as she moves beyond the "keep calm and carry on" legend to convey a more nuanced portrait of how Britons coped. For while many rose to the challenge, others faltered in response to a crisis unprecedented in its nature. Its impact proved far-reaching, forcing adjustments to a situation that unfolded in ways few anticipated. Gardiner's coverage here is impressively comprehensive, addressing everything from the shifts in official policy to the problems of looting and other criminal activities it spawned.


All of this makes Gardiner's book an excellent read for anyone seeking to learn about the Blitz. Yet its greatest strength is its focus. For while Gardiner addresses the evolution of official policy in response to the attacks, her narrative is centered primarily upon the experiences of the people themselves. By drawing upon contemporary reporting, published accounts, and the oral histories collected years afterward, she provides her readers with a superb study that conveys well the broad impact of the Blitz and its legacy for British history. For as she argues, it was from this event more than any other of the war that the commitment to the postwar "New Jerusalem" was forged. In this respect, the Blitz left an imprint upon Britain in ways that are still visible today, decades after the last craters were filled and bombed sites rebuilt.

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text 2018-12-24 15:23
Reading progress update: I've read 97 out of 431 pages.
The Blitz: The British Under Attack - Juliet Gardiner

So I went with Gardiner's book on the Blitz, and it's proving to be an excellent read. After describing the first attack on 7 September she is now describing the issue of the shelters, and the contrast between official expectations and the reality for the people in them. So much interesting stuff!

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