My bride and I attended the book sale of the Normal Public Library in Normal, Illinois on Friday March 20, 2015 to feed my bibliophilia addiction. For $50.00 my bride and I picked up quite a few books. She got several books and magazines on crocheting, she being on a crocheting crusade for the past two years. (I have to stay on the move in my house, lest I be covered over in afghans.) I thought there might be some mild interest in the books I picked out, and here they are:
1. Frontsoldaten by Stephen G. Fritz (1995)-A look at the common frontline soldiers of the Wehrmacht, and a tome that underlines this maxim of the British Army-Those who have not fought the Germans do not know war.
2. Hard Magic (2011) and Monster Hunter Vendetta (2010) both by Larry Correia. I have heard good things about science fiction/fantasy author Correia, but these will have been the first of his books I have read.
3. Hitler’s Renegades by Christopher Ailsby- (2004)-An interesting look at the non-German troops who fought with the Third Reich. The section on the Spanish Azul (Blue) division was a bit brief for my taste however.
4. Art in the Third Reich by Berthold Hinz-(1979)-Proof positive that most art produced under the auspices of the Third Reich can be described in two words: banal kitsch.
5. The Ancient Near Eastern Tradition by Milton Covensky-(1966)-Part of the Major Traditions of World Civilization, one of those multi-volume looks at world history which were all the rage in the sixties.
6. The Mughal World by Abraham Eraly-(2007)-A look at life in Mughal India by perhaps the foremost expert on that period.
7. Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey The River of Doubt by Candice Millard-(2005)-A masterful look at the Amazonian expedition of 1913-14 that almost killed Roosevelt.
8. History of the Byzantine Empire, vol. II, by AA Vasiliev-(1952)-I have always thought the best Byzantinists have been Russians, and perhaps the greatest of them was Vasiliev who emigrated from Russia in 1925 and who taught in the US for years.
9. Samuel Pepys Diary by Samuel Pepys-A Random House edition of selections from the diary of Pepys. Pepys was something of a rotter but he is never dull. At random on a page I see three passages. On the first he thanks God that it has been three years since he had a kidney operation to cut out a stone and that he is still free from pain. (I can empathize with his joy.) In the next passage he listens to a preacher at church who preaches like a fool. Finally he visits a friend, notes that his servant girl is pretty and searches her out for a kiss.
10. A History of French Literature by L. Cazamian-(1955)-A book that I trust will remedy my bone ignorance on the subject.
11. A Godly Hero by Michael Kazin–(2006)-Kazin makes an attempt to resurrect William Jennings Bryan as a hero for the contemporary left. His embrace of populist economic nonsense and his pacifism should make Bryan, perhaps the greatest orator in American history, a favorite for leftists, but his fervent Christianity, unfairly caricatured in Inherit the Wind, kills the deal, hatred of Christianity trumping junk economics for current leftists.
12. The Literature of the Old Testament by Julius Brewer-(1922)-A good look at the historical context of the books of the Old Testament. Casual readers of the Bible would benefit from it.
13. Age and Guile Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut by P. J. O’Rourke-(1995)-We live in an age of solemn humbug where the most complete rubbish is taken seriously. O’Rourke is one of the few contemporary humorists able to discern the truly bleakly funny aspect of this deeply misguided period of history. Some of his best pieces from 1970-1995.
14. Trench Warfare by Stephen Bull-(2003)-A good look at that most misunderstood aspect of World War I: trench warfare.
15. The Historical Geography of the Holy Land by George Smith-(1894)-Part of the great movement of the latter part of the nineteenth century to closely examine the Holy Land and apply then modern scholarship to what was observed.
16. High Treason: Essays on the History of the Red Army 1918-1938 by Vitaly Rapoport and Yuri Alexeev (pseud.)-(1985)-Stalin did his best in the thirties to destroy the Red Army due to his paranoia, and these essays look at how politics played havoc with the Red Army on the eve of its greatest test.
17. Dissent and Dogma by Matthew Arnold (1968)-The most problematic of my purchases, this volume reprints Arnold’s Saint Paul and Protestantism and Literature and Dogma. Arnold lost faith in Christianity and then was unable to shut up about it. Arnold has an unpleasant habit, shared with more than a few Victorians, of assuming in his writings that all of prior history existed to labor with great effort to bring forth its pinnacle: people who thought just like him.
18. Vietnam the Australian Experience by John Rowe-(1987)-Most Americans are probably unaware that Australian troops fought in Vietnam but 61,000 of them did. Part of the series Australians at War by Time Life Books Australia.
19. The History of the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (Volumes I and II) by Ferdinand Braudel-(1972)-Braudel’s tour de force of socio-economic history. I normally do not favor this style of history, but I cannot deny the magnitude of Braudel’s achievement. I had these volumes in paperback, but I appreciated finding them in hardback.