Book Haul



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.

More to explorer


  1. Good Haul. Braudel, O’Rourke and Vasiliev especially. Has to make you wonder who beat you to the first volume of the last though.

  2. Love library sales, and their modern version available on Amazon. 😀 (My kids have a great selection of used mythology books that were barely touched, but got cycled out of their libraries and into ours….for a tiny fraction of their original price tag.)

  3. 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.

    *grin* Isn’t that kind of common in anyone who recognizes that not everyone prior thought just like them?
    Or are you drawing a contrast to those who believe they came to be in spite of all those prior generations who were obviously fools, as they don’t agree with him?

  4. The Victorians, probably because of the technological wonders that they saw around them, tended to be pioneers in “presentism”, the idea that they were manifestly superior to all ages prior to them. We still have this, although it is diluted with pessimism that came in during the aftermath of WW I and, among leftists, a heaping helping of “noble savage mania” for third world peoples with which to belabor their own societies, while simultaneously embracing causes completely alien, and usually anathema, to most of the third world peoples they purport to champion. Arnold would have fitted in superbly on most left wing college faculties today.

  5. Have fun! I don’t think your numbering is necessarily your reading priority but I would put number 8 at number one and number 17 at last.

  6. Also the political and cultural geography of the Holy Land would be very interesting to me.
    I wonder what times in history he spotlights

  7. #s 1, 7, 8 ,15 and 16 are my picks. I’d probably crack #1 first as a follow up to others of my winter readings. I.e. The Yanks Are Coming & When Hell Froze Over.

  8. 8, 15, and the crocheting books BUT:
    Foxfier has a post about the history of Harlequin Books, which were ubiquitous and ignored in my experience of the “first” commercial paperbacks. These days? – hmmm – maybe if a box were found at the spring tag sale at church.
    Also a question: the local branch library near my elementary school had a series of dozens of early American history with names as titles ( ex. Paul Revere, Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin to almost the Civil War times). These were orange hardcover with title and a black silhouette, about 6″ x 10″ x 1″, had deep background of the life and how things were done (to education, medical care, law, arts, crafts, homemaking, farming, animals, building, and manners of social activity. Publisher forgotten. It would be good to have a set or a few to pass along. In the late 50’s, they were not new.

  9. The article is kind of flawed– it correctly points out that not all romances are textual pr0n, but rather brushes over that part at the end. It’s like reading a history of anime that (correctly) points out that no, it’s not a synonym for animated perversion, and much later bringing up the “creative” and “more explicit” stuff. Plus, some “look, I used a big curse word, I’m to be taken seriously!” stuff at the end.
    Still, a very interesting, especially for the way that they basically went “hey, look! There’s demand for this– let’s fill it!”

  10. A trick I’ve found for finding books that I saw but can’t identify enough information on is to go into the image search of Bing or Google until I recognize it.

  11. I have never – this is not hyperbole – laughed harder than I did when reading P.J. O’Rourke’s essay “So Drunk”. It’s sort of experimental gonzo journalism. The essay “Die, Eco-Weenies” is also a stand-out.

    I know very little about the Byzantine Empire. I’m ok with my ignorance about French literature (you can’t know everything) but I think I’m missing the boat on Byzantium. The Catholic State has rarely been tried. And speaking of the French, I think that the quality of their attempt is probably over-stated. I have a fondness for the Austrians’ efforts. The Byzantines, I should know better.

  12. Yes, the old ones when the publisher’s wife was ‘editor’ … sort of old fashioned and cerebral … as in the Nancy Drew series … kind of enjoy gleaning first aid methods as a side hobby.
    For Don: This site has been freezing a lot lately and the comment notifications are sporadic. Since you have this post on Almost Chosen People, Foxfier’s response to a comment here were sent under that site in the email, but not this site.

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