Book Haul

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My bride and I took advantage of a 20% off sale to make a trip to a Half Price Book in Naperville.  Here are the books that I purchased:

  1. Four Queens, Nancy Goldstone, (2007)-An audio book of the lives of four daughters of a Count of Provence who ended up as Queens of England, France, Germany and Sicily.  A breezy look at the way in which 13th century politics was always a family affair.
  2. The Rise and Fall of the Habsburg Monarchy, Victor-L. Taipe, (1971)-Ah the ramshackle Austrian Empire.  To paraphrase Dr. Johnson, the marvel was not that it flew apart, but how long it held together.
  3. When Montezuma met Cortes, Matthew Restall, (2018)-I will be interested to read the author’s take on the Conquest of Mexico, one of the more misunderstood and misinterpreted events of the last 500 years.
  4. Case Red:  The Collapse of France, Robert Forczyk (2017)-I have always found it striking that many Allied Generals of World War I are still regularly reviled, while Allied Generals of World War II largely escape censure.  The gross military incompetence that led to the Fall of France tended to persist among most British and American Generals until 1944.  With the sole exception of El Alamein, the British had little success against the Axis unless the Axis consisted of Italian troops, until well into the War.  The North African campaign was a tragedy of errors, saved only by the overwhelming force of the Allies.  On Sicily the Allies, with complete control of the sea and air, managed, somehow, to allow the German forces to escape.  The Italian campaign seemed to be where competent generalship on the Allied side was notable by its almost complete absence.  This is startling when one takes note of how many of the Allied generals were combat veterans of World War I.  The Fall of France was simply the greatest disaster produced by a very low standard of Allied generalship.  One wonders if the generalship actually improved in 1944 or whether, as the Russians have often noted, overwhelming quantity has a quality all its own.
  5. Cromwell Hath the Honour but…Major-General Lambert’s Campaigns in the North, 1648, P.R. Hill and .M. Watkinson, (2012)-The English Civil War is a colorful topic, but good operational studies of individual campaigns tend to be rare.  I am looking forward to reading this study of Lambert’s actions during the Second Civil War.
  6. Under Another Sky, Charlotte Higgins, (2013)-A modern look at the remains of Roman Britain.  After the fall of the Roman Empire, no portion of the Empire had the existence of the Empire more obliterated by the barbarian invaders than Roman Britain.  Our knowledge of the fall of the Empire and its aftermath in Britain is slight, and in the place of knowledge myths have grown up, most centered around “King” Arthur.   Myth, the spackle of gaps in History.
  7. The Emergence of Modern Turkey, Bernard Lewis, (1961)-What the late Professor Lewis didn’t know about the history of the Middle East probably wasn’t worth knowing.
  8. Robert Blake: General-at-Sea, J.R. Powell, (1972)-The first scholarly biography of the Cromwellian General who laid the foundations for English sea power.
  9. Peter the Great, Derek Wilson, (2009)-Yet another biography of the Tsar who dragged Russia, kicking and screaming, into the modern world while displaying the worst features of the autocratic rule of the Tsars.
  10. Russia’s Path Toward Enlightenment 1500-1801, G.M. Hamburg, (2016)-A look at Russian political writing over three centuries, with the author grasping that in Russia, and in its Muscovy predecessor state, political theory was always dependent upon the Orthodox faith of the Russians, the fundamental key to understanding all Russian political movements, including that of the Russian Communists.

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  1. I should look into the book about the Habsburg Empire, that which is nearly idolized by an untold amount of Traditionalist Catholics as the perfect form of government. Obviously, I hold that idea to be completely contemptible. A Catholic autocrat is still an autocrat and to participate with non Catholic empires to destroy a Catholic nation is an evil deed.

  2. Sir,

    I borrow/read books from the Pub. Library’s “New Nonfiction” shelf. I read the Cortez book. I thought it quite good. It’s not big on military background, context, tactics (how 800 or 1,200 Spaniards could conquer an empire of millions). Interesting stuff.

    Hope this isn’t a “spoiler.” I’m a hard-head old clown. After reading it, I didn’t have “a less prejudiced and more objective view of the Aztec civilization.”

  3. PENGUINS FAN: Look up Blessed Karl von Habsburg of Austria. Gave it all to his people.. Isn’t that what kings are for?
    T. Shaw: Be careful in the public library. Most history has been rewritten. Michelangelo, Da Vinci were homosexual and Helen Keller was a lesbian denied her freedom.

  4. Da Vinci could not have painted Salvatore Mundi and Michelangelo could not have carved The Pieta if they had indulged anything less than their genius. Helen Keller was a eugenicist with Ford, Rockefeller, Holmes and Sanger.

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