Currently Reading

While I’m normally pretty restrained when it comes to buying miniatures, my big weakness are books: I can seldom resist a visit to a bookstore and when I’m getting into a new topic, I tend to amass books on the subject. I’ve got an ebook reader and I do buy electronic books, but I ususally prefer paper versions, especially for historical stuff which I intend to consult more than once. Many of those books I buy second hand – platforms like eurobuch.com offer great prices, especially if you don’t mind to get copies discarded from libraries (which have some stamps, but most of the time are otherwise in a fine condition).

So what’s currently on my nightstand?

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I’ve just finished Mounted Raids of the Civil War by Edward Longacre. It’s an older book – it was published in 1975 – and I got it second hand. It presents twelve Confederate as well as Union cavalry raids, among them J.E.B. Stuart’s Chambersburg raid, the botched Richmond raid of 1864 and the famous Mississippi raid by Grierson. It is very well written and offers lots of inspiration for wargaming. In fact, I was so captivated by the story of Gierson’s raid that I intend to paint up a Union cavalry force for Sharp Practice – and I’ve already ordered some more books on the subject…

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I’m still halfway into Barbara Brooks Tomblin’s The Civil War on the Mississippi. Published this year, it tells the story of the Union effort to control the Mississippi. There are already several books on this subject, but Tomblin offers a comprehensive narrative that draws on the latest research and uses lots of sources. This leads to a view that is more ‘from below’ than the studies I’ve read before, so you get to know the perspective of sailors and commanders. This also means that overall strategies are neglected a bit, but those have already been covered in detail in other places. If you’re interested in Civil War riverine warfare, Tomblin’s book is a recommended read.

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I have to admit that I’ve started my Punic Wars project without knowledge of the subject. To change this, I bought Adrian Goldsworthy’s The Fall of Carthage: The Punic Wars 265-146BC. Although I’m mostly interested in Hannibal, it was good to get a broader understanding of the rivalry between Rome and Carthago. The author is not only a good narrator, he also offers critical discussions of the sources. Most importantly of all, he clearly states when sources are contradictory or when we just don’t know enough about events to be sure of something – and there is a lot we don’t know about the period. This can be a bit unnerving, but it also offers some freedom for the wargamer, as no one can prove you wrong!

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I’ve also finally started to read Marko Kloos’ Chains of Command, the fourth novel in his Frontlines series. I’m normally not a fan of military sci-fi, but I really enjoyed his books. He writes in a relaxed style, the characters are interesting and the aliens are something different for a change – at least I’ve never before read a novel where grunts are up against kaiju. The latest book starts a bit slow but picks up pace and seems to head towards new revelations regarding the overall plot line, so I’m pretty curious where this is going…

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3 thoughts on “Currently Reading

  1. dave2718 October 3, 2016 / 9:54 am

    Nice little reviews. There are some great Punic War books about, and this Adrian Goldsworthy one is one of the good ones. Thanks for sharing

  2. Michael Peterson October 3, 2016 / 4:10 pm

    Thanks for these book mentions. All look interesting, esp the ACW naval book which I am sure has all sorts of ideas for SP2.
    Cheers,
    Michael

    • cptshandy October 3, 2016 / 4:31 pm

      It does indeed! I’m already painting up sailors & marines 🙂

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