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What are you reading - Part III.


Whofan

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I noticed the previous thread had drifted into 42 pages, so it seems right to start a new thread.

 

Curently I am reading Abyss, by Max Hastings, the story of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

 

Some of his descriptions of how the Russian troops were sent to Cuba, and how they behaved there, frankly made me thing of the '70;s newspaper headline "Crisis? What Crisis?"

 

Until I read the next bit about the Russian leadership's behavior. That sobers you up considerably.

 

I shall be reading The English Fuhrer next, the latest Tom Wilde book by Rory Clements.

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36 minutes ago, Keeff said:

I'm reading Picture you dead ..... the latestbin the Roy Grace series by Peter James ... 

Any good Keith? I thought that the TV adaptation was excellent.

 

John.

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They are good books John ..... I've read the whole series of them, and I'm not one for reading!  

 

Keith 😁 

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I've just finished the English Fuhrer by Tory Clements, and am a little undecided about what to read next. (I took it with me to read on the train to London.

 

I have a number of choices on the bedside cabinet, but finishing Abyss by Max Hastings first might be a good idea!

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Having finished The English Fuhrer, but still having Abyss (Max Hastings, Cuba Crisis) on the go, I naturally started to read another book, this one called Exit Stage Left, by Nick Duerden.

 

The book is about the curious afterlife of pop stars, in other words, what pop stars did after they stopped being pop stars.

 

It is immensely fascinating, in a morbid kind of way, to read about pop stars - sometimes household names for a while - lives when the band split up, or the career falters.

 

Among the people mentioned, are million selling artistes who's band split up and they now work as ladder and working at height trainers, or owning a few houses and renting them out (the lucky ones) or who descended into drug dealing.

 

I don't often recommend books for people to read, as my taste is often at variance with others, but if you are interested in the "pop" music of the last 70 years, then you too might find this as interesting as I am.

 

 

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On 7/8/2023 at 9:25 AM, Whofan said:

Some of his descriptions of how the Russian troops were sent to Cuba, and how they behaved there, frankly made me thing of the '70;s newspaper headline "Crisis? What Crisis?"

 

Until I read the next bit about the Russian leadership's behavior. That sobers you up considerably.

Of greatest concern seemd to be the "local release authority" granted from Moscow, to the local political officers. Essentially if they got drunk/angry enough, they had all of the codes and means required to launch missiles at the west.

Not the best situation with the world already on the precipice...

Covered in Blue moon over Cuba, by commander Ecker (RF-8 unit leader).

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

After finishing George Orwell's Burmese Days, a slightly sordid little tale but an interesting snapshot of bygone times, I've got into Chase the Devil by Tim Butcher, adventures in Sierra Leone & Liberia after the wars of late last century & the first years of this one. Bloody interesting & well written really devouring it. I read his Crazy River, following Stanley's route down the Congo. Imho, this one, following in the footsteps of Graham Greene's similar trip some 80+ years earlier, is better.

Steve.

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Going through a bit of a Becky Chambers thing at present. Have just finished the last of the Wayfarer series - The Galaxy, And The Ground Within. A bit lightweight, but good entertainment if you want to turn the mind off (or at least down) for a bit. Just ordered To Be Taught, If Fortunate and A Prayer For The Crown-Shy (first in her new A Monk and A Robot series) from Booktopia.

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  • 1 month later...

A funny last couple of weeks, have suddenly been dipping into various books without finishing Abyss by Max Hastings.

 

I've just finished the latest Jeffrey Archer, Next in Line, in his series of books on Superintendent William Warwick, this book continues the "adventures" of Warwick and his nemesis Miles Faulkner, while bringing in a sub plot about Princess Di.

 

You know what you're going to get with Jeffrey Archer, an easy read that is pleasantly done.

 

I've also read Islander by Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records. If you were hoping for a fascinating discourse on the artistes on this wonderful label, it's buried under the relentless account of Blackwell living it up.

 

In other words, I wasn't over impressed.

 

And two political books, Fintan O'Toole's 3 years of Brexit hell, and Tim Bale's "Brexit: an accident waiting to happen? Why David Cameron called the 2016 Referendum – and why he lost it. " A long title for a 66 page book - and that includes notes!

 

No matter what your views on the subject, I'm sure you'll agree that it is important if not fascinating to see what happened and why we have the Brexit we have.

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Just finished reading The Fifth Act by Elliot Ackerman. Highly recommended.

It's partly a memoir of his time in Afghanistan as a US Marine officer and later as a CIA paramilitary type, but it's core theme is his involvement with evacuating Afghans from Kabul in 2021 - trying to coordinate several evacuations remotely by calling in favours from current and ex-military colleagues on his phone whilst being on holiday in Italy with his family and following in chat rooms whilst those evacuatons unfolded before his eyes. The contrast between the two realities he experienced is brutal.

 

In a something of a theme, I previously read the excellent 'Return of a King' by William Dalrymple. It charts the 1st and 2nd Afghan Wars in the 1840s - the recurring themes and attitudes present then and now are depressing.

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I am a third of the way through The English Fuhrer, partly based on seeing @Whofan mention it here then Amazon offered it on Kindle for not very much. I can see why they did, I haven't read any other of the Tom Wilde series but any author who bases his story in late 1945 then introduces a USAF officer from a nearby USAF airbase and then refers to HER Majesties Government needs taking aside and given a good shaking!

I shall persevere but I'm severely disappointed at the moment but I'm interested in others comments on the book.

I have The Ionian Mission by Patrick O'Brian (again) waiting for me next week while I'm sailing in the Adriatic, I shall try not to board any passing French yachts!

 

Dave 

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19 minutes ago, Coors54 said:

 

I have The Ionian Mission by Patrick O'Brian (again) waiting for me next week while I'm sailing in the Adriatic, I shall try not to board any passing French yachts!

 

Dave 

 

Please feel free to give them a broadside and rake their stern  😁

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Just finished "Unlawful Killings" by Wendy Joseph KC.

 

The author was a judge at the Old Bailey in London until she retired a couple of years ago. One of her great missions has been to "de-mystify" the law and the book contains six case studies (fictitious but based on her real experience) which explain how the judge and jury deal with complex and often harrowing murder cases. It's aimed at the intelligent, interested reader who isn't a lawyer and she has a genius for explaining complex law in terms which such a reader will easily grasp. The writing style is easy, at times amusing but never, ever flippant. When the author means to be serious she is very, very serious.

 

An excellent read for anyone who wants to know what it's like to be the judge in a major criminal case or just wants to understand how the English legal system goes about the business of dealing with serious crime.

 

Dave G

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Hawker Hurricane by Francis K Mason. Picked for very little from the Ferrymead Historical Society in Christchurch. I wasn't sure if this was the one with the infamous inaccurate drawings, @Graham Boak @Troy Smith I haven't seen anything that fits that description so far & am in every other respect enjoying it, it provides a slightly different take on the venerable Hurri to others I've read.

Steve.

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I'm reading about the blitz. The story of the London fire brigade and how they managed to survive in the horrendous conditions that they had to endure .He was based near the docks, so describes it from the beginning. It instills a huge sense of admiration for all who served. 

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6 hours ago, stevehnz said:

Hawker Hurricane by Francis K Mason. Picked for very little from the Ferrymead Historical Society in Christchurch. I wasn't sure if this was the one with the infamous inaccurate drawings, @Graham Boak @Troy Smith I haven't seen anything that fits that description so far & am in every other respect enjoying it, it provides a slightly different take on the venerable Hurri to others I've read.

Steve.

AFAIK it's the first major/serious Hurricane book,  from 1962.  I got mine via a jumble sale, age 8, and it led me astray somewhat. 

 I seem to recall @Graham Boak saying it has performance data in it not in other Hurricane books as well.  It's the 80s revised edition with the terrible drawings.  It's a neat find and a milestone in Hurricane history, and also the place I first saw many classic photos.

 

 

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28 minutes ago, Troy Smith said:

AFAIK it's the first major/serious Hurricane book,  from 1962.  I got mine via a jumble sale, age 8, and it led me astray somewhat. 

 I seem to recall @Graham Boak saying it has performance data in it not in other Hurricane books as well.  It's the 80s revised edition with the terrible drawings.  It's a neat find and a milestone in Hurricane history, and also the place I first saw many classic photos.

Pleased its not this one, I'd hate to get corrupted. ;) As an intro to all things Hurricane, I'm really enjoying it & finding enough in it to keep my attention, Mason writes well. I haven't read much of his before. Yes, it does have performance tables in the back.

Steve.

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Mason was ex-Hawkers and devoted a lot of his life to works on the Hurricane.  However he did have some wrong ideas and attitudes: for example the Sea Hurricane with cannon, the changes with the Merlin XX, and largely rewrote his description of specific serials in later books.  But his later ones remain the best dedicated volumes, if needing to be read with a little extra knowledge.  Ones for the historian rather than the superdetailer.

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I'm currently reading 'Command And Control' by Eric Schlosser, which is about US nuclear weapons, their development, safety features (or lack of!) and the means of command and control of nuclear forces, with a detailed look at an accident at a Titan ll missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas in 1980.  It's a slightly worrying book, the lack of safety features, especially before Permissive Action Links were installed, illustrate that is's little short of a miracle that there have been no accidental detonations owing to bombs falling off or out of aircraft, aircraft catching fire with nukes on board, fires in missile silos and general cack-handedness by airmen who were supposed to be safeguarding and maintaining them.

 

One thing that particularly interested me was the author's mention of Project Brass Ring.  When thermonuclear weapons were first introduced into service, there was speculation at senior level that the bomber might not survive the blast, so consideration was given to using unmanned drone bombers, the B-47.  Schlosser said t;hat the intention was for the B-47 drone to be carried by a B-36 before being released to deliver the bomb, but I haven't seen any other reference to using a B-36, the final possibility was the drone B-47 being guided by a B-47 control aircraft.  A B-36 with a B-47 drone would make a very unusual 'What if?'

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I was about to order Nigel "Sharkey" Ward's account on the Falkland air war, but I've stumbled upon two different options (or covers...?). :wacko:

 

spacer.png  VS  spacer.png

 

Is it the same book? Because the one on the left is much cheaper than the one on the right :hmmm:

 

 

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