Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Browsing for March 2015...

I finished Embers of War.  It was a long read.  I've started a new book called Chickenhawk by Robert Mason.  He's a Vietnam War era helicopter pilot.  Combat Colours (Steve Hood) recommended it to me.  I read 100 pages last night.  I'm at page 166/485 pages.  He warned me it would be a quick read.

That's good.  I need something that reads fast after soldiering on for two months with Embers of War.  I have one book on Vietnam called The Element of Surprise about the US Navy SEALs in the Mekong Delta.

Once I'm done with that book, I'm going to put my nonfiction up for a while and focus on science fiction/fantasy reading.  I've got the following lined up to read:

Half a King; War Dogs by Greg Bear; The Lost Fleet:  Beyond the Frontier - Dreadnought by Jack Campbell; Kill Team:  A Last Chancers Novel by Gav Thorpe; and Sung in Blood by Glen Cook.

Besides those novels, I'm also looking at several new releases.  One is Master of Sanctity by Gav Thorpe.  That's a Dark Angel's novel.  There's also Unbroken:  A Promise Baen Novel by Bauer and Andromeda's War by Dietz.  I'm leaning with the Bauer novel.  Dietz has a series of military sci-fi novels.  I just don't know how good they are.

If anyone has read something new they'd recommend, you always leave me a comment about your reading recommendations.

Thanks and good reading,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Review of Embers of War by Fredrik Logevall

Author:  Fredrik Logevall.
Title:  Embers of War:  The Fall of an Empire and The Making of America's Vietnam.
Publisher:  Random House.
Copyright:  2013.
Pages:  837.
Price:  $20.00.

Impressions and Overview:
Embers of War won a Pulitzer Prize for History.  It took me about two months to go through this book.  It covers from 1920 to 1965.  I found the military campaigns more interesting than the politics that went into the conflict.

Looking back, I have no sympathy for French attempts to reestablish their colonial empire in Indochina after World War II.  I find the American position helping the French empire in the name of anti-Communism ludicrous at best and totally unrealistic at worse.

Going to war in 1965 with the same game plan the French had in 1954 is no game plan.  That's not how you wage counterinsurgency when the government you're helping has no popular support in the countryside.  I can go on about this.  The Vietnam War didn't have be waged.

I can ask same questions why we are in Afghanistan and the Middle East.  Like Vietnam, there isn't any public debate about what should be done with putting our forces in harm's way.  Especially, when we support corrupt governments with little popular support of their people in drawn out military campaigns.

Have we learned nothing from history?

Even though it's a long book, I recommend it for the intellectual and casual history buff.

More 28mm 1870 French Turcos painting and Embers of War reading

I spent Friday night and Saturday morning painting a 28mm 1870 French Turco infantry battalion.  It's now finished.  I have started two more 28mm 1870 French Turco battalions to finish painting in the coming weeks.  I also have one more 28mm 1870 French artillery battery to prime and paint, too.  That will complete 3 years worth of work on my 28mm Franco-Prussian armies.

I now have an entire 28mm 1870 French infantry division and a 28mm 1870 French Cavalry brigade.  I also have 1 28mm 1870 Prussian infantry brigade and 1 28mm 1870 Bavarian infantry brigade, completed.  This project has taken too long and is too expensive to justify the times I'll game it.  That was the risk I undertook when I thought up this up.

Now, I don't have the finances to spend on the 100 anniversary of the "Great War" or August 1914...  Alas, that's my loss.

However, I finished up the battle of Dien Bien Phu tonight in Embers of War.  I'm at page 555/715 of the book.  I've started the Chapter on the Geneva Conference of 1954.  The author spent quite a bit of time talking about the Eisenhower administration's position on French Indochina.  More than I care to read.  I'm limiting my comments until I complete this book.  I'd like to have it read by the end of the month.  Once I'm done reading Embers of War, I'll write a full-scale review.

There are other books on Vietnam waiting to be read.  One is Chickenhawk by Mason on the helicopter war in Vietnam.

My uncle never talked about his combat missions in Korea and Vietnam.  I would have liked to have heard his first hand accounts flying birds.  My uncle saw a lot of combat missions and two tours in Vietnam.  He retired a bird colonel and went to be successful stockbroker before dying a heart attack at age 78.  But my uncle wouldn't listen to his own son's advice about quitting smoking and changing his diet (even though my cousin is a successful MD who teaches at the University of Richmond's medical school).  That's until he had his first heart attack age 70.  But I guess there are a lot of helicopter pilots like my late uncle,

I have more books on Vietnam.  The other is called The Element of Surprise by Darryl Young.  It's about Navy SEALS in the Mekong delta in 1970.  The final book is called Mekong First Light written by a US Army 2nd lieutenant who survived his tour of Vietnam miraculously unharmed.

Though I'll get around to my 28mm Vietnam War project some day soon...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Post

I haven't gotten much done.  I tried painting on a battalion of 28mm 1870 French Turcos.  They are awaiting more paint.  I got 1" metal bases for all my 28mm Vietnam War figures (about 180 bases total).

I have got a lot to read.  I didn't dedicate this weekend to my reading.  I only got a chapter read in Embers of War.  I'm now at page 455/out of 714 pages.  I'm in March 1954 with the fighting going on Dein Bein Phu.  I also have reading for my local critique group and another edition of Analog Magazine.  I'll try and catch up on reading this coming week.

Once I have something done, I'll either put up photos or writer up a review.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Early Feb. 2015 Painting Projects and Reading Campaign...

I got the base coats done on the following figures:

28mm 1870 French Turco infantry regiment (54 figures)
1 30mm Menoth High Reclaimer
1 30mm Menoth Devout light warjack
1 30mm Menoth Repenter light warjack
1 30mm Menoth Fire of Salvation heavy jack
1 30mm Menoth Crusader heavy jack
1 30mm Menoth Rhoven and Examplar bodyguard
5 30mm Menoth Bastion Cinerators

I need to go back and touch up those figures.  That should take me the rest of February 2015.  I've been working on and off on these figures for several months.

Reading has been devoted to Embers of War.  I'm now at page 403 out of 700 pages.  It's the fall of 1953 at Dein Bein Phu.  I saw The 10,000 Day War when I was younger on PBS.  There was a section on French Indochina.  Embers of War is very comprehensive.  I labored through the politics of the various French governments, the Eisenhower administration, JFK, and Ho Chi Ming.  I'm interested in the military campaign waged by Diep.

Given I knew little about French Indochina, Embers of War has been a good instruction to the conflict.  I've spent more time reading about American involvement in Vietnam.  I see there were numerous wasted opportunities to end the war during the 1950s.  I'll comment more on it once I finish the book.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reading for the New Year...

I got caught up on several issues of Analog Magazine.  The short stories were interesting and kept me wanting to read.  I subscribed to it back in November 2014.  I read the double Jan/Feb. issue and the later March 2015 issue.  I killed my current reading project in order to catch up on Analog.

I got back to Embers of War this weekend.  I'm at page 336 in a 700 page books.  It's the long and involved history of French Indo-China 1940-1960.  I'm now at the beginning of 1953.  I'll write a proper review when I'm done reading it.  My goal is to finish it and move on to all my hard copy books by the end of 2015.