Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review of The Battles of the Coronel and the Falklands 1914 by Geoffrey Bennett

Author:  Geoffrey Bennett.
Title:  The Battles of Coronel and the Falklands 1914.
Publisher:  Pen and Sword Maritime.
Copyright:  1962, 2013.
Pages:  180.
Price:  $19.95 (US).

Overview & Impressions:
This is an updated reprint of the 1962 edition of The Battles of the Coronel and the Falklands 1914.  Geoffrey Bennett talks about about how Rear-Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock's squadron was sunk by the brillant Maximilian Graf von Spee at the the battle of Coronel.  The British loss was avenged a month later on December 8, 1914 when von Spee's force was sunk at the battle of the Falklands.

This books is a description of a lost age when commanders still were chivalrous and saluted each other.  The wireless played a significant role in the logistics of the British Grant Fleet.  The Germans had armed their cruisers to be "commerce raiders."  The British responded in kind by putting together task-forces to hunt them down.  Von Spee's force traveled across the South Pacific to meet the British armored cruiser fleet protecting South American waters.

Once the Admiralty lost that force, they put together another task-force made up of several battle-cruisers and sent them to the Falklands to intercept the Germans.  The rest is history.  Recommended reading on the 100th anniversary of the Great War.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Late December 2015 reading...

I'm working on The Battles of the Coronels and the Falklands, 1914 by Geoffrey Bennett.  It's a 2008 reprint of a book published in 1962.  I'm at page 101.  There are only 160 pages total.  I should have it done by the end of the week.  I'll do a full blog review when I'm done.

I also gave up reading Britain's Forgotten Wars:  19th Century Colonial Campaigns.  A friend loaned me the book and I don't have enough time to even do it justice.  I read Sri Lanka, 1804-1805; the Falklands, 1833; and the Maori Wars 1840s before stopping.  It's interesting.  Some of which I already read in Queen Victoria's Little Wars by Bryon Farwell.  I could spend the rest of my life reading about Victorian colonial campaigns, lol.

Another book I started this past week was Alien vs. Alien by Gini Koch.  She writes sci-fi parodies.  They're campy, fun, and over the top.  I'm only 100 pages in a book that about 486 pages long.  I don't know when I'll finish it up.  Hopefully by the middle of February 2016.  I'll have another review when I'm done with it...


Friday, December 18, 2015

Review of the The Hunt Begins by Robert Jordan

Author:  Robert Jordan.
Title:  The Hunt Begins:  Part One of The Great Hunt:  Book Two of The Wheel of Time.
Publisher:  Starscape.
Copyright:  2004.
Pages:  397.
Price:  $5.99.

Overview and Impressions:
I bought this book at an used book store.  I didn't realize it was a children's book until I got it home.  Robert Jordan's books are usually twice as long as this one.  It's the second one in the Wheel of Time series.  It's set like many high fantasy novels with two competing powers and an apocalyptic prophecy.

Magic is done by channeling.  The more a person can channel, the more powerful become.  The Dragon is the messiah who is reborn in times of strife to defeat the Dark Lord, a being of supreme evil.  Several millennia have passed since their first battle.  Rand, a shepherd, is the Dragon.  But he doesn't want to be a messiah or king.  He goes on a quest for a magical horn in order to cure a friend of a cursed dagger.  There's a sisterhood of witches who are good.  But the Dark Lord has corrupted even them.

Supposedly, this is the final age in the Wheel of Time.  And Rand needs to prove his mettle in order to survive all the magic and treachery he faces.  Jordan's writing style is solid.  I don't think I could have stomached through all the Wheel of Time novels he'd written.  Recommended.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Review of Latin America's Wars, Volumes I & II

Author:  Robert L. Scheina.
Title:  Latin America's Wars, Volume I:  The Age of the Caudillo, 1791-1899.
Publisher:  Brassey, Inc.
Copyright:  2003.
Pages:  569.
Price:  $29.95 (US).

Author:  Robert L. Scheina.
Title:  Latin America's Wars, Volume II:  The Age of the Professional Soldier, 1900-2001.
Publisher:  Brassey, Inc.
Copyright:  2003.
Pages:  530. 
Price:  $29.95 (US).

Latin America's Wars, Volumes I & II present a comprehensive history of the regions conflicts from 1791 to 2001.  I read sections or particular chapters starting with slave rebellions in Haiti to the Mexican Adventure, 1861-1867; the War of the Triple Alliance, 1864-1870; the Great Pacific War, 1879-1883, and the Spanish-American War, 1898 in Volume 1.  I also read the Chaco War 1932-1935 and Cuba interventions in Africa during the Cold War. 

There is a wealth of other conflicts in English concerning other conflicts throughout the Western hemisphere.  Recommended reading concerning the military history of Latin America.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review of "Beyond the Reach of Empire" by Colonel Mike Snook

Author:  Colonel Mike Snook.
Title:  Beyond the Reach of Empire:  Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum.
Publisher:  Frontline Books.
Copyright:  2013.
Pages:  578.
Price:  35.00 British Pound Sterling.

Overview and Impressions:
I finished Beyond the Reach of Empire:  Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum by Colonel Mike Snook this morning.  It's an indictment of General Sir Garnet Wolseley.  The real blame lies with Prime Minister Gladstone wanting Egypt to abandon the Sudan.  His choice of sending General Charles "Chinese" Gordon was a mistake.  Wolseley's plans to use the Camel Corps and whalers were also another.  Starting in January 1885, instead of November 1884 was another.  Sending too few men, etc....

Col. Snook is an expert on the Battles of Abu Klea and Abu Kru.  He has a wonderful eye for tactical details.  He gives an another idea for a rescue plan that reaches Gordon in time and comes up with some practical possibilities.  However, I think the Sudan 1884-1885 ranks up with colonial disasters like Adowa given the final outcomes.  Recommended.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Review of The World of Tiers, Volume I by Philip Jose Farmer

Author:  Philip Jose Farmer
Title:  The World of Tiers, Volume I.
Publisher:  Nelson Doubleday, Inc.
Copyright:  1965, 1966.
Pages:  312.

Overview and Impressions:

I found this book at a used bookstore.  Its a collection of novellas.   The first one is called The Maker of Universes.  It's about a Lord, a godlike creator of private universes.  The main character, Robert Wolff, turns out to be a Lord who was exiled to Earth.  He regains his memory and seeks revenge against an Lord who took over one his private worlds with help from some of the locals who have been turned into animal-experiments.  The second novellas is called The Gates of Creation.  Wolff is forced to confront his father and renegade sister who want to kill him.  They've captured Chryseis, Wolff's lover, and set a trap for him on a water world in his father's universe.  How Wolff rescues Chryseis is the tale of the second story.

Farmer's writing held my interest.  I hadn't read any of his work in a long time.  I wanted to see what it was like.  It's aged well in the fifty years in which it was written.  Recommended.

More downsizing...

I decided to get rid of the 28mm RAFM Canadians I'd acquired from Sapper Joe.  I don't have the room to store them.  Space is now at a premium with the impending remodeling of the condo.  Still, I have an large unpainted pile of lead.  Not as large as Sapper Joe's or Warbeads' pile.  But, it's large enough.

Assuming I start painting in March 2016 again, here is what I have facing me...

1)  30mm Warmachine Steelhead Company mercenaries faction.

2)  30mm Warmachine Rhulic Dwarf mercenaries faction.

3)  15mm SYW Reichsarmee infantry brigade.

4)  15mm SYW Saxons infantry and cavalry brigades.

5)  28mm Masai warriors.

6)  28mm Colonial German infantry.

7)  28mm Sudanese Ansar army.

8)  28mm Viet Cong, US Vietnam Marines, and ARVN infantry.

9)  28mm Spanish-American War US & Spanish armies.

10)  28mm Mexican Adventure figures.

11)  18mm SYW Prussian army.

I'll see how far I manage to paint this coming year.  It will definitely be a challenge, lmao...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2015, where has this year gone???

I look back to 2015.  And I wonder, where has this year gone???

Last year, I was looking at my father's impending death.  Now, most of the issue resulting from it have been settled.  Things will get done around the condo next month.  I should be able start painting by March 2016.  While my painting has been shelved, I've been writing.  But my wargaming collection has taken a weird turn.

 I got rid of the following:

1)  30mm WHGB GW High Elves.
2)  28mm Trojan and Greek Bronze Age armies.
3)  28mm ECW Royalist and Parliamentarian armies.
4)  28mm Modern Afghanistan.

I added on the following:

1)  28mm Spanish-American War, 1898.
2)  28mm Riel Rebellion 1885.
3)  28mm Mexican Adventure, 1862-1867.

I really want to get back and paint several times a week.  I miss that.