Saturday, March 17, 2007

Science Fiction and Fantasy bookshelf

Here are some of my book reviews for science fiction and fantasy. I've stopped updating this page. To see an up-to-date list try my fantasy or science fiction tags in the sidebar.

Aldiss, Brian Supertoys Last All Summer Long and Other Stories of Future Time

Brunner, John Traveller in Black

Erikson, Steven Deadhouse Gates
-- Gardens of the Moon

Fforde, Jasper The Big Over Easy
-- The Eyre Affair
-- The Fourth Bear
-- Lost in a Good Book

Garcia, Eric Casual Rex

Gerber, Michael Barry Trotter and the Unauthorized Parody
-- Barry Trotter and the Unnecessary Sequel: The Book Nobody Has Been Waiting For

Novik, Naomi Black Powder War
-- His Majesty's Dragon
-- Throne of Jade

Piper, H. Beam The Complete Paratime

Pratchett, Terry Thud!: a novel of Discworld

Pratchett, Terry and Gaiman, Neil Good Omens The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows also see The Great Harry Potter Reread

Rounding up the usual suspects?

Interesting piece from a few days ago in the Washington Post. It looks like part of the strategy may involve what amounts to racial profiling of the population. Lockup anybody that might be a terrorist and hope it works out.

The article also describes the level of paranoia that has to be used when dealing with locals. Even the food has to be brought in from another country. Obviously the insurgents have managed to make the occupation much more expensive than otherwise then would have been. It's not just the increased American footprint on the ground.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wikipedia and insurgency

I'm just shocked an editor [Essjay] lied about his credentials on Wikipedia. The response is basically that some form of verification will be necessary for some things. Of course this doesn't deal with the major issue that is some version. Which is after all the definition of insurgency political subversion of a government. Now I'm not saying that Islamic extremists are going to hijack Wikipedia. Maybe Microsoft will though.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Development and Training of the South Vietnamese Army, 1950-1972 by James Lawton Collins

The Development and Training of the South Vietnamese Army, 1950-1972 by James Lawton Collins is a recently reprinted official history first released in 1974. It is primarily interested in the activities of Military Assistance Command Vietnam [MACV]. The report is quite positive when discussing the creation of a South Vietnamese military. There is quite a bit of information here about the various programs that were set up particular focus is on the military education system created. Naturally their criticisms of the Vietnamese and even some of the Americans themselves. One interesting oversight is that the Vietnamese are criticized for problems learning English but there is no reference to the Americans inability to have enough Vietnamese speakers on hand. There is also an inability to show actual proof that improvements were taking place besides expanded class sizes and the like.

There are also several curious statements for example the South Vietnamese Army had developed an effective counterinsurgency ability as early as 1963. This flies in the face of much research that I've read on the topic.

Even when considering the books problems is an excellent study with lots of information. It is also interesting reading in light of the attempt to build an Iraqi military.


Is available through Abebooks.

For more reviews take a look at My Insurgency/Counterinsurgency, Partisan and Guerrilla Warfare bookshelf.

Bibliography of my book reviews

Here are links to my current reviews by topic. I'll be adding new topics as we go. The next one will probably be on Vietnam. Last updated on August 9th 2007.

Afghanistan bookshelf

Ancient History bookshelf

Holocaust bookshelf

Insurgency/Counterinsurgency, Partisan and Guerrilla Warfare bookshelf

Iraq bookshelf

Science Fiction and Fantasy bookshelf

World War II bookshelf

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Stupid newspaper statement of the day

There was no political spin when Prime Minister Stephen Harper dropped in on the world of rotating rocks yesterday.
There isn't any spin? He doesn't want to portray himself as the everyman. As opposed to those Liberal espresso drinkers from Toronto? Or those raging NDP Grandmas from Vancouver?

The Blame Game

Apparently some people are more interested in bureaucratic infighting than getting to what actually happened with Air India.

When Major raised the issue, Jensen was quick to absolve his former police colleagues and put the blame squarely on the other side for precipitating the turf war.

"Within the RCMP I did not notice that," he said. "With respect to the new CSIS organization, yes, I felt they believed that there was an issue (of) staking out their turf."

Of course it was those damn spooks.... Give me a break.