Books and Beer

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Re: Books and Beer

Post by skully on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 07:05

Porn is good, m'kay.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by lardbucket on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 08:36

Cigarettes really are the ideal tool for the thinking economist in government, and this is why (despite the increases in indirect taxation, providing a handy windfall) there has never been any serious government commitment to prevention.

Why are cigarettes the ideal economic drug?

Well ... your blue collar workers and low income earners smoke the most. They pay more tax than they would otherwise, as income tax. They then die younger, so that the pension the government would otherwise have paid them is reduced. Thirty years ago it was even better ... a lot of them died suddenly, of heart attacks. There's nothing cheaper than a sudden cardiac death at 65. Improvements in coronary care have resulted in some of these blighters living 10-15 years longer, and dying slowly and expensively of lung cancer, or (far worse) emphysema.

Cigarettes ... it's almost as though they were designed by Eichmann.

Some folk simply become unable to distinguish between pleasure and the amelioration of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Bradman on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 08:39

it's almost as though they were designed by Eichmann.


Yeah but Eichmann's trial was a travesty. And i think he was a smoker.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by lardbucket on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 08:40

Eichmann's trial ... may have been impeded by the fact that he wasn't there?

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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Bradman on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 08:49

I think you're thinking of Bormann. Eichmann looked pretty alive when Israel allowed TV cameras into the courtroom for the world's entertainment every night.

And the crack about the travesty was just a moot legal point. Valid though it may have been.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by furriner on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 14:37

simkat wrote:........

The first war books I read were Vietnam War novels, when I was about 13 years old. I was really struck by one scene in a novel where a young man had been blown up and he was trying to hold his intestines in, while his mate tried to keep him calm until morphine could be administered. It was certainly horrific and I've never forgotten it. But when you look at the horror of one person lying in a field like that, then consider that horror being replayed over and over again on an epic scale, some people like me for example, are drawn to understanding how they got there and why.

About six or so years ago I picked up a book called Where They Lay (The Search for those who fell in battle and were left behind) by Earl Swift. It chronicled the steps taken by the US Army's Central Identification Lab to identify and recover the remains of US soldiers killed in action in Vietnam (we only had Operation Home which received no govt funding). During one part of the book, the author mentioned that due to the environment and acidity of the soil, the remains in Vietnam were more often than not just fragments unlike those found in World War I and II battle sites.

I decided that when I got the time I wanted to find out more about the people whose lives were sacrificed in war. To do that, I have found that you need to look at the tragedy of war in it's totality. That means reading about foreign policy, politics, the machinery of war, theatres of war, strategy, battles, commanders, leaders, heroes, villains etc until you get to the individual whose holding his guts in on a field somewhere.

I 'enjoyed' Nemesis by Max Hastings, for example, because it was extremely informative and well written. I was appalled and distressed by the detail of the suffering experienced by the soldiers, sailors and airmen, the prisoners of war and the civilians in the occupied countries and the Japanese islands ... but I'm so glad I read the book.

I 'loved' The Great War by Les Carlyon. It was extremely informative, but at the same time beautifully written. Just when you thought you couldn't stand to read another page of horror, another statistic that defied belief, Les would bring it back to an individual who did something, or said something that gave you back a bit of faith in human nature. I was actually so overcome with sadness reading this book, that I spent many sleepless nights just thinking about those who suffered so much and all the families and friends who that lost their sons, brothers and mates. It was definitely something that Les wanted to get across in his book - that these people from so long ago should never be forgotten. I didn't pick up another war book for about 5 months after reading this one.

Other books I've read such as the Third Reich trilogy by Richard Evans were nothing but hard slogs to get through. They answered many questions, but contained barely anything at all to keep your spirit alive while you're reading.

But as with most war books, the more answers you get, the more questions you find yourself asking. So the more you keep reading ... always looking for that missing link that will somehow explain it all. War, on any scale, is nothing to get excited about - it's a human tragedy and a wasteland of unimaginable suffering - but the quest for knowledge and understanding is exciting. Well, that's how I see it anyway. Soz for the long post! What a Face

Great post. You mentioned the Vietnam war, try this:



One of the better memoirs to come out of that war, IMO.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Jontyh on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 15:04

Never been that big on the war novel, but I did enjoy Stephen Pressfield's Gates of Hell, which is based on the Battle of Thermopylae. Fantastic stuff!
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Jontyh on Mon 21 Sep 2009, 15:05

Sorry - Gates of Fire that should have been!!
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by simkat on Tue 22 Sep 2009, 04:47

I googled Gates of Fire (which I've added to my reading list) and that lead me to Stephen Pressfield's blog - which I intend to mine deeply at some stage. Good stuff aces
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by simkat on Tue 22 Sep 2009, 04:53

furriner wrote:

Great post. You mentioned the Vietnam war, try this:



One of the better memoirs to come out of that war, IMO.

Thanks - it was the first time I've ever tried to put into words why I read war books.

I was originally planning on starting with the Vietnam War but kept thinking about the WWI and II graves mentioned in Where They Lay ... so I jumped back to WWI. I've saved the 'and a hard rain fell' graphic and will add that to my reading list. The statement "a searing gift to his country" looks to hard to resist. Thanks, furriner! aces
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by simkat on Tue 22 Sep 2009, 05:05

Bradman wrote:Some german artillery officer wrote a good book about the campaign. Pretty depressing at times but gives you a good perspective especially as the Soviet books were a touch sanitised. There's also a good one written by a civilian woman who was raising her son there at the time. Not really military but when your under siege no-ones really a non-combatant. Can't get a sniff of it on Google, though i'm trying.

Thanks, Bradman.

I'm wary of buying books that are overly sanitised. I spend all my spare cash on books ( What a Face ) so I'd like to know I'm getting something that nears the truth, however unpleasant.

There was a bit of an uproar here when Max Hasting released 'Nemesis' because it was said to portray some Australians, and our society at the time, in a negative light. I almost didn't buy the book because I wasn't sure who was right! In the end, I'm glad I bought the book - it all seemed very reasonable to me.

If you can recall the name of that book by the civilian mother, I'd be very interested in having a look. aces
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by simkat on Tue 22 Sep 2009, 05:14

furriner wrote:
Stalingrad is a difficult choice because I am yet to find a satisfying account of the battle although so much literature exists on the subject. What do you like to read - for example military history, socio-political analyses, soldier's memoirs?

The only books I would really struggle with are ones that describe battles purely on a technical and tactical level. I don't have a military background and no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to grasp the meaning behind all the terminology (eg when flanking manouvres, formations etc are described).

Also, the author Les Carlyon has made me weary of reading memoirs of military personnel who presided over disasters in the field.

Otherwise, I read everything. Very Happy
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Bradman on Tue 22 Sep 2009, 07:59

Two up, one back. As it was once described to me. Doesn't matter if it's a platoon or a division.

It's actually a little bit more complicated than that.

At Duntroon the most feared written test was the divisional admin test. Where do you site a bath platoon (I don't think they exist anymore) whilst your trying to postion your artillery?.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by skully on Tue 22 Sep 2009, 10:44

Mmmmm beer.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Zat on Wed 23 Sep 2009, 03:19

Beer is good.

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Re: Books and Beer

Post by simkat on Thu 24 Sep 2009, 07:55

Bradman wrote:Two up, one back. As it was once described to me. Doesn't matter if it's a platoon or a division.

It's actually a little bit more complicated than that.

At Duntroon the most feared written test was the divisional admin test. Where do you site a bath platoon (I don't think they exist anymore) whilst your trying to postion your artillery?.

Assuming bath platoon has something to do with hygiene? And the answer is? Shocked

And what does two up, one back mean? In non-complicated terms innocent
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by horace on Thu 24 Sep 2009, 08:17

in harness racing parlance it is "two out and one back"
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Bradman on Thu 24 Sep 2009, 08:40

simkat wrote:
Bradman wrote:Two up, one back. As it was once described to me. Doesn't matter if it's a platoon or a division.

It's actually a little bit more complicated than that.

At Duntroon the most feared written test was the divisional admin test. Where do you site a bath platoon (I don't think they exist anymore) whilst your trying to postion your artillery?.

Assuming bath platoon has something to do with hygiene? And the answer is?

And what does two up, one back mean? In non-complicated terms

Army formations normally come in sub-units of threes. So when you attack you have two of them up front and one as reserve.

A transport officer I used to work with used to drive his infantry mates mad by repeating the mantra. "Two up, one back, tactics are simple, doesn't matter if it's a platoon or an army group."

He was actually taking the piss as the larger the formation the more elements you need to coordinate, and once there was a bath platoon, that did just that, set up baths for the frontline troops in the rear echelon. There was also the divisional post office to consider and traffic control. Though what he didn't mention is an Army Group commander has a large staff to handle that, but at the end of the day his point was tactics are pretty simple, logistics are a bitch.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by tac on Thu 24 Sep 2009, 09:40

bradders, you always make me smile when you try to talk military . . .
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Bradman on Thu 24 Sep 2009, 10:20

And you always make me smile when you open your mouth. Maybe you can throw in your own two bob's worth and argue the case I don't have a clue with some sense rather than snide comments.
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by furriner on Fri 25 Sep 2009, 02:05

Started reading Arturo Perez Reverte a couple of years ago. I like his Alatriste series, of which:

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Re: Books and Beer

Post by G.Wood on Fri 25 Sep 2009, 02:09

Bradman wrote:Two up, one back. As it was once described to me. Doesn't matter if it's a platoon or a division.

It's actually a little bit more complicated than that.

At Duntroon the most feared written test was the divisional admin test. Where do you site a bath platoon (I don't think they exist anymore) whilst your trying to postion your artillery?.

Braddles you may enjoy THIS READ
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by furriner on Fri 25 Sep 2009, 02:35

And speaking of historical fiction, for my money there's no finer writer or series (Aubrey-Maturin) than Patrick O'Brian (including Forester), of which at random:

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Re: Books and Beer

Post by Bradman on Fri 25 Sep 2009, 04:23

G.Wood wrote:
Bradman wrote:Two up, one back. As it was once described to me. Doesn't matter if it's a platoon or a division.

It's actually a little bit more complicated than that.

At Duntroon the most feared written test was the divisional admin test. Where do you site a bath platoon (I don't think they exist anymore) whilst your trying to postion your artillery?.

Braddles you may enjoy THIS READ

How do you post stuff like that and what does it mean?
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Re: Books and Beer

Post by G.Wood on Fri 25 Sep 2009, 04:33

you just press the link button and fill in the boxes
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Re: Books and Beer

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