The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Recent Reading

This is going to be a bit abbreviated, since I haven't read much that anyone else in his or her right mind would want to, and since some of it was re-reading. I do that, often, when things in the current world just remind me too much of things that went on way back when. I go look up my old books on 'em and refresh my memory.
  • The Guerrilla Reader, Walter Laqueur. 1977, Temple University Press. This is an old anthology of writings by, for, and about insergents, and I went back to it specifically to check up on Auguste Blanqui, a mid-nineteenth century theorist, writing about the abortive uprisings in Paris, c. 1848. Blanqui was deprecated by later socialists, mostly because he was highly critical of the pen as opposed to sword.
  • Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century, Eric R. Wolf, 1973, Harper. Dry and pedantic, still a useful source for the underlying economics of revolts. Things about numbers and money that you won't find in the military books or in the wilder-eyed revolutionaries like Franz Fanon.
  • The Secret History of the Rye-House Plot and of Monmouths (sic) Rebellion, Forde Grey Tankerville, 1685, published in facsimile by Forgotten Books. The lengthy written confession and request not to be executed for treason by one of the people who plotted against James II, prior to the Glorious Rebellion of 1688.
  • The Duke of Monmouth's West Country Rebellion of 1685, Nigel Clarke, Clarke Publications, No Date. Competent if not especially gripping self-published history of the least-competent coup d'etat in English history.
  • The Entire Berke Breathed Collection, Berke Breathed, Idea & Design Works Llc, 2009-2011, 6 volumes, all told. The obsessive Bloom County, Opus, and Outland dailies and Sundays, all of it, every last one. Had to do it.
  • The New Zealand Wars 1820-72, Ian Knight, Osprey, 2013. A brief and useful summary of the Brits vs. Maori conflicts that went on in Kiwi-land for a large part of the mid-nineteenth century.
  • The War of the Running Dogs, Noel Barber, originally written in the Sixties, now republished by Cassell (April 1, 2007). A highly uncritical and British-biased look at the Malayan Emergency. I re-read this periodically, just to remind me how thoroughly the Brits could behave like Nazis when they were challenged by upstart locals.
  • The Jungle Beat, Roy Follows, another old one, republished by Eye Books (June 1, 1999). Follows was a member of the Malayan police, charged with finding and eliminating Communists in the hinterland. Much more realistic and down to earth than the Barber book above, but with no big picture. He just tells you what he saw.
  • The War in Algeria, Pierre Leulliette, 1964, Heinemann. Another highly disillusioned and critical account of the North African revolution against the French, by a French Para. Originally, Saint Michael and the Dragon. Highly recommended. Banned by the French Government when it originally came out.
  • Probably six other things I've forgotten.

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