diener34
I'm always looking for a good book to read. I know we have a what are you reading thread, but that always falls into oblivion, and the movie review thread seems to have some staying power, so I figure we'll give this a try.

I'll start it off...

"In Fifty Years we'll All Be Chicks" by Adam Carolla

Pretty funny book, in the form of a memoir of Adam's life. Tons of anecdotes and crazy opinions about how society sucks and his ideas would make it better. It's not that his ideas are good or ever possible, but his delivery is spot on. It's written in a dictated manner, so its like a monologue, very quick and easy read.

4.5/5
Follow me: @Galaxy_Diener

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hueby
Carried over from another thread

coach40 wrote:

Here are some fantastic reads for History. Some military aspects but still fun books. I remember the titles of most but not the author's name.


Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle at Little Big Horn
        We Were Soldiers Once... and Young: Ia Drang - The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam---Harold Moore (This is the book for the movie We Were Soldiers)


Just started reading Last Stand. A co-worker loaned it to me. So far really enjoying it.

The other day finished the book by Alexander Rose on Washington's Spies during the Revolutionary War. I struggled with it at times due to the language and terms used during that era. But it was interesting learning about what was going on at the time. Lots of couriers (men on horseback) delivering messages between 1-3 in the morning!

Also found it interesting our plan to capture Benedict Arnold. Have a man defect to the British & capture him from the inside.

Anyways something I wanted to add from years back when I read the book "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young."

In the book Harold Moore wrote about a unit that was joining the fighting. They had landed by helicopter some distance away and were moving by foot through the jungle. They were "green" troops.

Anyways in sports you hear the term "You play the way you practice." In the military it's the same in "You fight the way you train." Well this unit did just that! They were loud & had developed poor habits-just as they trained. They all took a break by flopping down on the ground, had no security, took off their helmets, talked really loud and were lighting and smoking cigarettes.

A disciplined Vietnamese unit nearby heard them and long story short, set up a surprise attack on the Americans and it was ugly. That unit was overrun and separated into small pockets.

I read the actual "After Action Report" on this battle- and this ugly incident was pretty much left out. All what was mentioned was one sentence that read "Meanwhile (unit name) engaged the enemy and suffered heavy casualties."

This is when I would learn "The winners write the history books!" Realizing how actual facts can be rewritten right there and then. I suspect I will learn a similar lesson when I read about Custer's Last Stand....
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hueby
Just wanted to Thank Coach40 as I read "The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn" by Nathaniel Philbrick. Really enjoyed it!

Someday I would like to visit that part of the country and tour the battlefield.

Lots of really neat things to take away from the book. But wanted to say it's funny how when military operations are successful, the highest ranking commander gets the credit for it. When it fails, then you hear about the subordinate commander on the ground.
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coach40
hueby wrote:
Just wanted to Thank Coach40 as I read "The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn" by Nathaniel Philbrick. Really enjoyed it!

Someday I would like to visit that part of the country and tour the battlefield.

Lots of really neat things to take away from the book. But wanted to say it's funny how when military operations are successful, the highest ranking commander gets the credit for it. When it fails, then you hear about the subordinate commander on the ground.



You are welcome! I loved that book and the way the story was told! Glad you enjoyed it!
Do or do not---there is no try
Master Yoda
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coach40
db11 wrote:
Just finished Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade.

Kilmeade is a Fox News guy, so there is a bit of a slant, but overall I found it a pretty interesting historical look at the First Barbary War, a part of American history that has admittedly been in my blind spot.

If you think America has only had issue with the Arab world over the last 50 years or so...think again.



Fantastic story. One of my favorite quotes that sheds a light on today's issue was done by the Tripoli Ambassador,

"It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once."

Do or do not---there is no try
Master Yoda
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hueby
Late this past summer and into the fall I read a very long book about slavery. The book was:

The SLAVE TRADE: THE STORY OF THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: 1440 - 1870
by Hugh Thomas

What happened was earlier in the year I got back to reading and I liked old military history books. At many times in the books "freed slaves" were mentioned, as well as in one book England would use slaves against the rebellious colonists and promise them freedom afterwards.

A year ago this month my mother-in-law passed away. At her funeral the church choir sang a beautiful song called something like "Amazing Grace / My Chains are Gone." Some time later I googled it to find the song was part of a movie involving the abolitionist movement in England.

It again sparked my interest on a very important topic to many. Longer story short, I wanted to find a good, thorough, well researched and balanced book. I did some research on the internet and found this one by Hugh Thomas.

The book is very very long. I struggled in the beginning of it but when I started writing down notes things started to click for me. I found it very informative and educational...am so glad I read it! If I could I would like to share some of the notes I took from the book. I will try not to get carried away...
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db11
Just finished Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade.

Kilmeade is a Fox News guy, so there is a bit of a slant, but overall I found it a pretty interesting historical look at the First Barbary War, a part of American history that has admittedly been in my blind spot.

If you think America has only had issue with the Arab world over the last 50 years or so...think again.
https://twitter.com/barwickipedia - Follow me. Because we all need a bit of sports snark in our lives.

"Doin' right ain't got no end."
-The Outlaw Josey Wales

"'Allegedly' is right, Mr. Polian. I have a hole in my ear drum, I'd never go for a swim, no matter how drunk me is."
-Pat McAfee
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formerwiacbaseballer
Speaking of books, I am really looking forward to reading "The Arm" by Jeff Passan!!!!

For any of you that are baseball fans like myself, it sounds like this book is a GREAT read!!!
"Let's Play Two!!!"

Baseball is not a game that builds character, it is a game that reveals it.

"There are three types of baseball players: those who make things happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened."
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hueby
One thing I learned is all this is more complex than I learned growing up. In the book it talks about slavery and how it was all over the world for hundreds & thousands of years. The Greeks, Romans, etc. I remember even what is now China was involved. Noted the Romans like the Euthopian slaves.

Religion would have a big part of this too. Both the Bible and the Koran allowed this. You also had whites sold into slavery. You had the Moors in North Africa capturing and enslaving Europeans and sending them eastward towards Egypt and neighboring countries/kingdoms if they couldn't get their randsom. The book mentions the established slave trade within Africa which some today refer to as the "Arab Islamic Slave Trade" that went on for hundreds of years. Thousands would die.

Slavery died out in Northern Europe thanks to the oxen. There were also "Serfs" which I am guessing would be "Indentured Servants" which we had over here. I noted "Serfs did not have to be guarded."

In the 1400s The Portuguese started heading down along the eastern coast of Africa. I am guessing because it was too dangerous towards North Africa and one thing the history books rarely mention is how the Moors of Africa invaded and conquered Spain for what, 400 years. It wasn't' t long after the French helped the Spanish drive the Moors out of Spain, Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

The Portuguese involvement is mentioned in the first portion of the book. They started raiding and kidnapping Africans along the coast but brought them back to Portugal. The raiding and kidnapping was limited and then became trading. I noted "Songhai controlled large portion of that area. Portuguese negotiated small trading posts at Arguin. Traded horses for slaves." Many of these slaves were "pagans" or "Non-Muslims." It was too dangerous to travel inwards so now trading began.

I also remember learning some Portuguese ships were driven away by African tribes in canoes. In one case a Portuguese ship was captured and the crew eaten by the cannibals.

There would also be sexual relations between the Portuguese and Africans. Eventually many Portuguese families had slaves from Africa who did the heavy labor but were also builders, worked in hospitals or monasteries,etc in cities like Lisbon. Some slaves performed in bands.

Noted that the Portuguese wanted slaves, gold, ivory and grains while the African leaders wanted different goods from Europe and the Mediterranean like bracelets, brass goods, glass, spiced wine, knives, ratchets, swords, etc.

Spain then wanted in on all this. They started trading with the Africans too and in one case the Portuguese caught one of their ships, seized it, hung the crew and burned the Spanish captain for selling arms to the Africans.

Besides Spain, soon other European countries wanted to get in like France and England. Eventually England would have their glory days and as these countries started settling in North America, they became wealthy thanks to the slave labor. Many of these African monarchs or kingdoms who traded with the slavers set up these buildings called "baracoons" which were holding facilities. In some cases the Africans would travel deeper into Africa, capture other Africans and bring them to these baracoons to wait for the arrival of the slave ships.

There were also larger African kingdoms who were rivals/constantly at war with each other. They would trade their prisoners to the slavers. In many cases the slavers had to give certain goods to the African kings (like rum, weapons, iron etc) first THEN the slavers could negotiate with the African king for slaves.

I see I am getting carried away so will break. But the book is like 800 pages. Just wanted to share some more soon...
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hueby
db11 wrote:
Just finished Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade.

Kilmeade is a Fox News guy, so there is a bit of a slant, but overall I found it a pretty interesting historical look at the First Barbary War, a part of American history that has admittedly been in my blind spot.

If you think America has only had issue with the Arab world over the last 50 years or so...think again.


Neat! That links into what I was just posting about the African Moors correct? We were a young country but about the only one to stand up to them- it's in the Marine Corps hymn "...to the shores of Tripoli" Sounds like a good book!
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hueby
Not to steal too much thunder regarding Hugh Thomas's book, some of the other areas he touches on is the abolishinist movement that started in England and spread to North America. You can learn about how they slowly, through time, tried to regulate the hek out of slavery.

Many Abolitionists were physically attacked because they were attacking something that had been around for hundreds of years and threatening many people's livelihoods. England , who had been a major player in the slave trade behind Portugal, would do a 180 and tried to stop it. It was very difficult to enforce as there were thousands of miles of coastlines which were difficult to patrol.

They started to achieve success when they began attacking and destroying the baracoons. But with the tougher regulations and British patrols this led to more African children being sold into slavery. One story involved an African King who made a Barracoon out of bamboo/ wood and well camouflaged. They would smuggle their slaves to the slavers at night where it was harder to detect them.

The British also convinced some tribes to stop the slave trade from within and even paid some tribes off. The book mentions the once powerful Yoruba empire of the Oyo (an internal Muslim jihad in 1817 led to downfall). King Popple of Bonny sold 3,000 slaves between 1839-41 and the British successfully convinced him to abolish slave trading. The British also had a successful naval blockade the made shipping slaves from Whydah difficult.

I remember England lost roughly 1000 men fighting to end the slave trade (many died from disease).

The book also touches on slave revolts on the slave ships. Most happened near land before departing across the ocean. 1 in 10 on Portuguese ships and 1 in 23 on French ships. Most were unsuccessful but a small few were successful. It also touches on the Portuguese trying to use the natives as slaves but how many died from diseases. Some were actually shipped from the Americas to Europe.

The book also did something that generated curiosity and interest for myself about African history and culture. It spoke of some great and powerful empires that once existed within Africa but it time fell. Page 691 mentions a war between the Bambara and the Sarakole. The Sarakole had 800 captives and beheaded many because they could not sell them.

England, the U.S. and France also established free cities within Africa. When they could catch the slave ships they would free the slaves at places like Libreville (French), Freetown (England) and Monrovia (US). But diseases and attacks by neighboring tribes caused problems in these settlements.

Also data and estimated stats are provided. Which countries were most involved (Portugal, Britain, Spain, etc), the Origins of the African slaves (Sierre Leone, Ivory Coast, Benin, Cameroon, Congo, etc), the type of labor (Sugar Plantations, Coffee Plantations, Mines, Domestic Labor, etc), and where the slaves were deported to.

What is wild is as Americans we focus on our little piece of the pie. On the big picture roughly 5% of the slaves came to what is now the United States. It was all terrible, but the majority went to Brazil, the Spanish Empire, the British West Indies, the French West Indies, Dutch West Indies, etc.

Hugh Thomas also takes a shot at American historians. He wrote how Americans in Florida were getting rich as pirates were intercepting slaves ships to our south and trafficking Guinea slaves throughout the southern U.S. They were sold as "captured runaways." Thomas claims our historians ignore this.

Also while slaves were being sent across the ocean to the Americas, many were also being shipping north to serve in armies- Morocco was one of them. Also slaves were being sent eastward. Page 704 mentions in the 1850s a famous Arab Slave trader named "Tippoo Ti" aka "Tippu Tip" took many slaves east to Kilwa or Zanzibar.

There is so much more. The book really opened my eyes to the "Big picture" of all this.

Again, a very educational book. A side note, am glad our society has come such a long way as human beings!
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hueby
Read "First SEALs The Untold Story of the Forging of America's Most Elite Unit." by Patrick K. O'Donnell.

It goes back to WW2 when our country's Office of Strategic Services (OSS) created the Maritime Unit (MU) to gather intelligence and conduct special operations. They were "swimming commandos" and the book covers who these men were and the training they received. The book also goes over the testing of the equipment the men used.

The Italians were actually ahead of us as they had an elite force known as "Decima MAS" which consisted of "Gamma men" (who were frogmen who swam into harbors and were experts in underwater explosives) a parachute battalion and a unit known as the San Marco Battalion who were highly trained operatives.

While many of the men of the MU were sworn to secrecy of their missions, the author uncovered some of these missions in over 10 years of dedicated research. The book covers some of the MU operations that were conducted in and around Italy, Yugoslavia , Eastern Mediterranean, the Pacific and Austria.

One thing you learn about these men of the MU- they were highly motivated, dedicated, outstanding swimmers (many from that time were California surfers) and they accepted missions knowing they had a high risk of being killed or captured. They also had a high degree of respect, understanding and knowledge of the history of other cultures which would help them immensely.

And just like our elite units today, the men of the MU back then "thought outside of the box."

The MU would lay the framework for the Navy SEALs of today. While there were others, one of the key players in all this was a US Navy Reserve Officer , a dentist in civilian life by the name of Jack Taylor. He would eventually be captured and sent to a Concentration Camp called Mauthausen.

When the camp was liberated he was filmed by the US Signal Corps. There are many videos on the internet you can see the horrors of these camps. This is one of the less gruesome videos which has Taylor. (Many are brutal to watch, but a reminder of lessons learned schools don't teach in detail). The book covers how he was caught, as well as what he went through. Also how his life was spared at times as he should have been executed like the other 2 Americans:

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hueby
Just finished the book "Like Men of War- Black Troops in the Civil War 1862-1865" by Noah Trudeau.

Really enjoyed it! I had always thought that what few USCT (US Colored Troops) we had were freed slaves living in the Northern States. Was I wrong!

Many of the units were recruited down South from "contraband camps" and used in various military operations I never knew of. The book goes over many of these smaller scale battles different USCT units fought in. Some missions were successful, others weren't. But these units fought bravely.

If you like learning military history this was very informative.
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safetysqueezepleezzee11
I would recommend the recent book "Romanovs" by Simon Sebag Montefiore for anyone interested in Russian history. This is another gem he has written. His two books on Stalin and one on Catherine the Great are also superb. I think he is the best current historical writer. There is no 'bias' as you find in many of the so-called biographies/histories/etc.
He just puts out the facts as he uncovers them. Russian names make it a bit hard to read his books but once you get past(or used to it); they are great reads and really really interesting. I just cant handle the bias guys like Meachum, O'Rielly, Woodward, Isaacson, Chernov, etc. I listen to their books on CD. The bias is then tolerable. All are very interesting but I like pure "HISTORY", not revised history according to some clowns bias. Chernov's bio of John D. Rockefeller is over the top with bias against Rockefeller. Interesting to listen to, but there is no way I could read such revised history and keep reading it. Rockefeller was no saint but he was also not satan as Chernov's book pretty much sets forth.

Jane Mayer's "Dark Money" is also decent but extremely biased in one direction. A great book to listen to on CD though in the car/truck. Many very interesting tidbits, but it is hard to know what is actually true and what is 'revised' history.
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hueby
Someday when I get a chance it would be neat to learn some history like Russia. All these moving parts that helped shape the world today.

If I could go back and comment on the book "Like Men of War." I don't know if any of you have ancestors who served with the 3rd Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. They were a part of making history, as they were part of a Union Force under a commander named Blunt that consisted of the "1st Black Combat Regiment in the Union Army- the 1st Kansas (Colored) " as they were officially named.

A side note, eventually other units had "(AD)" after the unit name which stood for "African Descent." Then eventually the units had the "USCT" title.

Anyways there was a very important battle that took place July 17,1863 in what was "Indian Territory." The area today is now vicinity Kansas & Missouri. It's the Battle of Honey Springs. The 1st Kansas (Colored) anchored the center of the Union line, with the 3rd WI Cav on one flank. The Union also had some Native American units.

The Confederates had Texas units and Native American units- like the 1st & 2nd Creek and 1st & 2nd Cherokee. While war is not funny you wouldn't believe how the Union won the battle. The forces lined up and for 2 hours fired musket & artillery at each other.

(The Confederates lost a lot of firepower when much of their gun powder had gotten wet)

Anyways between the 3rd WI Cav and 1st Kansas (C) were the 2nd Indian Home Regiment consisting of various members of 5 Civilized Nations (the few who fought for the Union.) So anyways during the battle "an unidentified unit" (which most figured was the 2nd Indian Home Regiment) accidentally wandered out in front of the 1st Kansas (C).

Across from them on the Confederate side shooting at the Kansas troops were the 20th & 29th Texans. Well while engaging the Texans then realizing a friendly unit was shooting behind them, it was like "OMG Oh (censored )!!!!" Then the men withdrew back to their original line to get out of the cross fire.

The Confederates meanwhile, through the smoke from all the fighting it looked like "The Union force was retreating." So those Texas units cheered and charged forward, thinking they were in pursuit of fleeing Federals.

The 1st Kansas (C) held their fire until the Confederates got within 25 feet, then opened fire upon the Texans. With heavy casualties they retreated back to their line, but the force took so many casualties the Confederates withdrew from the battle.

The victory helped the Union control that region as well as move into Arkansas and begin recruiting for more USCT units.

There is so much more in the book. It really adds to learning about the Civil War. The USCT units were paid less by the US than white units, received poor medical care and white officers who many mistreated them. The book also mentions attrocities that happened- on both sides- as well as how the Union downplayed USCT accomplishments during the post war of all this. Wish I could share more!
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