California Literary Review

Military

Almost a Miracle by John Ferling

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October 18th, 2007

As contemplated by Ferling, few, if any, colonial Americans escaped the impact of hostilities. Wars were frequent and while many men soldiered, many of these same soldiers died. Still others, the least fortunate in some respects came home from the wars, but not in one piece, physically or mentally. Nor were those who bore arms alone in experiencing the terrors of war. Civilians who dwelled on the exposed frontier in wartime lived with the constant fear of a potential surprise attack, and virtually every citizen, in every generation, and in every colony paid war taxes, tolerated wartime scarcities, endured war-induced inflation, and struggled through postwar economic busts.

The Greatest Battle: Stalin, Hitler, and the Desperate Struggle for Moscow That Changed the Course of World War II by Andrew Nagorski

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October 8th, 2007

He focuses on the assault on Moscow, the largest battle in history between two opposing armies. In this battle seven million men took part, and of these 2.5 million were killed, taken prisoner, wounded, or went missing. The invading Nazi army numbered about three million, which as Nagorski might usefully have mentioned was six times larger than Russia’s last previous major invader, Napoleon’s Grande Armée in 1812.

Notes From Italy: Looking Back at Mussolini

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August 28th, 2007

Mussolini was not the only dictator of his time. In his Europe, in a time of worldwide economic depression, a whole series of governments were run by “strong men.” Besides Mussolini in Italy and Hitler in Germany, there were authoritarian regimes if not dictatorships in the 1930s in Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. There were Blueshirts in Ireland, Blackshirts in Britain, and Vidkun Quisling’s followers in Norway. At the eastern end of Europe lay the greatest dictatorship of them all, Stalin’s Soviet Union.

Last Night I Dreamed of Peace by Dang Thuy Tram

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August 13th, 2007

Whether amputating a shrapnel-torn limb or performing an emergency appendectomy, Dr. Tram proved to be remarkably adept. The diary entry for 8 April, 1968 reads, “Operated on one case of appendicitis without adequate anesthesia. I had only a few meager vials of Novocain to give the soldier, but he never groaned once during the entire procedure. He just kept smiling, to encourage me.”

The Bloodiest Day: December 6, 1967

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May 26th, 2007

In Lieutenant Morris’ words, “We moved into the woods and within minutes all hell broke loose.” The jungle erupted in a tremendous roar as Chinese Claymores bellowed out thousands of steel pellets and tracer rounds from heavy machine guns seared through tree leaves and elephant grass.

The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West by Niall Ferguson

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April 24th, 2007

Niall Ferguson is hot—about as hot as a historian can get.

Wade Hampton: Confederate Warrior, Conservative Statesman by Walter Brian Cisco

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April 24th, 2007

Biography, if it serves the reader, is best written not only with the exploits of the protagonist in mind but with a definitive and objective understanding of his culture, placed in its proper historical context.

The Uncivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South 1861-1865 by Robert R. Mackey

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April 24th, 2007

Army Major Robert R. Mackey, currently assigned to the Pentagon, has written a much-needed study of irregular warfare during the “late unpleasantness.”

Moscow 1941: A City and Its People at War – by Rodric Braithwaite

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April 22nd, 2007

The 19th century Russian poet Fyodor Tyutchev wrote mystically that “Russia is not to be understood with the mind.”

Battle for Europe: How the Duke of Marlborough Masterminded the Defeat of France at Blenheim by Charles Spencer

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April 10th, 2007

Even the greatest deeds of brave men can be forgotten in the mists of time – even when those deeds have a direct impact on how our world is organized today.

False Flags, Ethnic Bombs and Day X

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March 31st, 2007

“The formula ‘Day X’ in our documents meant the beginning of a large-scale war against the West. Our Department 12…had to participate in this through so-called ‘direct actions,’ which were clandestine acts of biological sabotage and terrorism against ‘potential strike targets’ on the enemy’s territory.”

Oil and Africa

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March 25th, 2007

[Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from Adam Robert's new book The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa.] Africa, overall, has a handy supply of oil. Its known reserves are small compared with the Middle East: it may have 100 billion barrels of […]

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