Thumbs up for Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War by Mary Roach. Science.
Mary Roach is one of only two or three authors whose books I pre-order. Again, I am not disappointed by this, her book about military science—not guns, but all the other stuff, like uniforms, toilet paper specifications, shark repellent. However, I will say, for the first time, I was grossed out.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning by Chris Hedges. Philosophy.
A beautifully-written book about a horrible subject, by someone who has seen it from a very short distance indeed. Hedges explores what war does to humanity (both in the sense of the human race, and our humane-ness), using stories from his own experience to provide context and structure for his philosophy.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques by William R. Short. History.
There are a very limited number of people who should read this book. 1: Hardcore Viking re-enactors. 2: Historians specializing in ancient weaponry and fighting techniques. 3: Ultra-nerdy authors trying to write realistic battle scenes. If you fall into any of those groups, buy this book right now.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Greek Fire, Poison Arrows & Scorpion Bombs: Biological and Chemical Warfare in the Ancient World by Adrienne Mayor. History.
If you’re wondering why: I have to read this kind of thing for research. At least, I have to study it. I don’t have to read it cover-to-cover. But in this case, I happily did; because let’s face it, if you’re the kind of person who read the subtitle and thought “Scorpion bombs?!… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War by Barbara Ehrenreich. History/Psychology.
If Ehrenreich’s thesis is that the deep root of warfare is (I quote the jacket) “the blood rites early humans performed to reenact their terrifying experience of predation by stronger carnivores,” then I don’t think she sells it. The fact that I had to refer to the jacket flap tells you how much impact the idea had on me.… >> Read more