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Hot Topic (More than 10 Replies) What books are you reading lately (paper)? (Read 189 times)
Ulysses
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What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Jun 29th, 2019 at 1:31am
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I picked up some thick paperback books recently at the local Costco. A bio of Napoleon, one of Grant, one of Queen Victoria, and another on WWII from personal stories.

I started reading the WWII one but found it to kind of annoying. Too many minor characters recounting relatively trivial matters. But I'll probably return to it later.

The one I really got into is the biography of Napoleon, by Andrew Roberts. It's fairly well written and promises to be rather authoritative. Seems to me my public education more or less glossed over Napoleon, other than sort of condemning him as, in the end, a defeated dictator. But he was, as I'm reading, far more than that. Quite brilliant in some ways. Sort of stupid in others. I'm about 1/4 of the way through the 900 page tome. Starting to take it with me to doctor visits etc.

It's also nice to have something interesting to read without having to plug into electricity or the internet. Who knew?
  

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Ulysses
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #1 - Jul 6th, 2019 at 5:27pm
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About 1/3 of the way through now.

By 1802 Napoleon has managed to secure peace treaties with Britain and Austria. He sets about reforming French government and institutions, which will be his lasting legacy; not his military victories.
  

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Gnome De Plume
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #2 - Jul 6th, 2019 at 9:58pm
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I Claudius by Robert Graves. (paperback)
Waylander by David Gemmel (hardcover)
Plato: Five Dialogues (Hardcover)
  

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Ulysses
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #3 - Jul 8th, 2019 at 3:40am
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Gnome De Plume wrote on Jul 6th, 2019 at 9:58pm:
I Claudius by Robert Graves. (paperback)
Waylander by David Gemmel (hardcover)
Plato: Five Dialogues (Hardcover)


I have the DVD set for I Claudius. Great show.
  

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LadyBug
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #4 - Jul 15th, 2019 at 5:24am
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I do most of my reading on Kindle these days, which is fine for trips, but I still prefer hardcover books for home reading.

I have a set of Franklin Mint classics and a Mark Twain complete set. I've read most of them, some more than once. Many of the modern books I've tried have been quite disappointing. Not to say some of the "classics" weren't too. Especially Don Quixote. Never could get past halfway with that one.

Right now, I'm reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
  
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Ulysses
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #5 - Jul 20th, 2019 at 9:45am
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Now I'm over 1/2 through Andrew Roberts' Napoleon bio.

The Frenchman has conquered most of Italy, Germany, Austria, Prussia. He has a peace treaty with Russia, and is in the process of trying to keep Spain under control. Years later he said one of his biggest mistakes was appointing his stepson Joseph to be king of Spain.

Oh, yes, and he's crowned himself Emperor, an event that led Ludwig von Beethoven, and early supporter, to reject Napoleon and rue his dedication of the Emperor Symphony to the military genius.

  

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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #6 - Jul 29th, 2019 at 2:59pm
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Just finished "The Town" by Chuck Hogan.  Working my way through the "Parker" series by Donald E. Westlake.

Greg
  

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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #7 - Jul 29th, 2019 at 8:43pm
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The Mabinogion (Hardcover)
The Quest for Lost Heroes by David Gemmel (hardcover)
Pictures of Perfection by Reginald Hill (Paperback)
  

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Ulysses
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #8 - Jul 31st, 2019 at 9:17pm
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Arrived at the point in the Napoleon biography where he made the ill-fated decision to go to war with Russia. He's made it all the way to Moscow, largely because the Russians kept on falling back to entice him in deeper and deeper. Then the Russians started burning their own city.

Napoleon makes the mistake of lingering in Moscow too long to wait for the Tsar's response to his peace feeler. It never arrives. By the time the French army leaves Moscow, it's already too late. The brutal Russian winter sets in with a vengeance along the way. Horses die from lack of forage and cold, so much that the bulk of Napoleon's cannons must be abandoned on the retreat. At one point another bad decision was made: instead of heading directly due west to take advantage of unspoiled territory, Napoleon decided to retrace his steps and head north. His army gets hit by the winter storms and suffers huge losses. Less than halfway back he abandons the army and returns at breakneck speed to France, thinking he is needed there to prevent an uprising.

It does not go down well with the soldiers.
  

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Ulysses
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Re: What books are you reading lately (paper)?
Reply #9 - Aug 1st, 2019 at 12:00am
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The other mistake Napoleon made was simply of logistics. He had an army of, as I recall, almost half a million. Transporting all those soldiers the long distances into Russia was hard enough. But supplying them with food was another matter. Not to mention all the supplies of war: gunpowder, cannon, ammunition, etc. It had never been done on that scale before, and it was always a problem for the French. Adding to their difficulties was the Russian scorched earth practice, leaving little for the advancing French armies to subsist upon along the way.
  

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