Saturday, 12 November 2016

No better way to read my mind

Than to watch my recent acquisitions. I'd saved up quite a few book coupons which now have been turned into paper (and some digital books). So what's come in recently?

Remy Limpach, De brandende kampongs van Generaal Spoor

A book's just come out on Dutch atrocities during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949).This has had a considerable impact because these have been dismissed in the 1960s as incidents and this author shows that retributions against the population were widespread, even if not part of policy. It also becomes clear that these occurrences were brought to the attention of higher ranks who actively suppressed the facts. If anybody was still under the impression that Dutch colonial rule was somehow more benevolent than of its contemporaries, that can now be dismissed.

Paul Dawson, Crippled splendour. The French cavalry from Valmy to Toulouse

Also in is the new book by Paul Dawson, a very thorough researcher who has done a lot of work in French archives on French cavalry of the Napoleonic Wars. This book is no change to his previous work in that it focusses on composition of units, replacement horses and logistics over tactics and individual actions. Therefor it is a very valuable companion to most other studies, who tend to focus on the latter.

Pat Harrigan & Matthew Kirschenbau, Zones of Control, Perspectives on Wargaming

Something of a handbook on (war)game design. It has contributions by well known designers such as Peter Perla, Phil Sabin, Brian Train and Joe Miranda. It ranges from historical background to views of the future (but not so much on computer gaming) and from deadly serious gaming for defense to card-driven commercial games to Warhammer 40K. It also includes a chapter on cultural wargaming by Jim Wallman, my favourite game designer, which outlines how games can help bring up unspoken assumptions and behaviour and create discussion about them. Valuable background to a serious study of state of the art wargaming.

James Waterson, Defending Heaven, China's Mongol Wars 1209-1370

An appealing book I picked up at Crisis about the Mongol conquest and loss of China. Waterson thinks the Mongol conquest created the present borders of China (except, notably, Mongolia itself) but also, that it never succeeded in making a mark culturally. Although the Song dynasty in south China was finally defeated, its legacy was the basis for the eventual evictions of the descendants of the great Khans.

Also in (but not dug in as deep yet):
  • Colin Galloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country
  • Edward Erickson, Ottoman Army Effectiveness in World War I
  • Chris Tyerman, How To Plan a Crusade
  • Colin Galloway, The Shawnees and the War for America

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