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-   -   What are you reading? (http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=40592)

kifaru 7 July 2009 23:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bearcat06 (Post 1162234)
Securing the City, Inside America's Best CounterTerror Force-The NYPD by Chistopher Dickey.

I've read this book. Don't waste your money.

Mikemcgl 19 July 2009 13:06

House to House by SSG David Bellavia. Good read.
Forgot Soldier, someone mentioned earlier in this thread is a GREAT book.
Not A Good Day to Die, very good read about the battle of Anacoda, you can also read Jawbreaker and Peter Blaber's Mission, Men, and Me for three views of the same battle.

Psi Brr 19 July 2009 13:32

I *just* finished Lone Survivor. I wish I read it sooner.

I'm now reading The Warrior Elite. Great read thus far.

trident86 19 July 2009 15:28

I just started "Rocket Men", by Craig Nelson in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. I listened to some excerpts on Fox News then had to get the book. $15 and some change at COSTCO.

Forgetthisname 19 July 2009 15:33

Just finished Emergency by Neil Strauss. Awesome read.

Douchebag writer decides the country is going to implode because of Bush and starts trying to figure out how to get off the grid and be survive in the event of a nation/worldwide systemic shutdown. Covers his experiences with obtaining multiple citizenships, offshore banking, shooting, urban escape and evasion (seems cool as shit), learning to cook/make your own food, general survivalism. Hes very easy to read and I highly enjoyed it.

It was interesting to see this geek reporter/writer accidentally become a man and a worthwhile human being all by trying to learn to be self-sufficient.

GPC 23 July 2009 09:27

Three cups of tea by Greg Mortesen.

Zee Germans 23 July 2009 11:25

The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

SdAufKla 23 July 2009 12:26

Ayn Rand - We the Living
 
Just started reading Ayn Rand's We the Living and am already finding it pretty well written, especially considering this was her first book.

This is the only work of her's that I haven't read at least once before. Not anticipating any John Gault or Howard Roark style speeches. According to her own intro, this story looks at the origins of her thesis and not its logical conclusions.

Anyways, if you're Rand fan, you're missing out if you haven't read this one. (I know I was.)

Mike

If you have a choice, go with the 1959 version which she edited slightly to improve some of her English language challenges in the first, original edition.

Bravo57 23 July 2009 12:36

Currently reading "The Navigator" by Clive Cussler. It's pretty entertaining

Dino0311 23 July 2009 16:37

Just finished "Killing Rommel" by Stephen Pressfield, very good book about the Long Range Desert Group through the eyes of an attached officer. It's fiction written as a memoir, and for me there was total suspension of disbelief. It read like the truth, even though it's a fictionalized account.

Also just finished "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. A very interesting look into the nature of success and the "myth" of the self made man. He makes a convincing argument that extraordinary success is usually due to an advantaged background, whether or not those advantages are apparent or not. He discusses the reasons what he believes are the cultural reasons (and hidden advantages) why south Asians from a rice based economy tend to be good at math and small businesses, why Korean Air had such a terrible safety record along with other airlines from class conscious societies, and why the most successful hockey players tend to be born in January. Also, the secret to Bill Gates' success and why he was so perfectly poised to take the world by storm. It probably sounds like bullshit and maybe it is, but it was very very interesting.

CAMedic 23 July 2009 20:47

"The Legion of the Damned" by Bennet J. Doty. Great book about the FFL circa 1920's. (Got an original copy too).

HeavyDron910 23 July 2009 22:49

For those who've read "Warrior Elite" should check out "The Finishing School" I like to think of it as a continuation. Good read. I wanna check out "SEALs: Us Navy's Elite Fighting Force" if I hear that is any good. lol It's a bit pricier. And Massgrunt, Steven Pressfield is pretty good at that "believable fiction" He's also the author of "Gates of Fire" the movie 300 is based on. I also wanna check that out.

GPC 31 July 2009 11:14

Seychelles Affair by Mad Mike Hoare good so far.
I enjoyed his other books as well.

Psi Brr 31 July 2009 12:22

I just finished The Warrior Elite last night.

I'm on to The Finishing School now. I like Capt. Crouch's writing style. Not flashy, but poignant.

wowzers 31 July 2009 23:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by Psi Brr (Post 1181433)
I just finished The Warrior Elite last night.

I'm on to The Finishing School now. I like Capt. Crouch's writing style. Not flashy, but poignant.

Chosen Solider is pretty good also.

BertF 1 August 2009 12:10

I just read Richard H. Cumming's book Cold War Radio - The Dangerous History of American Broadcasting in Europe, 1950-1989, McFarland and Company, Jefferson NC and London, 2009. The book is 319 pages with 21 photographs, soft cover.

I have always been interested in Radio Free Europe (RFE) and have written about some of the leaflet campaigns, in particular "Prospero" and "Veto." This book is a little different. The author was the Director of Security for RFE and Radio Liberty for 15 years. He reviews the history of the propaganda radio campaign that the CIA called "the oldest, largest, most costly, and probably most successful covert action projects aimed at the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe." He explains in detail the legal and political posturing to put the stations online and how U.S. Government officials, Congress, the American corporate world, academia and the CIA worked together to bring news to the people of the captive nations.

Cummings mentions how the program was funded and how both Democratic and Republican presidents supported the program. He details a number of the propaganda campaigns and goes into some background on the use of leaflets and balloons. Finally, he tells the inside story of the many attempts by communist agents to infiltrate or bomb the station and murder members of the staff. There were so many murders, attempted murders and kidnappings that I lost count. For those who recall the Cold War as a time of gentlemanly jousting between the East and West, this book is a revelation. Both sides were playing for real and the body count was staggering.

There are a great number of appendices and previously classified documents, and I particularly found interesting the one where the author tells you all the cases that he left out of the book; a vast array of stories that I assume will appear in later books.

Although extremely detailed, the author has written the book is a very logical sequence that I found easy to read. He discusses the various psychological campaigns with names, dates and numbers and the result is a very informative book that goes a long way to explain the US covert radio and leaflet operations of the Cold War; an area that has only been slightly mentioned in the literature in the past.

BertF 1 August 2009 12:13

Sound Targets: American Soldiers and Music in the Iraq War, Jonathan Pieslak, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 2009.

This 225-page lightly illustrated book tells the story of American soldiers in Iraq and their use of music to build their own morale, to destroy the willingness of the enemy to continue the fight, and to weaken the resistance of prisoners during interrogation. I was aware of the author since he had written to me earlier requesting permission to quote some text from my article “The Use of Music in Psychological Operations” in his book.

Pieslak starts off by mentioning some historical uses of music; the trumpets used by Joshua at the battle of Jericho, General Santa Anna playing El DegŁello at the Alamo, and of course the hard rock broadcast at General Noriega in Panama hiding in the Vatican Embassy in Panama. He goes on to discuss Iraq but since he admits that he only interviewed 18 soldiers and several of them were hesitant to talk, he doesn’t really get into the subject in great depth. He discusses music in recruiting, in combat, as used by the enemy in Iraq, as a psychological tactic, as a form of soldier expression and then attempts to explain “metal” and “rap” ideologies. Pieslak gives the lyrics of some of the songs and explains that often soldiers about to go into battle will steel themselves with music. In my day we didn’t have Ipods, but I do recall that when I was training troops and had the soldiers march themselves to class or to chow as part of "drill and ceremonies" I demanded that they do loud “Jody” calls all the way there and back. The more militant and blood-thirsty Jody calls definitely motivated the troops.

I would have liked a bit more combat operations from the book. More tales of advancing troops playing music and more stories of the music played to captured insurgents to break their will to resist. Unfortunately, most of the soldiers interviewed who admitted taking part in interrogations had been ordered not to discuss such things in order not to give aid to the enemy. We are given some examples, and some of the songs are mentioned, but I must say that I wanted more than just a single chapter on music used in psychological operations. To the author's credit, he does add some intesting data on tunes played by some units about to enter combat in his chapter: "Music as an inspiration for Combat." For those who know little about the use of music by the military, the book is a good starter study.

BertF 1 August 2009 12:16

Kodosky, Robert J. PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS AMERICAN STYLE – THE JOINT UNITED STATES PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE, VIETNAM AND BEYOND: Lexington Books, Lanham, MD, 2007.

This is a difficult book to describe. It is 227 pages with no illustrations and heavily footnoted so I assume that this was originally a doctorial thesis that the author decided to publish commercially. From the title one would expect that it would be a review of JUSPAO psychological operations in Vietnam. It is not. The author spends a good deal of time studying what has been written about PSYOP in the Vietnam War and taking the various authors to task. He blames much of the American inability to win the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese people on its false view of the Vietnamese as a backward, agricultural, Confucian society. He feels that America never understood the Vietnamese or attempted to learn what their actual needs and desires were, and thus were doomed to failure. He briefly touches on WWI, and then attempts to show how America thought differently about the German and Japanese enemy in WWII, seeing the Germans as technically and philosophically modern while the Japanese were considered superstitious and backward. He goes on to say that America misunderstood the Korean people during that war and thus was unable to change their minds through psychological operations. A typical comment is; “Despite United States Information Agency engagements throughout the 1950s in Asian societies such as Vietnam, the Philippines and Laos, the program proved either unwilling or unable to detect grievances that manifested locally to being about indigenous action.” In general, his thesis seems to be that the United States government and military because of some kind of institutionalized racism has not understood any Asian people’s thought processes since WWII. He indicates that President Johnson demanded that JUSPAO give the news a pro-American slant and says that Director Barry Zorthian reluctantly complied. He makes a case that both the USIA and JUSPAO had a prime objective of getting good press for the administration and the United States abroad, and neither ever understood the needs of the Asian people.

I found few comments on actual tactics, but there was a short mention of American operations against Japan that included bats and foxes, and some highlights of Edward Lansdale’s activities and the introduction of television sets in Vietnam that were interesting. In the later chapters there is some mention of JUSPAO’s monetary and support problems and philosophical battles within the organization that might help to explain its alleged failure. I think it is fair to say that if you want to know how JUSPAO worked in Vietnam this is not your book. If you want to know why it failed (if you accept the premise that it did fail), this is your book.

Psi Brr 1 August 2009 12:29

BertF,

PM inbound.

BertF 1 August 2009 15:10

Klaus Kirchner, European Erotic Leaflets in the 20th Century

I suppose that I could with some modesty call myself the King of the sexual propaganda leaflet. I have written three magazine articles on the subject, been involved with three TV documentaries, and have a 23,000-word Internet article on the subject. I know sex! So, when author and researcher Klaus Kirchner told me he was printing a book on German erotic leaflets I was very excited. I wanted to see what Klaus had to say and if he had found anything that I had not seen before. The book is in German, 418 pages and as always, heavily illustrated with hundreds of leaflets in full color.

Klaus and I have debated this subject before. I always thought that an erotic leaflet must show the woman either nude or at least bare-breasted. Klaus believes that leaflets that depict women semi-dressed, or even fully dressed and posed in an attractive way with the proper text can be erotic. I cannot argue with him. I have looked at many leaflets showing beautiful women in a slip or negligee and debated adding the items to my articles. I could not do so because I had set an arbitrary rule of nudity.

Klaus is under no such prohibition so you will see numerous leaflets that use women as the theme in an attempt to demoralize their husbands or boy friends. He also covers much more ground than I do, starting in WWI and ending in the post WWII Cold War era. Just to have a bit of fun he adds a sexual Japanese leaflet at the start of the book. The majority of the book covers German erotic leaflets to the Americans and British, and then he shifts to leaflets against France, then some leaflets for Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. He then describes some British sex leaflets for Germany including the very famous “Watch on the Rhine” leaflet that got Sefton Delmer in trouble, then some Soviet leaflets for the German troops, and finally the very nasty OSS black leaflets for Germany that depict bestiality, pedophilia and homosexuality. He ends with some of the Cold War leaflets used by West Germany and the DDR at the time that they were rocketing and ballooning leaflets at each other on a daily basis. What I particularly liked about the book is that you often get to see complete sets of the erotic leaflets. I have seen them all, but I suspect many collectors have just seen one or two of each series. Klaus also tell you what organization printed them, sometimes "Southern Star" in Italy, sometimes "Skorpion West" in Western Europe.

I should add that this is not a book of “dirty pictures.” Klaus has gone to great pains to research the leaflets and explain why he finds them erotic. It is a wonderful addition to the bookcase of any leaflet collector.


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