Binge Reading

Some smart guy has published a list of “Lockdown Reading” (as an alternative to watching yet another content-thin TV documentary series or gloomy Scandi-cop drama on Prime or Netflix).

I myself am currently two-thirds of the way through the John Masters Loss Of Eden trilogy (still one of the finest Great War novel series ever published).  For you Kindlers, they are here — the chronological order being Now God Be Thanked, Heart of War, and By The Green Of The Spring.  Forget trying to get them in paper- or hardback.  It took me about five years to collect my hardback copies, combing military second-hand bookstores over three states.

Here’s another list of war books, for those interested:

Derek Robinson’s RAF Quartet (WWII) and Hornet Squadron (WWI) series

Achingly sad, wonderfully funny, sometimes within the space of a couple sentences.  As soon as finances improve, I’ll be adding to my collections of each series.  Start with either Goshawk Squadron (WWI) or Piece of Cake (WWII), depending on your favorite war.


  1. I can also recommend anything you can locate by Ernle Bradford. I have both his “Ulysses Found”, and “The Great Siege of Malta, 1565. As finances permit, I will get “The Wind Off the Island” and “The Journeying Moon.”, but he has written so much about so many subjects, I’ll take anything I can get.
    An officer in the Royal Navy in WW2, in the Mediterranean theater, he traveled all across the sea and kept his ears and eyes open for worthwhile stories. After the war he obtained a sailboat and sailed with his wife (to the incredulity of the local sailors who considered a life at sea too harsh for a woman), one day realizing that the sailing directions and seasons mentioned in the Odyssey matched actual directions and winds possible in the Mediterranean.

  2. I reread ‘Piece of Cake’ last month on my kindle, that’s an old favorite and about 30 years ago, I think, Brit TV did a made for TV from that book.

    I read W.E.B. Griffin’s ‘Brotherhood of War’ series in the 1980’s in paperback, it was a great series I enjoyed as I was doing a fair amount of traveling, airplanes and hotels and the series was easy entertainment. As the years went by a little at a time I bought the series on my kindle and this past week I started binge reading it again, lots of fun. A series I read years ago and no longer have is Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Sharpe’ series, maybe a half-price book store would be a good place to look for that.

    Over the years when I enjoyed an author I would give the books away to my kids and friends because I would run out of room for books. I have downsized and given more stuff away and I do like my kindle with lots of electric books I can carry with me. I tore my left shoulder up very badly seven years ago and it became difficult to hold a book for any length of time, my shoulder is better now but I have become spoiled to using the kindle and I never imagined I would like reading that way.

    1. I actually like ‘The Corps’ series a little better than ‘Brotherhood of War’, but would recommend both, with a warning that Griffin liked to reuse the same characters in different uniforms time and again. (i.e., once you read one series, when start another you start getting a deja vu feeling of you had seen this guy before).

      I read the Sharpe series while working at a book store in the 90’s (we got to “check out” books for free as long as we did a quick review). Would recommend as well.

      The ‘Piece of Cake’ series was on Masterpiece Theater here in the states in the late 80’s.

  3. Here are a few series and stand alone books that the folks here might find interesting.

    First place on my list goes to the Hornblower books by C.S. Forester. I received a hardbound “gift set” of these stories when I was 13 or 14 and I still read through the books about once a decade. Each time I get some new insights about the nature of duty and leadership. The Aubrey and Martin stories are also quite good but Hornblower was there first.

    The Flashman stories by George Fraser are lots of fun. Harry Flashman managed to get involved in every historical event of the Victorian era with the goal of doing every woman in sight and saving his own skin when the shooting started. An irreverent view of history.

    Kim, I know that you’re not a big fan of science fiction but for our friends who enjoy the genre I’ll recommend the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. The Harrington books are the Hornblower series set in outer space with a female main character. Sounds a little strange but they work.

    I’d also recommend the Aldenta series by John Ringo. Anything by Ringo is entertaining. He wrote a stand alone book called “The Last Centurion” about ten years ago. It’s dated in his view of immediate future history and somewhat preachy in tone but a good and sort of scary read.

    Everybody should read Mark Twain – and not just Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Twain’s so called lesser works like Connecticut Yankee, Innocents Abroad, and Life in the Mississippi are fun and so insightful of human nature.

    One more author and I’m done for this morning. The memoirs of John Masters are great stories. I think that the dead tree editions of Bugles and a Tiger and the Road Past Mandalay are long out of print but I think they’re available in soft copy. Mandalay in particular speaks to the hard decisions an infantry officer must make.

    So have fun and stay safe my friends.

    1. I just re-read ‘The Last Centurion’, and it was kind of creepy how much some events were paralleling current events, and how much closer we would be to that universe had the Nov 16 election broke the other way.

      His ‘Black Tide Rising’ series (biowar zombies, not supernatural ones) is also a good read.

      1. And anything by Tom Kratman. His Carrera series is outstanding. While, technically, science fiction, his views on the UN, the EU and the transnational progressives are probably somewhere to the right of our esteemed host’s.

  4. I’m working my way through a Military SF trilogy by Robert Frezza; A SMALL COLONIAL WAR, FIRE IN A FARAWAY PLACE, and CAIN’S LAND. Bleak, black humor, and great fun. NOT politically correct, which probably explains why the publisher (Del Ray) didn’t push the author to do more than these three and two farces.

  5. Reading a book from 2008 a friend recommended. Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. Gives perspective on why the morons on the left like to call anyone to the right of moderate as a fascist.

    1. It kind of surprises me Goldberg would make a book out of that.
      From the late 60’s, I thought that nomenclature was a refuge for wannabe pseudointellectuals with narrow minds and limited vocabulary when they couldn’t keep up with the logical or factual train of thought at hand.

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