♥ Book Title : Harry Flashman and the Invasion of Iraq
☯ Full Synopsis : "Through the winter of 2002/3, as Britain and the United States prepare for war with Iraq, one man above all others is doing his utmost to avoid conflict. Step forward Captain Harry Flashman, a staff officer with the Queen's Royal Hussars and distant descendant of legendary Victorian scoundrel General Sir Harry Flashman, VC. The passing generations have done nothing to fortify his moral fibre. Flashman's journey begins with a posting to Plymouth, home of the Royal Marines, in time to join the impending Gulf deployment. Despite his protestations he is shipped to Kuwait to begin a relatively secure job with Brigade Headquarters. But his plans for a cosy war spent safely behind a desk are rudely interrupted by an enforced move to a front-line unit. After bust-ups with the Americans and a foiled attempt to avoid the invasion altogether, Flashman finds himself in the one place he has tried so hard to avoid: the very vanguard of the assault. Landing by helicopter with the Royal Marines, he is soon footslogging through the mud and fighting for his life as the men of 42 Commando seize their objectives on the Al Faw Peninsula. Based on the experiences of the author, Harry Flashman and the Invasion of Iraq is a historically accurate account of events in the Gulf during spring 2003 – embellished only slightly for the enjoyment of the reader."Article| H C Tayler| Statement ..."
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♥ Book Title : Flashman and the War Between the States
☯ Full Synopsis : "What was Flashman's role in the War between the American States? Much more than the Victorian 'hero' wanted, you may be sure. Shanghaied to California in late 1860, Flashy's genius for finding trouble (and ability to weasel right out again) asserts itself from the word go. Flashy finds himself caught up in the secret world of the Committee of Thirty and the Knights of the Golden Circle, evacuating Fort Fillmore with the Federals, then marching back in with the Confederates, joining in an audacious train raid (against his better judgment), fleeing across half a continent, and generally being pushed from Yankee pillar to Rebel post, before renewing his acquaintance with Abe Lincoln. And all Flashy has to protect him is his natural cowardice under fire, willingness to leave others in the lurch, and the luck of the wicked. Will it be enough?"Article| Barry Tighe| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : War Reporting for Cowards
☯ Full Synopsis : "“Imagine George Costanza from Seinfeld being sent off to cover the Iraq War . . . Hilarious” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times). Chris Ayres is a small-town boy, a hypochondriac, and a neat freak with an anxiety disorder. Not exactly the picture of a war correspondent. But when his boss asks him if he would like to go to Iraq, he doesn’t have the guts to say no. After signing a one million dollar life-insurance policy, studying a tutorial on repairing severed limbs, and spending twenty thousand dollars on camping gear (only to find out that his bright yellow tent makes him a sitting duck), Ayres is embedded with a battalion of gung ho Marines who either shun him or threaten him when he files an unfavorable story. As time goes on, though, he begins to understand them (and his inexplicably enthusiastic fellow war reporters) more and more: Each night of terrifying combat brings, in the morning, something more visceral than he has ever experienced—the thrill of having won a fight for survival. A “heartbreakingly funny” memoir (Anthony Swofford, author of Jarhead), War Reporting for Cowards tells, with “self-deprecating wit” (The New Yorker), the story of Iraq in a way that is extraordinarily honest, and bitterly hilarious. “Chris Ayres has invented a new genre: a rip-roaring tale of adventure and derring-don’t.” —Toby Young, author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People “Darkly entertaining.” —Los Angeles Times “Ayres’s stories of life with Marines are gripping—in part because he’s the perfect neurotic foil.” —People"Article| Chris Ayres| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Flashman
☯ Full Synopsis : "Harry Flashman: the unrepentant bully of Tom Brown's schooldays, now with a Victoria Cross, has three main talents -- horsemanship, facility with foreign languages and fornication. A reluctant military hero, Flashman plays a key part in most of the defining military campaigns of the 19th century, despite trying his utmost to escape them all. Flashman, soldier, duellist, lover, imposter, coward, cad and hero, triumphs in this first instalment of The Flashman Papers. His adventures as the reluctant secret agent in Afghanistan and his entry into the exclusive company of Lord Cardigan's Hussars culminate in his foulest hour -- his part in the historic disaster of the Retreat from Kabul. This is the story of a blackguard who enjoyed villainy for its own sake. Shameless, exciting and funny, Flashman's deplorable odyssey is observed with the cynical eye of a scoundrel who was honest only in reporting what he saw. He makes all other black sheep look respectable grey."Article| George MacDonald Fraser| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : The Carton Chronicles
☯ Full Synopsis : "MOROSE, CYNICAL AND GIVEN TO DRINK, SYDNEY CARTON IS ONE OF CHARLES DICKENS' MOST FAMOUS CHARACTERS; A DISPASSIONATE MAN, YET CAPABLE, IN THE FINAL MOMENTS OF 'A TALE OF TWO CITIES', OF SACRIFICING HIMSELF BENEATH THE GUILLOTINE FOR LUCY, THE WOMAN HE BOTH LOVED AND LOST. IT NOW APPEARS, HOWEVER, THAT DICKENS WAS BEING SOMEWHAT ECONOMICAL WITH THE ACTUALITE. NEWLY RECOVERED DOCUMENTS, WRITTEN IN CARTON'S OWN HAND, TELL A FAR DIFFERENT TALE. SYDNEY CARTON SURVIVED HIS EXECUTION, ONLY TO FIND HIMSELF AT THE MERCY OF THE MONSTROUS ROBESPIERRE, AUTHOR OF THE PARIS TERROR. HIS LOVE LUCY LANGUISHES IN A FRENCH PRISON, HER HUSBAND DEAD, AND CARTON CAN ENSURE HER SURVIVAL ONLY BY BECOMING ROBESPIERRE'S PERSONAL SPY. RELUCTANT, TERRIFIED AND OFTEN DRUNK, CARTON BLUNDERS HIS WAY THROUGH THE MAJOR EVENTS OF THE REVOLUTION, GRUDGINGLY PARTAKING IN SOME OF THE BLACKEST DEEDS OF THE TERROR AND, BY A MIXTURE OF COWARDICE, BRAVADO AND LUCK, LENDING A HAND IN THE FALL OF MOST OF ITS LEADING FIGURES. KIDNAPPED BY THE BRITISH, HE FINDS HIMSELF A DOUBLE AGENT, TRUSTED BY NEITHER SIDE. CARTON CHRONICLES THE SLOW DECAY OF REVOLUTIONARY IDEALS AND, IN PASSING, CASTS LIGHT ON THE TRUE PARENTAGE OF THAT SADISTIC VILLAIN OF 'TOM BROWNE'S SCHOOLDAYS', THE BEASTLY FLASHMAN."Article| Keith Laidler| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Flashman at the Charge
☯ Full Synopsis : "“Hilariously funny.”—The New York Times Book Review “Great dirty fun!”—Grand Rapids Press “The most entertaining anti-hero in a long time… Moves from one ribald and deliciously corrupt episode to the next… Wonderful and scandalous.”—Publishers Weekly The fourth volume of memoirs in which Harry Flashman confronts destiny with Lord Cardigan and the Light Brigade. Part of the Flashman series, comprising Flashman, Royal Flash, and Flash for Freedom, among others, which explores the successful though scandalous later career of the bully in Tom Brown's School Days. From the Trade Paperback edition."Article| George MacDonald Fraser| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Flashman on the March (The Flashman Papers, Book 11)
☯ Full Synopsis : "Coward, scoundrel, lover and cheat, but there is no better man to go into the jungle with. Join Flashman in his adventures as he survives fearful ordeals and outlandish perils across the four corners of the world."Article| George MacDonald Fraser| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Directorate S
☯ Full Synopsis : "In the wake of the terrible shock of 9/11, the C.I.A. scrambled to work out how to destroy Bin Laden and his associates. The C.I.A. had long familiarity with Afghanistan and had worked closely with the Taliban to defeat the Soviet Union there. A tangle of assumptions, old contacts, favours and animosities were now reactivated. Superficially the invasion was quick and efficient, but Bin Laden's successful escape, together with that of much of the Taliban leadership, and a catastrophic failure to define the limits of NATO's mission in a tough, impoverished country the size of Texas, created a quagmire which lasted many years. At the heart of the problem lay 'Directorate S', a highly secretive arm of the Pakistan state which had its own views on the Taliban and Afghanistan's place in a wider competition for influence between Pakistan, India and China, and which assumed that the U.S.A. and its allies would soon be leaving. Steve Coll's remarkable new book tells a powerful, bitter story of just how badly foreign policy decisions can go wrong and of many lives lost."Article| Steve Coll| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Empire of Guns
☯ Full Synopsis : "By a prize-winning young historian, an authoritative work that reframes the Industrial Revolution, the expansion of British empire, and emergence of industrial capitalism by presenting them as inextricable from the gun trade "A fascinating and important glimpse into how violence fueled the industrial revolution, Priya Satia's book stuns with deep scholarship and sparkling prose."--Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies We have long understood the Industrial Revolution as a triumphant story of innovation and technology. Empire of Guns, a rich and ambitious new book by award-winning historian Priya Satia, upends this conventional wisdom by placing war and Britain's prosperous gun trade at the heart of the Industrial Revolution and the state's imperial expansion. Satia brings to life this bustling industrial society with the story of a scandal: Samuel Galton of Birmingham, one of Britain's most prominent gunmakers, has been condemned by his fellow Quakers, who argue that his profession violates the society's pacifist principles. In his fervent self-defense, Galton argues that the state's heavy reliance on industry for all of its war needs means that every member of the British industrial economy is implicated in Britain's near-constant state of war. Empire of Guns uses the story of Galton and the gun trade, from Birmingham to the outermost edges of the British empire, to illuminate the nation's emergence as a global superpower, the roots of the state's role in economic development, and the origins of our era's debates about gun control and the "military-industrial complex" -- that thorny partnership of government, the economy, and the military. Through Satia's eyes, we acquire a radically new understanding of this critical historical moment and all that followed from it. Sweeping in its scope and entirely original in its approach, Empire of Guns is a masterful new work of history -- a rigorous historical argument with a human story at its heart."Article| Priya Satia| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Charlie Wilson's War
☯ Full Synopsis : "Two recent events have transformed the world: the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of militant Islam. This is the first book to explain the link between these two occurrences. George Crile spent nearly a decade researching and writing this original account of the biggest, most expensive secret war in history: the arming of the Afghan resistance to Soviet occupation. Moving from the secret chambers in CIA headquarters to stand-offs in the Khyber Pass, Charlie Wilson's War is one of the most thorough and vivid descriptions of CIA operations ever written. It is the missing chapter in the geopolitics of our time."Article| George Crile| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Sikunder Burnes
☯ Full Synopsis : "This is an astonishing true tale of espionage, journeys in disguise, secret messages, double agents, assassinations and sexual intrigue. Alexander Burnes was one of the most accomplished spies Britain ever produced and the main antagonist of the Great Game as Britain strove with Russia for control of Central Asia and the routes to the Raj. There are many lessons for the present day in this tale of the folly of invading Afghanistan and Anglo-Russian tensions in the Caucasus. Murray's meticulous study has unearthed original manuscripts from Montrose to Mumbai to put together a detailed study of how British secret agents operated in India. The story of Burnes' life has a cast of extraordinary figures, including Queen Victoria, King William IV, Earl Grey, Benjamin Disraeli, Lola Montez, John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx. Among the unexpected discoveries are that Alexander and his brother James invented the myths about the Knights Templars and Scottish Freemasons which are the foundation of the Da Vinci Code; and that the most famous nineteenth-century scholar of Afghanistan was a double agent for Russia."Article| Craig Murray| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Artist and Empire
☯ Full Synopsis : "What lasting legacy did British colonialism have on the cultures once under the Empire's control? A rich and varied visual culture emerged in places under British governance, from the Americas to India and Australasia. Writers, artists, and museums have long played a role in documenting the cultural impact of British colonialism, and yet, since the vast Imperial exhibitions of the early 20th century, there has been no comprehensive presentation of the objects made across the British Empire. This publication, which accompanies a major Tate Britain exhibition, fills that gap. In this landmark study, leading scholars focus on how particular objects tell the history of life under British rule. Paintings by artists such as John Singer Sargent and Sidney Nolan are presented alongside Benin bronze heads and Mughal miniatures in a survey that ranges from 16th-century colonialism to the British Empire's decline in the postwar era."Article| Alison Smith| Statement ..."
♥ Book Title : Conflict Management and Peacebuilding
☯ Full Synopsis : "The authors examine the utility of the U.S. Government's whole-of-government (WoG) approach for responding to the challenging security demands of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. They specifically discuss the strategic objectives of interagency cooperation particularly in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict management. Discussions range from the conceptual to the practical, with a focus on the challenges and desirability of interagency cooperation in international interventions. Shared were experiences and expertise on the need for and future of an American grand strategy in an era characterized by increasingly complex security challenges and shrinking budgets. All agreed that taking the status quo for granted was a major obstacle to developing a successful grand strategy and that government, the military, international and nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector are all called on to contribute their best talents and efforts to joint global peace and security efforts."Article| Volker C. Franke, Robert H. Dorff, Strategic Studies Institute| Statement ..."