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Monday, May 21, 2007

Guns of August

I think the books you have on your list will serve you well. (see Jill --
In Castles of Steele there are land battles all over the world -- .... the
one that bears on my mind that was the crux of the next century - was
Gallipoli and the battle for the Bosporus. The geography had EVERYTHING to
do with the collapse of Russia and the rise of the Bolsheviks (the
subsequent extension of the war). And from thence - the complete alteration
of history for another hundred PLUS years. The Bosporus was a key channel
in the Peloponnesian Wars too. ... If only ... if only ... Churchill and
his fleet had been more aggressive and willing to risk it all in the drive
for Constantinople.

You will learn of battles in South Africa - on the fringe - but affecting
troop availability ...

Castles of Steel -- following Dreadnaught.. makes some very clear
observations about strategies and purpose.

I should think Guns of August does something like giving the pieces of the
whole a nice box within which to focus on the enormous political
struggles.... and it clarifies with painful detail the several significant
points at which some small thing could have changed the world -- and the
opportunity was lost.It is not the gory details of any of these books that
commands attention. It is the amazing interaction of a nations and the
political intrigue and the personalities that gave us our century to follow.

I wish these books were required reading for every politician ... Liberal
and Conservative.

Now -- you know .. I may just have to read "Proud Tower" now.
I am glad you appreciate the book I gave you!

Subject: Guns of August

Hi Vic --

I really appreciate your thinking of me and giving me the beautiful edition
of Guns of August. The book is certainly on my to-read list, but for the
moment I have one or two more pre-war books to read (starting with Tuchman's
Proud Tower, which I just started).

Dreadnought was absolutely one of the best books I've ever read, and I can't
wait to get to Castles of Steel. Massey is an incredible writer -- I may
even have to get interested in Russian history just to read more of his
books. I'm still curious about what to read about the land battles in
general (not too much gory detail) since I understand that Guns of August
ends with the Battle of the Marne. Or do you think that Castles of Steel
gives enough of an overall picture of World War I?

Again, thanks to your thoughtfulness. I'm looking forward to reading Guns
over the summer.



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