What are you reading at the moment?

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Gage, Mar 12, 2006.

  1. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    This sort of thing is my bug bear as well Chris. A few aircrew ‘memoirs’ I have are just the ORBs with a couple of one liners. I mentioned it a few years ago on here but the Rodney Scrase memoir is my biggest disappointment as it was handled by Angus Mansfield who loves a cold hard generic stat over any sort of personal experience. Rodney was a great speaker and I was fascinated at his life talk I attended. You get absolutely nothing of his personality in the book.
    Chris C likes this.
  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Same feeling over here. By trying to include as many as possible the stories of his fellow veterans, the book now lingers between an auto-biography and a divisional chronicle. Both are not fully evident.

    He should better have followed the same concept as Robert L. Fraser, "Black Yesterday, The Argyll's War". If you look at the sources Renouf had access to - hundreds of veterans, including many officers - this would have been an even greater bestseller.

    I nevertheless treasure my copy, as it is signed by him - and I am mentioned in the book ;)
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
    17thDYRCH and Chris C like this.
  3. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Snap! I re-read this over Christmas. I quite agree with your comments. Currently re-reading 'Surviving the Sword - Prisoners of the Japanese 1942-45' and the same applies.

    bamboo43 likes this.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Surviving the Sword was the first POW related book I read, after I realised my grandfather had died at the hands of the Japanese in 1943.
    timuk likes this.
  5. Dan M

    Dan M Active Member

    Coincidence because I just started reading Bomber Offensive by Harris yesterday. I have the 1990 reprint (cover pictured) and it has an excellent preface by Denis Richards. A good explanation by Richards on the timeline of the post-war criticism of Harris and Bomber Command which began almost immediately after the war. Also a good refutation by Richards on why Harris did what he did, the orders Harris was given and how he obediently followed them, and how Bomber Command was ultimately successful.

    (I also have a copy of Peden's book and will have to reread it now.)

    Waddell, 17thDYRCH and Markyboy like this.
  6. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    Just arrived hot off the press. Ordered last December so eagerly awaited. Will report back..... WP_20210331_12_31_09_Pro.jpg
    17thDYRCH, kopite, Rich Payne and 3 others like this.
  7. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    Currently reading the recent release The Changing of the Guard: The British Army since 9/11 by Simon Akam. This is the book that has taken a fair few years to get published due to the Army & MoD doing their best to get it quashed and reading it you can see why. The author has interviewed many people from officers to prostitutes to show how and why the Army has performed badly and lost the last two wars it has fought in, from poor organisation to poor command performances and an inability to update and adapt to the times. One example being that due to the adoption of a 'just in time' supply plan instead of holding plenty of spares, the British were given the task of taking Basra in the second Gulf War because the estimated reach of British forces was just 95km compared to over 500Km of the US Forces.

    Waddell, JimHerriot, Owen and 2 others like this.
  8. Markyboy

    Markyboy Member

    Just finished this excellent after the battle title. I actually read it cover to cover which I didn’t expect to do as I’d assumed it was more of a reference book.
    You get the full story here from Joe public souvenir hunters at zeppelin crash sites, inter war recovery efforts, the massive upscaling of operations during WW2, early amateur group digs in the 70s to the legislation brought in during the 80s and the problems faced in regards to human remains which is naturally a very emotive issue. The story is broadly chronological and is interspersed with many photos and case studies.
    I had no idea of the scale of aircraft wrecks in the UK and found the whole issue fascinating. 5/5. I’ve dropped some cast iron hints to my wife that the beer and socks birthday usual this year needs to be upscaled to the Battle of Britain tome instead!

    Attached Files:

    Wobbler, JimHerriot, Waddell and 2 others like this.
  9. Waddell

    Waddell Well-Known Member

    Venturer Courageous.JPG

    I have finished reading about Tobruk and am getting back to my pile of RAF, RAAF and FAA memoirs. Top of the pile is Venturer Courageous- Group Captain Leonard Trent V.C, D.F.C. by James Sanders. Written by a newspaper man who was also a RAF pilot and drawing upon Trent's personal letters, this is quite a good read. To say that Trent had an eventful war is something of an understatement. Among other roles he was a Blenheim pilot during the Fall of France and the first man not to make it out of the tunnel during the Great Escape!. Boy's own stuff.
    Wobbler, JimHerriot, stolpi and 3 others like this.
  10. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member


    One of the better Ospreys. Well written, covers an obscurer subject well from development to action in all theatres. Good look at combat in the Mediterranean where the Ar 196 performed rather well against RAF aircraft.
  11. PDH

    PDH Junior Member

    Just started to delve in to this

  12. Tolbooth

    Tolbooth Patron Patron

    'Alanbrooke, Churchill's right hand critic' by Andrew Sangster

    My mother always said 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything' so, by rights, I should be keeping quiet about now.


    Very disappointing. The author has simply rehashed Alanbrooke's diary and added a few background bits and pieces he's picked up from a general history of WW2 and a cursory look through a couple of other biogs of major figures. The major players come across as flat and one-dimensional - Churchill is the petulant child always having to be restrained by Brooke, Monty the vain egoist and Mountbatten the royal military dilletante etc.

    I'm sure there's a good biog of Brooke to be written but afraid this isn't it. I'll have to try and find the David Fraser book - anyone read that one ? Any good ?
    Don Juan, Charley Fortnum and Chris C like this.
  13. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian layabout

    I think that saying is more appropriate to people. We should be able to review and critique books :)
  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Happy As a King, by Alan Dawson. The story of Roy 'Lulu' Lane a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain and beyond. After surviving the summer of 1940, including being shot down and badly burnt, Roy Lane re-entered the war flying Hurricanes over Burma. He sadly perished in 1944 whilst serving on Chindit 2:

    Orwell1984 likes this.
  15. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Looks very interesting.

    A brief overview here:

    bamboo43 likes this.
  16. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    In Post 4047 Hucks216 refers to Simon Akam's book. There has been a pre-publication "ding, dong" between the author, those interviewed and the MoD / Army which delayed publication. That aside there are some useful reviews.

    Notably this one by Helen Parr, a historian: The long decline of the British army - Prospect Magazine

    Try these two earlier reviews:
    The Changing of the Guard by Simon Akam review – the truth about the British army

    The Changing Of The Guard review: It is an uncomfortable read | Daily Mail Online

    Now a few days ago there this pithy comment:
    Link: Culture: addressing Apathy and Dishonesty within the British Army. »
  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks for the additional information. Lane and his colleague were Chindit Liaison officers on Operation Thursday. They went back to the stronghold codenamed Aberdeen to collect their planes to fly recce sorties over Japanese positions. This is when Roy Lane crashed and was taken prisoner and executed.
  18. Don Juan

    Don Juan Well-Known Member

    The strangest thing about the whole Alanbrooke-Churchill story is that there was in fact a very powerful middle man between these two figures who rarely seems to get a mention, and that was the Secretary of State for War, Sir James Grigg, who was Alanbrooke's real boss, and who effectively ran the British war effort.

    Grigg seems to have been expert at hiding his influence - he effectively pulled the strings at the Ministry of Supply, telling Andrew Duncan to put Claude Gibb in charge of the tank programme (or else...) and I'm quite surprised that nobody seems to have researched him, as I've no doubt an absolutely fascinating book would result.
    Nick the Noodle and Chris C like this.
  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Plus Pug Ismay and Leslie Hollis smoothing feathers and creatively stalling where required.
    Tolbooth likes this.
  20. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Got myself a Kindle version of the "First Burma Campaign" by Foucar

    Charley Fortnum likes this.

Share This Page