Good morning bookies! Stand by for news and comment.
If you’re looking for Part Two of the World Famous Trip Blog, especially those of you working for the foreign press, those blogs will be separate from the normal blog. I know you want to read what I thought about your country, and I know you Swiss are waiting for my comments on your police force, but I have regular readers also who expect book news.
I’m also still feeling gloppy, though not quite as gloppy as yesterday, which raised gloppiness to new heights. Yuckishness is about the same.
*** Giles MacDonogh’s last book was the massively unpopular and exceedingly well researched After the Reich: The Brutal History of Allied Occupation, a long overdue examination of the wholesale slaughter of German civilians after World War Two, mostly in the East but tolerated by indifference in the West, as well as the diaspora of German families who had lived abroad for generations. It was shameful and betrayed the ideals of what we had been fighting for, even if it was somewhat understandable in the context of the times.
Now MacDonogh is back with a new book that looks at pre-war Germany in 1938, the year of decision, the year when the Allies could have stopped Hitler, maybe with war and maybe without, but stop him they could. The Wehrmacht of 1938 was not ready for war. This is one that your friendly neighborhood bookseller would like to read, given that he has actually seen the table on which the Munich agreement was signed, as well as his general interest in the period. The author is usually entertaining in style and authoritative in scope, so there is little to indicate this won’t be an important and illuminating work.
Okay, another WW2 review. Lest ye think otherwise, no, this is not an exclusively World War Two oriented blog. It’s just working out that way right now.
*** Evans Carlson is one of the most influential military leaders the US has ever produced. Which is saying something, considering that he only commanded small numbers of troops and only fought in twice in combat. Yet his innovations are a fundamental part of today’s military.
Carlson was a marine and both raised and commanded the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. aka Carlson’s Raiders. A new book gives depth to the life of this important man and his two battles, American Commando: Evans Carlson, His WWII Marine Raiders and America’s First Special Forces Mission by John Wukovits. What Carlson did was form an entire battalion of guerrillas, based on the model of the Chinese Communists. Within that battalion he became one of the men, sharing their hardships, leading from the front.
At Makin Island in 1942 his leadership was, to say the least, uneven. He sort of accomplished his mission of harrying the Japanese but also left men behind to the horrors of Japanese captivity. Carlson, however, learned from his mistakes, and during the Battle of Guadalcanal his launched his battalion behind Japanese lines and devastated their efforts to retake Henderson Field. Known as The Long Patrol, that mission is the one that made him famous and is still studied today.