Well, I can definitely say I’m off to really bad start keeping to the schedule. What is worse is the book I picked to begin this cycle. I just finished Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, translated with introductions and commentary by Ralph D. Sawyer. What this book should really be called is “Ralph Sawyer’s Commentary about Chinese Warfare History and Oh, Yeah, a Bit of Sun Tzu’s ‘Art of War’ Thrown in…”. I consider myself of mediocre intelligence. I wouldn’t consider myself stupid generally but this book made me feel like I was quite an idiot. First, there are all the names. I could NOT keep them straight. Sawyer throws them around like the reader should know them from previous study. His introduction (I hesitate to continue to call it that – it’s the longest introduction I’ve ever read and is more about Chinese history, not just military history) required me to buy this book on my Nook Color just so I could easily use Google to look up all the names. To be fair, some of the names are from so far back in History, it took quite a bit of research. Sun Tzu’s translation is broken up (partly due to the fact that what they found was somewhat incomplete) and choppy and I would read a section and then sit there for almost an hour trying to figure out exactly how I could apply it to more modern warfare. This contributed greatly to my length of time to read this book also (in addition to the Google research). I would not recommend this book for the casual reader but for the reader who is heavily leaning toward writing a dissertation or thesis for their work in military history. For me, this going on the bottom shelf of the “Already Read” bookshelf right at the back where I can’t readily see it. This way I won’t have to feel stupid everytime I look at that shelf. Has anyone read this and what did you think?
Well, now I can move on!! Next up is “A Rumor of War” by Philip Caputo. This is a recommendation from my Dad who has given me quite a few books recently but he said he wanted this one back sooner rather than later so I had to move it up. It’s a Vietnam War memoir and since my Dad never talks about his time serving in that war and since he rarely reads books about that war, I admit I’m very intrigued. I’m just praying it’s easier to read than “The Art of War” – if it’s not, I might cry…
After this book, I’m starting a new project. In my last post I mentioned a website with the map of the world and it showed where various conflicts throughout history have occurred and a bit about the conflict. It goes all the way back to 4000 B.C. so I thought I would see if there are any books on those conflicts and start from there moving forward. A friend of mine always jokes whenever a military history question comes up in trivia that I should know the answer and here’s hoping this project will make me more well-rounded in this area.
Another project I’m starting is what I’m calling my U.S. Tour for lack of a better title. I realized when I popped over to Seattle for work that it was the first time I had ever been to Washington. Then I sat down and made a list of all the states and US territories and checked off the ones I’ve actually visited (a layover at the airport does not count as a visit). I’ve only visited 20 states!! So I thought I would try to get to every state and territory with the goal being that I would visit some military historical site and then I could check it off the list. I’m starting from the east coast and moving west and then I’ll hit the territories. This project will be a long one mostly because it’s kind of expensive!! But as I build up my rewards points for airfare, rental cars, and hotels through my job-related travel, hopefully, it won’t be too bad. Plus if I pop over for a long weekend, that tends to help also. So posts about this project are going to be in this blog but I’ll start a separate section and put the infrequent posts in there. First up will be Maine and I’m hoping to put that away before Labor Day as things tend to get hectic for me in September and October. I’ll get the section up and running later this evening so there will be at least a list of targeted states. I would love any suggestions of sites to visit!!
I’m hoping to post next Thursday but in the meantime, Happy Thursday!!