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The Old China Hands by Charles G. Finney. I picked up this paperback probably 5 or 6 years ago at Windy City Pulp & Paperback Show. Finney (1905-1984) is best known for writing The Circus of Dr. Lao (1935). You may have seen the 1963 movie with Tony Randall and Barbara Eden. The novel was […]

I am always up for a good military history: John Keegan’s The First World War, Correlli Barnett’s Britain and Her Army, Ivan Musicant’s The Banana Wars, Douglas Porch’s The French Foreign Legion, Brian McAllister Linn’s Guardians of Empire, and D. J. Goodspeed’s The German Wars 1914-1945. John MacManus’ Fire and Fortitude: The U.S. Army in […]

World War II saw the introduction of various elite light infantry troops: paratroopers, British Commandos, U.S. Army Rangers, Marine Raiders, Fallschirmjager, Special Naval Landing Forces etc. One unit that was unknown until recently was the Alamo Scouts. I first read of the Alamo Scouts in Hampton Sides’ Ghost Soldiers. They are mentioned being with the […]

[Part1] …a recurring theme… first the new life spreads out across the surface, there to ASCEND into the space above.   Judgment Day   Before the last Ice Age began, a new kind of creature, the one we call Man, came into the world somehow. We don’t know quite how, scientifically, but there he is. […]

[Part 1] …there is another diabolical piece to this puzzle, one the Prosecution had failed to fit to its proper place before.   The Carbon Wars   They began a long time ago, long after the dinosaurs were gone, sometime late in the Autumn of Life. We can’t say just when. The ancient forests were […]

[Part 1] …[an] insidious gang of possible accomplices… we’ll need to investigate a little further before passing judgment.   The Winter of Life   At the worst of the Ice Age, the Arctic of now was the Europe of then- ice to the North, then permafrost all the way south to the Alps, then tundra and […]

My latest addition in the Osprey Men-at-Arms series is Latin American Wars 1900-1941. Subtitled “’Banana Wars,’ Border Wars & Revolutions,” it covers mostly small wars of Latin America. The booklet does not cover the Mexican revolution and civil wars of the teens and the Chaco War between Bolivia and Peru in the 1930s. That was […]

[Part 1] Flowers were invented towards the end of the dinosaur’s reign, then grass, that uncanny, flowering plant.   The Autumn of Life   Around the time the dinosaurs left us, or maybe sometime after, the Earth began to get colder. There was a brief Indian Summer of an Eocene High, followed by the Azolla […]

This video is an excellent summary of the fighting in Europe at the end of WW2.  I love the graphics which show the movements of corps and armies and the map’s color even changes in winter. I knew a lot of bad strategic defensive decisions were made by the Germans (all Hitler’s fault?) towards the end […]

Yesterday was the 204th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo making this week’s WW post a perfect time to recommend two excellent books and an interview I conducted with author (Waterloo Betrayed) Stephen Beckett.  Always a risky thing recommending books on Waterloo as there have been a multitude of books published on the topic but […]

Printed before the war ended, Thrilling Stories of the Russian-Japanese War covers the 1904 – 1905 war up to the Battle of Mukden but before the final naval catastrophe at Tsushima.  The title is a little misleading as the first eight chapters provides a comprehensive overview of Japanese history, the Mikado (imperial dynasty), home life […]

Paracelsus The first written mention of gnomes has been attributed to Theophrastus von Hohenheim, known as Paracelsus, a 16th century physician and alchemist, in his posthumously published (1566) book,  Ex Libro de Nymphis, Sylvanis, Pygmaeis, Salamandris et Gigantibus, etc..  Many web articles on gnomes mention the book and include brief excerpts on the nature of the […]