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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 […]

World War 2 started on September 1, 1939 with the infantrymen of the initial belligerents using the same rifles used a generation before in World War 1. The biggest difference was the use of a new generation of light machine guns – Bren guns, MG-34s etc. The submachine gun did have an impact, and everyone […]

The United States of America got into the empire business in the wake of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Cuba achieved independence after a few years, but the U.S. decided to keep Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Hawaii was scooped up at this time also. The Spanish had a ramshackle empire in the late […]

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