Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Very Scary Solstice

Long time friends and acquaintances know that I take Christmas very seriously. On the other hand, I always appreciate a good humorous lampoon, and I'm also a fan of H.P. Lovecraft's fiction.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society has put out two "Solstice" (read: Christmas) albums. The first was A Very Scary Solstice, the new one is An Even Scarier Solstice. Both of these are available online.

A good example of the fun songs is It's beginning to look a lot like Fish-Men (go there now and play the song) to the tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas".

Great fun for your holiday gaming session.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Vacation - a book fest (but sadly no miniature painting)

I just posted about a used book store find that I got from McKay's books in Winston Salem - Red Cavalry. Other books that I read (or purchased) over the Holiday weekend include:

A War Like No Other - Victor Davis Hanson analyzes the Peloponnesian War with (in my opinion) good historical perspective. He then appplies the lessons of that conflict to modern day (and other) examples of "just war". You may find it interesting.

The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction - S.A. Smith. Just what it says - a short introduction. Good overview of the 1905-1917 era, with the rise and release of Lenin, and the rise of the Bolsheviks over the Mensheviks. Not bad, but (as it says) short.

Greek War of Independence - David Brewer. Good book on the events of the 1820s and 30s. Not a lot of detail for the wargamer, but a very good general history. A lot of detail on individual personalities, which makes the whole thing very accessible.

The Russian Civil War - Evan Mawdsley. A very nice counter to Red Victor by Lincoln (my favorite single volume on the RCW). Shows in great detail how the Whites really had a lot of advantages, and how the Red chances of victory were slimmer than previously supposed. I don't know if I'm convinced (I haven't read the whole book, admittedly) but it does make for good reading.

1066: The Year of the Conquest - David Howarth. One of my favorite history authors - this is (as usual) a very readable and enjoyable book. Worth looking for, and should be easy to find.

So there you have it - the books I dragged along with me on my week long trip, and some I picked up on the way. My time would have been better spent painting miniatures, however. Harrumph.

Red Cavalry - a recent used book store find

Red Cavalry is a collection of short stories and reports written by Babel during the Russo-Polish war. I have, admittedly, not read the entire work, but the excerpts I have read made it clear to me why it (in the 1920s) got broad international acclaim for two reasons - (1) It is engrossing and well written, and (2) it is incredibly brutal.

The scenes of Bolshevik, White, Green, Anarchist and Polish troops engaged in all sorts of operations are meticulously detailed, and the feel for someone doing RCW (or related) is fantastic. If you can manage to keep your lunch down between the descriptions of mercy killings, slogging through your own mate's intestines, and gang rape victims being taunted.

Not for the young.