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What WW1 books are you reading?


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4 hours ago, The Scorer said:

Did anyone know that the Japanese have a word for people who buy books but never quite get around to reading them?

 

It's apparently "tsundoku", which is in itself made up of three words in combination - "tsunde", meaning to stack things; "oku", meaning to leave for a while; and "doku", which means to read. It's not considered an insult in Japan as people who engage in tsundoku, do actually intend to read the books thty buy sometime …. one day …  as opposed to the bibliomaniac who just buys books for the sake of having them.

 

So, tsundokus of the world unite … you are a member of an honourable body of people!!

 

 

 

Arigato gozaimashito!

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6 hours ago, Black Maria said:

Judging by this thread where out of 29,000 + members only 14 of them have told us what books they are reading over the last three months i would say there are

quite a few tsundokus among us .

Well actually I’ve just finished Middlemarch and the latest Robert Harris and now I’m reading Little Dorrit and the new Philip Pullman but somehow I didn’t think anyone would want to know that.

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31 minutes ago, Dust Jacket Collector said:

Well actually I’ve just finished Middlemarch and the latest Robert Harris and now I’m reading Little Dorrit and the new Philip Pullman but somehow I didn’t think anyone would want to know that.

Well there doesn't seem to be many people reading WW1 books on the forum, so maybe they would ! Speaking for myself i've recently been reading 

'The Hungry one' ,' Bottom of the barrel ', A Victorian Son ' , 'Captain Hepper's Great War diary' , 'War letters of Bernard Long', 'Angels and Heroes',

'Private 12768', 'Trench Life in the front line' , 'Young Citizen, Old Soldier', 'A Man at Arms' and half way through the excellent 'Was it Yesterday?' . But 

i don't think anyone would want to know that either :)

 

Edited by Black Maria
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To be perfectly honest, I don’t read that many WW1 books. I have about 2500 of them and buy a couple each week. I read a little of each one and carry on if they’re sufficiently interesting but if I read nothing else then, a. they’d merge into each other so I couldn’t recall one from another and b. I’d go mad. Speaking to a couple of fellow collectors at yesterday’s Lewes book fair it seems others like me don’t actually read all the books they collect either. Whether this qualifies me for certification is another matter.

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To be honest as well i don't particularly like reading that much . Apart from 'Rogue Male' and 'Mein Kampf ' i don't think i've ever read a non-WW1 book , it's only a strong 

desire to try and understand what it must have been like to be a British soldier on the Western Front that drives me to read their memoirs. I do agree that they start to

merge into one after a while , that's why i do book reviews on Amazon , so that i can go back and remember the gist of them . Even though i'm not a big reading fan i 

must say that i've thoroughly enjoyed finding out about the experiences of the men whose memoirs i've read so far and there's many more waiting .

 

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13 hours ago, Black Maria said:

Judging by this thread where out of 29,000 + members only 14 of them have told us what books they are reading over the last three months i would say there are

quite a few tsundokus among us .

My thanks to the 14.. 

I've picked up a few titles, after a recommendation or two by those contributing here. Piling them ever higher.

 

 I've just finished, and enjoyed reading,  "Having a go at the Kaiser. - A Welsh Family at War"  by Gethin Matthews  -  Forum member "Welsh Voices".

The book is based on over 100 letters and postcards, sent home, mostly between 1916-18, by the Eustis brothers of Mynyddbach, Treboeth, Swansea.

 Richard Eustis was a pre-War Territorial;  a member of the Treboeth Temperence Band, who joined the 3rd Welsh Field Ambulance en-masse in 1913.  He was mobilized at the outbreak of War, and served as in Gallipoli and the Middle East, going without home leave from late 1915 -1919.  Richard also kept a diary for some of his service.

 Gabriel Eustis served as Z/282. R.N.V.R; a Telegraphist aboard H.M.S Saxon, an armed trawler on anti-submarine patrol with the 10th Cruiser Squadron in the North Atlantic.

 (Thomas) Ivor Eustis M.M.  served as - A/Sgt 46144. 17th R.W.F.  He joined in May 1916, trained at Kinmel Park, qualified as a Marksman, and trained new recruits until being posted to France in Dec.1917. 

 The letters were mainly sent to their Mother and Aunt, but references show they were shared among family and friends. There is nothing new or dramatic, the letters were meant to reassure those at home. They do give an insight into the War, from all active theatres, as experienced by one family.

 The letters are mostly written in English with odd Welsh phases, in jokes, nicknames etc., translations are provided. They are mostly reproduced in full.

The wrong service number is given for Richard Eustis and a point or two is stretched by the author in the summary but all in all an enjoyable read.

 

 

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On 13/10/2019 at 19:21, Black Maria said:

Judging by this thread where out of 29,000 + members only 14 of them have told us what books they are reading over the last three months i would say there are

quite a few tsundokus among us .

 

Not everyone posts what they are reading on this thread. Others post reviews of what they have read in the Book Review Forum.

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Some of us come to discover what we should be reading.

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On ‎13‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 09:52, The Scorer said:

Did anyone know that the Japanese have a word for people who buy books but never quite get around to reading them?

 

It's apparently "tsundoku", which is in itself made up of three words in combination - "tsunde", meaning to stack things; "oku", meaning to leave for a while; and "doku", which means to read. It's not considered an insult in Japan as people who engage in tsundoku, do actually intend to read the books thty buy sometime …. one day …  as opposed to the bibliomaniac who just buys books for the sake of having them.

 

So, tsundokus of the world unite … you are a member of an honourable body of people!!

 

 

Glad to know that…

 

M.

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right… only thing that's not clear… does this count only for REAL (I mean physical, paper-made) books???

Because I've just noticed that I have nearly 30 reading samples on my Kindl… that's "I think I'll probably buy them and read them but for now I just have the sample to remind me of the fact that I have to read them" … I know, difficult case …

 

This was the philosophical question of the day

 

M.

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On 14/10/2019 at 20:20, Crunchy said:

 

Not everyone posts what they are reading on this thread. Others post reviews of what they have read in the Book Review Forum.

 

There is a similar thread to this on WW2Talk and a newer thread with micro reviews ( a thread of short reviews) which seems to work pretty well if you wish to have a go at briefly reviewing a book. 

 

Possibly a subject for the rant thread but a pet hate of mine with threads like this are short posts stating simply that "I am reading X written by Y". Doesn't really help anyone- at least say whether you like it or not and why briefly. Fortunately I haven't seen many like that here.

 

Back to normal now.

 

Scott 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Waddell
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2 hours ago, Waddell said:

 

 

 

Possibly a subject for the rant thread but a pet hate of mine with threads like this are short posts stating simply that "I am reading X written by Y". Doesn't really help anyone- at least say whether you like it or not and why briefly. Fortunately I haven't seen many like that here.

 

Back to normal now.

 

Scott 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes , i agree with you there it's very frustrating . A bit like the reviews on Amazon that just say something like ' great book' . I think this is a valuable thread where people

can give a quick opinion of a book without having to do a full review and it also alerts people to books they may not have been aware of . When i first joined

the forum i used to give a more in depth opinion of the books i had read on this thread but after a while i got the feeling that not many people were interested

in memoirs .

Edited by Black Maria
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12 hours ago, Black Maria said:

Yes , i agree with you there it's very frustrating . A bit like the reviews on Amazon that just say something like ' great book' . I think this is a valuable thread where people

can give a quick opinion of a book without having to do a full review and it also alerts people to books they may not have been aware of . When i first joined

the forum i used to give a more in depth opinion of the books i had read on this thread but after a while i got the feeling that not many people were interested

in memoirs .

 

BM,

 

If its any consolation I read your postings about old memoirs and collect a few. Please continue to review the older and rarer memoirs you collect. 

 

Bear in mind that many of the books you collect are not available to the general reader and won't garner interest like a new release readily available will. Speaking from a researchers point of view it is a good thing to have someone keeping the old books alive and able to review and describe the contents they hold.

 

Scott 

 

 

Edited by Waddell
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5 hours ago, Waddell said:

 

BM,

 

If its any consolation I read your postings about old memoirs and collect a few. Please continue to review the older and rarer memoirs you collect. 

 

Bear in mind that many of the books you collect are not available to the general reader and won't garner interest like a new release readily available will. Speaking from a researchers point of view it is a good thing to have someone keeping the old books alive and able to review and describe the contents they hold.

 

Scott 

 

 

:thumbsup:

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On 23/05/2016 at 06:45, Cockney said:

I am currently reading Andrew MacDonald's "First Day at the Somme" and enjoying it very much. It is well researched and very readable. A useful modern complement to Mr Middlebrook's classic.

Thanks (very belated) for your kind words!

Andy

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Based on the reviews I got here on the forum, I started to read Stephen McReal's "War on hospital ships". Seems to be good enough, but I already managed to get a bit annoyed by the simple quoting of the five articles of the Hague régulations about hospital ships, instead of explaining what they mean…

but OK… Moving on. I hope to find some answers about the ships on which the nurses I'm researching died (Salta to start with).

 

M.

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I bought an interesting looking book the other day - a 1995 edition of a book published in 1970 - but I should have dipped further into it in the shop, or consulted the GWF search engine, before shelling out £12 on it.  I now learn that The Canvas Falcons by Stephen Longstreet features in a GWF thread of the worst books about WW1.  It really is dire - inaccurate, parochial, badly researched, badly written, sloppy editing, and opinionated to boot. no wonder my copy is in such good condition with a good dust jacket.  What was Leo Cooper thinking about in deciding to publish it in the UK?

 

I've struggled as far as Chapter 4 but I don't really think I can bear to read any further.  I would give it to a charity shop but I wouldn't want some poor soul to buy it and think it was history.  It rather goes against the grain to put it in the recycling but I almost think it my duty to ensure that it doesn't escape into the world!

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Hi

 

I have recently finished 'The Learning Process - The BEF's Art of War on the Western front, 1914-18' by Andrew Rawson, Helion, 2019.  To be frank I was rather disappointed, probably because I expected something more detailed on the 'Learning Process'.  It appears to be a 'summary' of the British part of the war on the WF using mainly Official History sources with some War Diaries' also included.  It appears not to have used much in the way of the 'Lesson's Learnt' documents that are in TNA, let alone discussions/arguments over these or the drafts of SS documents.  There is a 'summary' at the end of each chapter and Chapter 11 is titled 'Summarising the Learning Process'  in 12 pages.  The 'Learning Process' is covered very briefly, for instance page 322 mentions that "Pilots eventually used Klaxon horns and Very lights to communicate with the infantry and men on the ground responded by lighting flares."  The actual learning process for this brief sentence covers the BEF experiments during 1915 (not to mention some experiments with the technology pre-war), lessons learnt from the French at Verdun. the lessons learnt document by the RFC during July 1916 which led to the introduction of the Klaxon, this was due to the ground troops missing the white Very light.  Reference the ground flares, there is correspondence and arguments over the 'use' of these and alternatives throughout the war including a large survey of what the various BEF Armies' thought (down to battalion level) at the end of 1917.  I use this example because I have done (and published) a fair amount of research on it, but many other changes in techniques, equipment, tactics etc. were also a large 'learning process' in a similar manner.  Again I probably expected too much from the title.  at present I think 'Learning to Fight' by Aimee Fox is a better book on the 'Learning Process', but detail on how this process worked for particular changes in the war fighting methods of the BEF is still 'missing' from much literature. 

Others who have read it may disagree of course.

 

Mike

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Hi Mike,

 

Try Amiee Fox's Learning to Fight: Military Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914-18. I think you will find it a superior study of the extent to which the British Army in the  Great War was a learning organisation, and it considers the exchange of ideas from different fronts, not just the Western Front. To the best of my knowledge it is the result of her PhD studies. She is a fine historian.

 

Regards

Chris

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6 hours ago, Crunchy said:

Hi Mike,

 

Try Amiee Fox's Learning to Fight: Military Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914-18. I think you will find it a superior study of the extent to which the British Army in the  Great War was a learning organisation, and it considers the exchange of ideas from different fronts, not just the Western Front. To the best of my knowledge it is the result of her PhD studies. She is a fine historian.

 

Regards

Chris

 

Aimee did a slot at the GWF Conference a couple of years back on her subject and it came over very well. I wasn't particularly interested at the time but it is 'on the list'. It may rise a bit further up as a result of your view Chris.

 

Pete.

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8 hours ago, Crunchy said:

Hi Mike,

 

Try Amiee Fox's Learning to Fight: Military Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914-18. I think you will find it a superior study of the extent to which the British Army in the  Great War was a learning organisation, and it considers the exchange of ideas from different fronts, not just the Western Front. To the best of my knowledge it is the result of her PhD studies. She is a fine historian.

 

Regards

Chris

Hi Chris

 

I agree, as I have read her book and it is why I also mentioned it as a better book on the 'learning process'.  However, it does not cover much in the way of the 'lower level' discussion over new methods or equipment.  One of the problems of 'learning lessons' is getting agreement amongst units on what is the 'lesson learnt'.  In the research I have undertaken I have noted that battalions, Brigades, Divisions etc. can disagree over the 'solution' it generally depends if a particular 'solution' or 'equipment' worked well for them in the past.  As we know whether something 'works' can depend on the terrain, weather, defences attacked etc. so may not work on all occasions, so there will always be a compromise.  From research into the subject I mentioned, GHQ took the results of the survey, took the most 'recommended' solutions and undertook trials of these to rule in or rule out their use.  These were then incorporated into SS documents, although GHQ never ruled out further experimentation by units as they knew the 'solutions' were still far from perfect.

 

Mike

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12 hours ago, MikeMeech said:

Hi Chris

 

I agree, as I have read her book and it is why I also mentioned it as a better book on the 'learning process'.  

 

 

Sorry Mike, I missed that in your previous post.

 

12 hours ago, MikeMeech said:

One of the problems of 'learning lessons' is getting agreement amongst units on what is the 'lesson learnt'.  In the research I have undertaken I have noted that battalions, Brigades, Divisions etc. can disagree over the 'solution' it generally depends if a particular 'solution' or 'equipment' worked well for them in the past.  As we know whether something 'works' can depend on the terrain, weather, defences attacked etc. so may not work on all occasions, so there will always be a compromise.  From research into the subject I mentioned, GHQ took the results of the survey, took the most 'recommended' solutions and undertook trials of these to rule in or rule out their use.  These were then incorporated into SS documents, although GHQ never ruled out further experimentation by units as they knew the 'solutions' were still far from perfect.

 

Mike

 

I agree Mike. The learning process is not as simple as some people would think, and it takes time for lessons to percolate across and down through an organisation. As you rightly point what works in one situation doesn't in another. On the whole, though, I think the Brits did a pretty good job and more so than they are given credit for.

 

Regards

Chris

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22 hours ago, Crunchy said:

Hi Mike,

 

Try Amiee Fox's Learning to Fight: Military Innovation and Change in the British Army, 1914-18. I think you will find it a superior study of the extent to which the British Army in the  Great War was a learning organisation, and it considers the exchange of ideas from different fronts, not just the Western Front. To the best of my knowledge it is the result of her PhD studies. She is a fine historian.

 

Regards

Chris

 Her  PhD thesis is available online

Fox-Godden, Aimée Elizabeth (2015). 'Putting Knowledge in Power': learning and innovation in the British Army of the First World War. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/6113

 

Cheers

Maureen

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