Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
This book covers an important piece of American history, the first foreign war fought by the United States. The Barbary nations associated with the Ottoman Empire practiced piracy and enslaved captured crews of any Nation that could not defend its merchant fleet or could not afford the "tributes" the leaders of the Barbary Coast nations demanded as the price to not have ships, cargos, and crews captured and sold. It was President Jefferson (the third President) who decided that continuing to pay foreign nations who held US citizens for ransom (while forcing them to perform hard labor as slaves), and continuing to raid US flagged merchant vessels, was bad policy. President Jefferson persuaded Congress to fund new Naval construction and personnel to take the fight to the Barbary pirate nations. This well researched book details the diplomatic front, as well as the battles fought by the US Navy and Marines.
The Disinherited by Steve White
This is Steve White's first solo novel. My first printing of this book has a 1993 copyright. It's a straight up space opera, and fans of the classic SciFi RPG Traveller, and the closely related 2300AD game will some familiar concepts. It is also a first contact story. A group of Terrans, a mix of Americans and Russians working in the Asteroid Belt are contacted by beings from another star, with advanced technology. Both sides are more than a bit freaked out to find out they are both human. The alien humans have a problem, namely a very aggressive species of actual alien that makes up for a slightly lower tech base with a fracking lot of resources. The space faring Earth humans go to assist the other humans. They might as well, since the Earth had been poisoned by what Mr. White had correctly identified 23 years ago as the toxic ravings of the so called "social justice" movement, which has a more dangerous level of Antisemitism than it does today. Heroic stuff happens, and there is even a surprise twist at the end. Just to top this tale of adventure in deep space off, there is a mad scientist and his beautiful daughter.
The Emperor in the Cities of Danger [The Amazing Adventures of the Emperor #4] by Charles Jackson Lee II
This book is actually collection of stories. All of which take place in different major cities. Seattle and San Francisco for example. The tales of the Emperor are delightful pulp stories with a light hearted touch. The hero, one Charles Jackson Lee, is an actual superhero, with super powers. He goes by "The Emperor", but his "Empire" consists mostly of himself, which is enough. :-) He doesn't go for costumes or secret identities. He prefers a suit and tie, and makes movies when he isn't fighting crime. I find these stories fun to read, and I enjoy the other pulp genre references. This includes the time he ran into Spencer and Hawk while at a party in Boston. If they made movies of these stories, Job Bob would say check 'em out.
13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff and the Annex Security Team
Mitchell is a journalism professor at Boston University. This is not a political book. It is a detailed account of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. It details what the security arrangement were, including the use of local militia groups, who was where during each of the multiple attacks, who died, who was wounded, and what the responses by the State Department were at the time.
Not A Good Day to Die by Sean Naylor
For Memorial Day, I'm going with my Monday Book pick for July 28, 2014. This book tells the story of Operation Anaconda. It starts with the first planning stages in January 2002, through its conclusion in early March 2002. Up to this point, the war in Afghanistan had been conducted mainly by US Special Forces troops working with various Afghanistan groups and calling in US air assets. Anaconda was the first operation to involve large scale use of regular US forces. In this case elements of the 10th Mountain Division and the 101st Airborne Division. The first third of the book covers the planning and the background of the key players. This is fairly dry, but interesting and informative on why and how the fog of war effected the operation. Intelligence said that there were 200-250 Al Qaeda fighters in the intended AO (Area of Operation). The plan was for Afghan forces, with Special Forces 'advisers' to confront the enemy, with 'escape routes' to be blocked by Afghan forces and elements of the 10th Mountain and 101st Airborne. The motto, 'no plan survives contact with the enemy' is often referenced in various forms in this book. There were a lot more than 250 AQ fighters, later estimates put it at 800 or more. They opened up the US forces almost immediately after they got out their helicopters with small arms, heavy machine guns, mortars, and in some cases artillery. The US forces responded with much more accurate fire and air strikes. Lots and lots of air strikes. From the CIA's armed Predator drones to B-52s dropping JDAM bombs. The most effective though were the Apache helicopters, which got close enough to see the enemy and pour firepower right were it was needed. The fighting continued much longer than expected, in areas were it wasn't expected, from a well dug in, and well supplied enemy force. Many of which got to see Allah personally. A well written book about a major operation that dispelled the common notion in early 2002, that the war in Afghanistan was almost over.
Code of Conduct by Brad Thor
Scott Harvath is back and the bad guys are even badder. Uber-rich eugenicists are out to trim the planetary population, especially those people they don't think are genetically suited for continued life on the planet. Norseman takes names,and kills bad guys. It's good solid adventure pulp, which is a good thing.
Liberty 1784 by Robert Conroy
Another excellent alternate history from the late Robert Conroy. In this one, history changed when the British Navy defeated the French convoy sent to support the American in their bid for independence. The British army is reinforced at Yorktown, and Washington's army is defeated. Things don't go well for the defeated Americans: George Washington is taken to London, tried for treason, and beheaded at the Tower of London (which how the book starts); many members of Congress, including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, are captured and sentenced to hard labor as slaves in Caribbean. Members of the American army are branded, and are ill treated by the Tories and the British Troops still in the colonies. Many surviving patriots went west, to towns like Liberty. These included people still wanted by the British, such as John Hancock and Ben Franklin. In order to root out the last bits of rebellion, the British gather a large force to enter the wilderness and destroy Liberty.
Liberty is a hard thing to destroy it turns out.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by John Ringo and Larry Correia
As my gentle readers know, I'm a big fan of John Ringo and Larry Correia. So when John Ringo decided there was a few Monster Hunter books in him that just had to come out, of course I was there. This is the first in a series of books detailing the life and hard times of one Oliver Chadwick Gardenier, a hot shot monster hunter during the 1980s and early 1990s. Returned to Earth by a fisher named Peter, who said "the boss" had a job for him. That job was hunting monsters. Interesting fellow Chad, genius with a gift for languages, who studied the ASVAB tests so he could make sure that he was made a Rifleman when he joined the Marines. Then there was Chad's relationship with his parents, especially his mother. Let's just say they didn't get along well. One of the cool parts of the book was the "Pro Tips" Chad scatters around his memoirs. Here are some examples: "Pro-tip: If you're going to be cutting off a lot of heads, get a really good katana." "I don't care how big and muscle bound you are, things like yoga and ballet are useful. That's the pro-tip." Then there is what to wear when jogging in the dark in an area you know monsters live in. A fun read, like most of Ringo's books, there is a fair amount of humor mixed with really, really good actions scenes.
Soldiers Out of Time by
Jason Thanou is once again traveling through time, and in this latest entry in the series, space as well. Keep in mind that Thanou is not from Earth, so the space travel element in this series has been baked in from the start. If fact, most of the action against the evil Transhumanists takes place on planets other than Earth. There is, of course, time travel on Earth, late 19th Century, near the Khyber Pass. Lots of action and plot twists. A good addition to the series.
Quest of the Spider by Kenneth Robenson
Setting the Wayback Machine to May 1933 for this chunk of crunchy pulp goodness. The third published Doc Savage adventure, and an important change in the series. After killing bad guys left and right in the first two books, Doc returns from his Fortress of Solitude (just where did you think Superman got the idea from?), and vowed not to take human life (directly) again. This is where he and his team start using the "mercy" bullets that just render people unconscious, the introduction of his "Crime College" in upstate New York for turning criminals into honest citizens. There is plenty of action, pulp style, and plenty of bad guys dying in horrible fashions. It's just not Doc and his five companions dealing death directly anymore.
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo and Larry Correia
Oliver Chadwick Gardenier is back. Seattle got a bit "too hot" for him (How was he to know that elf chick was only 40?), so for his sins, he is sent to New Orleans. Vampires, werewolves, and giant naked mole rats. Oh my! As fans of the series know, the job of the MCB is to keep knowledge of monsters and the "supernatural" from the public. This is a problem in New Orleans, since most of the locals already know that "HooDoo" is real. There are enough outbreaks of zombies and ghouls that cemeteries in New Orleans are built with fences and locked gates. Then there is the full moon. Things get really weird then, and very, very dangerous for Monster Hunters. Like any John Ringo book, the action scenes are very well done. It is the little touches that had me giggling through this book. Like the male bonding sessions with Chad and Milo (Milo is on the roof the car, trying to pick off zombies on a golf course, and Chad is rocking the car...something my own asshole of a brother would do (love ya Fred, but don't try to deny this). There is a also the Cajun member of "Team Hoodoo" that thinks monsters make good eating. That includes the afore mentioned giant naked mole rat. Monster Hunting in New Orleans is different that what fans of the series have come to expect. For one thing, the MCB publishes a supermarket rag of the local events. Think "plausible denial." Team Hoodoo are local celebrities, and yes, Chad uses that to get laid. Their "landlord" is a local drug gang, who makes sure nobody bothers the building or their cars. Those drug dealers are out on the streets, at night. Zombies and vampires are bad for business. In all a fun read. The only downside is that there is one more book in this series (The memoirs of Oliver Chadwick Gardenier), and it isn't out yet.
Friday B-Movie Picks
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