The Last Battle by Stephen Harding

May 1945. Hitler is dead, and the Third Reich little more than smoking rubble. No GI wants to be the last man killed in action against the Germans. But for cigar-chewing, rough-talking, hard-drinking, hard-charging Captain Jack Lee and his men, there is one more mission: rescue fourteen prominent French prisoners held in an SS-guarded castle high in the Austrian Alps. It’s a dangerous mission, but Lee has help from a decorated German Wehrmacht officer and his men, who voluntarily join the...

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Napoleon and the Art of Diplomacy by William Nester

NAPOLEON AND THE ART OF DIPLOMACY: How War and Hubris Determined the Rise and Fall of the French Empire by William Nester is not about Napoleon’s diplomacy as art, but more as brute force. Nester traces Napoleon’s rise to power as a successful general in the mid 1790s to the master of Europe in 1812 and how it all came crashing down in 1814.  Throughout this time, Nester contends that Napoleon wove a web of alliances through treaties and setting relatives on the thrones of various...

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The Gnome Lexicon by Marcia Lewandowski

I wanted to bring to your attention a book that came my way, The Gnome Lexicon.  Readers of this blog will know I am a sucker for quirky books with well done illustrations that touch on folk lore or fairy tales so it is no surprise that I found this volume intriguing. From the publisher: The Gnome Lexicon is a comprehensive study on gnome lore. Altogether there are seventy plus gnomes that represent fifty-nine cultures included in the book. They are divided up into twelve chapters according...

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John Quincy Adams by Harlow Giles Unger

In my opinion, John Quincy Adams is one of the most misunderstood men in American history.  Although he was reviled as a President of the United States, he was highly respected as an accomplished statesman and congressman.  Harlow Giles Unger attempts to shed light on America’s sixth President in his book John Quincy Adams. Here is a brief summary of the book from the publisher: Born to Founding Father John Adams, handpicked by President George Washington to serve American interests...

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Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan by Joseph Wheelan

General Philip Sheridan is best known as the third member of the triumvirate of Union generals (the others being Grant and Sherman) that led the Union Army to victory over the Confederate Army.  Joseph Wheelan brings Sheridan back-to-life in his book entitled Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Philip H. Sheridan. Sheridan started the war in obscurity as a lieutenant, but quickly rose in the ranks partly through his own actions and partly because of good fortune.  Wheelan adroitly...

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The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die by Michael Stephenson

The Last Full Measure: How Soldiers Die in Battle by Michael Stephenson is a bit of a morbid topic, but it is insightful about the nature of combat and the differences between cultures regarding combat.  Stephenson tells the story of how soldiers throughout time have died in battle. As the publisher notes in its description of the book, the book is organized chronologically with frequent comparisons between different ages.  It covers the Greek phalanx and the Roman legion, medieval warfare in...

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