Does anyone read? Part II

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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:23 pm

I had put aside my reading of Brig. General Hagen's 'War in the Pacific' series after volume 3, to pursue some other reading. I just returned to vol. 4 this weekend.

I read his chapter on the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage facility with interest. Quite an engineering feat, that was!

Most of the earlier chapters dealt with MacArthur's leadership, particularly in New Guinea. While his disdain for Gen. MacArthur is still evident (a disdain shared by many Marines and sailors, I might add), he does seem to lighten up in his treatment of him in this volume, though not by much.

He opens the volume with a recounting of the actions of some of the more notable chaplains who served in the war. Interesting reading.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby dai bread » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:59 pm

I wonder why people seem to dislike Douglas MacArthur these days.

His conduct of the Pacific war seems to be as good as could be expected from anyone else, particularly his strategy of island-hopping, leaving Japanese remnants to their fate. His conduct of the occupation delivered modern Japan, a friendly, prosperous nation.

He appears to have lost the plot in Korea, but given the hordes of Chinese troops that poured in there, that's understandable. Even the author of "Wild Swans," an ardent Maoist at the time, says there were hordes of Chinese troops.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:32 pm

As General Hagen notes, MacArthur greatest attribute was the ability to blow his own horn.

He had an ample eight hours warning from Admiral Kimmel and others that the Japanese would attack, yet he permitted his airforce to be caught on the ground and destroyed. He should have been dismissed, as Kimmel (who had no warning of impending attack) was, but he fabricated press releases of heroism, which a press and a public desperate for good news snapped up without question.

He declared Manila an 'open city', meaning it would not be defended, without consulting the other commanders in the area, leaving them totally unprepared for the fall. The plan to evacuate to Bataan had been in place for months, yet after delaying the decision to enact the plan, his hasty implementation left warehouses full of rice and ammunition behind. As our defending troops starved in their desperate stand on Bataan and Corriegedor, the Japanese were fed with our stores of rice.

To the shell-shocked troops on Corriegedor, he was known as 'Dugout Dug', best known for hiding deep in the bowels of the fortress and not venturing out into the firefight.

From the safety of Australia, he belittled the commanders in the fields of New Guinea for taking too long to drive the well-entrenched, though starving, Japanese from their strongholds. While there were only a handful of U.S. Army personnel, mostly engineers, involved in the battle, his press releases credited the U.S. troops under his command with victories won at the cost of thousands of Australian lives. He received an air medal for flying over the battlefield, high over the battlefield, but never once set foot on the battlefields of New Guinea. He declared victory and, along with his adoring press, returned to Australia, days before the bloodiest battle (in terms of percentages of casualties), the battle of Sanananda. Having declared victory weeks before, MacArthur sent no press release after the bloody victory there. The author tells us that, years later, he spoke with President Eisenhower, who told him he had never heard of the battle of Sanananda. MacArthur had a knack for keeping news that would discredit or embarrass him very quiet.

When the battles were over, the Marines who had fought on the front lines of most every major battle in the Pacific, did not even warrant a passing mention by MacArthur. To hear him tell it, the U.S Army had won the Pacific, while the Navy and Marines stood on the sidelines.

As one Marine put it "I don't mind him getting the credit, but it would be nice if he would mention that we were there".

It's been a festering sore with the Navy and Marines for years. MacArthur was legend of his own creation, a blundering general with good press.

President Truman, when asked if he regretted firing him, answered that, yes, he regretted doing so two years later than he should.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:37 pm

Some of this I knew before reading Gen. Hagen's books. From articles I read in the American Legion magazine back in the 80s, I first learned of the thoughts on MacArthur by the men who fought in Bataan and the Pacific.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:15 am

General Omar Bradley told President Truman that if MacArthur heard about the order of dismissal before it was officially delivered, he might resign in order to bolster his image. Truman told him "The son of a bitch isn't going to resign on me, I want him fired".
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby dai bread » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:49 pm

Good on Truman, then.

What on earth has happened to your Presidential candidates? Or is it just that the news media were more forgiving then?
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:08 pm

The media were more forgiving then, as they were with Mr. Obama.

Of course, you have to remember we didn't have 24/7 news analysis, like we have today, as well as twitter and the internet and all that jazz.

Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum are certainly no less capable than Mr. Obama. More capable, IMHO, to take the helm, though you won't know it from listening to or reading the media.

Keep in mind that the press was telling us Republicans for months that we needed to choose Mr. Romney, as our best hope for defeating Mr. Obama. Now, of course, they are trying to deconstruct him, along with his challengers.

I'm not overly fond of the choices we have, but I'm sure there have been many times in our history that we've had no option but to pick the lesser of two evils. Mind you, I don't blame any reasonable man for not wanting to step in and 'inherit the mess' that Mr. Obama will leave behind.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby dai bread » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:14 pm

The adulation Barak Obama got in the "news" media was unbelievable. It's quietened down a lot, or at least in the reports I read. I've often wondered who is in charge of Democrat publicity. Whoever it is is a lot more effective than the Republican equivalent.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:35 am

dai bread wrote:What on earth has happened to your Presidential candidates?

I'm not sure. It's been so long since we had one that I forget what a real candidate looks (or sounds) like.

I may vote for Donald Duck again.
>^..^<
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby jamiebk » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:54 pm

Shapley wrote: Mind you, I don't blame any reasonable man for not wanting to step in and 'inherit the mess' that Mr. Obama will leave behind.


:lol: :lol: :lol: It won't be as bad as the mess Obama inherited....
Jamie

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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby dai bread » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:05 pm

I've started "Journal of a Trapper" by Osborne Russell, edited by Aubrey L. Haines. It's literally Osborne Russell's diary from his trapping days in the Yellowstone area and the Rocky Mountains. It's not easy reading, because of the diary style, and a lot of it is "15th went 10miles up the Snake River..." but it has also provided an interesting insight into a bit of mid-19th C history of the area where my sister and her family now live.

My one gripe is that the maps aren't overlaid onto modern ones. I had to use Google Maps to get an idea of where Russell was travelling.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby barfle » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:02 pm

As part of the US bicentennial, Franklin Mint published what they called the 100 greatest works of American literature. We bought the subscription and found them to be very well made, leather bound, nice illustrations, and they sat on shelves for thirty years.

I've begun to read them, alphabetically by author. I must admit that Henry Adams had nothing interesting to say to me in either of the books written by him. Louisa May Alcott was OK, although I am not and never will be a young girl. Right now I'm about half-way through "Humboldt's Gift" by Saul Bellow. It's probably the most interesting of those I've attempted to read, although at this point I'm still not real sure what it's about. Lots of flashbacks in a story that really comprises a few days in the life of Charlie Citrine (supposedly a stand-in for Bellow).
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby dai bread » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:15 pm

Some time ago, I read an anthology of American prose (Norton). The only author I can truly say I enjoyed was Benjamin Franklin. I can now say I've read some American classics; "The Scarlet Letter" for instance, but I didn't really enjoy them. They were rather ponderous, as most literature was at the time. Ben Franklin wasn't. Despite his apparently Random Capitalisation of All Sorts of Words, and some Archaic Construction, he had a lively Style that I found eminently Readable.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Shapley » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:52 am

Way back when I was working at my father's service station, I used to go to the library on my lunch hour to read through the 'Harvard Classics' set. I read Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography as part of that set, if I recall, and found it very good read. I've since read a compilation of his writings taken from his annual publication of 'Poor Richard's Almanac', which was a fun read. I have a book of his 'essential writings' (including the autobiography), but I haven't read it, yet.

I don't remember how far I made it through the Harvard Classics. I think I only finished five or six volumes before leaving the service station .
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:32 pm

Just downloaded the ARC of Larry Correia's latest, Monster Hunter Legion. In chapter two, and enjoying my third gigglefit.

I heartily recommend that all those with the less-than-delicate senses of humor acquire and enjoy it. Immediately.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Schmeelkie » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:09 am

Enjoying listening to Tara's theme from Gone with the Wind right now as I've finally got around to reading the book. My husband of all people has always liked this book and I finally decided to read it. Though, as a Yankee, I felt a little weird reading it on the 4th of July. :wink: Husband and I once watched the movie rather than the Super Bowl one year - he isn't a huge football fan to begin with and was less than impressed with the match-up that particular year. Anyway, I'm impressed by the level of detail in the book - how you get swept into the story even though neither Scarlett nor Rhett are what anyone would call 'nice people'. Interesting to read when the protagonist is a bit wicked!
So, when we had pulled pork the other day, I had to call out, "Barbeque is ready - Oh, (husband), won't you come and have barbeque with me?!?"
"Up plus down equals flat" Pumpkin, 3 yrs, 10 mo, July '07
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Schmeelkie » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:32 am

Husband recommended Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere - his first (not co-authored) novel. Really enjoyed it - similar to his Anansi Boys (which I LOVED) and American Gods (which was good, but VERY dark). Interestingly, right after I finished it I was actually able to borrow The Hunger Games from the library. In comparison it wasn't nearly as mysterious, and as my MIL went and told me the whole plot earlier in the summer (she read as a granddaughter had read it - I thought she was just going to tell me the parts she didn't like, but by the time I realized she was telling me the whole plot I didn't quite know how to stop her!), it wasn't terribly surprising. Of course, she referred to the sci-fi tech elements as magic...not sure she's read much sci-fi... I liked it - it's pretty relentless, so I had a hard time putting it down. Got through it in 4 days. Husband tried the first 5 pages or so and didn't get into it, but is thinking of trying again. Did anyone see/like the movie? How faithful is it to the book?

The next week or so are a bit crazy for me, so think I'm going to dig in to what I had planned on reading before finding The Hunger Games - got a box of books my folks had at their house and found The Sword of Shannara! I read and reread this multiple times in late middle-high school - the paperback isn't in great condition. But when Pumpkin asked me about it, I could only remember the barest details. What I really remember is getting frustrated with the drawn out sequels....but that the original was good...

Am reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians books to Bella and grinding through Brisingr with Pumpkin. Some of the battle scenes get pretty gruesome and I'm happy he'd rather have me read it to him (the vocab gets out of hand sometimes) as I'll skip a sentence here or there. At not quite 9, he doesn't always need to hear about the blood squirting, bits of brain stuck on weapons, etc. But Paolini also does a good job of showing remorse and dislike on the part of main characters about having to kill people. On the whole, the violence is a little more than I'd like him reading, but I think a battle scene with distinct good guys and bad guys is better than the real personal violence you get in The Hunger Games. Told him he's got to wait at least a year or two before I let him read it. Besides, there's smootching which is a big turn-off for him right now!
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Thu Aug 23, 2012 9:15 am

The Hunger Games trilogy ate up an ENTIRE WEEKEND! Good fast read, and the story is much better if you ARE a fast reader. The movie was that unusual thing - BETTER than the book- and is reasonably true to the book.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby piqaboo » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:11 pm

I've been buying books at the library sale by the pound.
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Re: Does anyone read? Part II

Postby Giant Communist Robot » Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:31 pm

piqaboo wrote:I've been buying books at the library sale by the pound.


I do, too. But I've run out of space in this shoe box. I have cartons of books stacked on my lanai. Food for bugs.
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