There is nothing more gratifying than affirmation and acceptance by your peers. SO, imagine the happiness of your Grouchy Historian (not a contradiction--really---okay at least not a contradiction like pro-gun Democrat or moderate Islam) when I received the following email from the editor of the Journal of the Society of Military History, which recently featured...yours truly. Here's the happy quote:
You made such a big impression with your omnibus take on the war in Iraq that there have been demands for a repeat performance, this time on the war in Afghanistan. I’ve got three books here you might want to consider reviewing:This complement makes my little heart go pitter-patter as only pepper bacon can...not only does my writing not suck, which is always good, but apparently I am smarter than Chuck Hagel, which, while not a huge achievement, is at least something to celebrate.
AND OF COURSE, that means more FREE BOOKS...which is what makes the Grouchy Historian happy!!
So here are the three books I am reviewing and they all look outstanding...an added bonus, considering I had very mixed opinions on the last batch of books...which I think came through in a sublime way in my essay...yes sublime...I can be very politely snarky....like the Dowager Grantham....or quietly lethal like a Navy SEAL with a dagger...either way.
Counterinsurgency Leadership (Marine Corps University Press, 2012), edited by Nicholas J. Schlosser & James M. Caiella;
This book provides the conference proceedings from a 2009 USMC conference on COIN leadership from the national to the battalion level. COIN leadership is a very hot topic and I am looking forward to the wide range of viewpoints on the topic.
Fighting for Afghanistan: A Rogue Historian at War (Naval Institute Press, 2011), by Sean Maloney;
This will probably be the most interesting, written by a Canadian military historian (so those Taliban, what hosers, eh?) and is the final volume in a trilogy written on the Afghan conflict, primarily from our NATO comrades point of view. I have the first volume written by him...so at some point, I guess I will have to get the second.
From Kabul to Baghdad and Back: The U.S. at War in Afghanistan and Iraq (Naval Institute Press, 2012), by John Ballard, David W. Lamm, and John Wood.
This looks to be the most interesting book...a combination of history and strategic analysis of the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan from a "two-front" war perspective--reminiscent of the never ending debate of the utility of the Italian Campaign versus the campaign in France and Northwest Europe in World War II. Mr. Ballard also wrote one of the books I reviewed in my other essay, so this should be a great opportunity to critique his efforts again. This is a particular topic of interest to me--the entire "did we rob Afghanistan to fight in Iraq?" debate and I look forward to seeing what this group of authors has to say.
So, there it is...my homework for the next 6 weeks as I try and assemble another worthwhile essay by the first week of April.
Darn...so many books, so little time....