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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just for giggles (and maybe get some ideas for a good read) what are your favorite books?

Military History:
The Price of Glory - Alistair Horne
We Were Soldiers Once... and Young - Moore & Galloway
Black Hawk Down - Mark Bowden

These are books about a small slice of history, told with blood-curdling intensity. Intentionally narrow in focus, but with extreme clarity. I can't really choose between the three, but The Price of Glory is a real eye-opener for anyone who has considered the French wusses...

On War - Clausewitz
The Battle Cry of Freedom - James M. McPherson
The Real War, 1914-1918 - B.H. Liddel Hart
The Second World War - John Keegan
The Pacific Campaign - Dan van der Vat
The Korean War - Max Hastings

On War is a kind of odd book, but essential reading if you really want to understand what war is and how it works IMHO. Sometimes hard to read (Claueswitz tends to use logic to beat the living crap out of every single point) but has lots of fundamental insights. Unlike alot of stuff form the early 19th century it is very much relevant because it looks beyond things that technology renders irrelevant.

The rest are bigger picture, soup-to-nuts history books. However, The Korean War in particular is quite disturbing... the truth hurts 50 years after the fact. The Pacific Campaign is just a great piece of historical writing and a real eye-opener.

Science:
Cosmos - Carl Sagan
Hyperspace - Michio Kaku
The Mismeasure of Man - Stephen Jay Gould
The Blind Watchmaker - Richard Dawkins

First of all, Cosmos is unparalleled as a layman's primer for virtually all brances of science... biology, physics, astronomy, and the history of science itself. Ignore the Cold War doom-and-gloom navel gazing at the end and just feel yourself getting smarter... :grin:

Hyperspace is, unbeliveably, a (relatively) easy to understand and extremely well written primer on the history of modern physics. Bet you never expected to even SEE a sentance like that, eh? He explains relativity, quantum physics, unified field theory, The Standard Model and Superstring 16-dimension physics and the history of the science that produced all of the above.

The Mismeasure of Man is about the rather unsavory history of intelligence testing since the 18th century. Actually a VERY good book, and if you still remember that book The Bell Curve... well let's just say that Mr. Gould makes the writers of that book (which seemed to "prove" that black people had lower intelligence than white people) his bitches.

The Blind Watchmaker is an incredible explanation of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Everyone should read it because if you don't, you probably don't have the faintest clue how the theory actually works... even if you THINK you do. Even if you are opposed to evolution on theological grounds you should read this book because otherwise you are just waiting to be made a fool of.

Books for Fun:
Dune - Frank Herbert
Starship Troopers - Robert Heinlein
The Best of HP Lovecraft
The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe
The Complete Sherlock Holmes

All of the above are just really fun reading. Poe just wrote so much good stuff of such high quality in so many different styles (spooky of course but also everything from squishy poetry to debunking fake chess-playing automatons) that he has to be the standout. Sherlock Holmes is just fun reading and mostly of very high quality. HP Lovecraft is sometimes overlooked but good spooky fun and very original. Starship Troopers and Dune are both exceptionally intelligent and fun books that were turned into crap movies... the Dune movie looked pretty cool but nutered the story and totally butchered major concepts of the book (e.g. "Wierding" went from being a kind of super-develped mental and physical conditioning in the book to part stupid mysticism and part cheesebag excuse for special effects) and of course the Starship Troopers movie basically dug up Heinlein's body and pissed into his eye socket.

So what do y'all like?
 

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...The two I'm re-reading right now are "King Rat" by Clavell and "The Annals of the Heechee" by Frederik Pohl...outside of reading and re-reading anything on Weapons and Tactics history, those two cover my rec reads...I'll read something from start to finish given the opportunity...and then take another turn through it at dead slow...just to let it hit another part of me...Right now, I don't want to start anything, so it's just jogging my memory and the feelings that are stirred for me...
 

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Anything by:

Sci Fi:
Larry Niven
Fred Pohl
AC Clarke
William Gibson (I have signed hardcovers :grin:)
Robert Heinlein
Frank Herbert

Any book on US/World History

"Fighting Smarter" by Tom Givens, when the mailman delivers it this week :wink:

Oh, by the way, does Penthouse count as a 'book'? Probably not :wink:
 
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