Sunday, December 18, 2016

Book Recommendations

Book Recommendations
(I read all these books on Kindle)

Prince Rupert: The Last Cavalier Kindle Edition. By Charles Spencer 
I had read quite a bit about the great Royalist general Prince Rupert of the Rhine when reading about the English Civil war, but this was the first biography. As a general he had many amazing victories and of course several key defeats. Reading this well written, researched and balanced book, the surprise wasn't the defeats, as he almost always had men that were fewer in numbers and quality, and worse logistics than the parliamentarians, but that he won so many victories. They were almost always due to his boldness, personal courage and inspirational leadership. If he was sometimes over-bold, more often the defeats were caused by timidity in the King and the Royalist leadership. He labored under the handicap of not being a politician; while he was fighting in the field, he was constantly undermined by petty rivals at court who ill-served the cause. What i found most interesting was his subsequent career as an admiral in the Kings navy. There, suffering under all the handicaps of his service on land, he again had both victories and defeats. For military history buffs, I highly recommend this book. It would make a great movie.

Bernadotte: Napoleon's Marshal, Sweden's King Kindle Edition. By Alan Palmer
Though I have read quite a bit about Napoleon's campaigns, if I saw the name of Marshal Bernadotte, I passed over and forgot it. Fascinating man. He rose from being a Sergeant of French Marines to being a Marshall of France, serving under, and often a rival too Napoleon. That would be story enough, but when Sweden deposed their king, they elected Marshal Bernadotte, who didn't even speak Swedish! Despite this Carl XIV Johan was generally a popular king and the Bernadotte dynasty still reigns in Sweden, now a constitutional democratic monarchy. This is a very interesting story.

Narrative of My Escape from Slavery Kindle Edition. By Moses Roper 

This short narrative by a very articulate escaped slave is worth reading by anyone interested in the institution of slavery in America. (Slavery was a world wide phenomena, in every culture, until western civilization gradually turned against it. I have read that white slaves were still being sold in Cairo in the 1880s and that slavery, endorsed by the Qur'an, still exists in Islamic countries, though officially outlawed. According to the economist Dr. Thomas Sowell, twice as many white slaves were taken to Muslim countries as black slaves to north America)  Roper later lectured about slavery and it is hard to know how much his account was embellished to fill seats and sell books. The number of floggings he reportedly endured seems to be beyond the ability of human flesh to bear and survive. He also reports being passed from master to master, probably because he was light-skinned, his father being a slave owner, and numerous escape attempts before he succeeded. Still, the account has the ring of truth and is well worth reading.

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