Books - What are you reading?

Author
Discussion

Goaty Bill 2

3,008 posts

57 months

Friday 25th January
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'The Rape of Nanking'
By Iris Chang

An extraordinarily well researched and reference filled document of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army after the fall of Nanking estimating the murder death toll at over 300,000; citing multiple references,
The detailed events are often told in a very matter of fact way, though I doubt the author was feeling terribly 'matter of fact' about them, most especially as many of them were revealed to her in personal interviews.
The theories she shares, in the first and latter parts of the book, as to how the Japanese soldiers could behave in such an inhumane fashion are interesting and informative, and something of warning from history.




FiF

34,097 posts

189 months

Friday 25th January
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Just finished Good Cop Bad War by Neil Woods. An ex Derbyshire bobby who went level 2 undercover to get intel on the drugs gangs.

He's now chairman of LEAP UK, (Law Enforcement against Prohibition) firmly of the opinion that the war on drugs cannot be won. It was interesting reading about scrotes known locally when I was in Chesterfield, and their eventual nicking, but how he was treated by some of the forces he went to help was a disgrace, yes Derek Smith's lot in Brighton, looking at you.

At times depressing reading.

andy_s

13,999 posts

197 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
Goaty Bill 2 said:
'The Rape of Nanking'
By Iris Chang

An extraordinarily well researched and reference filled document of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army after the fall of Nanking estimating the murder death toll at over 300,000; citing multiple references,
The detailed events are often told in a very matter of fact way, though I doubt the author was feeling terribly 'matter of fact' about them, most especially as many of them were revealed to her in personal interviews.
The theories she shares, in the first and latter parts of the book, as to how the Japanese soldiers could behave in such an inhumane fashion are interesting and informative, and something of warning from history.
I'm familiar with the episode, horrific indeed and to sift through the testimony must have been quite appalling. I may well put it on the list as again the psychology behind atrocity is both interesting and as you rightly say, a valuable lesson. The cling-film thin layer of civility we all have is worn quickly through and the animal beneath is deeply unpleasant.

I was walking past the Auschwitz Museum in Madrid this week and there were throngs of students milling about. I saw their expressions and presumptuously imagined their thoughts and thought to myself 'those wicked people were people like you, and to think of them as an aberration or a somehow different species is a grave mistake.'

Edited by andy_s on Friday 25th January 22:05

andy_s

13,999 posts

197 months

Friday 25th January
quotequote all
Seem to on a sci-fi spree at the moment, I read a lot of it as a kid - Asimov mainly, and haven't revisited the genre for a while except for Morgan. So I thought I'd take a look at one of the modern classics with Neuromancer by William Gibson.

Goaty Bill 2

3,008 posts

57 months

Saturday 26th January
quotequote all
andy_s said:
Goaty Bill 2 said:
'The Rape of Nanking'
By Iris Chang

An extraordinarily well researched and reference filled document of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army after the fall of Nanking estimating the murder death toll at over 300,000; citing multiple references,
The detailed events are often told in a very matter of fact way, though I doubt the author was feeling terribly 'matter of fact' about them, most especially as many of them were revealed to her in personal interviews.
The theories she shares, in the first and latter parts of the book, as to how the Japanese soldiers could behave in such an inhumane fashion are interesting and informative, and something of warning from history.
I'm familiar with the episode, horrific indeed and to sift through the testimony must have been quite appalling. I may well put it on the list as again the psychology behind atrocity is both interesting and as you rightly say, a valuable lesson. The cling-film thin layer of civility we all have is worn quickly through and the animal beneath is deeply unpleasant.

[quote]
I was walking past the Auschwitz Museum in Madrid this week and there were throngs of students milling about. I saw their expressions and presumptuously imagined their thoughts and thought to myself 'those wicked people were people like you, and to think of them as an aberration or a somehow different species is a grave mistake.'
Absolutely.
To recognise that humans are capable of these atrocities is only a small part of it; To recognise that you are capable is the thing. That is the real lesson.

It is easy to imagine ourselves as victim or observer or, more arrogantly, the liberating hero when reading of these events.
What we must do is read these works as though we were the perpetrators in order to understand how easy it is to slip into that role. From that we can learn to recognise the signs that we / our society / a government / a political movement is heading in that direction.

Then and only then might we learn to stop allowing history to repeat itself.

“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn



Edited by Goaty Bill 2 on Saturday 26th January 11:20

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PomBstard

3,259 posts

180 months

Wednesday 30th January
quotequote all
Goaty Bill 2 said:
'The Rape of Nanking'
By Iris Chang

An extraordinarily well researched and reference filled document of the atrocities committed by the Japanese army after the fall of Nanking estimating the murder death toll at over 300,000; citing multiple references,
The detailed events are often told in a very matter of fact way, though I doubt the author was feeling terribly 'matter of fact' about them, most especially as many of them were revealed to her in personal interviews.
The theories she shares, in the first and latter parts of the book, as to how the Japanese soldiers could behave in such an inhumane fashion are interesting and informative, and something of warning from history.

I think I’ll put that one on the To Read list...

I’ve just blasted through...

Munich by Robert Harris - that man knows how to get history absorbed! I’ve read most of his books and they all subtly grab hold and won’t let go. Excellent stuff.

The Human Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen - I like Prof Cox style of putting across complex info in a way that is neither belittling nor assuming. Loved the premise that we are just so insignificant.

Currently halfway through The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven. I’d been told by many that this is required reading and they were right. Entertaining and engaging with just enough detail. Much better than one or two other Famous Movie/Rock Star autobiographies I’ve read.

DickyC

31,417 posts

136 months

Wednesday 30th January
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The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Mcintyre. A true story about MI6 and a KGB man. Astonishing. And there are some funny bits where MI6 were in uncharted territory. On one occasion they had to set up an apparently chance meeting in Finland near the Russian border. Three groups were involved. They had to fly in, each hire a random car and meet at a prearranged venue. They arrived separately in three identical red Volvos with sequential registration numbers. They had all used the car hire firm at the airport. "We looked like a convention."

mcpiston

188 posts

107 months

Wednesday 30th January
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Breaking clays by Chris Batha.

Trying to get the hang of my latest hobby :-)

droopsnoot

6,199 posts

180 months

Thursday 31st January
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I've just finished "Dark Sacred Night" by Michael Connolly, which features Harry Bosch and one of his newer characters, Renee Ballard, working together. Very much enjoyed it, as I always do with his stuff.

soad

29,444 posts

114 months

Friday 1st February
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The Shout by Stephen Leather. Superb!

biggbn

544 posts

158 months

Friday 1st February
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Fear and loathing at Rolling Stone. Basically a collection of the good doctor, hunter stockton Thompson's articles for rolling stone magazine. Have read most already but as a lifelong fan, nice to have them all in the same place.

IanA2

2,157 posts

100 months

Friday 1st February
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DickyC said:
The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Mcintyre. A true story about MI6 and a KGB man. Astonishing. And there are some funny bits where MI6 were in uncharted territory. On one occasion they had to set up an apparently chance meeting in Finland near the Russian border. Three groups were involved. They had to fly in, each hire a random car and meet at a prearranged venue. They arrived separately in three identical red Volvos with sequential registration numbers. They had all used the car hire firm at the airport. "We looked like a convention."
Agreed a cracking read as was his Philby offering; and if you haven't already, try Bill Browder (Red Notice) &/or the Red Sparrow trilogy by Jason Matthews. Quality.

smithyithy

4,151 posts

56 months

Tuesday 5th February
quotequote all
andy_s said:
Seem to on a sci-fi spree at the moment, I read a lot of it as a kid - Asimov mainly, and haven't revisited the genre for a while except for Morgan. So I thought I'd take a look at one of the modern classics with Neuromancer by William Gibson.
I too read Neuromancer last month, really enjoyed it!

Started the second book of the trilogy Count Zero this weekend and read a few chapters at lunch today - promising so far.

I want to stick with the same author and finish the trilogy (and maybe the associated short story(ies), then I might finally read Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.

droopsnoot

6,199 posts

180 months

Friday 8th February
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I've just read two Stephen Leather books, "Light Touch" followed by "Tall Order". Both very good, as they always are.

K12beano

19,021 posts

213 months

Friday 8th February
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This is fascinating. ⅔ of the way through, but knew little of the history and impact of the mongols...


andy_s

13,999 posts

197 months

Friday 8th February
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This just jumped my queue The Master and His Emissary by Iain McGilchrist. It goes into brain function, specifically the two hemispheres and how they cooperate, he goes on in the second half to examine the effects of this in wider society; any book by a specialist in a number of areas will be broad and deep, and this is no exception but so far good reading. The over-arching premise is fascinating - a sort of philosophy by physiology. There is a small YouTube clip to outline this: https://youtu.be/dFs9WO2B8uI


andy_s

13,999 posts

197 months

Friday 8th February
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^ how spooky!

LordGrover

30,201 posts

150 months

Friday 8th February
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Great video... will try a sample of the book. beer

Ruskie

2,703 posts

138 months

Friday 8th February
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The Secret Barrister currently. I’m struggling a bit with it TBH.

Stan the Bat

4,450 posts

150 months

Friday 8th February
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soad said:
The Shout by Stephen Leather. Superb!
Just finished this, it's a bit different but I wouldn't say superb.