Monthly Archives: May 2014

They all wanted something that i did not want and i would get it without wanting it, if it worked… Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa

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Warrior : the legend of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen Peter Hathaway Capstick New York : St. Martin’s Press, c 1998 Hardcover. xviii, 295 p. : ill., maps ; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [279]-286) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Peter Hathaway Capstick died in 1996. At the time of his death he was putting the finishing touches on this biography of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a man with whom he felt he had much in common. Edited and prepared for publication by his widow, Fiona Capstick, this book is Capstick’s farewell to his fans and the final addition to the bestselling Peter Capstick Library.

Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen was one of those rare men whom fate always seems to cast in the dramas that shape history. As a young officer, he served in India and Africa during the glory days of the British Empire, defending the crown’s dominions and exploring its darkest reaches. His exploits in the bloody colonial wars of turn-of-the-century East Africa earned him a reputation as one of the most fierce and ruthless soldiers in the Empire, yet it was during those years spent roaming the silent places of the Serengeti, hunting its game and learning its secrets, that Meinertzhagen developed a fascination with Africa that would last a lifetime.

But there were other adventures to come, and Capstick narrates them all with his trademark skill and wit: daring commando raids against German forces in Africa and the Mideast during World War I, covert missions to the USSR and Nazi Germany between the wars, work as an OSS agent during World War II, and Meinertzhagen’s ceaseless support of Israeli nationhood are all woven together into an epic adventure, a powerful chronicle that follows the tracks of a twentieth-century legend.

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The Meinertzhagen mystery : the life and legend of a colossal fraud Brian Garfield Washington, D.C. : Potomac Books, c 2007 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiv, 353 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 331-341) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Tall, handsome, charming Col. Richard Meinertzhagen (1878–1967) was an acclaimed British war hero, a secret agent, and a dean of international ornithology. His exploits inspired three biographies, movies have been based on his life, and a square in Jerusalem is dedicated to his memory. Meinertzhagen was trusted by Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Chaim Weizmann, David Ben Gurion, T. E. Lawrence, Elspeth Huxley, and a great many others.

He bamboozled them all. Meinertzhagen was a fraud. Many of the adventures recorded in his celebrated diaries were imaginary, including a meeting with Hitler while he had a loaded pistol in his pocket, an attempt to rescue the Russian royal family in 1918, and a shoot-out with Arabs in Haifa when he was seventy years old. True, he was a key player in Middle Eastern events after World War I, and during the 1930s he represented Zionism’s interests in negotiations with Germany. But he also set up Nazi front organizations in England, committed a half-century of major and costly scientific fraud, and – oddly – may have been innocent of many killings to which he confessed (e.g., the murder of his own polo groom – a crime of which he cheerfully boasted, although the evidence suggests it never occurred at all). Further, he may have been guilty of at least one homicide of which he professed innocence.

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Comments Off on They all wanted something that i did not want and i would get it without wanting it, if it worked… Ernest Hemingway, Green Hills of Africa

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Only in Russia poetry is respected – it gets people killed. Is there anywhere else where poetry is so common a motive for murder? .. Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam

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Molotov’s magic lantern : travels in Russian history Rachel Polonsky New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011 Hardcover. 1st American ed. and printing. ix, 390 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 373-377) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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When the British journalist Rachel Polonsky moves to Moscow, she discovers an apartment on Romanov Street that was once home to the Soviet elite. One of the most infamous neighbors was the ruthless apparatchik Vyacheslav Molotov, a henchman for Stalin who was a participant in the collectivizations and the Great Purge — and also an ardent bibliophile. In what was formerly Molotov’s apartment, Polonsky uncovers an extensive library and an old magic lantern — two things that lead her on an extraordinary journey throughout Russia and ultimately renew her vision of the country and its people.

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In Molotov’s Magic Lantern, Polonsky visits the haunted cities and vivid landscapes of the books from Molotov’s library: works by Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Akhmatova, and others, some of whom were sent to the Gulag by the very man who collected their books. With exceptional insight and beautiful prose, Polonsky writes about the longings and aspirations of these Russian writers and others in the course of her travels from the Arctic to Siberia and from the forests around Moscow to the vast steppes. A singular homage to Russian history and culture, Molotov’s Magic Lantern evokes the spirit of the great artists and the haunted past of a country ravaged by war, famine, and totalitarianism.

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Comments Off on Only in Russia poetry is respected – it gets people killed. Is there anywhere else where poetry is so common a motive for murder? .. Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam

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The Tudors hated to be wrong, and therefore never were…

The women of the cousins’ war : the duchess, the queen, and the king’s mother Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin, Michael Jones New York : Simon & Schuster, 2011 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 342 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), map ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Philippa Gregory joins two eminent historians to explore the extraordinary true stories of three women largely forgotten by history: Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford; Elizabeth Woodville, queen of England; and Margaret Beaufort, the founder of the Tudor dynasty.

In her essay on Jacquetta, Philippa Gregory uses original documents, archaeology, and histories of myth and witchcraft to create the first-ever biography of the young duchess who survived two reigns and two wars to become the first lady at two rival courts. David Baldwin, established authority on the Wars of the Roses, tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, the first commoner to marry a king of England for love. And Michael Jones, fellow of the Royal Historical Society, writes of Margaret Beaufort, the almost-unknown matriarch of the House of Tudor.

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Whoever lights the torch of war in Europe can wish for nothing but chaos… Adolf Hitler

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At some future date some objective historian will have the courage to say that neither World War I nor World War II ushered in the end of civilization in Europe. A more intelligent perspective will divine that the most heterodox  aspects of the reformation allowed ideas older than Christianity to form the underpinning of the enlightenment and all Europe was left with was competing economic systems and any national nods to the arts were incidental almost to the point of being happy accidents.

By 1939 the liberal socialists were at loggerheads with the militaristic socialists and neither trusted – but both feared – the militant socialists. What all three had in common was that they either wanted or needed war to accomplish their economic objectives and that their economic systems made war inevitable. Overy’s book is a very good description of what might be called the last tango but while he describes the dance we still don’t know who wrote the music or the lyrics.

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1939 : countdown to war Richard Overy New York : Viking, 2010 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xi, 158 p : map ; 20 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 125-149) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The final hours of peace in Europe. On August 24, 1939, the world held its collective breath as Hitler and Stalin signed the now infamous nonaggression pact, signaling an imminent invasion of Poland and daring Western Europe to respond. In this dramatic account of the final days before the outbreak of World War II, historian Overy chronicles the unraveling of peace, hour by grim hour, as politicians and ordinary citizens brace themselves for a war that could spell the end of European civilization.

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Nothing was entirely predictable or inevitable. The West hoped that Hitler would see sense if they stood firm. Hitler was convinced the West would back down. Moments of uncertainty alternated with those of confrontation; secret intelligence was used by both sides to support their hopes. The one constant feature was the determination of Poland, a country created only in 1919, to protect its new-found independence against a vastly superior enemy. 1939 documents a defining moment in the violent history of the twentieth century.

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Comments Off on Whoever lights the torch of war in Europe can wish for nothing but chaos… Adolf Hitler

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If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack, I’m going to knock the sh*t out of them before they take off the ground… Curtis Lemay

The influence of air power upon history Walter J. Boyne Barnsley : Pen & Sword Aviation, 2005 Hardcover. 464 p. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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The Influence of Air Power upon History makes a startlingly new analysis of the far-reaching implications flight has had on warfare, politics, diplomacy, technology and mass culture. Author Walter Boyne examines the application of air power from the very earliest days of the balloon down to the current era of space warfare and postulates some new and controversial theories that are certain to arouse comment.

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The author unerringly depicts the contributions made by the people and planes of each era, some of them famous, some virtually unknown, but all vitally important. He highlights the critical competence of individuals at every step of the way, comparing the works of Guilio Douhet, William Mitchell, John Warden, and others philosophically, even as he compares the combat capabilities of leaders such as Hugh Trenchard, Bomber Harris, Herman Goering, Curtis LeMay, and Henry “Hap” Arnold. Aircraft, their weapons, and their employment are given equal treatment.

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Comments Off on If I see that the Russians are amassing their planes for an attack, I’m going to knock the sh*t out of them before they take off the ground… Curtis Lemay

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