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EMT 2/19/23 | Main | Pandemic Power 2.0: The WHO Comes To America
February 19, 2023

Sunday Morning Book Thread - 02-19-2023 ["Perfessor" Squirrel]

(ht: MichiCanuck)

Welcome to the prestigious, internationally acclaimed, stately, and illustrious Sunday Morning Book Thread! The place where all readers are welcome, regardless of whatever guilty pleasure we feel like reading. Here is where we can discuss, argue, bicker, quibble, consider, debate, confabulate, converse, and jaw about our latest fancy in reading material, even if it's nothing more than the Material Data Safety Sheets for toxic chemicals that may or may not have been released (or created) near East Palestine, Ohio (stay safe OH/PA Morons!). As always, pants are required, especially if you are wearing these pants...

So relax, find yourself a warm kitty (or warm puppy--I won't judge) to curl up in your lap, polish off that box of Valentine's Day chocolates, and dive into a new book. What are YOU reading this fine morning?


Today's pic was inspired/suggested by MichiCanuck:

The Bruce Willis movie RED had a lot of filming done in Toronto, which often fills in as "generic US city" in movies. There's a scene where Bruce is looking for a Chinese reference book, and that scene was filmed in the Toronto Reference Library. See:


I've been in the library several times and although it is a modern style design, it's not jarring and it's surprisingly bright and pleasant.

Posted by: MichiCanuck at February 05, 2023 12:27 PM (zgyK7)


We have two fantastic Books By Morons this week! First up, the long awaited book by A.H. Lloyd on Chinese military history:

walls-of-men-ah-lloyd.JPG My latest book - Walls of Men: A Military History of China 2500 B.C. to A.D. 2020 - is now live on Amazon!

Many of the Moron Horde have helped me with this book, both on the thread and behind the scenes. I hope they find it enjoyable and am deeply grateful for their help.

I have also dedicated it to the late great Oregon Muse who has been such a huge help to me and other independent authors. My book on the Spanish Civil War went to #1 because of him.

I know many folks deeply dislike Amazon and hate the idea of giving them more money but the fact of the matter is that boycotts at this point hurt our side more than Bezos. When our guys hit #1, it drives the left nuts and frankly independent authors get more out of the deal than Bezos does. Put simply, $1,000 in sales is something he doesn't even notice but it can really help a struggling author.

This also allows us to shift the dialog. The Moron Horde support for Long Live Death has put it on the map, and that allows us to shift the conversation. Hopefully the same will happen with Walls of Men. Put simply, we have to contest the battlespace while we still can.

Thank you again, and if you are interested, here is the blurb:

China is using its economic might and growing military strength to challenge America's long-standing hegemony. Yet besides the posturing and high-tech weapons, the West knows very little about China's military culture or history. This book helps fill that gap by offering a comprehensive yet compact study of China's military strengths and weaknesses, from the timeless maxims of Sun Tzu to the guerilla warfare pioneered by Mao Zedong.

Walls of Men provides a detailed examination of the factors shaping the Chinese way of war over more than 4,000 years. More than just a dry recitation of battles and rulers, this book is willing to challenge the conventional narratives. Why did China forfeit its edge in military technology? How could the declining Ch'ing Dynasty survive the Taiping Rebellion, sustaining a death toll greater than the entire U.S. population at the time? Was Chiang Kai-shek actually a gifted commander and strategist? What can China's most recent conflicts tell us about the state of its military power today? Has the Three Generation Problem of leadership finally been solved?

Only by studying the culture, geography, weapons, and beliefs of the dynastic cycles that have shaped China's history can we hope to understand the China of today.

Comment: We often do give Amazon a lot of crap, for many, many good reasons. But it's also true that one way to drive Leftists absolutely insane is to succeed in the marketplace where they have defined the rules. Being able to call yourself a "#1 Best Selling Author" in an Amazon category, no matter how long or short a time that might be, is a distinct feather in the Moron Horde cap!

Next up, we have another exciting entry in Vince Milam's Case Lee Series:

rhine-river-job-vince-milam.JPG I'd appreciate it if you'd pimp my latest book - The Rhine River Job. [Amazon Link - PS]

It was released 1/31/23, and held, briefly, the #1 Amazon slot in a couple of genres. It still ranks high in Espionage Thrillers and Action Fiction.

RHI No 1 MTS with Lee Child and Baldacci.png

She's known as the Gypsy. And teams with Case Lee for a mysterious client.
They uncover a crime family aligned with corrupt politicians and deadly shadowland spies.
Par for the course -- until those involved go too far.
And discover there are lines with Case and friends you'd best not cross.

Case and the Gypsy investigate a European crime syndicate when they expose criminal connections with US politicians and power players, while multiple espionage agencies maneuver for leverage. Are Case and the Gypsy being used as part of a larger plot, or obstacles to be removed?

From Amsterdam to Germany to France and back to the States, the trail twists and turns until a secret is revealed that changes everything. And lights the fuse.

Comment: I read Vince's last book,The Texas Job, last year and enjoyed it very much. This is an excellent action thriller series in the same vein as Lee Child or Brad Thor. You can find more Case Lee books at www.vincemilam.com

Congratulations to both A.H. Lloyd and Vince Milam for their achievements!





Like to put in a recommendation for a Fantasy book: Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock.

It's probably Horror/Fantasy, really. It's dark in the way folk tales and myths are dark. Which isn't surprising as the stories of the Celtic fringe come to life in it.

The book is incredibly well written. It won awards etc etc. And Holdstock seemed to know every Celtic myth and folktale.

But, I really liked it because Holdstock tried to show how a pre-Christian person experienced the world. I don't know if he was right, but he succeeded at something. And that something is the opposite of Tolkien.

He and Gene Wolfe both believed that pre-Christians saw and interacted with gods etc.

There's heavy Jungian personality integration stuff as well, if you're into that. Which makes perfect sense given what the author is trying to do.

It's ambitious and complex but not show off. Holdstock just operated at that level naturally. And was trying to work through deep issues.

Posted by: Thesokorus at February 12, 2023 09:38 AM (1ais2)

Comment: Interesting point about writing from a pre-Christian perspective. It can be hard for us in the Christian era, living in an "enlightened, rational" world, to fully understand what it's like to live in a world full of superstition, of gods and monsters. Or maybe not so hard, considering the irrational, unenlightened people ruining the world today. They would deny that they are superstitious, though, claiming to be the "reality-based" community.


My book this week has been Hamlet's Mill by Giorgio de Santanilla and Hertha von Dechend. It's in that narrow category of books which ride the fine line between crackpot and genius. Similar works include Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces, Graves's Greek Myths, and Julian Jaynes's Origin of Consciousness etc.

The basic premise is that lots of old myths and folktales are astronomical allegories, where Samson, for instance, is probably the Sun, and so forth. I think that's pretty solid.

They kind of get onto thin ice when they presume that all this has a common origin in some pre-agriculture, pre-literacy civilization which was the ancestor of cultures all over the world -- including the New World civs, somehow.

It's very erudite and I learned a lot about old myths and tales, but this would be a dangerous book to give to someone young and impressionable, who might not know where that fine line falls.

Posted by: Trimegistus at February 12, 2023 09:41 AM (QZxDR)

Comment: Sounds like another book that explores the ideas of superstitions and beliefs of humanity over time. Was there a race of "ancient aliens" that gifted humankind with knowledge? Why do we see commonalities among myths and legends? We'll never know...or if we ever did learn the truth, it will drive us mad...


Reading A History of the Ancient World by Chester G. Starr, 1965, 3rd edition 1982. He already has to address the revisionists in his preface to this edition, he basically just blows them off. I'm enjoying it, and finally getting all the little kings and empires you read about in the Bible and elsewhere somewhat straight, like Sumerians, Assyrians and the like. Got this decades ago helping a friend clean out his passed father's house. Also took a similar timeframe Herodotus, which I still have to get to, and another on the Persian Civilisation. I'm enjoying these. Far removed from current events but still you see connections.

Posted by: From about That Time at February 12, 2023 09:42 AM (4780s)

Comment: It's probably nice to read a book about history where the author is really trying to figure out what happened and is not trying to subscribe to a particular agenda or ideology.


Completed my re-reading of Jane Eyre. The first read was in childhood and I have carted the book around for decades because it was one of the first two books ever gifted to me. I was surprised that I only remembered bits and pieces of the story, so the story line was fresh and held many surprises. (I am fairly certain that I did not fully appreciate the book back when I first read it because I did not understand and fully appreciate the social mores of the period.) The writing style took some getting used to and although it was wordy (as I suspect language was back then) the story was descriptive and enjoyable. On the plus side, I encountered several words I don't remember ever seeing before.

Posted by: Legally Sufficient at February 12, 2023 11:03 AM (hPMYc)

Comment: Supposedly *the* Gothic romance novel. It's always nice when you can revisit a childhood favorite book and then gain new appreciation for it due to your accumulated wisdom. And learning new words is always a good thing.

More Moron-recommended reading material can be found HERE! (637 Moron-recommended books so far!)



You may notice that the order of the contents varied a bit. A.H. Lloyd and Vince Milam both reached out asking for their books to be promoted on the Sunday Morning Book Thread. It was approximately one year ago that Vince Milam's last book, The Texas Job was promoted. And A.H. Lloyd has been keeping all of us up-to-date on Walls of Men.

As for me, the lowliest of COBs at this smart military blog, this weekend marks the 1-year anniversary ("COB-iversary?") of when I took over the Sunday Morning Book Thread from All-Hail Eris, who took over from OregonMuse after his unfortunate passing. We still miss him. OregonMuse is THE reason I started participating in the AoSHQ community.

The Sunday Morning Book Thread will always be dedicated to his memory.

Interacting with you all on Sundays is one of the most enjoyable times of the week for me. I'm very grateful for all of the praise, suggestions, and recommendations you've provided for this space over the past year. I'm also extremely grateful for the encouragement and support from fellow COBs.




  • Forgotten Realms: The Harpers 01 - The Parched Sea by Troy Denning
  • Forgotten Realms: The Harpers 07 - Soldiers of Ice by David Cook
  • Forgotten Realms: The Harpers 14 - Stormlight by Ed Greenwood
  • Forgotten Realms: The Harpers 15 - Finder's Bane by Kate Novak & Jeff Grubb
  • Forgotten Realms: The Harpers 16 - Thornhold by Elaine Cunningham
  • Case Lee 11 - The Rhine River Job by Vince Milam


  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover -- This has a cartoonish supervillain. He wants to possess Luke Skywalker so that he can take over as the new Emperor of the galaxy. He finances holodramas about Luke's heroic adventures so that when he becomes Luke, he can take over the world through his reputation and stardom. It's a plot worthy of Pinky and the Brain. And it almost works.
  • Star Wars: Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly -- Just an awful book. Luke Skywalker may not be gay, but he's OK with falling in love with a female Force ghost inhabiting the AI of an Imperial superweapon. Meanwhile, Leia is punked by an Anakin Skywalker wanna-be.
  • Forgotten Realms: The Harpers 01 - The Parched Sea by Troy Denning
  • Case Lee 11 - The Rhine River Job by Vince Milam

That's about all I have for this week. Thank you for all of your kind words regarding the Sunday Morning Book Thread. This is a very special place. You are very special people (in all the best ways!). The kindness, generosity, and wisdom of the Moron Horde knows no bounds. Let's keep reading!

If you have any suggestions for improvement, reading recommendations, or discussion topics that you'd like to see on the Sunday Morning Book Thread, you can send them to perfessor dot squirrel at-sign gmail dot com. Your feedback is always appreciated! You can also take a virtual tour of OUR library at libib.com/u/perfessorsquirrel. Since I added sections for AoSHQ, I now consider it OUR library, rather than my own personal fiefdom...

PREVIOUS SUNDAY MORNING BOOK THREAD - 02-12-23 (NOTE: Do NOT comment on old threads!)


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