Posts tagged with ‘war’

Goodbye to all that

I’m sorry to say it, but I’m glad to see the back of the poppy season. The omnipresence of poppies on television, the competitive patriotism of the tabloids and the increasingly reflexive tendency to refer to all servicemen as ‘heroes’ has made me a bit twitchy over the past few years, but it was really […]

Notes from the war

Not the current debacle in Iraq, the ’39-’45 war. I’m reading the second volume of the Mass-Observation diaries (see my post about the first one here), and I thought I’d just pick out a couple of quotes. After the battle of Alamein: The newspapers are in ecstasies. There are more maps than ever, showing arrows […]

Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekaran has the subtitle ‘Inside Baghdad’s Green Zone’; the Green Zone being the seven square mile compound in Baghdad centered around the Republican Palace, where the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) under L. Paul Bremer III attempted to rule Iraq for about 12 months after the fall of […]

We Are At War by Simon Garfield

This is one of a trilogy of books using material from the Mass-Observation archives. To quote Wikipedia: Mass-Observation was a United Kingdom social research organisation founded in 1937. Their work ended in the mid 1950s … Mass-Observation aimed to record everyday life in Britain through a panel of around 500 untrained volunteer observers who either […]

The Utility of Force by Rupert Smith

I’ve just finished The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World by General Sir Rupert Smith. Rather admirably, he doesn’t actually use those titles on the cover of the book, but his military background is obviously relevant. He joined the military in 1962, and in the last decade of his service […]

Elizabethiana

I’m currently reading a biography of Bess of Hardwick. I’m not that far through it yet (don’t tell me how it ends!*), but one thing is striking, reading about Tudor England†: how capricious the politics is and how much it’s dependent on patronage and favour. Admittedly, the period I’ve read about so far covers the […]

Colonial troops in WWII

I found this article in the Independent interesting. There’s a film coming out in France called Indigènes about “the 300,000 Arab and north African soldiers who helped to liberate France in 1944.” Apparently about half the French army in 1944 was African or Arab. The director and producer, both French of North African descent, “hope […]

the clean, dry corpse of a parrot

From Robert Graves’ Goodbye to All That: 24 June, 1915, Versailles. This afternoon we had a cricket match, officers v. sergeants, in an enclosure between some houses out of observation from the enemy. Our front line is three-quarters of a mile away. I made top score, 24; the bat was a bit of a rafter, […]

FSotW: Tyneham – the village that died for D-Day

Flickr set of the week is Tyneham – the village that died for D-Day by Whipper_snapper. ‘In 1943 the War Department closed Tyneham village near Lulworth in Dorset for D-Day training preparations. The villagers never returned as the War Department kept the village as a post-war training area and tank artillery range for nearby Lulworth […]

Africa in the news

Or rather, Africa not in the news. I have to admit, I haven’t been in news-junkie mode recently, but how did I miss this? This week we bring you music from the Democratic Republic of Congo to recognize the incredible moment in history we are witnessing. In the largest UN overseen election in history, 58 […]