Books I Am Currently Reading

I’m presently reading:

La Sale Guerre by  Habib Souaïdia.  This book is about the Algerian Civil War of the 1990s.  Souaïdia maintains that much of the violence against civilians during that war was, in fact, perpetrated by the Algerian military intelligence service in an effort to discredit the Islamists.  I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve finished it.  It is worth noting that some of the Algerian officials named in this book brought a libel suit against Souaïdia in French court.  Souaïdia won.  Mind you, I don’t know if French libel law leans toward or away from the defendant.

and

Field Marshal von Manstein’s memoirs, Lost Victories.  He certainly is of the opinion that Hitler is primarily to blame for losing the war.  For instance, he argues that as difficult as invading Britain would have been, that Hitler should have ordered his armed forces to do so because the alternative was facing the Soviets and the British simultaneously.  Other interesting (though not surprising) arguments he makes: e.g. the Wehrmacht was a highly honorable organization; the division between military matters and political matters is very sharp and should be maintained.  To my mind however, the most interesting thing about this book, however, is watching how von Manstein’s brain works, how he thinks his way through strategic problems.

In a recent orgy of book-buying I bought, among other things, the Danchev biography of Basil H. Liddell Hart and Vladimir Kuzichkin’s Inside the KGB.  Innumerable KGB officers have defected to the West and then written their memoirs.  What makes this one potentially interesting, is the Kuzichkin was an illegal officer in Iran during the 1970s, including during the revolutionary period.  (“Illegals” were those KGB or GRU personnel who were given new identities, new (bogus) citizenships, new biographies (“legends”) and sent to their target country without diplomatic protection for very long periods of time.  “Rudolf Abel” was an illegal planted in the US.)

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Published in: on December 26, 2009 at 11:32 PM  Leave a Comment  

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