Band of brothers

Due to the HBO mini series this is a very well known book that follows the 101th airborne through the European champaign in the second world war. Sadly reading the book offered no greater insight than the miniseries did making reading the book seem somewhat unnecessary. I would even go so far as to recommend the tv-series over the book since it's easier to follow the narrative there. 

Disregarding the TV show the book itself is a well written albeit fairly dry account of the airborne's time in Europe. It's apparent that the author have gone through a lot of trouble to get first hand accounts. The events are described in a way that circumventing a lot of the large scale politics and instead focuses on the indicated individual soldiers. This makes for a very compelling narrative and explains the success of the TV adaptation.

I truly enjoy this kind of book where you get an insight into the people behind major historic events. This is especially interesting when the event in question is as major as a world war.

I think the book is interesting but I would recommend watching the series over reading the book. 

 

Operation garbo

This is a three part Swedish series about a war that never happened.  it's written as a collection of stories following multiple main actors along in the main story. This makes sometimes makes it hard to follow a specific character and remember past  events that effect there behavior. the story takes place at the end of the cold war. The setting is a Scandinavia harassed by increasing tensions between the soviet block and national. This tension places a formally neutral Sweden in a precarious position.

The book is written by under pseudonym hiding a group of authors all whom had insight into both the Swedish defense at the time and the political situation of the area. The authors background knowledge allows them to create a plausible scenario depicting a soviet assault on Sweden in a bid to improve there positions on a global scale. However the authors close relationship with the story and the area does done through. Especially in there views of Swedish politics of the cold war Era.

Despite some minor shortcomings the story is interesting and raises some important issues. Especially for a small neutral country placed between two super powers with less than friendly relations. 

The book is a good read and I would recommend it to anyone living in Scandinavia who have even a minor interest in how geopolitics could effect our region. 

Alas Babylon

Apart from sudden fears of imminent doom this book is a fascinating look into the world after a disaster. It is fiction and makes no claim on correctness but the alternative history it describes is hauntingly plausible.

The story revolves around a single relative to a bomber pilot in the cold war. After a short buildup where he gets the responsibility of his brothers family a full scale nuclear war breaks out.

The story then revolves around him and his home towns struggle for survival in the contaminated zone. Despite the warlike setting this is a book about human survival. It is also a book about the undiscovered good in a community. This is especially visible with a story set in a still fairly segregated society where necessity forces people to reevaluate there preconceptions.

Apart from having a compelling narrative the book itself is written in a very approachable way making the story easy to digest. This for me is very important since I no longer have the time for extended reading sessions. Despite having a very approachable story this book still retains a certain depth that makes it even more compelling.

As a positive spin on a fairly common dystopian theme this book really does brought me both joy and a few moments of thought. Both on the fragility of our society and the good in community. I do recommend this book, especially the audiobook version read by Will Patton.

The rise and fall of the third Reich

This is a massive book which dives deep into the personalties and characters of the second world war. 

It's written by a journalist with no real claims at being an historian which in itself proves to be a boon to a book this massive. 
The personal narrative is almost maintained throughout the book with short but relevant lapses into numbers of casualties and statistics. 

The author worked as a foreign correspondent in Germany during the both the years leading up to to the war and the war itself. 
This familiarity with the times and characters of the era allows him to add a lot of personal references and thoughts which adds a depth to the narrative. 

It's hard to define an era and it's hard to describe horrible events with clarity, this book manages to do both without becoming boring. 

For a layman I would say this is the definitive book on the second world war, at least from a German and geopolitical point of view.

Seveneves

This is one of my first forays into sci-fi as a genre and I think I made a good choice.
Even though the setting seems somewhat far fetched the story and the way the fictional society evolves is surprisingly relevant.

The only major gripe I have with the book is the last quarter which sadly becomes somewhat anticlimactic after a fast paced and interesting beginning.
The book is in a way split in three parts which in turn deals with the realization and preparation before a catastrophe, the actual catastrophe and the aftermath.
And since all the parts seems to be well researched and the science behind them at least plausible I found it easy to get caught up in the story.

In short I'd say that it's a good entry point into the world of sci-fi even though the disappointing end lets it down.

Born to Run

This is another book that I have listened to instead of reading it.
And like the last book The girl with the lower back tattoo it's a biography read by the author, in this case Bruce Springsteen.
This is a very well read book and even though the narrative makes it feel like it was written as an audio play I do believe that the story and the writing is interesting by itself.
However since I never been a real Bruce Springsteen fan I felt that I should have taken the time to look up his discography before listening to the book. 
This caused me some confusion since my idea of the albums release order where way of causing me some time-line confusions.

Apart from this the book reads like poetry, it's apparent that the author writes lyrics as a day job and I would not be surprised if the entire book was singable.
Again my limited pre-knowledge of the author made for a few surprises, It's a long book however since it's well written and interesting it makes for a lot of entertainment.

The book is surprisingly personal and it really feels like your stepping into the mind and life of the author.
This book gave me a bigger understanding of both Bruce Springsteen and the rock era he is a part of.

Tomorrow to Be Brave: A Memoir of the Only Woman Ever to Serve in the French Foreign Legion

This book is definitely one of the most interesting memoir's I have ever read.
Almost everything about it sparks my interests, it's a story about glamor, bravery and war.

Even though the narrative can be somewhat narcissistic (even for a biography) the main story and the characters make it well worth the read.

The book tells the story of a young lady on a quest for adventure, the journey starts in Europe during the 20th's and follows her adventures throughout the entire second world war.
The story feels like a crossover between With the old breed and The great Gatsby, it's a costume drama in war.

Death knows when it is your turn, with or without your helmet.

I stumbled upon this book while trying to broaden my reading list, the aim was to read at least a few books written buy and about women and preferably not about war...
I managed to tick at least one of the boxes and to be honest I can't be happier, this is a must for anyone interested in Europe's recent history.

The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo

Since starting my paternity leave, I have gotten a lot of audio-book and this was my first book of the year. It's been hovering on my "to read" list for a few months and since I enjoy Amy Schumer as a comedian I thought that it might be an excellent choice as a audio-book.
The author reads the book herself which in this case saves the book, the reading is funny, personal and clear lifting the content and adding a personal touch.

The book itself is mostly interesting and well written, however I don't believe that you get the best of it in paper form. To be honest I don't think I would have made it through the book if id read it myself. The audio adds a lot of character and feeling to stories that otherwise might have been a bit to clinical.

The fact that I can't recommend the book in "book" form might be a bit odd since I believe it to be a perfect audio-book and if you have a long trip ahead this would I believe this would be a perfect choice.

Raising Men

This is a book that left me somewhat confused, it's filled with equal parts of brilliance and horror. As the title suggest it's a book about raising children, it's filled with descriptions of ways to think and prepare for different situations in life as a parent.

In many ways the book is filled with interesting views on parenting and the focus on rewards for commitment and perseverance seems like a good way to raise strong and independent children.

Remember, winning isn’t beating everyone else. That’s just finishing first. Winning is when you keep going after a setback.

However I can't really get past the "macho-man" attitude that's prevalent in the book, it's a lot less than I expected but it's still a bit over the top. 
The punishments described are harsh, but the author clearly states that they are done with understanding of his children's capabilities.
I believe that the author tries to show a way of thinking, but sadly the harshness of the descriptions makes him lose the point on multiple occasions.

I would recommend this book to a new parent, however I do not believe that it should be the only book about parenting you read. 
The main thing I took from the book was the forceful conviction that parent's need to work hard for there children.

A Rumor of War

A rumor of war by Philip Caputo is a strong memoir of a war that history is trying to forget.
The book follows a young soldier during a horrible war of attrition that no-one planned for.

War is brutish, inglorious, and a terrible waste.

The book feels fairly honest even though you do get a sense that the author is trying to smooth things over.
Especially if you consider other horrific stories that circulate around the war in Vietnam.
You get the sense that the story is written by someone who have spent a lot of years in a society that's ashamed of it's actions during a conflict.
This hidden shame makes a lot of the book feel forced however it is apparent that the author is trying to describe events for future generations.

Even though the book is somewhat unstructured and sometimes feels a bit forced the character descriptions and the vivid landscapes makes for a fascinating read.
It must also be said that the book does try to deal honestly with the atrocities dealt to the Vietnamese people by the American soldiers.
It does this while still acknowledging that the individual soldiers can't be blamed, the did what there country asked of them.

But the past is just the same and War’s a bloody game ... Have you forgotten yet? ... Look down and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Never Gymless

With my newfound time limitations I have been having major issues with getting myself to the gym. 
Combine this with the extra stresses that caring for a child seems to induce I was on the fast track to muscle pains. 
The book Never Gymless by Ross Enamati with it's focus on bodyweight exercises seemed like a good starting point on the journey to becoming a pain free dad. 
The fact that the book was written when the author was getting ready to be in my position also seemed positive.

The book is blunt, efficient and sometimes a bit brutish.
It's very clearly written with a focus on combat athletes which does make some exercise hard to understand and perfect. 
Good examples of this is exercises that require the execution of boxing punches which for a novice can be hard to do correctly.

Even though some of the exercises is combat oriented the bulk of the material is relevant for anyone looking for basic bodyweight exercise and quick workouts that leave you without excuses.
The workouts is tough but after 10-30 minutes you are left feeling like you've done a workout at least twice as long all without the need for the trip to the gym.

If you are to only buy one book about training I can't recommend this one enough, it's filled with exercise, workouts and general workout tips. Another benefit is the availability of the author who seems more than happy to answer any questions that might arise.

After doing the first 10 days of the books 50 day program I am starting to feel better and since each workout seems to present new challenges I am looking forward to the following 40 days.

With the old breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

With the old breed is one of the stories that inspired the HBO miniseries the Pacific.
The show like the book focuses on the personal stories in a war of millions. It's a biography of a solider
with little or no say in deployments or tactics. This focus on the individual story makes the book gripping and grim.
The author distances himself from horrible the honesty by a detached cold narrative which serves to intensify the words.

War is brutish, inglorious, and a terrible waste.

The book follows Sledge through his entire pacific champaign describing both the camaraderie and the misery of war in the pacific.
It feels wrong to say that I enjoyed the narrative, it's to brutal for enjoyment but it gave an insight into the minds
of the soldier.
You really do get a sense of the terror and confusion felt by the grunts far away from home lost in someone else's war.

The book is as compelling as it is dark and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that enjoyed the TV-show.
In contrast with the cinematic version the book does not come of as a glorification of war.

Meditations

Meditations was my first foray into ancient philosophy but I do believe that I struck gold directly.
This book offers both a fascinating insight into the life and mind of one of the most powerful men in the history of
the world (Marcus Aurelius was a roman emperor) and a refreshing way to look at life.
It's the latter of those two that makes me consider making reading this book a yearly commitment.

Given both the age and the subject of the book it is surprisingly accessible (partly this should be credited to the excellent
translation by Martin Hammond) and since most of the philosophical content focuses on the view of "self" it is still applicable even though
the book was written a few thousand years ago.

The book is not written as fiction, which forced me to alter my reading habits to be able to fully understand the meaning of the content.
I found that reading a few pages each night and reflecting on the content during the following day was a good way understand the philosophical concepts.

Finally I would recommend this book to anyone interested in philosophy or roman history.

Neptune's Inferno: The U.S Navy at Guadalcanal

Given my fascination with both naval warfare and history this gripping narrative of seldom discussed part of the Guadalcanal offensive
struck gold.
The author, James D. Hornfischer manages to combine the historical facts with an exiting story in a similar way to the brilliant Stalingrad.

As the title implies the book focuses on the naval operations surrounding the invasion of Guadalcanal. However it also
does a fair job at describing the build up to both the pacific conflict and the reasons for launching a campaign against
Guadalcanal. It describes a point in the pacific war where the U.S infantry forces where forced to rely on a navy which had little
to no resources and that crumbled under the might of the Japanese navy. The book follows the U.S navy through this low points and sticks
with it until the massive American industrial complex with the help of some spectacular naval action managed to turn the tide in the pacific.

I really enjoyed the way the book connects the historic naval focus of midway and pearl harbor to the infantry focus
of the Guadalcanal invasion. This book should really be on your reading
list if you have any interest in the pacific theater of the second world war.

The Great Gatsby

I've had a great deal of trouble deciding on what I think of this short classic by F.Scott Fitzgerald.
The story is well written and makes an excellent job at describing the decadent intrigue without leaving the
reader with empty characters and false promises.

However large parts of the story lacks any coherent plot and could almost be considered an extended prelude or footnote to the
fast paced ending.
This long prelude is rescued by the deceivingly catchy glamor and humor which shines through in the beautifully written dialogue and the
colorful characters. 
At the very end of the story we get introduced to the grand moral of the story, which of course would be totally lost without the prelude.

We are finally left with a story about the importance of looking beyond worldly riches and glamor. It also manages to include
a fair bit of etiquette with the intriguing notion that you should thread your guests as friends, without necessarily having considering them
guests or actual friends.