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Reading Diary for 2022
2022
2021
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  and earlier
"Island Infernos"
by John C. McManus
Island InfernosThe second entry in his planned trilogy of volumes chronicling the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II, this book looks at the year 1944. Neither revisionist nor loyalist, McManus is willing to cite strong criticisms of senior generals and admirals from those who served with them. Neither McArthur nor Chesty Puller is immune to such criticism - the former for his glory hounding, the latter for his willingness to send his men in costly frontal attacks rather than adapt to the situation on the ground..

"Fire and Fortitude"
by John C. McManus
Fire and FortitudeA remarkable telling of the role of the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater, from Pearl Harbor thorugh 1943. McManus' seeming goal of this trilogy (this is the first; the third hasn’t yet been published, I don’t believe) is to counter the mythology that the Marines did all the heavy lifting in the Pacific. In fact, the Army conducted more amphibious landings, took more casualties, provided more of the manpower than the smaller Marine Corps. While never downplaying the Corps’ valor (he takes pains to point out that the Marines suffered proportionately higher casualties than the Army), he wants to ensure that the contributions the soldiers made are not forgotten.

"Double Strike"
by Edward Jablonski
Double StrikeA comapnion of sorts to Thomas M. Coffey's "Decision Over Schweinfurt," "Double Strike" is viewed from one step further back, taking in the raid against Luftwaffe fighter manufacturing in Regensburg as well as the ball-bearing plants at Schweinfurt. Together, these two heavy bombing raids represented the largest American strikes against Germany's war machine to date - and both become memorialized for the terrible losses sustained by the unprotected bomber crews. (U.S. and British fighter planes lacked the range early in the war to accompany the bombers all the way to German's interior, and back.) This is one of the best books on those raids - deeply researched and well-written.

"Target Ploesti"
by Leroy W. Newby
Target PloestiSelf-written by a combat bombardier, "Target Ploesti" is noteworthy more for the perspective of its author than for the vividness of his prose: Most World War II air war histories focus on pilots or generals. This is a mission-by-mission memoir of a man who didn't plot the missions or fly the planes - his job was to place his plane's bomb load accurately on target (in this case, the Ploesti oil fields in Romania, seized by the Nazis). It's a fascinating and unusual point of view, and worth the read for World War II buffs.

"The Sacred Bridge"
by Anne Hillerman
The Sacred BridgeAnne Hillerman’s 8th novel in her continuation of her father’s Navajo police mysteries is like a too-short visit with old friends, where you utterly enjoyed the time together but are already looking forward to the next visit. Chee is on vacation at Lake Powell, when he discovers a corpse in the lake – and of course agrees to stay and help. Bernie goes undercover at a large hemp factory on the Nation, and it goes sideways. (Read full review – scroll to bottom at the link.)