Its been a while since I have written anything about new books to enter my library. This is not that I have not been buying. Actually the opposite is true I have been buying lots. This is mainly because of my PhD studies. Since starting in January I must have bought somewhere around 50-60 books and there are still more to come. However, I have also been buying books on various other subjects. Here are a couple that are of interest.
John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War (Penguin, 2005) – Having an interest in the Cold War I thought I had better add this one to the collection. Gaddis is considered by most to be the doyen of Cold War history. Initially a revisionist, he saw American economic interests as important in the cause of the Cold War as Soviet ambitions. However, with the opening of the Russian archive sin the 90’s Gaddis’ view shifted. This work is a useful primer to the subject and considering that we now teach youngsters who never lived through the Cold War it is an important work.
Hew Strachan, Carl Von Clausewitz’s “On War”: A Biography (Atlantic Books, 2007) – Strachan’s biography of Clausewitz’s work is a great primer to this important work of military theory. It is a work that is a historical and we often see it used a basis of analysis, for example Scot Robertson used neo-Clausewitzian methodology in his analysis of British strategic bombing doctrine. However, on thing that Strachan makes abundantly clear is that On War was a work born of history and his own experience of the Napoleonic period. This is a great work that should be read if you do not want to read through the whole of the original text.
Adrian Smith, Mountbatten: Apprentice War Lord (I B Tauris, 2010) – Mountbatten was no stranger to controversy and unsurprisingly there have been several biographies of him produced. John Terraine produced an official one with his help and Philip Ziegler did the authorised one after his death. However, Smith’s work appear to be the best of the lost. I am no fan of the biographical genre, I tend to feel that many are too hagiographic in nature, however, Smith’s work is to be commended as rather than producing a blow-by-blow account he has attempted to come to grips with the historiographical issues surrounding his life. This is especially effective in the section dealing with Dieppe where deals with Brian Loring Villa’s work very effectively. This is a biography I would recommend, though it does only go up to 1943 so I hope he is doing a second volume.