Book Notes: John Poole’s Dragon Days: Time for “Unconventional” Tactics

John Poole‘s Dragon Days is mostly about 4GW and a little bit about what I call 5GW (aka SecretWar).

The Interesting points to me where:

- US light infantry should add criminal investigative techniques

- US light infantry should all add real SERE capability so they don’t need 2GW-ish bombardment (with its 4GW blowback) if they get into a fix.

- China seems to be the PuppetMaster behind lots of the conflict and enemies the US is facing – so China is sort of engaged in a non-kinetic 4GW and maybe a 5GW (though he doesn’t use that term) against the US

- Poole thinks that the release of the book Unrestricted Warfare was a deception operation to get the US focused on hi-tech warfare (which makes me think he really didn’t read it)

BookTV Podcast with “The Utility of Force” author Gen. Rupert Smith…

…can be subscribed to here. That’s how I listened to it. The webcast version link crashed my browser.

It was quite interesting. He seems to be presenting a similar framework to Lind or XGW. Of course, since he is British, he sounds even smarter then he really is (which is smart to begin with). I am getting the book. He was also on the also on the Daily Show.

I just finshed reading Michael Yon’s new book “Moment of Truth in Iraq”…

…and I really liked it.

The book is 3 things:

- First-rate first-person war reporting
- An account of what is going on tactically in Iraq
- A partial handbook on COIN/4GW and the importance of the non-kinetic activities

    I highly recommend it. The PurpleDad is getting my copy.

    Sparse Elegance: Charles Koch’s “The Science of Success”

    This is not a self-help book. It is an excellent slim introduction to free market economics and economic thinking masquerading as a business book.

    While I picked up the “Science of Success” to see how he applied economic thinking to running a business, I was blown away the authors clarity and elegance in describing economic thinking.

    I also found his business system – MBM (Market Based Management) The Science of Human Action Applied to Organizations – to be interesting. It was not a how-to guide though.

    The Science of Success

    Book Notes: Nicholas Wade’s – “Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors”

    I bought and finally read Nicholas Wade’s – “Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors” after catching references to it around the blogosphere (e.g. TDAXP)

    I loved it.

    This book makes an interesting pass at writing down the “pre-history” of humans mostly based upon on genetics and human DNA analysis.

    Wade notes the following as the themes driving the book:

    - There is a clear continuity between the ape world of 5 million years ago and the human world that emerged from it.

    - A principle force in the shaping of human evolution has been the nature of human society.

    - The human physical form was attained first, followed by continued evaluation of human behavior.

    - Most of human prehistory occurred in, and was shaped by the last ice age.

    - The adaptaions for three principal social institutions – warfare, religion, and trade – had evolved by 50,000 years ago.

    - The ancestral people had a major limitation to overcome: they were too aggressive to live in settled communities.

    - Human evolution did not halt in the distant past but has continued to the present day.

    - People probably once spoke a single language from which all contemporary languages are derived.

    - The human genome contains excellent records of the recent past, providing a parallel history to the written record.

    Everybody should read this book. I am passing my copy onto my family

    I just finished reading Greg Bear’s Quantico

    It is a near-future thriller about Bioterror and hints around the edges at the future events in the Mideast, terrorism, the US Intelligence Community and hi-tech National Security gadgets.

    It was just okay.

    It was really about hi-tech bioterror. Secondary themes were about how the USGOV and the IC isn’t doing enough…and is doing too much. And of course, the villain can’t be a Muslim.

    While some of the gadgetry (Bear is a Science Fiction writer) was interesting (stuff like in this post), most of the characters are cardboard. There is no sense of the importance and scope of 4GW with the importance of messages, information and perceptions.

    My Favorite Arthurian Books and Why The Arthurian Stories Still Attract Me All these Years Later

    Here is a list of my favorite Arthurian (aka King Arthur) Books:

    Mary Stewart:

    1. The Crystal Cave
    2. The Hollow Hills
    3. The Last Enchantment
    4. The Wicked Day

    The series tries to have a realistic/historical feel to it. It is clearly set in the Post-Roman/Pre-Dark-Ages Britain. The First three are from the point of view of Merlin and begin before Arthur is around. The last covers the Arthurian Story from the point of view of Mordred…with a different spin. This was the first of the Arthurian novels I read that were not of the Medieval knights-in-shining-armor variety.

    Rosemary Sutcliff:

    If you can only read one Arthurian book, this is the one. This is a non-magical Arthur as war leader fighting in post-roman Britain for civilization against the encroaching barbarians and the dark ages.

    Parke Godwin:

    1. Firelord
    2. Beloved Exile

    Beloved Exile also serves as a sort of an Arthurian post-script, in that it tries to imagine Britain post Arthur, and often from the view of the Saxon invaders and settlers.

    Bernard Cornwell:

    1. The Winter King
    2. Enemy of God
    3. Excalibur

    Cornwell’s story take place in a post-Roman Britain on the edge between civilization and the dark ages – right were I like Arthurian stories. I came across Cornwell first when I was bored in Canada on a job and drove an hour to a bigger city with a bookstore and saw a display for his Sharpe’s books.

    Keith Taylor:

    1. Bard
    2. Bard II
    3. Bard III
    4. Bard IV: Raven’s Gathering

    This series has more fantasy then history, but it is set in the right time period and helps flesh things out. Arthurian characters and settings are at the fringes.

    Geoffrey Ashe:

    This is a a non-fiction look at a possible historical basis for Arthur. The Author makes a good case that the main (or a major source) is the historical figure Riothamus.

    Prince Valiant (A color Sunday Comic Strip since 1937)

    This is a gorgeously drawn Arthurian epic whose main character is Prince Valiant of Thule and companion to King Arthur. I have been reading these for the the last 30 years. I have also also read the first 20 years or so which were republished by Fanatagraphics. A recent strip can be viewed here. It remains the first thing I read in the Sunday paper.

    I often wonder why the Arthurian Legends call to me. I think it has something to do with fighting against odds to hold the line as civilization (post Western Roman Empire) collapses and darkness spreads. It is a sad story. The romance of fighting the good fight – the right fight – even though defeat is assured, has a hold on me.

    Updated: Corrected  typos (lots).

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