Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good readings

As I laid in the Mexican sun last week, I had the rarer and rarer opportunity to read almost non-stop for several hours -- a guilty pleasure I have not indulged in for a too long time.
Two of the books that were devoured cover-to-cover have some relevance here. They both refer, more or less directly, to modern, almost contemporary conflicts. Low intensity warfare in the second half of the XX century is something that has intrigued me for a long time, and yet I have been reluctant to tip my toe into this period, at least publicly. I think this is my sense of decorum in display: these events are still open wounds for many people, and making them the object of wargaming is something that must be done with great taste, respect, and measure, and some understatement.
Back to my recommended readings of the day.
The first book is about the open engagement in the Vietnam War, Operation Starlite in August 1965.

The title is "The First Battle - Operation Starlite and the Beginning of the Blood Debt in Vietnam". It is a quick book, little more than 200 pages, and it contains several ideas for good scenarios. It is also a fascinating reading to cast some light about the fighting doctrine of the U.S. Marines and the VietCong in the early stages of the conflict.
The second book is not military history, but a novel which had some success a few years back.

Alexandra Fuller wrote "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood" as a memoir of her childhood in war-torn Rhodesia, and the book chronicled the story of her family moving across the region (Rhodesia, Malawi, Zambia) in the '70s and '80s. It s a very frank and sweet book, which portrays the harsh realities of a country in political and military turmoil.
Just a few weeks back, TooFatLardies published B'Maso, a supplement for "I Ain't Been Shot Mum" which provides historical background, army lists, and scenarios for the conflicts of African decolonization: from the Mau Mau in Kenya in the 1950s, to Katanga and the Congo in the 1960s, Biafra and Nigeria, Rhodesia, the Portuguese Wars in Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Angola, and the border war in South West Africa.
I have to confess: reading this book made me very curious about the possibilities in TFL booklet. Very interesting. Maybe it's time to go and give a second look to Peter Pig's AK47 range...

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

I fully understand (and share) your reluctance to "game" recent conflicts. Personally the only thing I've gamed after the 19th century "colonial" period is some WWI air combat (let's face it, biplanes are cool-looking) . . . even WWII is too recent for my taste.

But I hardly try to impose my opinions on anyone else. I hope that you find your 20th century engagements fascinating.

-- Jeff