The Greater America
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THE WARBIRD'S BOOK CLUB

I read three books a month, so you don't have to! (I borrowed that line from Michael Palin.) But here's one you really ought to read: The Allure of Battle by Cathal Nolan. The germ of its 709 pages is this: battles don't win wars. Attrition wins wars. Demonstrating it, however, takes us on a magnificent sweep of (mostly European) history, acquainting us with the Great Generals who, if not defeated themselves in war, prepared the way for their successors to be defeated. The Germans especially take it in the neck. There is no mewling equivalence here: Not only was the Heer prone to butchering civilians, but its generals never grasped that there was no way they were going to win those stupid wars, once other nations got involved. Pity Donald Rumsfeld didn't read this book before we went into Iraq. Winning a battle is the easy part; it's what comes afterward that wears us out.

I enjoyed Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, though the "spy" part is fairly thin gruel at best. Yes, Ernest Hemingway was one of Lenin's "useful idiots" (yes, I known Vlad didn't say it, but he should have), but so was virtually every American writer and indeed most intelligent Americans in the 1930s and 1940s. He adored Russia because it stood against the fascists in Spain and again in the war against Nazi Germany. And he adored Castro. But he never was a traitor, though the NKVD did its clumsy best to recruit him. Still, I'm a sucker for anything by or about Hemingway -- I even have The Garden of Eden queued up on my Kindle. So I enjoyed it hugely, and even learned a bit. (Good photos, too.)

Published a month before the astonishment of last November 9, The Populist Explosion naturally did not predict that Donald Trump would be our 45th president. To Mr Judis's credit, however, and unlike most of us, he didn't rule out the possibility, with the result that his book makes it seem entirely inevitable. It's a fine sweep through American history, teasing out the populist strain in our politics. I didn't know that we once actually had a Populist Party! And Andy Jackson, of course, and William Jennings Bryan, and Huey Long and Ross Perot and Occupy Wall Street and (down to the wire!) Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Gosh, now that I think about it, the whole thing was inevitable, wasn't it?

And that's the perfect lead-in to The Greater America. Sally's grandfather wrote it more at the start of the 20th century, and I edited it for the 21st. Publication day is May 15. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

Half price and postpaid!

Remains - A Story of the Flying Tigers

I still have some copies of the 2000 iUniverse edition of Remains: A Story of the Flying Tigers. While they last, you can get one for $7.98 postpaid, sent by Media Mail to your U.S. postal address. PayPal rolls your credit card; I sign the book and put it in the mailbox.

A Kindle for $79.99, a tablet for $49.99!

For ten years I've been adapting my books and articles for digital reading, most notably for Amazon's Kindle, a kludgy device that cost $399 when it first revolutionized publishing. And now the price has fallen to $79.99 for a much superior product. Even more astonishing is the new Kindle Fire, a basic but full-fledged, 7-inch tablet computer for $49.99.

Daniel Ford's books:

The Greater America: An Epic Journey Through a Vibrant New Country (Ralph Paine)
Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault & His American Volunteers (revised 2016)
Tales of the Flying Tigers (think of it as a lengthy appendix to the history)
Poland's Daughter: How I Learned About Love, War, and Exile
Michael's War: A story of the Irish Republican Army
The Lady and the Tigers (Olga Greenlaw)
The Only War We've Got: Early Days in South Vietnam
Remains: A Story of the Flying Tigers
Incident at Muc Wa: A Story of the Vietnam War
Glen Edwards: Diary of a Bomber Pilot
A Vision So Noble: John Boyd, the OODA Loop, and America's War on Terror
The Country Northward: A Hiker's Journal

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Once or twice a month, I send out an email newsletter about my books and the subjects covered in them, most often about military aviation and the wars of the past hundred years. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Flying Tigers
available again for Kindle

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Posted May 2017. Websites © 1997-2017 Daniel Ford. All rights reserved.