Tag: World History

Fighting On Despite Desperate Odds

 

Why do men fight, and why are willing they willing to continue to fight to the last man, preferring death to surrender? T. E. Lawrence’s said men go to war “because the women were watching.” According to Michael Walsh, in his new book, Lawrence’s answer holds more truth than irony. Men fight for their families.

“Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All is Lost,” by Michael Walsh, investigates the last man phenomena. It explores why men fight, and why they are willing to continue fighting even when they know they will lose.

Walsh examines history through the lens of combat, starting with the Ancient Greek Battle of Thermopylae and continuing through the Marine retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in the Twentieth Century. In thirteen chapters he explores sixteen last-stand battles.  Some, including Thermopylae, Masada, and the Alamo, the defenders lost and dying almost to the last man. In others, like Rorke’s Drift and the Battle of Pavlov’s House at Stalingrad, defenders triumphed against terrible odds.

Book Review: Protestants, by Alec Ryrie

 

I have read and recommended many books to friends, acquaintances, and strangers over the years, but I have done so selectively, carefully choosing what I recommend and to whom I recommend it.  I have found few books, aside from dictionaries and Douglas Adams, that I would urge on others almost without condition.  I have added one to that list: Protestants: The Radicals Who Made The Modern World, by Alec Ryrie.  

The Protestant Reformation made and remade what we consider to be modern Western Civilization, and regardless of what your faith is (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist), Protestantism has affected it for good or ill, even if you live half a world away from the epicenters of its origins in Europe.  Regardless of whether you are even a Christian, you live in a world where Protestant Christianity has shaped, and even governed the way entire nations have thought and acted.  If the 20th Century was the American Century, and the 19th Century was the British, then both were also the Protestant Centuries, for the very identities of those nations were inextricably bound up with Protestantism, both in their greatest triumphs and darkest sins.  Alec Ryrie, a devout Anglican himself, presents the history of Protestant thought, denominations, and life in a single narrative volume that spans the past 500 years.  It is his love letter to his faith, but told fairly and written with honesty and humor, and as such, it is an invaluable window into seeing the state of the modern world, and the origins and workings out of much of what we assume to be true.

Protestants are fighters and lovers.  They will argue with anyone about almost anything.  Some of these arguments are abstruse, others brutally practical. If we look at the great ideological battles of the past half-millennium – for and against toleration, slavery, imperialism, fascism, or Communism – we will find Protestant Christians on both sides…. But Protestants are also lovers.  From the beginning, a love affair with God has been at the heart of their faith.  Like all long love affairs, it has gone through many phases, from early passion through companionable marriage and sometimes strained coexistence, to rekindled ardour.” (pages 1-2)

Member Post

 

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review ‘Houdini’ reveals escape artist’s secret ambitions By MARK LARDAS Preview Open

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This Week’s Book Review: Seapower States

 

Free markets and representative government combined to create unprecedented wealth since 1800. During the 20th century, three major conflicts were won by the coalition better representing those two traits.

“Seapower States: Maritime Culture, Continental Empires, and the Conflict that Made the Modern World,” by Andrew Lambert examines the roles maritime cultures play fostering progress. Lambert holds that nations depending on seapower must necessarily favor free trade and possess representative governments.

He examines five nations that became world powers through embracing maritime culture and seapower: Athens, Carthage, Venice, the Netherlands, and Britain. All five gained power through trade — and more importantly, exchange of ideas. He argues they achieved this because all five had decentralized, representative governments made up of people whose livelihood depended on trade. This allowed the best ideas and the best leaders to rise to the top.

Victor Davis Hanson gives listeners a guided tour of his new book, “The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.”

Member Post

 

Histories are strongly colored by their origins. On less popular subjects, we often hear or read only a single perspective. On popular subjects, one perspective tends to dominate… and it’s not always the most honest.  I’d like to invite all Ricochetti to share their favorite history books, links, or anecdotes. Many member posts have offered […]

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Member Post

 

Have you ever wondered who you might have become if you had been born in a different place and time?  It’s an impossible challenge, of course. Though genetics plays a strong role in personality, too much develops in response to experience and conditioning to become the same person under different circumstances. Preview Open

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