Thursday, March 13, 2014

So Then I Read: Booksplosion!

I finally remembered to bring my Nook with me and this has been a great.  Here is my last couple of weeks. 

Matthew Bracken
  • Enemies Foreign and Domestic
    • This could be a how-to manual for PR and False-Flag operations.  I could read this again.
  • Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista
    • This book didn't have the action or the resolution of the first book in the Trilogy.  It was okay, but I just couldn't connect to the characters.  Also in a Black Hawk vs. Cessna competition, the biggest remaining piece of the Cessna is going to fit in a Zip-Loc Baggie.
  • Foreign Enemies and Traitors
    • Better than the second book, but still not as good as the first.  I can see the US enlisting foreign peacekeepers after a series of major disasters, but I the closing scene in Camp David pushed my suspension of disbelief too far.

      From a technical perspective this introduced several new considerations around modern guerrilla warfare.  I think I grasp a tiny fraction of the terror induced by the US drone program now.

Jack Du Brull
  • Vulcan's Forge
    • The physics is a bit suspect.  My understanding is that heavier elements require significantly more energy to fuse than light ones.  The process of making Bikinium should have taken more energy than the bombs of the day could produce?  Did they have Fission Fusion bombs then?
  • Charon's Landing
    • This book taught me more about the Alaskan Oil Pipeline than anything else I've read.
  • The Medusa Stone
    • I'd like to explore a mining operation one day.  Preferably without shots being fired.
  • Pandora's Curse
    • Ignoring the fact that a WWII U-Boat would likely have rusted practically solid, and that the path to the ice cave would have changed radically due to ice deposition, and that the Diesel fuel would have evaporated, and that the ice would have crushed the facility, and that diesel makes a horrible flamethrower, and  ... Nevermind.

      That said, the world needs more Zeppelins!  +1 for Blimps!

      Mental Note: Look for jobs in Antarctica.
  • River of Ruin
    • I'd read this before, and it was good to read again.   I think this might be based on Lake Guatavita.  I'd like to go scuba diving there one day.  I don't think the political situation in Columbia is particularly conducive to that though.
(I have Havoc, another book in the Phillip Mercer series.  I'm saving it for the plane ride home tomorrow.)
 
Eric Schlosser
  • Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
    • This was great.  The guy took three relatively dry subjects (The history and development of Nuclear Weapons, The development of Nuclear Strategy, and The history of Nuclear Weapon Accidents) and managed to turn them all into a readable and enjoyable story.

      A couple of fantastic quotes in this book.
      "“I’ll tell you what war is about,” LeMay once said. “You’ve got to kill people and when you kill enough of them, they stop fighting.”"

      (Shortly after a Missile Silo Explosion)
      Roberts feared he to pass out. [....] He made his way to the battered pickup near the gate and saw two men in the distance wearing RFHCO suits.  (Sixty pound chemical resistant HAZMAT suits and respirators designed for working with toxic rocket fuels and particularly nasty oxidizers)  He flashed the headlights and honked the horn, but they didn’t see him. And then Roberts saw another truck parked nearby. [...] a man got out, with a flashlight. He was wearing a gas mask and a red bowling shirt.
      Roberts thought, “Great."

      (After reviewing the thousands of first/retaliatory targets in the SIOP strike plan)
      General Butler later recalled. “I came to fully appreciate the truth … we escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.”

I don't regret reading any of these.  It's been a lot of fun.  I also happened upon a half-priced books store, so I have several new physical books too.

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