Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hue 1968 by Mark Bowden (guest review by Skandia Recluse)

A great review of a Vietnam War book from Vietnam vet and Horde writer Skandia Recluse.

Hue 1968

Author: Mark Bowden

Reviewer: Skandia Recluse

I had to read all the way to the very end to find :

"The whole painful experience ought to have (but has not) taught Americans to cultivate deep regional knowledge in the practice of foreign policy, To avoid being led by ideology instead of understanding."

Bowden, Mark. Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam (Kindle Location 8453). Grove Atlantic. Kindle Edition.

My thoughts:
Translated - gee, can't we set aside our ideological differences and just be friends? Can't we just get along?

There are two incompatible political ideologies competing in the world, three if you want to include Islam. There is no 'getting along with' someone who wants you dead, or conquered.

 Vietnam was just one example. All of the African continent, Cuba, South America, and now the Middle East; everywhere you look Western Civilization is under assault. No peaceful coexistence is possible.  Back then it was called 'the Domino Theory' and that theory was ridiculed by the anti-war protesters even as it was proven true all across the African continent.

The war in Vietnam could have been managed better. We know that now, but that wasn't known at the time the war was being fought. War is a terrible thing that should not be entered into lightly, and once in it, it must be won, at all costs.

Bowden makes several points that I would agree with, but he makes those points pro forma, without much emphasis. Some of the points he wants to make, he makes them emphatically and many of those issues I disagree with his conclusion. He shades the material in subtle ways, making it possible for readers of differing ideological points of view to reach differing conclusions.

In the end, he blames Nixon for prolonging the war, and holds the North Vietnamese to a lower standard of blame; they just wanted their independence from foreign powers, you see.   He blames Nixon for the Khmer Rouge. He does paint a clear picture of communist propaganda and recruitment, but this is not an issue for him, because the government of the south was corrupt. He denigrates US soldiers with a broad brush when he talks about the brothels, making it seem that the US Military was at fault somehow, without mentioning that it was often Communist radicals who were working in those brothels.  The first week in country, my unit was briefed on the rate of infection of venereal disease (STDs in the modern vernacular). "The rate is one in two," the briefing officer said. "That means that if you don't have it, the guy next to you does." That removed any desire I might have had to ever visit a brothel. Some of the men in my unit contracted VD more than once; you didn't go outside the wire if you had it.

I was never in Hue. I was in Saigon two years earlier. I drove a truck. Many of the guys who were in combat didn't think much of truck drivers. The guy with whom I shared a truck was shot up very badly one day. We were told he died. I have looked for his name on the wall and can't find it. A man by the same name is listed as a Navy Seal. A friend of mine was also shot up in that same ambush. I was washing pots and pans in the kitchen that day.  My father, in WWII in China, had a similar experience. He was sick one day, and the bomber crew he was on went on a mission while he remained on base. That mission the aircraft and the crew did not return. There are similar examples in Bowden's book, two men standing together, one dies, the other does not. However, in combat at the level of what was experienced in Hue, day after day, casualties mount up. You didn't die today, or this week, but a month later your number comes up. Many of the units Bowden writes about were reduced to just a few survivors. Wounded far outnumber those killed. Numbers from Afghanistan and Iraq are horrible. Maimed and wounded far outnumber those killed.

One thing I learned from this book; the Generals in Saigon had no clue what was happening in Hue, and denied the early reports because those reports were inconceivable to the Generals, according to Bowden.  Another thing I learned from Bowden was the US forces had no training in Urban Combat. If you choose to read this book, make special note of which tactics get you killed in Urban Combat, and what you have to do to not get killed.

Should you read this book? I don't know. I don't know you. Knowing what I know now, I would not have read this book. I had a suspicion, and at the very end of the book, my suspicion was confirmed. Bowden seems to blame the US Military for losing the war, which isn't true. He discounts the conclusion that the US Military was victorious at Hue and in South Vietnam, which, militarily is true. The North was hurt badly, but they regrouped, rebuilt and with arms and supplies from the Soviet Union were able to remain on the battlefield. Bowden doesn't seem to notice this.

In the end, the news media in the US, and the anti-war protesters were able to wear down public opinion, and eventually, the politicians grew tired of defending their decisions. US Troops were pulled out, and still the south did what they could. When the North launched another major attack as large or larger than the attack on Hue, the democrats in the US congress washed their hands of the whole mess and refused to send supplies. In the US, no one cared. But in South Vietnam, many thousands of Vietnamese fled the country; boat people, they were called. Bowden makes no note of those refugees.

If the US is going to win a war, the entire country has to support the effort to win. If half the people in the country are actively sabotaging the war effort, the US can't win. Don't think our enemies haven't noticed.

Skandia Recluse is the author of the Wolf Hunters science fiction saga, which includes Wolf Hunters : Safari.

Here's the blurb:
A story in two parts. Part one the son of a rich man arrives at May Flower seeking adventure. Something in the environment captures the young man and he goes native. Something about the exotic young man from another planet infatuates three young Wolf Hunters. An old enemy of the Wolf Hunters appears when the young man stumbles into a hidden party of raiders. A twist at the end sets up the second part of the story; Discrimination, plots, and war.

Wolf Hunters : Safari is free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
If you want to see if subscribing is right for you, can get a Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Please excuse my absence...

art via epicsnaps

Dear Blog Reader,

Please excuse my absence from the blog. My brain was operating on partial power for the past couple of months.

I was called up via my subneural link. The alert looks like flashers behind my eyes. Luckily I wasn't driving when they went on.

"What?" I said tersely, closing my eyes. Please don't trigger a migraine, please.

Neural processing power siphon to commence in 8 minutes and 21.6 seconds.

"What happened to one-day notices? Or even 10 minutes warnings? How much and how long?"

Level 2 emergency policy applies. Estimated load between 13% to 18%. Duration unknown, not to exceed 60 sleep cycles.

"Two months? Are you kidding me? You can't do that!"

Compliance is mandatory as per contract. Please sit or lie down during in case of vertigo during interface initiation in 7 minutes and 48 seconds.

"I can't believe you're treating me like this. I'm going to submit a complaint."

Emergency overtime compensation rates in place.

Right. Smug bastard. I wonder if the voice could see me mentally roll my eyes.

The worst part of getting my brain hijacked was I never even knew what it was being used for. Or so I thought ...

To be continued...

Friday, December 8, 2017

New Release: The Deplorable Gourmet by The Horde

To Serve Moron ... It's A Cookbook!

Its here! The long-awaited cookbook by the world-infamous Moron Horde themselves! Thanks to the hard work of stalwart Morons Bluebell and Weasel, we now have The Deplorable Gourmet by The Horde. (Yours truly may or may not have provided a recipe for this as well).

Whether or not you plan to get a copy, you HAVE to read the reviews! Released just yesterday, it already has 94 hilarious tongue-in-cheek reviews on Amazon.

Here's the blurb:
The Deplorable Gourmet is the cookbook that the Moronosphere has been waiting for. If you’re already a Moron, you know exactly what that means! If not, fear not, because this cookbook contains over 500 recipes submitted by people from all over the world who not only proudly identify as Morons, but are ready to welcome you into our world, and invite ourselves into your kitchen. What could possibly go wrong?

Don’t know what to make for dinner for yourself? Or take to the family reunion, or office party? How about a nice little treat to celebrate the weekend? Out of ideas for breakfast? Thirsty? The Deplorable Gourmet is here to help! Featuring:

- Seven chapters, from Appetizers to Desserts and everything in between!

- All cooking levels, from help-I-can’t-open-this-can to let-me-whip-out-my-chef’s-toque!

- Diversity! Multi-culturalism! Recipes from flyover country! And in some cases, political incorrectness mixed with a tad of salty language!

And the best part
- 100% of net proceeds are donated to charitable organizations.

When the Horde sets its collective Hordemind to do something, we do it in spades. And when it comes to gustatory delights, The Deplorable Gourmet is our ace in the hole. Everyone needs a taste of the Horde!

The Deplorable Gourmet is available now in paperback and the Kindle version can be pre-ordered now, to be released on December 10.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Pearl Harbor Day: All the Gallant Men by USS Arizona Survivor Donald Stratton

Memoir of a Survivor of the USS Arizona

Today is the 76th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. One man who lived through the sinking of the USS Arizona tells his, and his shipmates' story, in his memoir published last year - All the Gallant Men: An American Sailor's Firsthand Account of Pearl Harbor by Donald Stratton (with Ken Gire).

Here's the blurb:
THE FIRST MEMOIR BY A USS ARIZONA SURVIVOR: Donald Stratton, one of the battleship's five living heroes, delivers a "powerful" and "intimate"* eyewitness account of Pearl Harbor and his unforgettable return to the fight

At 8:10 a.m. on December 7, 1941, Seaman First Class Donald Stratton was consumed by an inferno. A million pounds of explosives had detonated beneath his battle station aboard the USS Arizona, barely fifteen minutes into Japan’s surprise attack on American forces at Pearl Harbor. Near death and burned across two thirds of his body, Don, a nineteen-year-old Nebraskan who had been steeled by the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, summoned the will to haul himself hand over hand across a rope tethered to a neighboring vessel. Forty-five feet below, the harbor’s flaming, oil-slick water boiled with enemy bullets; all around him the world tore itself apart.

In this extraordinary, never-before-told eyewitness account of the Pearl Harbor attack—the only memoir ever written by a survivor of the USS Arizona—ninety-four-year-old veteran Donald Stratton finally shares his unforgettable personal tale of bravery and survival on December 7, 1941, his harrowing recovery, and his inspiring determination to return to the fight.

Don and four other sailors made it safely across the same line that morning, a small miracle on a day that claimed the lives of 1,177 of their Arizona shipmates—approximately half the American fatalaties at Pearl Harbor. Sent to military hospitals for a year, Don refused doctors’ advice to amputate his limbs and battled to relearn how to walk. The U.S. Navy gave him a medical discharge, believing he would never again be fit for service, but Don had unfinished business. In June 1944, he sailed back into the teeth of the Pacific War on a destroyer, destined for combat in the crucial battles of Leyte Gulf, Luzon, and Okinawa, thus earning the distinction of having been present for the opening shots and the final major battle of America’s Second World War.

As the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack approaches, Don, a great-grandfather of five and one of six living survivors of the Arizona, offers an unprecedentedly intimate reflection on the tragedy that drew America into the greatest armed conflict in history. All the Gallant Men is a book for the ages, one of the most remarkable—and remarkably inspiring—memoirs of any kind to appear in recent years.

You can also read more about this remarkable hero in this short article in the US Naval magazine All Hands.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

New Release: Winner Takes All by Robert Bidinotto

Justice Thriller

I got this email from author Hans Schantz recommending another author's book:
This is an excellent book your Bookhorde readers might like: Winner Takes All by Vigilante Author, Robert Bidinotto. This is his third Dylan Hunter Justice Thriller. The previous installment was CLFA Book of the Year in 2014, and this one - I think - is even better.

Here's the blurb:
Engaged to be married, mysterious journalist Dylan Hunter and CIA officer Annie Woods are eager to put their violent past behind them, for good.

But then an intrepid investigative reporter is brutally, mysteriously murdered.

A visionary presidential candidate is targeted for destruction.

And a horrific day of unspeakable terrorism rocks Washington, D.C....

Soon, Hunter's investigation puts him in the cross hairs of a power-hungry billionaire and a cold-blooded assassin. Camouflaged by "fake news," a deadly conspiracy of Russian spies and American traitors aims to install their puppet in the White House.

And these predators will do the unthinkable to bring America under their total control.

The stakes -- political and personal -- couldn't be higher. Because to stop them, Dylan Hunter must make an irrevocable choice. He must revert to his dark, secret life as a violent vigilante, waging a one-man war against the corrupt and untouchably powerful.

It's a decision that will, finally and forever, seal his fate . . . including his future with the woman he adores.

But for now, only one thing is certain:

In the tidal wave of political violence sweeping through the blood-soaked streets of Washington, D.C., the final outcome will be . . .


The first book in the Dylan Hunter series is Hunter and the second book is Bad Deeds.

Winner Takes All is free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. If you want to see if subscribing is right for you, can get a Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Last Chance: Cyber Monday Deals!

Cyber Monday Deals

Last chance for Cyber Monday Deals with deep discounts on Amazon Devices, including and check out all of Amazon's Cyber Monday Deals.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

New Release: The Heretics of St. Possenti by Rolf Nelson

Word Around the Writer Blogs

Guess what? Rolf Nelson, author of Back From The Dead (Book 1 of The Stars Came Back) and whom we did an author interview of, has a new release titled The Heretics of St. Possenti. This is a prequel to The Stars Came Back and is "about the founding of an order of monks... with guns!" in the author's words.

Here's the blurb:
Bishop Thomas Cranberry finds himself at a loss when he is confronted by a thief and realizes some disturbing truths about himself. The experience sends him in search of the men who are increasingly absent from the Church, who find themselves at a loss in a world that has gone increasingly feral, and who feel that they have nowhere to go and no one to whom they can turn for support. In listening to them and attempting to understand their plight, he finds an unexpected mission.

THE HERETICS OF ST. POSSENTI is for readers who want the backstory of the story and for those who want to know how one inspired man can make a difference in a fallen world. It is a novel for those who need inspiration to get them though the day and those who look for unusual ways to accomplish the mission. It is for people who understand and respect the old ways but know that sometimes a seed cannot grow without splitting the pavement.

Rolf Nelson is the author of BACK FROM THE DEAD is the first book in The Stars Came Back series.

The Heretics of St. Possenti is free to read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. If you want to see if subscribing is right for you, can get a Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.