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23 August 2009

A busy past few days; some books to recommend

I have spent much of the past few days at my temp job. Us temp proofreaders & production artists have helped the client by pitching in on their big project. I was proofreading complicated documents, making sure they matched the mandated norms. A lot of intellectual grunt work, but it will be satisfying once this project ends early next month.
I recently finished three books that I would highly recommend. Two are in military history; the third is in environmental-economic matters. The first one is "Hell Hawks! The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht," by Robert F. Dorr and Thomas D. Jones. This book tells the saga of the 354th Fighter Group, US Army Air Forces during World War II. The group -- nicknamed the Hell Hawks -- flew P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft on fighter-bomber missions in support of US forces in northwest Europe from just before the D-Day landings in France on 6 June 1944 to V-E Day on 8 May 1945. A fascinating story of some airmen whose tale hasn't been told much before, and it's told very well by Messrs. Dorr and Jones. I got my copy from Bob Dorr, and he and Jones signed it for me. If you're interested in getting a signed copy, please let me know and I'll fill you in on the details.
The other military history book I recently read was "The Great Gamble: The Soviet War in Afghanistan," by Gregory Feifer. It's a tale of the 1979-89 Soviet war in support of the pro-Moscow Afghan government against the mujahiden rebels, who got backing from the US. The story is told with interviews of people on both sides of this conflict, and tells of how the Soviets almost casually entered Afghanistan, expecting an easy little war, and ending up fighting to have peace with honor. A great read and a cautionary tale relating to the current US-led operation in Afghanistan.
In another direction, I recently finished reading "Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution -- and How It Can Renew America." This book is the latest by Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman and tells how climate change, an expanding middle class worldwide (especially in China and India), and a rapidly growing population pose great threats for all of us on Earth. Yet, Friedman also argues it's a great opportunity for the US to take the lead in sustainable technologies and conservation, if Americans have the public and political will to do so. Another great read from one of my favorite columnists.
That's it for now. Take care & talk to you soon.

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