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#Bookreview THE GREENHILL DICTIONARY OF MILITARY QUOTATIONS by Chris Riddell (Illustrator), Peter G Tsouras (Editor) (@penswordbooks) A gift for fans of quotations and military history #militaryhistory

Hi all:

I bring you a non-fiction book that I think will appeal to many of you (or will make a fabulous gift for somebody you know):

The Greenhill Dictionary of Military Quotations by Chris Riddell (Illustrator), Peter G Tsouras (Editor)

The Greenhill Dictionary of Military Quotations by Chris Riddell (Illustrator), Peter G Tsouras (Editor)

‘A massive compilation casting light not only upon the pain, suffering and sheer insanity of war, but also upon the unique comradeship and exhilaration of battle… this is a valuable addition to the literature of reference.’ – The Spectator

Peter Tsouras brings 4,000 years of military history to life through the words of more than 800 soldiers, commanders, military theorists and commentators on war. Quotes by diverse personalities – Napoleon, Machiavelli, Atatürk, ‘Che’ Guevara, Rommel, Julius Caesar, Wellington, Xenophon, Crazy Horse, Wallenstein, T.E. Lawrence, Saladin, Zhukov, Eisenhower and many more – sit side by side to build a comprehensive picture of war across the ages.

Broken down into more than 480 categories, covering courage, danger, failure, leadership, luck, military intelligence, tactics, training, guerrilla warfare and victory, this definitive guide draws on the collected wisdom of those who have experienced war at every level. From the brutality and suffering of war, to the courage and camaraderie of soldiers, to the glory and exhilaration of battle, these quotes offer an insight into the turbulent history of warfare and the lives and deeds of great warriors.

https://www.amazon.com/Greenhill-Dictionary-Military-Quotations/dp/1784384771/

https://www.amazon.com/Greenhill-Dictionary-Military-Quotations-ebook/dp/B088ZYS361/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greenhill-Dictionary-Military-Quotations-ebook/dp/B088ZYS361/

https://www.amazon.es/Greenhill-Dictionary-Military-Quotations-ebook/dp/B088ZYS361/

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Greenhill-Dictionary-of-Military-Quotations-Hardback/p/17753

About the authors:

Editor Peter G. Tsouras

Peter Tsouras has written critically-acclaimed alternate histories on D-Day, Gettysburg and Stalingrad. He was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. After army service in the US and Germany he retired from the US Army Reserve in 1994 in the rank of lieutenant colonel. After his army service Tsouras worked for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Threat Analysis Center (now the National Ground Intelligence Center) and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

https://www.fantasticfiction.com/t/peter-g-tsouras/

Illustrator Chris Riddell

Chris RiddellOBE (born 13 April 1962) is a British illustrator and occasional writer of children’s books and a political cartoonist for the Observer. He has won three Kate Greenaway Medals as well as the British librarians’ annual award for the best-illustrated children’s book, and two of his works were commended runners-up, a distinction dropped after 2002

Books that he wrote or illustrated have won three Nestlé Smarties Book Prizes and have been silver or bronze runners-up four times. On 9 June 2015, he was appointed the UK Children’s Laureate.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Riddell

My review:

I received an early hardback review copy of this book from the publishers, which I freely chose to review.

I am sure I’m not alone in my love of quotations. The best of them summarise wise opinions on a subject, are humorous, surprising, enlightening, and can sometimes make us see something (or somebody) in a completely new light. They are also memorable and can encapsulate the main points of complex theories or simply an amusing and touching thought. We might not remember a whole novel, or play, or a treatise, but will often remember a quotation that particularly connected with us. Those are some of the reasons that attracted me to this book.

Another one of the reasons is the topic. I’m not an expert in military history, but there are aspects of it that crop up everywhere. Recently, with the COVID-19 crisis, many commentators have observed that the members of the government dealing with the different aspects of it (I’m talking about the Spanish government, but I think it applies to many others as well), have used language and terminology better suited to a military campaign than to a health emergency, and that is often the case in many walks of life. In a similar way to sports, metaphors and similes from the military world are frequently used to refer to any situation involving two opposing sides or views (regardless of the enemy not being even visible to the naked eye). And, if you work in a pretty competitive environment, you’re likely to have had Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, or Machiavelli’s The Prince recommended as reading material at some point. You catch my drift.

That’s why this book is such a great resource.  Lieutenant Colonel Tsouras explains in his acknowledgments the difficulties he had to find, identify, and classify all the quotations he needed when writing his books on military subjects, and how that resulted in several editions of this dictionary, always with room for improvement and expansion. Both in the acknowledgements and the preface, the author/editor (I feel although the original words are not his, the design and the careful selection of the sources represents an authorship in its own right) explains his process, his choices (there are over 6000 quotations split into almost 500 categories, in alphabetical order, but there could be very many more), and why we should not forget these men and women, their words, and their wisdom. As he says in the preface ‘They are not dead as long as they are remembered’. He makes sure that we are provided a context as well, so we don’t misunderstand the true intentions of the writer (or speaker), as we know is often the case with quotations.

The book is further enhanced by Chris Riddell’s illustrations. Those ink sketches are amusing and sharp, and rather than being generic and evenly distributed, they illustrate specific quotations and are perfectly suited to the text. I’d love to have more of them, but their scarcity makes them more compelling. This volume also contains a select bibliography and a biographical index which will be helpful to those whose interest is piqued by a particular quotation or historical (or contemporary) figure.

This is a great book to dip in and out of, and I’m sure you’ll all find some old favourites and discover some new ones. It is also a great resource to history teachers (and teachers in general), writers (not only of stories with military or action subjects), historians and those interested in such topics, fans of general knowledge, and people who love quotations and are forever looking for new sources and collections.

There are so many quotations in the book that it’s impossible to decide what to share, but here are two I’d never heard before (and that ring particularly true):

You cannot pay my Marines enough for what they do for this nation. But you sure can pay them too little.  (General Charles Krulak, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 February 1999).

I always remember the Japanese soldier who outraged the sense of patriotism and duty of his superior officer by saying, ‘In Osaka I would get five yen for digging this gun pit; here I only get criticism.’ (General Sir Ian Hamilton, The Soul and Body of an Army, 1921).

Thanks to Rosie from Pen & Sword and to the author and illustrator for this book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review and keep safe and smiling!

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Book review Book reviews

#Bookreview ALL THINGS GEORGIAN: TALES FROM THE LONG EIGHTEENTH CENTURY by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden (@penswordbooks) A beautiful gift for anybody who enjoys Georgian history and art #non-fiction

Hi all:

I bring you a book for those of you who love beautifully illustrated books and the Georgian period.

All Things Georgian: Tales From The Long Eighteenth Century by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden
All Things Georgian: Tales From The Long Eighteenth Century by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden

All Things Georgian: Tales From The Long Eighteenth Century by Joanne Major and Sarah Murden

Take a romp through the long eighteenth-century in this collection of 25 short tales.

Marvel at the Queen’s Ass, gaze at the celestial heavens through the eyes of the past and be amazed by the equestrian feats of the Norwich Nymph. Journey to the debauched French court at Versailles, travel to Covent Garden and take your seat in a box at the theatre and, afterwards, join the mile-high club in a new-fangled hot air balloon.

Meet actresses, whores and high-born ladies, politicians, inventors, royalty and criminals as we travel through the Georgian era in all its glorious and gruesome glory.

In roughly chronological order, covering the reign of the four Georges, 1714-1730 and set within the framework of the main events of the era, these tales are accompanied by over 100 stunning color illustrations.

https://www.amazon.com/All-Things-Georgian-Eighteenth-Century/dp/1526744619/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/All-Things-Georgian-Eighteenth-Century/dp/1526744619/

https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/All-Things-Georgian-Hardback/p/15786

Joanne Major and Sarah Murden
Joanne Major and Sarah Murden

About the authors:

About Joanne Major

Joanne is Lincolnshire born and bred. Originally from the north of the county, she now lives in a village to the south of Lincoln where she happily spends most days half in the present and half in the Georgian era, with an occasional foray into the world of the Victorians. A genealogist of 25-years standing, Joanne, together with Sarah, became distracted from the people she was researching and stumbled accidentally into the path of an eighteenth-century courtesan. Life hasn’t been the same since.

https://www.amazon.com/Joanne-Major/e/B01AY78JWO/

About Sarah Murden

Sarah was living in Hampshire when she first met Joanne via an online genealogy forum. Sarah is slightly more of a ‘nomad’, originally from Nottinghamshire, then moving to the Peak District where she lived for over 20 years, followed by Hampshire for 12 years, she now enjoys the quiet life in a small village in rural Lincolnshire. Having studied Humanities but focusing mainly on history, Sarah has a passion for the eighteenth- and nineteenth centuries and could quite happily have lived in the eighteenth-century (only if very wealthy of course!). Together with Joanne she is the joint author of these compelling biographies, the two brought together through their shared passion for history and genealogy.

Joanne and Sarah share a blog, All Things Georgian, where they publish twice weekly with a wide remit of writing about ‘anything and everything’ connected to the Georgian era. Expect everything from extra and exclusive information relating to their biography to articles about false bums and tums (fashion victims are nothing new!) and local murder mysteries. If it grabs their attention, then they hope it will interest their readers too. Nothing is off limits!

https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Murden/e/B01AY6NUZ6/

And here you can find their blog, All Things Georgian:

https://georgianera.wordpress.com/

My review:

Thanks to Rosie Croft, from Pen & Sword, for providing me a hardback copy of this book, which I freely chose to review.

This book would make a perfect present for anybody who loves history and historical anecdote, especially from the Georgian era. There are elements that make it useful for reference (it includes family trees for the Hanover House and for the Stuarts, who were also pretenders to the crown; there is a timeline of the main events, covering the whole era [from 1714, when George I’s reign began, to 1830, when George IV died], a map of the UK highlighting all the towns and locations later mentioned in the book, and a detailed bibliography at the back of the book, listing the sources the authors have used to compile each one of the 25 chapters). This is a beautiful book, full of colour illustrations, that would delight art lovers (there are landscapes highlighting the settings of many of the stories and also, portraits of public figures, aristocrats, and other people who are the protagonists of the stories, some by famous artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds), as well as drawings and cartoons of the period, which help set the stories in their context.

As the authors explain in the introduction, the period has long fascinated people, and not only historians, because it was a quickly evolving era and many events that would change the world took place around this time: the French and the American Revolutions, Napoleon’s rise and fall, technological advances and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, and many scientific discoveries as well. The book does not cover the whole era in detail, as it would be impossible, and instead choses to pick up some specific events and historical figures that help highlight different aspects of the time, and manage to create a good picture of the era as a whole.

Although the content of the book mostly centres on events in the UK, there are also a couple of chapters dedicated to French characters (notably one to the attempted escape by Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI, to Varennes), and the protagonists do range far and wide, including people from all walks of life. To my delight, there are many episodes dedicated to women (we have male impersonators [probably!], smugglers (high-ranking, as it seems that attempts at keeping the purchases of fine clothing limited to British manufacture made ladies turn very resourceful), actresses, jockeys, astronomers (Caroline Herschel’s story is fascinating), ladies taking to the air in balloons (I have a book on the subject, and I can’t wait to read it), a female bonesetter, a con woman…  There are plenty of men as well, of course, and curious episodes, like that of the Brighton’s travelling windmill, or Queen Anne’s zebra, and some darker happenings, like the assassination attempts on the king’s life, or the trade in dead bodies the resurrection men were involved in.

The authors, who are clearly experts in the subject (and, as mentioned above, have a blog called All Things Georgian, as well), write in a conversational style, and as we read the chapters, it feels as if they were talking about people they knew personally (the same way others would talk about their relatives, or current celebrities), adding titbits of information and connections to other relevant characters as they spin their tale.

I recommend this book to anybody interested in the Georgian era, even if the interest is only in passing. The illustrations are an added bonus, and the stories are so varied that most readers will find topics to their liking that will merit further research. This is not a book that will solve the doubts of people wanting to learn everything there is about the Georgian period, but it is a great appetizer, and will provide hours of entertainment and plenty of material for conversation. Don’t forget to check the authors’ other books if you are interested in the subject.

Thanks so much to Rosie and to the authors, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, review, and always keep smiling!

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