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Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Jul 31, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
Just finished, "Defying Hitler" by Sebastian Haffner. It is a personal memoir of growing up in Germany from a little before World War 1 till about 1934. He describes experiences like the excitement of getting daily war updates and how wonderful it was that the Germans were steadily winning the war. The strange mental and emotional confusion and social collapse when the war was not won. There was a period when inflation was so high that only quick thinking teenagers and children could respond fast enough and irresponsibly enough to make any profit. Children were rich, while parents were paupers.

When the Nazis gain power, he is continually amazed at how brazen and cruel they are and how no one stands up to them. He speculates on aspects of German character that might explain this.

The book describes aspects of that time that I was completely unaware of, so I found it fascinating. It is well written and very easy reading. The book was unfinished, so unfortunately does not describe his last 4 years in Germany from 1934 to 1938. An afterward by the authors son tries to fill this in a little bit.

A common activity of the Nazis was to march around with flags and music. They loved dramatic and patriotic marching music. As the flags passed, all people on the street had to salute, "Heil Hitler" with arms outstretched. If some unfortunate did not salute, the marchers beat them up. The author, not wanting to salute, would always flee and hide when he heard the marching music approach. Anyone who did not want to get beat up had to hide. Near the end of the book, he wants to take his law exams, but the Nazis announce that all law exam candidates must report for "Ideological Training". The main training consists of marching around in Nazi uniforms, singing songs and beating up anybody who does not salute as they pass.

Delhi Dog

Good Question...
Jul 31, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
Just finished Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe
which was really good. Quite amazing story actually.

And I'm a good chunk into 1491 which I hadn't read yet. I'd highly recommend both of these books.


Social climber
So Cal
Jul 31, 2013 - 12:46pm PT
The History, Herodotus

450 BC +/_

So far a lot more entertaining read than Thucydides.

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jul 31, 2013 - 01:24pm PT
PIKHAL - Phenethylamines I have known and loved, by Alexander Shulgin

The experiences of a world-renowned chemist-explorer (and his soon to be, and then wife)as he synthesizes and experiements with various mind-altering compounds (typically experiementing on himself first, then among a group of his psychedelic explorer friends).

Based on the actual experiences of Mr. & Mrs. Shulgin, but written in a slightly fictionalized format (to protect some of the players I'd guess). A fascinating blend of chemistry/science and exploring the psychedlic frontier.

Not the best flowing prose in this one, but entertaining nonetheless, and nicely broken into chapters by compound, so it reads almost like a collection of short stories.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 31, 2013 - 02:00pm PT

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Jul 31, 2013 - 02:06pm PT
The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History through the Heart of the Grand Canyon by Kevin Fedarko

Nice plug on NPR here

Second chapter in and so far so GNAR!!!!

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 31, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
The Ghosts of Glen Canyon by C. Gregory Crampton. The human history of the land under Lake Powell.

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick. 204-pg. revenge novel about the 1900 Nome gold rush, spanning the years to 1910, when the action takes place--a lot of flashbacks. Pistols mainly have one intended use: killing people.

The California Deserts by Edmund C. Jaeger. Stanford Press, 1938. A reprint from 1948, it is as old as I. The idea of earth's plated structure is begging to be revealed to this writer, who seems never to have heard of it. It still has much to learn ya in other respects.

Yep, I try to keep three or four books going at a time. Not so much now I spend more time in Taco City.

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
Jul 31, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Just finished Way of the Pilgrim by Gordon R. Dickson and Blindsight by Peter Watts. I am starting the Rifters trilogy because I liked Blindsight so much.

Social climber
Jul 31, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
I'm reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Crouch recommended it in a thread or on his website.

Really good so far. Kind of a combo of Madame Bovary and All Quiet on the Western Front but written by a modern author. It definitely has steamier sex scenes than those old classics!

Jul 31, 2013 - 03:04pm PT
Patrick McManus, and thanks for the heads up on his humor. Good stuff.
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Jul 31, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
I'll give a shout to Dehli with Over the Edge of the World, about the Magellan circumnavigation. I really enjoyed that one, too.

We just don't have courage like that anymore.

Glad you're enjoying Birdsong, OTE&STD.

On the subject of Birdsong's steamy sex scenes, one thing I learned while researching China's Wings is that people in WWII--both men and women--were every bit as interested in getting laid as people are today. I'm sure that was equally true in the Great War and every other war and period in history before that, too.

Pretty refreshing discovery, actually.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
Jul 31, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
Really great book that gives you insight into what Europe/Germany were like prior to the outbreak of WW2. I have PDF copy if anyone is interested in getting one. I think I can e-mail it, if anyone here is into WW2 history and wants one? I got this for free from a site so I assume it can be distributed. Perhaps I'm mistaken, not sure.
Credit: dirt claud

Jul 31, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
Reading my first Michener book: "Mexico"

I like how it jumps around a bit - the wife tells me this book is pretty non-linear for JAM.

Check this reading promotional world record:

Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Aug 1, 2013 - 10:51am PT
That book domino is fantastic!

And Dirt Claud, I'm interested in that Shirer PDF, but I'm worried that title might not be in the public domain yet... Has that site "cleared title?"

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Aug 3, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
The Forever war, Haldeman

Okay not reading per se,
But day before yesterday back in California ( seems like a lifetime ago...) I happened into Swann books, Fattrad's girlfriends used book store, @ 1831 Locust, walnut creek.
There was Jeff red roper guide in hand pouring over classic lore!
He gave me the tour
Fattrad's in store with complete collection of Arabian Nights
Fattrad's in store with complete collection of Arabian Nights
Credit: Jaybro

Pretty darn cool store, and well worth checking out. Some classic hardback climbing books and guides, lots of general fiction and nonfiction, signed Steinbeck etc. Jaybro sez, "Check it out!"
Partial list of signed books;
Signed: Hillary, Bonnington, Jamling Norgay, Faulkner, steinbeck, emerson,etc

Social climber
So Cal
Aug 3, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
I picked up my copy of Herodotus in paperback at a little used book store in down town Covina for eight bucks.

on the top shelf behind the counter he had a complete multi-volume collection of John Muir.

Asking price was $750


The Granite State.
Aug 3, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
I've been reading way too much.

Water Music, T.C Boyle

Villa Incognito, Tom Robbins

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Steig Larsson

Fluke, Christopher Moore

Good Omens, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

The Girl Who Played With Fire, Steig Larsson

Tortilla Curtain, T.C Boyle

Mark Sensenbach

Aug 3, 2013 - 11:18pm PT
Andy Kirkpatrick - 'Cold Wars'
really good but im reading it kinda spotty couse it is summer :))
Gregory Crouch

Social climber
Walnut Creek, California
Aug 4, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard.

Social climber
Aug 4, 2013 - 01:41pm PT
My Best Stories by Alice Munro.

Best writer I've ever read. Ever, ever, ever.
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