I thought I’d bore you all by recounting some of the recent books I’ve finished, which might be of interest to all right thinking wargamers.
First, S M Stirling’s excellent post-apocalyptic trilogy set in Oregon, which tells the tale of a world where suddenly one day electricity, gunpowder and other similar technologies stop working. Catastrophe follows but, happily for the wargaming enthusiast, small groups survive and start to find ways of coping with a world riddled by plague, cannibals and bandits. In fact, the three books tell the story of enterprising individuals who start to develop societies, gather resources, learn technologies, fight evil etc etc. I won’t go into detail, because that would ruin what is in fact a well told tale. Anyone who has played Age of Empires, or a good build and conquer pbm game will enjoy this. It is well written and much less right wing and dogmatic than some of his books. And the title? ‘Dies the Fire’.
Second, very different, a fascinating account of the Long Range Desert Group’s activities, ‘Providence their Guide’ by David Lloyd Owen, who become the big chief of the group. Well written and enthralling, I learned a lot about the LRDG in the North African campaign and also, which I confess that I didn’t know, their activities in Albania and Yugoslavia once Rommel had fled and left the Afrika Korps to abject surrender. I bought my copy from the amazing military bookshop in Erpe, De Krijger, but I’m sure you can find a copy on Abebooks.
Last, assuming you’re not interested in the various detective novels that have been consuming my limited time on this earth, is a very amusing autobiography of a (very British) wargamer, Harry Pearson, called ‘Achtung Schweinehund’. Great, but I wonder how well it translates to other cultures. It is very much a story of English childhood in the 1960s and 1970s and its repercussions on apparent adulthood later on in life. Hilariously funny in places, stridently dogmatic in others but what of course wins the day is a mention of our one and ‘own’ (I say this as an ex-pat who struggles daily with the Dutch language) ‘Crisis’ convention and the glory days of Bart’s Schild en Vriend club. Definitely recommended to English readers of a certain age. Maybe it helps others understand the oddities of that race and generation?