04 January 2021

Book List - 2020


And here they are - the 166 books I read in 2020, numbered in the order I completed them:

Adult Fiction (116)
3. The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall -- SF (short stories), by Anne McCaffrey *
4. Turn Coat -- urban fantasy (Dresden #11), by Jim Butcher
6. Going Postal -- fantasy, by Terry Pratchett
8. Making Money -- fantasy, by Terry Pratchett
9. Directive 51 -- SF, by John Barnes
11. Dragonsdawn -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
14. Dragonseye -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
16. The Dolphins of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
18. The Skies of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
19. Dragon's Code -- SF, by Gigi McCaffrey
21. The Renegades of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
22. A Gift of Dragons -- SF (short stories), by Anne McCaffrey
23. Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
24. Dragonheart -- SF, by Todd McCaffrey
25. Dragongirl -- SF, by Todd McCaffrey
26. Dragon's Time -- SF, by Anne and Todd McCaffrey
28. Sky Dragons -- SF, by Anne and Todd McCaffrey
29. Dragonsblood -- SF, by Todd McCaffrey *
30. Strip -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
31. Track of the Cat -- mystery (Pigeon #1), by Nevada Barr *
32. A Superior Death -- mystery (Pigeon #2), by Nevada Barr
33. Ill Wind -- mystery (Pigeon #3), by Nevada Barr
34. The Burglar -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
35. Firestorm -- mystery (Pigeon #4), by Nevada Barr
37. Endangered Species -- mystery (Pigeon #5), by Nevada Barr
38. Blind Descent -- mystery (Pigeon #6), by Nevada Barr
39. Fidelity -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
40. Liberty Falling -- mystery (Pigeon #7), by Nevada Barr *
41. Deep South -- mystery (Pigeon #8), by Nevada Barr *
42. Forty Thieves -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
43. Hit List -- thriller, by Lawrence Block
44. Blood Lure -- mystery (Pigeon #9), by Nevada Barr *
45. Hunting Season -- mystery (Pigeon #10), by Nevada Barr
46. The Old Man -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
47. Flashback -- mystery (Pigeon #11), by Nevada Barr
48. High Country -- mystery (Pigeon #12), by Nevada Barr
49. Hit Parade -- thriller (short stories), by Lawrence Block
50. Hard Truth -- mystery (Pigeon #13), by Nevada Barr
51. Pursuit -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
52. Winter Study -- mystery (Pigeon #14), by Nevada Barr
53. Borderline -- mystery (Pigeon #15), by Nevada Barr
55. Hit and Run -- thriller, by Lawrence Block
56. Silence -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
57. Burn -- mystery (Pigeon #16), by Nevada Barr
59. The Rope -- mystery (Pigeon #0), by Nevada Barr
60. Nightlife -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
61. Destroyer Angel -- mystery (Pigeon #17), by Nevada Barr
62. Boar Island -- mystery (Pigeon #18), by Nevada Barr
63. The Boyfriend -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
64. A Flock of Ships -- WWII fiction, by Brian Callison *
65. Metzger's Dog -- thriller, by Thomas Perry *
67. Grave Importance -- urban fantasy, by Vivian Shaw
71. Jan of the Jungle -- adventure, by Otis Adelbert Kline
73. A Skeleton in the House -- mystery, by Leigh Perry
74. The Skeleton Takes a Bow -- mystery, by Leigh Perry
75. The Skeleton Haunts a House -- mystery, by Leigh Perry
76. Conquistador -- AH, by S M Stirling *
77. The Coming of the Quantum Cats -- AH, by Frederick Pohl
78. The Dancer from Atlantis -- time travel, by Poul Anderson *
79. Swords and Deviltry -- fantasy, by Fritz Leiber
81. Captain Vorpatril's Alliance -- SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
83. The Big Black Mark -- SF, by A Bertram Chandler *
85. The Long Skeleton -- mystery (North #22), by Frances and Richard Lockridge
88. Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 2 (1940) -- SF (short stories), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H Greenberg
89. Out of Order -- mystery (Mayo #9), by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
90. Knight Fall (aka Murder at the War) -- mystery, by Mary Monica Pulver *
91. Janissaries -- SF, by Jerry Pournelle *
92. Birds of Prey -- SF, by David Drake *
93. The Time Trap Gambit -- time travel, by Larry Maddock *
94. Voyage Into Violence -- mystery (North #21), by Richard and Frances Lockridge
95. The Fantastic World War II: The War That Wasn't -- WWII fantasy, edited by Frank McSherry Jr
96. Thunderball -- thriller, by Ian Fleming
97. Masters of the Fist -- apocalyptic fiction (short stories), by Edward P Hughes
98. High Justice -- SF (short stories), by Jerry Pournelle
99. Zarsthor's Bane -- fantasy, by Andre Norton
100. Rocheworld -- SF, by Robert L Forward
101. The Colour of Magic -- fantasy, by Terry Pratchett
102. A Malady of Magicks -- fantasy, by Craig Shaw Gardner
103. Prince of Sparta -- SF, by Jerry Pournelle and S M Stirling *
105. No Enemy But Time -- time travel, by Michael Bishop
107. The Maker of Universes -- SF, by Philip Jose Farmer *
108. The Outlaw of Torn -- historical fiction, by Edgar Rice Burroughs *
109. Taylor's Ark -- SF, by Jody Lynn Nye
110. Random Death -- mystery (Varallo #11), by Lesley Egan *
111. Crime for Christmas -- mystery (Varallo #12), by Lesley Egan *
113. The Planet of Peril -- planetary adventure, by Otis Adelbert Kline
118. Mysterium -- SF, by Robert Charles Wilson
120. Marie -- historical fiction, by H Rider Haggard
122. A Study in Sable -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
127. A Scandal in Battersea -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
129. The Bartered Brides -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
131. The Wizard of London -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
132. The Case of the Spellbound Child -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
134. Stars Uncharted -- SF, by S K Dunstall
137. Stars Beyond -- SF, by S K Dunstall
138. 1636: The Atlantic Encounter -- AH, by Eric Flint and Walter H Hunt
140. The Legacy of Heorot -- SF, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes *
141. Beowulf's Children -- SF, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes
143. Starborn and Godsons -- SF, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes
144. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August -- SF, by Claire North
145. Peace Talks -- urban fantasy (Dresden #16), by Jim Butcher
146. The Pursuit of the Pankera -- SF, by Robert A Heinlein
149. Except the Dying -- mystery (Murdoch #1), by Maureen Jennings
150. Raven Black -- mystery (Perez #1), by Ann Cleeves
151. Blue Lightning -- mystery (Perez #4), by Ann Cleeves
152. Under the Dragon's Tail -- mystery (Murdoch #2), by Maureen Jennings
153. Poor Tom Is Cold -- mystery (Murdoch #3), by Maureen Jennings
154. Season of Darkness -- mystery (Tyler #1), by Maureen Jennings
155. Night's Child -- mystery (Murdoch #5), by Maureen Jennings
156. Battle Ground -- urban fantasy (Dresden #17), by Jim Butcher
157. A Journeyman to Grief -- mystery (Murdoch #7), by Maureen Jennings
159. No Known Grave -- mystery (Tyler #3), by Maureen Jennings
160. Let Darkness Bury the Dead -- mystery
 (Murdoch #8), by Maureen Jennings
161. 1637: No Peace Beyond the Line -- AH, by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon
162. The Falcon Always Wings Twice -- mystery (Langslow #27), by Donna Andrews
165. The Gift of the Magpie -- mystery (Langslow #28), by Donna Andrews

Juvenile/YA Fiction (12)
69. The Penderwicks in Spring -- children's, by Jeanne Birdsall
72. The Boy Scouts on a Submarine -- YA, by Captain John Blaine
114. The Penderwicks at Last -- children's, by Jeanne Birdsall
115. Smugglers' Reef -- YA thriller (Brant #7), by John Blaine
116. The Caves of Fear -- YA thriller (Brant #8), by John Blaine
117. The Mystery of the Iron Box -- YA thriller, by Bruce Campbell
123. The Golden Skull -- YA thriller (Brant #10), by John Blaine
124. The Wailing Octopus -- YA thriller (Brant #11), by John Blaine
125. The Electronic Mind Reader -- YA thriller (Brant #12), by John Blaine
126. The Scarlet Lake Mystery -- YA thriller (Brant #13), by John Blaine
163. Nation -- YA fiction, by Terry Pratchett
164. Dodger -- YA fiction, by Terry Pratchett

Non-Fiction (38)
1. 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus -- history, by Charles C Mann
2. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created -- history, by Charles C Mann
5. Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World -- astronomy, by Philip Plait PhD
7. Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII -- WW II, by Deborah Cadbury
10. Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary -- WWII memoir, by Traudl Junge, Melissa Müller (editor)
12. The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court -- history, by Anna Whitelock 
13. A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History -- anthropology, by Nicholas Wade
15. In the Footsteps of Eve: The Mystery of Human Origins -- palaeoanthropology, by Lee R Berger PhD with Brett Hilton-Barber
17. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors -- anthropology, by Nicholas Wade
20. When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt -- history, by Kara Cooney
27. Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain -- travel/archaeology, by Charlotte Higgins
36. The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found -- children's history/archaeology, by Martin W Sandler 
54. Five Days That Shocked the World: Eyewitness Accounts from Europe at the End of World War II -- WW II, by Nicholas Best
58. Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich -- WW II, by Joachim Fest
66. Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women -- WW II, by Sarah Helm
68. Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War, and the Twilight of Empire -- history, by Calder Walton
70. A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII -- biography, by Sarah Helm
80. In Search of the Neanderthals: Solving the Puzzle of Human Origins -- palaeoanthropology, by Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble
82. Hitler's Teutonic Knights: SS Panzers in Action -- WW II, by Bruce Quarrie
84. The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall -- history, by Christopher Hibbert
86. Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History -- palaeontology, by Xiaoming Wang and Richard H Tedford
87. The Velvet Claw: A Natural History of the Carnivores -- zoology, by David Macdonald
104. The Scottish Highlanders: A Personal View -- history, by Charles MacKinnon of Dunakin
106. The Devil's Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem, 1944 -- WW II, by Geoffrey Powell
112. Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers That Won Two World Wars -- naval history, by Clint Johnson
119. The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines -- WW II, by Cate Lineberry
121. The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot -- biography, by Thomas E Simmons
128. Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times -- memoir, by Jennifer Worth
130. Women of Valor: The Rochambelles on the WWII Front -- WW II, by Ellen Hampton
133. Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence -- US history, by Joseph J Ellis
135. The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 -- US history, by Joseph J Ellis
136. Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence -- US history, by Carol Berkin
139. Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields --  WW II, by Wendy Lower
142. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 -- history, by Liza Picard
147. Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America's Biggest Mass Arrest -- history, by Lawrence Roberts
148. We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey back to the Battlefields of Vietnam -- memoir, by LTG Harold G Moore and Joseph L Galloway 
158. By Hook or by Crook: A Journey in Search of English -- language, by David Crystal
166. Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield -- military history, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon


Retirement has done good things for my reading.  Books?  40 mysteries, 39 SF/AH/time travel, 38 non-fiction, 21 thrillers, 16 fantasy of various kinds. And only 27 rereads (marked by asterisks).  Authors?  19 by Nevada Barr, 10 each by Anne McCaffrey (with or without her son Todd) and Thomas Perry, 8 by Maureen Jennings, 7 by John Blaine, 6 by Terry Pratchett.

Top three books of the year were A Study in Sable, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, and Ashley's War.

So many books, so little time....

02 January 2021

Book list -- Oct-Dec 2020

Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America's Biggest Mass Arrest -- history, by Lawrence Roberts
We Are Soldiers Still: A Journey back to the Battlefields of Vietnam -- memoir, by LTG Harold G Moore and Joseph L Galloway 
Except the Dying
 -- mystery (Murdoch #1), by Maureen Jennings
Raven Black -- mystery (Perez #1), by Ann Cleeves
Blue Lightning -- mystery (Perez #4), by Ann Cleeves
Under the Dragon's Tail -- mystery (Murdoch #2), by Maureen Jennings
Poor Tom Is Cold -- mystery (Murdoch #3), by Maureen Jennings
Season of Darkness -- mystery (Tyler #1), by Maureen Jennings
Night's Child -- mystery (Murdoch #5), by Maureen Jennings
Battle Ground -- urban fantasy (Dresden #17), by Jim Butcher
A Journeyman to Grief -- mystery (Murdoch #7), by Maureen Jennings
By Hook or by Crook: A Journey in Search of English -- language, by David Crystal
No Known Grave -- mystery (Tyler #3), by Maureen Jennings
Let Darkness Bury the Dead -- mystery
(Murdoch #8), by Maureen Jennings
1637: No Peace Beyond the Line -- AH, by Eric Flint and Charles E Gannon
The Falcon Always Wings Twice -- mystery (Langslow #27), by Donna Andrews
Nation -- fiction, by Terry Pratchett
Dodger -- fiction, by Terry Pratchett
The Gift of the Magpie -- mystery (Langslow #28), by Donna Andrews
Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield -- military history, by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon





20 books this time round, none of them rereads.  Rather heavy on mysteries this year....

I'd say Nation and Ashley's War were the best books of the quarter.  

03 October 2020

Book list - Jul-Sep 2020

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times -- memoir, by Jennifer Worth
The Bartered Brides -- historical fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
Women of Valor: The Rochambelles on the WWII Front -- WW II, by Ellen Hampton
The Wizard of London -- historical fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
The Case of the Spellbound Child -- historical fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
Revolutionary Summer: The Birth of American Independence -- US history, by Joseph J Ellis
Stars Uncharted -- SF, by S K Dunstall
The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 -- US history, by Joseph J Ellis
Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence -- US history, by Carol Berkin
Stars Beyond -- SF, by S K Dunstall
1636: The Atlantic Encounter -- AH, by Eric Flint and Walter H Hunt
Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields --  WW II, by Wendy Lower
The Legacy of Heorot -- SF, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes *
Beowulf's Children -- SF, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes
Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870 -- history, by Liza Picard
Starborn and Godsons -- SF, by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August -- SF, by Claire North
Peace Talks -- urban fantasy (Dresden #16), by Jim Butcher
The Pursuit of the Pankera -- SF, by Robert A Heinlein


Got sidetracked a few times, so there were just 19 books this time round, only one of them a reread (marked by an asterisk).  Seven SF and AH books, six history (seven, I guess, counting North's memoir as history), and three fantasy (Misty Lackey's Holmes-meets-magic tales, to go with the two I read last quarter).

I'm calling Harry August the best book I read this quarter, followed by Stars Uncharted.

Starborn and Godsons suffers from a problem common to sequels written well after (over twenty years, in this case) the preceding book: Discrepancies caused by the author's not remembering what he/she/they had written before.  The first thing I noticed was that two characters' names had been changed, but the really annoying thing was problems with directions -- locations that were south of the colony in the first two books are now described as being to the north, even though the original map from the first book was included in this one.

Pankera is a "new" book by Heinlein; after all these years someone finally noticed that if the story fragments included in Heinlein's papers were assembled in the correct order, they made a complete book.  It was written in parallel with The Number of the Beast (1980), and in fact the first 150-odd pages of the two books are nearly identical.  Then the stories diverge -- and I personally think the wrong one was published, and the wrong one set aside.  Pankera includes more Barsoom, a lot more Galactic Patrol, and almost zero Lazarus Long.



03 July 2020

Book List - Apr-Jun 2020

In Search of the Neanderthals: Solving the Puzzle of Human Origins -- palaeoanthropology, by Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance -- SF, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Hitler's Teutonic Knights: SS Panzers in Action -- WW II, by Bruce Quarrie
The Big Black Mark -- SF, by A Bertram Chandler *
The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall -- history, by Christopher Hibbert
The Long Skeleton -- mystery, by Frances and Richard Lockridge
Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History -- palaeontology, by Xiaoming Wang and Richard H Tedford
The Velvet Claw: A Natural History of the Carnivores -- zoology, by David Macdonald
Isaac Asimov Presents the Great SF Stories 2 (1940) -- SF (short stories), edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H Greenberg
Out of Order -- mystery, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor
Knight Fall (aka Murder at the War) -- mystery, by Mary Monica Pulver *
Janissaries -- SF, by Jerry Pournelle *
Birds of Prey -- SF, by David Drake *
The Time Trap Gambit -- time travel, by Larry Maddock *
Voyage Into Violence -- mystery, by Richard and Frances Lockridge
The Fantastic World War II: The War That Wasn't -- WWII fantasy, edited by Frank McSherry Jr
Thunderball -- thriller, by Ian Fleming
Masters of the Fist -- apocalyptic fiction (short stories), by Edward P Hughes
High Justice -- SF (short stories), by Jerry Pournelle
Zarsthor's Bane -- fantasy, by Andre Norton
Rocheworld -- SF, by Robert L Forward
The Colour of Magic -- fantasy, by Terry Pratchett
A Malady of Magicks -- fantasy, by Craig Shaw Gardner
Prince of Sparta -- SF, by Jerry Pournelle and S M Stirling *
The Scottish Highlanders: A Personal View -- history, by Charles MacKinnon of Dunakin
No Enemy But Time -- time travel, by Michael Bishop
The Devil's Birthday: The Bridges to Arnhem, 1944 -- WW II, by Geoffrey Powell
The Maker of Universes -- SF, by Philip Jose Farmer *
The Outlaw of Torn -- historical fiction, by Edgar Rice Burroughs *
Taylor's Ark -- SF, by Jody Lynn Nye
Random Death -- mystery, by Lesley Egan *
Crime for Christmas -- mystery, by Lesley Egan *
Tin Cans and Greyhounds: The Destroyers That Won Two World Wars -- naval history, by Clint Johnson
The Planet of Peril -- planetary adventure, by Otis Adelbert Kline
The Penderwicks at Last -- children's, by Jeanne Birdsall
Smugglers' Reef -- YA thriller (RB #7), by John Blaine
The Caves of Fear -- YA thriller (RB #8), by John Blaine
The Mystery of the Iron Box -- YA thriller, by Bruce Campbell
Mysterium -- SF, by Robert Charles Wilson
The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and Medics Behind Nazi Lines -- WW II, by Cate Lineberry
Marie -- historical fiction, by H Rider Haggard
The Man Called Brown Condor: The Forgotten History of an African American Fighter Pilot -- biography, by Thomas E Simmons
A Study in Sable -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
The Golden Skull -- YA thriller (RB #10), by John Blaine
The Wailing Octopus -- YA thriller (RB #11), by John Blaine
The Electronic Mind Reader -- YA thriller (RB #12), by John Blaine
The Scarlet Lake Mystery -- YA thriller (RB #13), by John Blaine
A Scandal in Battersea -- historical urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey



48 books this time round, ten of them rereads (marked by asterisks).  Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, part of the Vorkosigan series, was the best book, with the two Lackeys, which mix Sherlock Holmes into her Elemental Masters series, close behind.  Books included 15 SF and time travel, seven YA, six WW II and other history, six mysteries, six fantasy.  Top author this quarter was John Blaine (a pseudonym for science writer Hal Goodwin), with six books.

"RB" is Rick Brant -- a series of boys' books from the '50s and '60s.  They're quite similar to the Hardy Boys books (a series that began in 1927), though Rick and Scotty aren't brothers, and while Fenton Hardy was a detective, Hartson Brant was a scientist.  Goodwin called them "science adventures".

Tin Cans and Greyhounds was an interesting book, mostly enjoyable.  More space could have been devoted to British, German and other non-US ships, and I caught a few mistakes here and there, but the biggest problem was the index -- by far the worst I've ever seen.  People are indexed not by the standard lastname-firstname-rank, but by rank-firstname-lastname, which in addition to making it difficult to find a person leads to one man's being listed twice, as he was promoted between his two mentions in the book.

16 May 2020

Living Medal of Honor Recipients



Left to right: Army, Navy/Marine Corps and Air Force Medals of Honor


There are now 70 surviving MoH recipients. The complete list, with links to individual pages, can be found at the CMOHS site here; below is a simplified list, like that which I posted a few years ago.

World War II
Charles H Coolidge, Technical Sergeant, US Army
Hershel W Williams, Corporal, US Marine Corps

Korean War
Duane E Dewey, Corporal, US Marine Corps
Hiroshi H Miyamura, Corporal, US Army
Ronald E Rosser, Corporal, US Army
Robert E Simanek, Private First Class, US Marine Corps
Ernest E West, Private First Class, US Army

Vietnam War
John P Baca, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Donald E Ballard, Hospital Corpsman Second Class, US Navy
Harvey C Barnum Jr, Captain, US Marine Corps
Gary B Beikirch, Sergeant, US Army
Patrick H Brady, Major, US Army
Paul W Bucha, Captain, US Army
John L Canley, Gunnery Sergeant, US Marine Corps
Bruce P Crandall, Major, US Army
Sammy L Davis, Sergeant, US Army
Drew D Dix, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Roger H C Donlon, Captain, US Army
Frederick E Ferguson, Chief Warrant Officer, US Army
Michael J Fitzmaurice, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
James P Fleming, Captain, US Air Force
Robert F Foley, Captain, US Army
Harold A Fritz, Captain, US Army
Charles C Hagemeister, Specialist Fifth Class, US Army
Frank A Herda, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Robert R Ingram, Hospital Corpsman Third Class, US Navy
Jack H Jacobs, Captain, US Army
Don J Jenkins, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Thomas G Kelley, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy
Allan J Kellogg Jr, Gunnery Sergeant, US Marine Corps
Joseph R Kerrey, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), US Navy
Peter C Lemon, Sergeant, US Army
Gary L Littrell, Sergeant First Class, US Army
James E Livingston, Captain, US Marine Corps
Allen J Lynch, Sergeant, US Army
Walter J Marm Jr, First Lieutenant, US Army
James C McCloughan, Private First Class, US Army
Robert J Modrzejewski, Major, US Marine Corps
Melvin Morris, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Thomas R Norris, Lieutenant, US Navy
Robert E O'Malley, Sergeant, US Marine Corps
Robert M Patterson, Sergeant, US Army
Alfred V Rascon, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Ronald Eric Ray, First Lieutenant, US Army
Gordon R Roberts, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
Jose Rodela, Sergeant First Class, US Army
Gary M Rose, Sergeant, US Army
Clarence E Sasser, Specialist Fifth Class, US Army
James M Sprayberry, Captain, US Army
Kenneth E Stumpf, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army
James A Taylor, Captain, US Army
Brian M Thacker, First Lieutenant, US Army
Michael E Thornton, Engineman Second Class, US Navy
Jay R Vargas, Major, US Marine Corps
Gary G Wetzel, Specialist Fourth Class, US Army

Afghanistan
Edward C Byers Jr, Chief Special Warfare Operator, US Navy
William Kyle Carpenter, Lance Corporal, US Marine Corps
Ty M Carter, Specialist, US Army
Salvatore A Giunta, Specialist, US Army
Florent A Groberg, Captain, US Army
Dakota Meyer, Corporal, US Marine Corps
Leroy A Petry, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Ryan M Pitts, Sergeant, US Army
Clinton Romesha, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Ronald J Shurer II, Staff Sergeant, US Army
Britt K Slabinski, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator, US Navy
William D Swenson, Captain, US Army
Kyle J White, Specialist, US Army
Matthew O Williams, Sergeant, US Army

Iraq
David G Bellavia, Staff Sergeant, US Army


That breaks down to:
2 World War II (1 Army, 1 Marine Corps)
5 Korean War (3 Army and 2 Marine Corps)
48 Vietnam War (34 Army, 6 Navy, 7 Marine Corps and 1 Air Force)
14 Afghanistan (10 Army, 2 Navy and 2 Marine Corps)
1 Iraq (Army)

49 Army
8 Navy
12 Marine Corps
1 Air Force
(The only Coast Guardsman ever to be awarded the Medal, Signalman First Class Douglas A Munro, received it posthumously after his death at Guadalcanal in 1942.)

03 April 2020

Book List - Jan-Mar 2020

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus -- history, by Charles C Mann
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created -- history, by Charles C Mann
The Chronicles of Pern: First Fall -- SF (short stories), by Anne McCaffrey *
Turn Coat -- urban fantasy (HD #11), by Jim Butcher
Death from the Skies!: The Science Behind the End of the World -- astronomy, by Philip Plait PhD
Going Postal -- fantasy, by Terry Pratchett
Princes at War: The Bitter Battle Inside Britain's Royal Family in the Darkest Days of WWII -- WW II, by Deborah Cadbury
Making Money -- fantasy, by Terry Pratchett
Directive 51 -- SF, by John Barnes
Until the Final Hour: Hitler's Last Secretary -- WWII memoir, by Traudl Junge, Melissa Müller (editor)
Dragonsdawn -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court -- history, by Anna Whitelock
A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History -- anthropology, by Nicholas Wade
Dragonseye -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
In the Footsteps of Eve: The Mystery of Human Origins -- palaeoanthropology, by Lee R Berger PhD with Brett Hilton-Barber
The Dolphins of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors -- anthropology, by Nicholas Wade
The Skies of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
Dragon's Code -- SF, by Gigi McCaffrey
When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt -- history, by Kara Cooney
The Renegades of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
A Gift of Dragons -- SF (short stories), by Anne McCaffrey
Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern -- SF, by Anne McCaffrey *
Dragonheart -- SF, by Todd McCaffrey
Dragongirl -- SF, by Todd McCaffrey
Dragon's Time -- SF, by Anne and Todd McCaffrey
Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain -- travel/archaeology, by Charlotte Higgins
Sky Dragons -- SF, by Anne and Todd McCaffrey
Dragonsblood -- SF, by Todd McCaffrey *
Strip -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Track of the Cat -- mystery (AP #1), by Nevada Barr *
A Superior Death -- mystery (AP #2), by Nevada Barr
Ill Wind -- mystery (AP #3), by Nevada Barr
The Burglar -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Firestorm -- mystery (AP #4), by Nevada Barr
The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked & Found -- children's history/archaeology, by Martin W Sandler
Endangered Species -- mystery (AP #5), by Nevada Barr
Blind Descent -- mystery (AP #6), by Nevada Barr
Fidelity -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Liberty Falling -- mystery (AP #7), by Nevada Barr *
Deep South -- mystery (AP #8), by Nevada Barr *
Forty Thieves -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Hit List -- thriller (Keller #2), by Lawrence Block
Blood Lure -- mystery (AP #9), by Nevada Barr *
Hunting Season -- mystery (AP #10), by Nevada Barr
The Old Man -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Flashback -- mystery (AP #11), by Nevada Barr
High Country -- mystery (AP #12), by Nevada Barr
Hit Parade -- thriller (Keller #3 - short stories), by Lawrence Block
Hard Truth -- mystery (AP #13), by Nevada Barr
Pursuit -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Winter Study -- mystery (AP #14), by Nevada Barr
Borderline -- mystery (AP #15), by Nevada Barr
Five Days That Shocked the World: Eyewitness Accounts from Europe at the End of World War II -- WW II, by Nicholas Best
Hit and Run -- thriller (Keller #4), by Lawrence Block
Silence -- thriller (Jack Till #1), by Thomas Perry
Burn -- mystery (AP #16), by Nevada Barr
Inside Hitler's Bunker: The Last Days of the Third Reich -- WW II, by Joachim Fest
The Rope -- mystery (AP #0), by Nevada Barr
Nightlife -- thriller, by Thomas Perry
Destroyer Angel -- mystery (AP #17), by Nevada Barr
Boar Island -- mystery (AP #18), by Nevada Barr
The Boyfriend -- thriller (Jack Till #2), by Thomas Perry
A Flock of Ships -- WWII fiction, by Brian Callison *
Metzger's Dog -- thriller, by Thomas Perry *
Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women -- WW II, by Sarah Helm
Grave Importance -- urban fantasy (Greta Helsing #3), by Vivian Shaw
Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War, and the Twilight of Empire -- history, by Calder Walton
The Penderwicks in Spring -- children's, by Jeanne Birdsall
A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII -- biography, by Sarah Helm
Jan of the Jungle -- adventure, by Otis Adelbert Kline
The Boy Scouts on a Submarine -- YA, by Captain John Blaine
A Skeleton in the House -- mystery, by Leigh Perry
The Skeleton Takes a Bow -- mystery, by Leigh Perry
The Skeleton Haunts a House -- mystery, by Leigh Perry
Conquistador -- AH, by S M Stirling *
The Coming of the Quantum Cats -- AH, by Frederick Pohl
The Dancer from Atlantis -- time travel, by Poul Anderson *
Swords and Deviltry -- fantasy, by Fritz Leiber


Retirement is nice -- it gives me much more time to read. 🙂  79 books this time round, 16 of them rereads (marked by asterisks).  Could have sworn I'd read more of the earlier Nevada Barr mysteries, but only a few of them sounded even the least bit familiar.

Top categories: 22 mysteries, 15 SF, 11 history.  Top authors: Nevada Barr (19), Anne McCaffrey (11), Thomas Perry (10).

I'd say the best new (to me, anyway) books were The Burglar and The Old Man.  This is probably the fourth or fifth time I've read Conquistador and Metzger's Dog, and at least the third time for A Flock of Ships.

One would think that the younger McCaffreys would be more familiar with their mother's work, but there were some amazing divergences from canon in Todd's books (I'm truly amazed that Anne let her name appear as co-author on Dragon's Time and Sky Dragons), and Gigi's was even worse.  Nevada Barr was getting bad toward the end, too -- details in the last two books directly contradict statements made in Hard Truth, and there are other problems as well.  I don't know if she's planning more books in the series, but if she writes more I probably won't bother with them.

05 January 2020

Book list - 2019

Dreadful Company -- urban fantasy (Helsing #2), by Vivian Shaw
Neptune's Inferno: The US Navy at Guadalcanal -- WW II, by James D Hornfischer
Figure Away -- mystery (Mayo #10), by Phoebe Atwood Taylor *
The Mask of the Sun -- AH/time travel, by Fred Saberhagen *
Baphomet's Meteor -- SF, by Pierre Barbet *
Burning Water -- urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey *
Children of the Night -- urban fantasy, by Mercedes Lackey
Pelican at Blandings -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Runestone -- historical fiction, by Don Coldsmith
Dead Man's Folly -- mystery, by Agatha Christie
Hell's Gate -- SF/fantasy (Hell's Gate #1), by David Weber and Linda Evans *
Hell Hath No Fury -- SF/fantasy (Hell's Gate #2), by David Weber and Linda Evans
The Road to Hell -- SF/fantasy (Hell's Gate #3), by David Weber and Joelle Presby
What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions -- science, by Randall Munroe
Bombs Away -- AH (The Hot War #1), by Harry Turtledove
Fallout -- AH (The Hot War #2), by Harry Turtledove
Rome: A History in Seven Sackings -- history, by Matthew Kneale
Encounter with Tiber -- SF, by Buzz Aldrin and John Barnes
"Down in the Bottomlands" -- AH, by Harry Turtledove
Armistice -- AH (The Hot War #3), by Harry Turtledove
In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin -- German history, by Erik Larson
Hominids -- SF, by Robert J Sawyer
At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels through Paraguay -- travel and history, by John Gimlette
The Bad Popes -- history, by E R Chamberlin
Terns of Endearment -- mystery (Langslow #25), by Donna Andrews
Finity -- SF, by John Barnes
Satan's World -- SF, by Poul Anderson *
The People of the Wind -- SF, by Poul Anderson
The Man Who Counts -- SF, by Poul Anderson *
Paleofantasy -- evolution, by Marlene Zuk
Galactic Derelict -- SF, by Andre Norton *
Forerunner -- SF, by Andre Norton
Forerunner: The Second Venture -- SF, by Andre Norton
Owl Be Home for Christmas -- mystery (Langslow #26), by Donna Andrews
Brothers Down: Pearl Harbor and the Fate of the Many Brothers Aboard the USS Arizona -- WW II, by Walter R Borneman
If I Were You -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
"The Swoop!" and "The Military Invasion of America" -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Daybreak Zero -- post-apocalyptic SF, by John Barnes
The Last President -- post-apocalyptic SF, by John Barnes
The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution -- palaeoanthropology, by Ian Tattersall
Hiding in Plain Sight: My Holocaust Story of Survival -- memoir, by Beatrice Sonders
Seven in a Jeep: A Memoir of the Vietnam War -- memoir, by Ed Gaydos
The Year of Fear: Machine Gun Kelly and the Manhunt That Changed the Nation -- US history, by Joe Urschel
The Emperor's Men: Arrival – timeslip, by Dirk van den Boom
A Stone in Heaven -- SF, by Poul Anderson
The Game of Empire -- SF, by Poul Anderson 
The War Below: The Story of Three Submarines That Battled Japan -- WW II, by James Scott
Below -- fantasy, by Lee Gaiteri
Look Both Ways -- mystery, by Carol J Perry
Storm Front -- urban fantasy (Dresden #1), by Jim Butcher *
Fool Moon -- urban Fantasy (Dresden #2), by Jim Butcher *
Dead Beat -- urban Fantasy (Dresden #7), by Jim Butcher
A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America -- history, by Tony Horwitz


54 books this time round, 10 of them rereads (marked by asterisks) -- a vast improvement over the last few years.

Best books of the year: Hell's Gate, Hell Hath No Fury, and Encounter with Tiber. Arrival was a good story, and an interesting concept-- a German light cruiser shifted from 1914 to 378 -- but it was extremely poorly edited (serious problems with verb tenses, for instance, especially the past and present perfect).Reviews on Amazon say that the poor editing continues at least through the sixth book, so I won't be buying any more.

Could have sworn I'd read all of the Harry Dresden books, but I somehow missed Dead Beat.  And only the first chapter of Turn Coat seemed familiar, so it will be on my 2020 list of books.

Onward....



06 October 2019

George Cross: A B Fasson and C Grazier

Anthony Blair Fasson, Lieutenant, Royal Navy; HMS Petard
Born: 17 July 1913, Lanton, Roxburghshire, Scotland
Died: 30 October 1942, Mediterranean Sea

Colin Grazier, Able Seaman Colin, Royal Navy; HMS Petard
Born: 2 December 1912, West Bromich, Birmingham, England
Died: 30 October 1942, Mediterranean Sea


The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS to:—
Lieutenant Anthony Blair Fasson, Royal Navy.
Able Seaman Colin Grazier, P/SSX.25550.
for outstanding bravery and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of danger.


The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the George Medal to:—
Junior Canteen Assistant Thomas William Brown, N.A.A.F.I.,
for great bravery and devotion to duty in the face of danger.


On 30 Oct 1942 HMS Petard was one of five destroyers searching for a German U-boat -- U-559 -- which was known to be in the area.  Petard made contact and attacked with depth charges, eventually forcing the U-boat to the surface, where her crew opened the sea-cocks and abandoned ship.  Fasson, the destroyer's first lieutenant, and Grazier volunteered to swim to the sinking submarine to search for documents and other classified material.  When Fasson and Grazier boarded the submarine, 16-year-old Brown, one of the personnel aboard a whaleboat which had followed them, joined them.  The two men located several documents and passed them to Brown, who handed them up to the men aboard the whaler.  When U-559 suddenly sank Brown managed to swim free, but the other two were trapped below decks and drowned. The documents recovered turned out to include a pair of codebooks, which turned out to be a tremendous help in breaking the German navy's Enigma codes.

Brown died 13 Feb 1945 of injuries received whilst attempting to rescue his sister from a house fire.

[London Gazette issue 36169 dated 14 Sep 1943, published 10 Sep 1943.]

05 October 2019

Detectives

My ten favourite mystery series.  Asey is definitely Number One; the others are listed in the order of their first appearance.

***************

Asey Mayo (24 books, 1931-51, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor).  Asey, "the Codfish Sherlock," is a jack-of-all-trades on Cape Cod.

Judy Bolton (38 books, 1932-67, by Margaret Sutton).  The series begins with Judy as a high-schooler in Pennsylvania, and continues after she finishes school and gets married.

Nero Wolfe (47 books, 1934-85, by Rex Stout, and 7 authorised sequels, 1986-94, by Robert Goldsborough, plus pastiches by numerous other authors).  Wolfe is a private detective in New York City.

Luis Mendoza (37 books, 1960-86, by Elizabeth Linington writing as "Dell Shannon").  Luis is a lieutenant in the LAPD Homicide (later Robbery/Homicide) Division. Linington wrote two other series about LA-area cops: Vic Varallo (13 books, 1961-85, by "Lesley Egan") and Ivor Maddox (13 books, 1964-86, using her real name).  Vic is a patrolman in the Glendale PD, and Maddox is a sergeant with the Hollywood PD.

Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee (18 books, 1970-2006, by Tony Hillerman).  Lt Leaphorn and Sgt Chee are members of the tribal police on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico and Arizona.  After Hillerman's death his daughter Anne added four books to the series (2013-18).

Colin Flagg (8 books, 1973-94, by M K Wren).  Colin owns a bookstore on the Oregon coast.

Brady Coyne  (25 books, 1984-2010, by William G Tapply).  Brady is a Boston Lawyer. Tapply also co-wrote three books (2001-07) with Philip R Craig, in which Brady teams up with J W Jackson, the star of 19 books by Craig.

Meg Langslow (25 books so far, 1999-2019, by Donna Andrews).  Meg is a blacksmith and mother somewhere in central Virginia.

Walt Longmire (21 books so far, 2004-19, by Craig Johnston).  Walt is a county sheriff in Wyoming.

Alafair Tucker (10 books, 2005-18, by Donis Casey).  Alafair is an Oklahoma farmer's wife; the stories are set before, during and immediately after WW I.  Casey's plan was to write one book centred on each of Alafair's ten children; having completed that, she is starting a new series which she says is a spinoff from the original series.


06 January 2019

Book List -- 2018

Clash of Eagles -- AH, by Alan Smale
If You Survive: From Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge to the End of World War II -- WWII memoir, by George Wilson
Just One Damned Thing After Another -- IMHECT, by Jodi Taylor
A Symphony of Echoes -- IMHECT, by Jodi Taylor
Much Depends on Dinner -- food history, by Margaret Visser
Matt Helm: The War Years -- spy fiction, by Keith Wease
To the Last Salute -- WWI memoir, by Georg von Trapp *
Brief Cases -- urban fantasy (Dresden - short stories), by Jim Butcher
The Ghosts of Evolution: Nonsensical Fruit, Missing Partners, and Other Ecological Anachronisms -- botany, by Connie C Barlow
A Long Time Until Now -- timeslip, by Michael Z Williamson
Toucan Keep a Secret -- mystery (Langslow #23), by Donna Andrews
The Alexander Inheritance -- timeslip, by Eric Flint and Gorg Huff
Digging for Richard III: The Search for the Lost King -- archaeology, by Mike Pitts
Strange Practice -- urban fantasy (Helsing #1), by Vivian Shaw
Recce: Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines -- memoir, by Koos Stadler
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef -- memoir, by Gabrielle Hamilton
Lark! The Herald Angels Sing -- mystery (Langslow #24), by Donna Andrews
The Survivors (aka Space Prison) -- SF, by Tom Godwin


Eighteen books this time round, only one of them a reread (marked by an asterisk).

IMHECT: "[T]he phrase 'time travel' is so sci-fi.  We don't do that.  Here at St. Mary's we investigate major historical events in contemporary time."

The best book of the year, I think, was Strange Practice, the first in a series about a London doctor who provides medical services for vampires, ghouls, mummies, and other undead. Honourable mention goes to the two St Mary's books by Jodi Taylor and to A Long Time Until Now, about a group of American soldiers in Afghanistan who suddenly find themselves shifted back in time to the Palaeolithic.

11 March 2018

Medal of Honor: M. Hanna

MARCUS HANNA

Sergeant, US Army; 50th Massachusetts Infantry

Born: 3 November 1842, Bristol, Maine
Died: 21 December 1921

Citation: Voluntarily exposed himself to a heavy fire to get water for comrades in rifle pits.



Notes: On 28 Jan 1885 Hanna was chief lighthouse keeper at Cape Elizabeth, Maine, when the schooner Australia was wrecked on the rocks nearby. He was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for heroism in saving the lives of two of its crew. USCGC Marcus Hanna (WLM 554) was named in his honour.

02 January 2018

Book list - 2017

Tales of a Cold War Submariner -- memoir, by Dan Summitt
Secret of the Lost Race -- SF, by Andre Norton *
A Study in Charlotte -- YA mystery, by Brittany Cavallaro
The Many Lives of John Stone -- YA, by Linda Buckley-Archer
A School for Unusual Girls -- YA AH, by Kathleen Baldwin
Summer Lightning -- humour, by P G Wodehouse *
Heavy Weather -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Uncle Fred in the Springtime -- humour, by P G Wodehouse
Longbow Girl -- YA time travel, by Linda Davies
Gone Gull -- mystery (Langslow #21), by Donna Andrews
1635: A Parcel of Rogues -- SF, by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis
The Finch That Stole Christmas -- mystery (Langslow #22), by Donna Andrews
By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean: The Birth of Eurasia -- history, by Barry Cunliffe
The Killing Trail -- mystery, by Margaret Mizushima


Only 14 books this time round, two of them rereads (marked by asterisks).  The Cunliffe book (which covers the period from ca 7500 BC to AD 1300) was fascinating; John Stone and Parcel of Rogues were the best of the stories.