I sit here relaxing, not bored, but wondering why I lack motivation to pick up that paint brush, or bottle of glue to work on some of my projects I started months ago. For those of you that have peeked in, from time to time, will know that I am working on some 1:35th scale Germans, British, and their allies during the battles for Monte Cassino. At around the same time I started putting together a 1:400 scale Uboat. But alas even though it is rainy, overcast, and just down right ugly outside (keeping me from doing some cycling) I find myself sitting in my comfy chair unable to will myself out of it to play with my toys (so to speak).
What I have been able to do since I've been home from my business trip, hobby wise, is catch up on my reading. So I have decided to give a review of some of the books I have completed reading. Mind you I am not a professional at this and it is only an opinion of my own tastes and likes.
"Monte Cassino" by Matthew Parker. Copyright 2004. 413 pages.
I found this book well written and easy to read and it is apparent that the author has done his research well. My only wish would have been for some better, more detailed maps which would have kept me from having to reference elsewhere.
The author sets up the battle of Monte Cassino by quickly covering what led up to the battle. He goes over the Casablanca Conference, the invasion of Sicily, the invasion of Italy, and the general campaign up to the allies (i.e. USA, Poland, Britain, and her commonwealth friends) grinding halt at the Gustav line (prepared German defensive positions). The author then goes on to describe the battle, not as a single long assault, but as a series of four major battles for Monte Cassino and surrounding area. What I liked best about the book is the authors first hand accounts from the soldiers (on both sides) and the civilians that were there on the ground. From letters of those that did not make it, to the survivors amazing accounts of the utter harshness of the terrain and the brutality of war. The author also describes the often forgotten impact that war has on the civilians, the moral and economic effects, as well as the interactions the various nationalities had on the civilians.
I was also amazed at how Allied high command was so disconnected from what was actually taking place on the front lines. From the lack of understanding of the terrain by the commanding generals and how this led to the hopelessness of the early allied assaults, to the controversial bombing of the Monte Cassino abbey. From the soldiers personal first hand accounts the author places the reader right at the front lines and you can't help but feel the hopelessness the soldiers felt at these ill conceived or poorly executed plans.
What touched me the most about this book after reading it was the post script at the end of the book entitled "Surviving the Peace". If you have ever experienced war first hand, or had a loved one survive it, I think it an important summation of how our loved ones go off to war only to come home changed forever.
If you have any interest in WWII I believe this to be a must read, and an important addition to ones library. The author successfully sheds new light on one of the least known battles and it's high cost in human lives.
What will you find here? Ramblings from an aging gamer-miniature painter. When I first started out in this hobby computers were in their infancy and finding other gamers could only be done by going to conventions or as in my case bumping into somebody who happened to see me reading "Panzer Leader" on the school bus. Look how far we have come! The internet has allowed our small community to be able to connect on a level I never dreamed of when I was but a small lad. What I do hope you will find here is something interesting from one wargamer/miniature painter to another. I paint miniatures somewhat decently, so I will be posting some pictures of my work, and perhaps a review or two of games and/or miniatures. Most of all this is just about having fun and anything I post here is meant to be for that reason.