I am an avid eclectic reader.
Eri Hotta is an independent scholar specializing in Japan international relations. Hotta was born in Tokyo. She received her BA in history from Princeton University, master and Ph.D. from Oxford. She taught at Oxford from 2001-2005. What led me to read this book was it offered the view point of Japan leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack. Hotta makes two central points, 1). Japan’s leaders and its people were influenced by a belief that Japan was destined for international greatness---going to war was a gamble. 2). Japan’s policy making process by 1940 was not open and parliamentary but Japan was not a dictatorship. Decision involved preliminary bargaining interaction with a complex administrative structure. The Japanese constitution allowed the military to advise the Emperor independently of the rest of the government. The author pain staking guides the reader through a convoluted mesh of personalities and principles. Hotta provides a brief history of Japan so the reader can understand what is happening in the eight months leading up to Pearl Harbor. Reading the book led me to learn something about Japanese politics and how Japan’s admiration for the United States began to turn sour in the first part of the twentieth century. A Hotta point out the Japanese language tends to be vague which led to problems with negotiation with the U.S. Secretary of State. Even though Hotta explains about Japanese history, government and politics she lays the blame for the war directly on Japan. Laurel Merlington did a good job narrating the book. If you are interested WWII history this book would interest you.
Tyler Trafford was a reporter in Calgary Alberta Canada. Following his mother's death in 2004 he inherited a Campbell soup cardboard box from his Mother. It was crammed with letters, a journal and photographs that revealed a history of his mother he never imagined. His mother was a beautiful girl from a rich family in Montreal whose Mother was controlling. She met a young pilot from Norway who was training at a nearby base. His name was Jens Muller, the love letters were from him. He went down over German and was a P.O. W. he was with a group that escaped. A movie was made about the escape called "The Great Escape" Muller was one of the few that made it out. I will not spoil the story but Trafford wrote the book about how he puts his mother's life as a young woman together. It does show how decision made can effect our life forever. Mike Vendetti does a good job reading the story.
An interesting story of the life of David Petraeus showing how he learned from one assignment and applied the knowledge gained to the next. A good over view of the wars in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. The book also allow an insight into the sacrifice a high ranking officer wife and family must make. Petraeus's wife was the daughter of a famous General so she knew what was expected of her. The book tried to give a favorable view of the war in Afghanistan but I was left with a feeling we should have approached this problem differently, we expected to much from a tribal culture. Paula Broadwell is a person one should keep an eye out for she may become a leader herself. James Lurie did a good job narrating the story. This is a good book to understand the making of a famous General and to get more in-depth insight into current affairs.
Han Von Luck was in almost all the theaters of the war. The invasion of France, North Africa, Invasion of Russia, then Normandy and defense of Berlin. He takes you though the battles and politics of the war. Von luck was not a Nazi, but had to live with the insanity of the war and prison in Russia. He was an exceptional man who was not bitter after years of war with limited supplies, and then he endured years of captivity in the Russian coal mines including a punishment camp. Yet he has good things to say about everyone, North Africans, the allies and even the Russians. He was later released and was not able to get a good job since he was a war officer. He endured all over a decade, and kept his spirits and head up. He is an example of a great spirit, a survivor, and a man of character. Someone to look up to.