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Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
  1. $21.00 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

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Spence has commented on (2) products.

The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker
The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Spence, March 10, 2011

A good read and one I found as addicting as the war itself.

South Asia is not an area of study that one can just grab the Cliff Notes for and get easy insights to. It is an area that has never fit into Western dogmas. The Soviet Russians found this out the hard way in the 1980s. The region requires a nuanced understanding of human nature and the contradictory personalities that dominate the power structures of this region. Kim Barker offers a partial guide that will allow the reader to at least whistle pass the graveyard of empires while gaining some insights into it.

Her book perfectly captures the additive and corrosive nature of being in a war zone. She was with the Chicago Tribune in South Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, & India) an awfully long time from 2002- 09 and there is something for every worldview in this book.

For the soldier there who thought that all the civilian and contractor Expats were Godless hedonists who flaunted the fact that General Order #1 (no alcohol and sex among other things) did not apply to them and want to see all the things that you knew were going on but couldn't be a part of then this is your book.

For the civilian aide workers and journalists who thought the military was filled with English-as-the-only-language brutes yelling at people who had no idea of what they were talking about and waving cash bundles at problems while trying to impose foreign values on people that did not understand them then this is your book.

For Americans who have never been to South Asia and are confused over the various the insights that escape this inscrutable region from various published reports and want to know if all the crazy and contradictory things about it are made up or real then this is your book.

In some ways it’s almost like reading about the decline of the Roman Empire without the togas… oh wait… there are togas in this book too.
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Philippine War, 1899-1902 (00 Edition) by Brian Mcallister Linn
Philippine War, 1899-1902 (00 Edition)

Spence, May 8, 2006

At the turn of the century, America was involved in a distant quick war against a feeble regime. No one fully expected a long brutal insurgency that followed after their swift defeat. For five years after the President declared an end to combat operations the US Army was engaged in a fight over control of the complex villages and tribes of the ethnically and religiously divided country.

This was not current events but a conflict called the Phillipines insurrection.

This is a good, solidly researched, overview of this operation. This is a must read for anyone wishing to know the difficult transformation from a frontier Army to a global one. It focuses mostly on the build up of Regular Army formations to improve over the state Volunteer units (now National Guard) that fought unevenly.
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