Wednesday, March 16, 2011

List #3: The Siege Mentality

1.  The Siege at Peking, Peter Fleming (1959).  The story of the European and American missions holding out against the Chinese Boxers during a 55-day ordeal.   Fleming traveled extensively through the Far and Middle East as a journalist and adventurer.  The older brother of Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond series, expect to see his name in other lists.  I bought it for the story but at a higher price since it was marked as a first edition and includes a Book World, June 8, 1986, blurb tapped inside the front cover.  Most likely purchased at State Department used book sale.   

2.  Defy and Endure: Great Sieges of Modern History, Everley Belfield (1967).  A slim volume that profiles five great sieges begining and ending with the first and second sieges of Malta.  Used book store find.

3.  Not One Step Back: History's Great Sieges, Martin Windrow (2009).  Glossy, high quality history of 20 sieges from ancient Tyre to Dien Bien Phu.  Purchased from Borders clearance rack.

4.  Enemy at the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans, and the Battle for Europe, Andrew Wheatcroft (2011).  The epic 1683 siege of Vienna by Islamic forces of the East against the Christian forces of the West.  Gives some perspective on the same struggles of today but even more brutal.  Vienna was a bloody confrontation between war machines of the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of the Habsburgs.   You'll know all about tunneling, sappers and catapults.  Calvary also comes to the rescue.  Last portion of the book ends with the Ottomans and Habsburgs switching places during the siege of Budapest.  One of my first Kindle aquisitions.     

5.  The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad, Harrison Salisbury (1969).  Still planning on reading this one.  Saved it from a throw away pile at a landfill.  Book's condition looks as if it took the worst of the siege from the German Wehrmacht and Soviet armies--yellowed pages, ripped cover, broken spine and some water damage.   Combined with the estimated six point font (four for footnotes), I've considered throwing it out but can't do it because of the story that I imagine is within. 


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