I'll get a bit more organized with my book reviews/recommendations from here on. The new scale, using the sliding die size scale familiar to Piquet players:
D4: I can't recommend this book. Save your money for gasoline, figures, or another book. I won't save space on my shelf for this turkey.
D6: Some redeeming qualities. Questionable facts or conclusions. A difficult read. I'll keep it, but will probably only use it for a research resource.
D8: A solid recommendation. Not the best, not the worst. I learned something I didn't know before. Something just wasn't there that kept it from getting a higher rating - maybe bad maps, bad editing....just something that held it down. This book could be recommended for those interested in the specific topic.
D10: A really enjoyable book. Good writing, interesting topic. Good feel and appearance. Nice maps, etc. A definite recommendation, even outside of a period you might normally be interested in.
D12: WOW! Great writing, an easy read. Inspirational - I can see the games this will lead to. Where is that figure catalog? A recommendation without reservation. I'll read this again and again.
So - on to the first reviews!
"Inside the Nazi War Machine" by Bevin Alexander. ($26.95)
An odd title...just short of "Hitler's Mighty Army" or some such drivel. I almost didn't pick this up at the bookstore because of the title. I'm glad I did though - its about the France 1940 campaign, and the contributions to the German victory by Manstein, Guderian, and Rommel. Alexander's writing style can sometimes be a bit stilted, but it is a pretty quick read. With few books covering this period, it serves its purpose as an introduction. Not detailed at the tactical level, but there's enough meat there to come up with some scenarios. Rather than being inspirational, I found the campaign to be depressing to me. Only the French army of 1940 could make the Army of the Potomac in 1861/62 look well led! I had been contemplating doing France 1940 with 25mm, but now I don't think I will. I'm not sure that the campaign holds much tactical interest for me.
"Exodus from the Alamo" by Phillip Thomas Tucker ($32.95)
This book has elicited some pretty heated opinions. Tucker spends a good chunk of the book (maybe 25%?) discussing slavery and the possibility of economic gain as the reason for expansion into Texas. OK, OK, I get it already. Early on in the book I felt like I was getting hit over the head again and again with a pretty heavy handed message. However, I'm glad I stuck it out. About midway through the book, the study turned to the "siege" and then assault of the Alamo. Tucker makes some quite interesting statements and conclusions about the "battle" - or almost total lack of - in the final assault. His discussion of the action outside of the Alamo's walls are particularly interesting. While some have said that this is nothing new, I haven't seen it explored in this depth, or with such conviction.