The Mules of Monte Cassino

by Jim DeFilippi

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The ground level truth of the most massive and brutal battle of World War II. It begins with: “Sacrifice. Slaughter Stupidity.”

REVIEW

I’ve been a student of history all of my life. From the kitchen table talks with my Dad about WW2 & Korea to majoring in ancient history in college, I’ve always been keen on reading books that buck the trend of the whitewashed, text book, winners write the history ilk. The Mules of Monte Cassino certainly qualifies as trend bucking as the author presents a sardonic look at an unfathomable set of military decisions in southern Italy. Decisions based on ego and distrust of one’s allies resulting in thousands of needless deaths and the destruction of the famous Benedictine monastery. Powerfully descriptive, the author leaves nothing to the imagination as he follows the ‘mules’ across impassable rivers, boot sucking mud, precision artillery & sniper fire from the defenders; not once, but four times. While I don’t enjoy reading about the repeated stupidity of the human race throughout history, it is after all rather hard to avoid, I do enjoy reading creative narratives. Mules certainly has that. Written in a Vonnegut-like fashion, the tongue in cheek attitudes of the narrator and two participants in the battles are an absolutely delightful breath of fresh air. It’s books like this that should be taught; a little irreverent, but certainly more honest than typical text books or the recently released (and subsequently shutdown by a new administration) 1776 Commission Report. So, my fellow seekers of historical truth, The Mules of Monte Cassino is the non-fiction version of Slaughterhouse Five and Catch-22, and is well worth your reading time. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Vikings to Virgin-Book 1-The Hazards of Being King by Trisha Hughes

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In Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of Being King Trisha Hughes provides the reader with a pacey introduction to the many pitfalls faced by the ambitious as they climbed the dangerous ladders of royalty. It is easy to think that monarchs are all powerful, but throughout the Dark and Middle Ages it was surprisingly easy to unseat one and assume the crown yourself. But if it was easy to gain … it was just as easy to lose.
From the dawn of the Vikings through to Elizabeth I, Trisha Hughes follows the violent struggles for power and the many brutal methods employed to wrest it and keep hold of it. Murder, deceit, treachery, lust and betrayal were just a few of the methods used to try and win the crown. Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of Being King spans fifteen hundred years and is a highly accessible and enjoyable ride through the dark side of early British monarchy.

REVIEW

As a student of history from across The Pond, I’ve always found the line of monarchs in Britain a confusing subject, and no wonder given a. that it’s not a subject given much attention in American history classes, and b. it is a rather confusing subject. So many changes in royal lines, so many with the same name, so many familial connections (I swear that John of Gaunt must have been related to the whole population of the British Isles  🙂  ).  So, it was a pleasure to read a book that not only was informative, shedding light, unraveling the confusion, but did so in a very entertaining fashion. One of my pet peeves is those who present history in a dry, witless fashion. Vikings to Virgin is a far cry from those boring texts as the author does a fine job in bringing this long and complicated history to life with a vibrant narrative. Detailed research is evident throughout the book giving the reader a full picture of the events and the larger than life people who sought for the crown of a kingdom seemingly in constant turmoil and uncertainty. A fascinating tutorial of the period of Cnute to Elizabeth, I’m looking forward to book 2.    5 stars

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Better Corporate Back Office Leadership and Management by Charles E. LeFurge

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Replete with sound, practical advice derived from many years in leadership roles, both as an officer in the U.S. Army and in the corporate world.  Written in an easy to read style, this is one of the business management tutorials that makes sense. Mr. LeFurge provides ample examples of situations and processes throughout the book. both of the kind that succeed, and those that are doomed to fail.  If you’re looking for a way to polish your skills or to bring some fresh ideas to your career, then this book is for you.  3.8 stars