The Bureaucratic Nightmare – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

I had just managed to make my way through this book a second time, namely because I wanted to write a review of it on Goodreads (and Booklikes), and while it was pretty rushed, I had decided that I would leave it at that and move on to my next book (and project). However, as I am prone to do, I read through some of the other reviews of Goodreads (such as this one, this one, and this one) when I realised that I simply couldn’t just leave it at that scrappy piece of work that I wrote up on the train on my way home from work. Okay, while I have covered several points, albeit briefly, I suddenly realised that there is so much more to this book that I had to continue with my exposition on this blog.

Napoleon’s Final Hour – Failure at Austerlitz

I’ve just finished reading a book on the French Revolution of the Napoleonic Wars entitled Revolutionary Europe 1785 – 1815 (and you can also read my review of the book here, namely because I discuss, albeit briefly, some ideas that I won’t be talking about in this post). Anyway, I have to say that the author, George Rude, seemed to gloss over a number of important events, one of them being the Battle of Austerlitz. In fact this is what he says:

(Czar) Alexander, who had taken command of the Austro-Russian forces, fancied himself as a commander and was easily persuaded by an incompetent chief-of-staff that Napoleon was in a weak position and could be defeated. Infatuated with the prospect, he let himself be lured to the village of Austerlitz in Moravia, where Napoleon, in the most decisive of his victories, cut his army in two and inflicted a loss of 27,000 men.

The Persian War – Salamis

I would open this post by saying that I’m sure every school boy has heard the story of how 300 battle hardened warriors held a tiny pass against a foe whose numbers literally dwarfed them for three days before being betrayed by a shepherd and then fighting valiantly to the last man. However, thanks to Zac Snyder and Frank Miller, this story that was once relegated to the high school and university classes was released to the world in the form of a graphic novel and one awesome movie.

Marathon – A Persian Victory

Once again on my explorations of Youtube I came across a video produced by the Alternate History Hub (and I must admit that they produce some really interesting videos that inspire me to explore much deeper) speculating what would have happened if Persia had managed to invade Greece. The problem that I find with a lot of their productions is that their conclusions tend to be ‘this was so long ago it is impossible to know what would have happened’. Well, there is a whole field of counter-factual history where historians explore the ‘what might have been’ with regards to these particular historical events.

The Inverted War Hero – Arms and the Man

Okay, this may not be the first Bernard Shaw play that I have seen performed, however the previous one, Man and Superman, was a performance by the National Theatre that was filmed and then distributed to various cinemas around the world. Okay, while it may not have been live, it was close enough, and seeing Ralph Fiennes performing on stage was an experience to say the least.