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New Books


Virdea
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As most of you know I recently published a new book, the History of the French Bayonet, and have been writing a series of five other books.  One of them is called Poor Bloody Soldier and tells the story of the intersection of war technology, strategy, and the nature of human conflict from the dawn of time to the modern era.

 

I know and value the brains of the people in this forum and I want to offer the chance for people to add articles or art to the book.  

 

This is not an example of a chance at big money, but you will have a peer reviewed article edited by professionals made available to the public, which you can use on your resume, and if you have never published before then the experience is fun.  Their is no cost to you, and if your article is long enough / good enough I will even pay you for it.  The work will be edited by me, and I may post your work here for additional peer review.

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The book is a collection of essays that start with pre-historic humans and tracks changing technology to the modern era.  It may or may not be divided into sub works.  

 

For example, here is an early part of the book:

 

----------

Australopithecus

The story of human conflict actually predates the arrival of the human species by more than 3-million years.  In an article published in the journal Nature published in 2015 and written by a veritable battalion of researchers lead by Sonia Harmand of Stony Brook University, pre-human Australopithecines were almost certainly tool makers, and judging by the fracturing of animal bones, some of those tools had the quality of weapons. and could have been used against others of the same species.

 

Certainly Australopithecus was a hunting species.  All evidence shows that these early pre-humanoids ate a wide diet that included animal protein, and that their diet may have been similar to the modern great apes in some respects.  Tools though would have given them the ability to take larger animals including, as evidence shows for the later hominids, their own species.  Modern apes in Africa do eat meat, but their lack of stone tools limit them to smaller animals.  The ancient ancestors of both apes and mankind used tools to expand their diets to animals that were usually only hunted by predators.

 

The key ingredient that made the Australopithecines tool users was their upright stance.  While modern research has found other upright bipeds for whom there is no evidence of stone tool use: the earlier Ardipithecus walked upright but predated the earliest tool finds by a million years, still the connection between upright stance and the use of complex tools is hard to escape.  Charles Darwin stated in the Descent of Man “…the hands and arms could hardly have become perfect enough to have manufactured weapons, or to have hurled stones and spears with a true aim, as long as they were habitually used for locomotion" and many scientists still believe the same thing.

 

In terms of weapons, the earliest weapons are also the ones whose existence are the hardest to prove.  Most weapons require a certain amount of processing to make them useful, but impact weapons can often be found simply laying about nature.  There easy of adoption and use though makes them unlikely to be recognized as weapons millions of years later.  A stone used as a mace head looks like any other stone.  A staff made of plant matter is unlikely in the extreme to survive to the modern era unless its owner not only discarded it into a preservation medium (such as a bog) but also made sure it would be recognizable as a tool to later humans.  A sling is another round stone and a flap of leather.

 

An impact weapon, the classic examples of which are the staff and the stone, is one that uses blunt force to transmit energy into the body of a prey animal or adversary.  In essence the human body has been equipped with blunt force weapons in its feet and hands, and except for their use in constriction (a weapon type that has never found much use in organized human conflict and remains a tool of homicide rather than the organized manslaughter of warfare) the force that the hands and feet can bring to bear is relatively weak.  When the hands grasp a stone, whose weight multiplies the damage caused, or a staff, whose length multiplies the force of human muscle.

 

The main question that remains is not if Australopithecus used weapons, but how they were used.  Like many things in pre-history this is subject only to review by remaining forensic evidence in the form of fossils.  The fossil record though incomplete.  While later species of proto-humans, and humans themselves, would leave thousands of skeletons across the countryside, Australopithecus remains a rare find.

 

------

 

So here are examples:

 

The Tactics of Alexander the Great

Star Wars and Flower Wars: Mayan Warfare

A survey of the early use of steel in weapons

the Garand

the Mg42

the AK47

Agincourt and Crecy

Spottsylvenia and the Bloody Angle

The Pike and the Fall of Mercenary Armies.

 

Each article has to: 1) fit into the narrative of time being developed, 2) avoid internal contradictions by peer review, 3) be written in an authoritative non-scholarly method, with asides that get technical.  

 

Drawings are worth a thousand words.

 

No plagiarism.  

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Oh - pictures are good if they are yours and high quality or you get a general release to use them.  Think of it this way - a section on the Garand should have one exploded, a picture of one being loaded, and a picture of one front to back.  Pictures are why my bayonet book will never make any money - the cost of the book to download is much higher with a book that has images of high quality and that cuts into profits.  This book is not suppose to make money - but to be cheap enough that it can help people learn the subject easily.

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Oh - pictures are good if they are yours and high quality or you get a general release to use them.  Think of it this way - a section on the Garand should have one exploded, a picture of one being loaded, and a picture of one front to back.  Pictures are why my bayonet book will never make any money - the cost of the book to download is much higher with a book that has images of high quality and that cuts into profits.  This book is not suppose to make money - but to be cheap enough that it can help people learn the subject easily.

 

My strongest areas so far are as follows:

-The M1 Garand and early selfloader development - ideally, this should be a section all its own. The two subjects are inextricably related. I have loads of reference material for this, and I have access to an actual Vickers-Pedersen for pictures.

-The AR-15 in Vietnam

 

-The M4 Carbine

 

-The AK rifle - probably strong enough in this area for the kind of book you're trying to write, and I can ask Max Popenker if I'm unsure of stuff.

-Light Rifle development - I am currently doing a series on this for TFB, so the research would already be done (I've finished my first go-through of all the relevant sources, about halfway through my second).

 

-The state of modern small arms

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My strongest areas so far are as follows:

-The M1 Garand and early selfloader development - ideally, this should be a section all its own. The two subjects are inextricably related. I have loads of reference material for this, and I have access to an actual Vickers-Pedersen for pictures.

-The AR-15 in Vietnam

 

-The M4 Carbine

 

-The AK rifle - probably strong enough in this area for the kind of book you're trying to write, and I can ask Max Popenker if I'm unsure of stuff.

-Light Rifle development - I am currently doing a series on this for TFB, so the research would already be done (I've finished my first go-through of all the relevant sources, about halfway through my second).

 

-The state of modern small arms

 

 

Several of these make perfect sense. The book will heavily favor weapons carried by individual soldiers and the tactics of the infantry (although of course the artillery, airplane, ship and tank is a key element of this). For example use the Garand as the star of a chapter we will entitle

 

"The Quest for the Self Loading Rifle"  

The Garand is the natural star for this chapter - I will help you lead in by mentioning the work done by the Russians and French, and then the Garand is center stage as we follow the weapons designer and the army as it tries to figure out what this all means.

 

"A Once and Future Arm: Quest for the Light Rifle"

Here is where you do the light rifle work, discuss carbines, then your natural focus is the M16 and AK74 as the direction that light rifles went.  Like most chapters we want the weapons and technology in the hands of soldiers rather than being theoretical, and we want to make connections.  This one would be great.

 

The limit for the book is 70,000 words, but the nice thing is if we go over, we end up with two books instead of one.

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Several of these make perfect sense. The book will heavily favor weapons carried by individual soldiers and the tactics of the infantry (although of course the artillery, airplane, ship and tank is a key element of this). For example use the Garand as the star of a chapter we will entitle

 

"The Quest for the Self Loading Rifle"  

The Garand is the natural star for this chapter - I will help you lead in by mentioning the work done by the Russians and French, and then the Garand is center stage as we follow the weapons designer and the army as it tries to figure out what this all means.

 

"A Once and Future Arm: Quest for the Light Rifle"

Here is where you do the light rifle work, discuss carbines, then your natural focus is the M16 and AK74 as the direction that light rifles went.  Like most chapters we want the weapons and technology in the hands of soldiers rather than being theoretical, and we want to make connections.  This one would be great.

 

The limit for the book is 70,000 words, but the nice thing is if we go over, we end up with two books instead of one.

 

I've used it and now I'm stuck with it, but I'm rapidly regretting the term "Light Rifle", because just about everyone has misunderstood what I meant. You're only the latest. ;)

 

In the face of this, the Light Rifle was a bold rejection of the budding assault rifle concept; at once a hyper-conservative yet extremely ambitious idea to provide the infantry with rifles which would sacrifice nothing from the full-power semiautomatic rifle, while attaining all the advantages of a lighter, fully automatic weapon engineered for the Atomic Era. It was conceived in the shadow of World War II, but seemed more a product of the 1930s than anything else. “Give us the same, but lighter and with more firepower” was the call it answered.

 

 

"Light Rifle" then means something similar to the neologism "battle rifle", e.g. M14, G3, FAL, etc.

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I'm, along with Sturgeon's help are writing an essay on the development of self loaders. Given that it's meant for internet audience I'm not sure if it's suitable for your book when it's done I'll pass it along.

 

 

Even if it is not perfect, it is the start of your publishing career.  Look at how many books and the like that I have published - but consider how many rejections I have.  You are not a real author until someone rejects you.

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I've used it and now I'm stuck with it, but I'm rapidly regretting the term "Light Rifle", because just about everyone has misunderstood what I meant. You're only the latest. ;)

 

 

"Light Rifle" then means something similar to the neologism "battle rifle", e.g. M14, G3, FAL, etc.

 

That is the auto-ordnance definition.  Most terms for rifles in military service are wonky so I ignore them as much as I can.  One good thing though is that the ideals of a light rifle did in the end lead to the M16.

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That is the auto-ordnance definition.  Most terms for rifles in military service are wonky so I ignore them as much as I can.  One good thing though is that the ideals of a light rifle did in the end lead to the M16.

 

It's the original term used by the post-war rifle program, so that's why I use it. If it made sense, it would refer to carbines and shit.

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Everyone is welcome.  AND since the book will be an eBook, if you miss a deadline the section can be added later.  I hate to say that, but it is one of the nice things of eBooks.  

 

The main unifying feature of this book is the relationship of technology and the soldier on the ground.  So if a subject cannot be simplified enough to go in there then maybe you and I should explore a co-authored book of greater density on the subject of aircraft alone.

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Would an article on a very recent topic such as the Mamasapano clash last January 25, 2015 fit the theme? Or could it be "too soon"?

 

From a technological point of view, Mamasapano was actually interesting in that the Philippine SAF ended up using so many "off-the-shelf" items for their navigation (Google Maps) and command & control (cellphone); and that the advances in telecommunications meant that the entirety of the battle was fought in an area with cellphone coverage where both sides were using it. It also reveals a general failure of strategy, and colossal misunderstandings of human nature, which resulted in what should have been a relatively simple capture/assassination mission turning into a day-long battle that nearly re-ignited a relatively dormant insurgency and threatened a peace process; in large part due to the chaotic dissemination of information through social media in the aftermath.

 

Also, by pictures I assume you can't just use pictures from public documents or newspaper articles yes?

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