Today being on the cusp between the Old Year and the New, it seemed a suitable occasion for a post combining the Old and the New as well. The later part of this year, my mother in law (a wonderful woman) moved into a (high class) assisted living arrangement at age 88. Her new apartment didn't have room for all of her furniture, so when asked if we wanted any of it, I lept at the chance to acquire some "new" old shelving. Like many historical wargamers, my book collection must weigh as much or more than my lead! (My freind, Bob Jones, would tell me it's time to give them all away and stick entirely to digital media - not happening for another decade or two, Bob!) This pair of bookshelves fit exactly beneath a window in my study/computer room. It wasn't until it was in place that I discovered that the height of the shelves *precisely* matches that of Ospreys! Thiss is great, as Ospreys have a tendency to warp etc when set on end on their own.
The new shelf in place. As you can see, I have plenty of Ospreys (don't we all?), Also prominent are works by Chandler, Gill, Petre, Arnold, Oman and many more, as well as my "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen" sequels. Of course, I have at least 4 times as many more books on OTHER shelves, but still, these shelves have been hugely useful!
This old fashioned "Barrister's Bookcase", of the sort that often held legal books, had been in pieces in the basement of my in-laws condo since they moved there 20 + years ago. It originally belonged to my wife's paternal grandfather (his old chestnut desk, refinished, has been my desk at my office for over 30 years) It seemed to be thoroughly broken, but it still looked like it had such promise that I decided that I'd take it and see what I could do to fix it.
Once the pieces were laid out in my own basement, I realized that it was actually a modular unit, and although one of the 4 modules was broken beyond any reasonable chance of repair, the other three were... perfectly fine, and just needed to be stacked up in the right order to be almost as good as new. Viola! A new, classy bookshelf for my colletions!
After some consideration, I decided to install my English Civil War troops into these shelves. They are among my most attractive figures, yet the soft metal alloy pikes mean that they don't travel away from home. They had been out on display back to my college dorm days in the mid 1970's, and so they are now once again today! On top of the shelf is an old fashioned cast iron coffee grinder from my parent's home. The unit could use a little wood polish once I get around to it!
Close up of the ECW troops on the shelves. That left one more empty shelf - what should I put in that display case?
Well, it turns out that I have a number of HMG Historicon trophies that had just been siting out gathering dust on top of an old refrigerator in the basement, so this presented an ideal location for displaying them.
The large Eagle was from Historicon 2007, the "Vietmeyer Award" for the Battle of Dennewitz, 1813, presented to me tableside by Pete Panzeri, commenting that it was for Big Battles with big figures, in the tradition established by Fred and CLS.
On the far left is an unpainted figure in tricorne, from Historicon 2010, the first year at Valley Forge. I actually was awarded TWO of them that year for 1809 games - one for Tarvis 1809, and the other for Sacile, 1809. Both times the presenters commented that the games looked good, were large, and had many players including youths, but that what struck them, was that it was a NAPOLEONIC game, and yet all the players were LAUGHING and SMILING and obviously having a great time. Well, yes!
The ACW figure was another PELA award, this time from Historicon 2011, for Znaim, 1809. Similar comments were made on presentation of that award, and the game WAS a blast. For that I thank the players at least as much as the GM.
The green Hussar was given to our informal "Hofkreigsrat" group of six at Historicon 2009, for the best theme game (1809 theme), for Eggmuhl. We also ran Razyn, Teugen-Hausen, Aspern-Essling, a Raid set in central Germany 1809 (Von Schill and an Austrian Streifkorps versus a motley conglomeration of Westphalians and Rhinebund minor principality troops), and of course - Wagram.
The final figure is of course of The Emperor himself, and was a gift to me this Christmas from one of my patients, herself the daughter of one of the old guard physicians of our town from the pre World War 2 years. It is from her late husband's collection, as a thank you for taking on a grand daughter with severe medical and emotional problems who had been to 4 different ER's over 2 weeks, severely ill, without benefit. (She is now thankfully dramatically improved - it's amazing what you can learn from the patient themselves - as Sir William Osler said "If you listen to the patient, they'll tell you what's wrong with them". The sad thing is that such an obvious thing seems almost profound to doctors now days... and it did even back then, too!)
Well, enough then of the old. What of the new? This Christmas I got several interesting new books from friends and family. In no particular order, here they are:
This latest sequel (by John Carr) to the late H. Beam Piper's wonderful novel, ":Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, was due out quite some time ago. It turns out that John himself was very seriously ill, and hospitalized for over a month with a bone marrow transplant. He has finally recovered, and I can't wait to read this latest saga set in the Aryan Transpacific Timeline, Styphon's House Subsector. For more on Kalvan's adventures, see the label on the side bar and John's website, Hostigos.com.
From our good friends who "get" my love of history, and share it as well, comes this book about the sunset years of the Empire. I look forward to reading this one as well!
It has been said that the only person in history who has had more books written about them than Napoleon is Jesus Christ. Thus, a new Biography of Napoleon? Yes indeed, and it has had very favorable reviews. I haven't read a non military history of the Emperor in many years, so I look forward to this tome as well!
From the publisher: This book examines the rise of Sweden as the pre-eminent military power in Europe during the Thirty Years War in the 1600’s, and then follows its line of warrior kings into the next century until the Swedes finally meet their demise, in an overreach into the vastness of Russia. Focusing on the Thirty Years War, which hasn’t been the subject of a book since 1969, Lunde examines the military role of Northern and Eastern Europe from the late sixteenth century to the early eighteenth century. Ultimately, this book examines how a poor country with a population of only about 1.3 million people was able to become a military superpower against larger and more wealthy countries such as Russia, Poland, the Roman Empire, Bavaria, and Spain." With my interest in the Pike and Shot era, and my Scandinavian heritage, this one promises to be a good read as well! Now I just need some time to curl up and read these latest additions to my library!
Ein glückliches neues Jahr!
Feliz año nuevo!
Felice Anno Nuovo!
Próspero Ano Novo!
Which, of course is to say: a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to you all, my friends!