Benny and his friend Griffin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Christine’s Military History Seminar

I’m reading Clausewitz these days and I’ll tell you whose fault it is: TV network execs.

I had high hopes for this year’s TV season. Disgusted by last year's tripe, I’ve been watching movie and TV discs from Netflix, emerging only for “West Wing” and the occasional “Supernanny”.

But it’s a real drag, all that DVD renting, just so I could relax after Benny went to bed. (This wasn’t an issue in Benny’s first year. I was too busy washing 300 bottles and folding 600 burp cloths every night to watch anything.)

This year’s season, I thought, had to be better.

It wasn’t.

The Fonz stages a comeback on CBS. Martha launches hers on NBC. William Shatner sports awful ties on ABC. “Law & Order” spawns more shows (“Law & Order: Petty Theft and Parking Meter Vandalism Unit” and “CSI: Vicksburg, Mich.”)

This unholy crew only edges me closer to 18th-century Prussian military officer Carl von Clausewitz (really).

I thought, maybe I could read at night instead. But two hours of reading a night – that’s two books a week. That’s 100 books necessary to get me through one TV season.

Obviously, I needed a reading list, preferably one packed with weighty tomes. What about military history? Nobody blathers in tiny, dense text like a military historian.

So I turned to some very nice folks at Ohio State University, which has a boffo military history department. They’ve posted online a terrifying list: 100 books on European and American military history. Caesar. Engels. Thucydides. McPherson. And at the top of the list, categorized under General Works: Carl von Clausewitz’s “On War.”

Hey, don’t blame me. Blame the TV execs.


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