Some fun miscellany:

RADM J.C. Wylie is of some significance to this blog. Though I am familiar with his writings and career history, his death 18 years ago precludes anyone from learning more about the man himself. Thus my keen interest when I recently stumbled across a video of Wylie speaking before a USS Fletcher reunion in late 1992, just a few months before his death, in which he shares some humorous anecdotes about his service aboard the destroyer during World War II. The quality of the video could be better, but it shows that Wylie was lucid, eloquent and sharp all the way to the end of his life, and adds some personality to the theory of Power Control.

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LibriVox, which collects audio recordings of public domain works, has available the first four Books of On War, narrated in an Australian accent. Beware, however: the Howard-Paret translation is still owned by Princeton University Press, so the LibriVox audio is based on the nightmarish Graham translation.

Be sure to check out LibriVox’s catalog of other works. Plenty of stuff for the daily commute or jog.

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I have been reading Alistair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954 – 1962, the definitive history of the French-Algerian War. He introduces Part 2 of the book with the following letter, attributed to Marcus Flavinius, a Roman centurion of the Augusta Legion:

We had been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilization.

We were able to verify that all this was true, and, because it was true, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes, and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment … Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow-citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Empire.

If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached b0nes on these desert sands in vain, then beware of the anger of the Legions!

I have a very difficult time believing this authentic; the sentiments seem completely alien for a 1st century AD Roman centurion. In fact, Horne cites the source as Jean Lartéguy famous novel, The Centurions. I am unable to find any earlier reference to the letter, and it seems completely apocryphal. However, I would be fascinated to be proven wrong, if someone has information to the contrary.

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