Feb. 1st, 2011

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So the parents gave me a Kindle for Christmas (arriving a bit after New Year's), and ever since then I've been a little book-crazy, mostly rereading old friends everywhere I go.

The Story of the Malakand Field Force was Winston Churchill's first published book, and it came out long before he was rich and famous enough to hire a large staff of ghostwriters and researchers. It was one of the books that made his reputation as a writer, and that reputation is pretty well deserved: it reads very well, and hit a lot of the things I look for in books non-mathematical.

There are wry and surprisingly perceptive commentaries on the state of life along the frontier, adventure stories a-plenty, no shortage of self-aware pride in the Empire, unflinching descriptions of some of the nastier and more brutal facts of life. It's a fun read, and some of the observations, and speculations, about the nature of the tribes and the future of India are very ironic in retrospect.

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