Monday, April 13, 2009

"Belorussia 1944" by David Glantz, My First eBook Experience

I enjoy reading good military history books and war gaming what's in them. Also enjoy the reverse: war gaming some historical battle and then getting to read books about it.

HPS Simulations is one of my favorite companies for war games/simulations. Their Panzer Campaigns series features battles spanning all WWII. In their "Minsk 44" title, Panzer Campaigns puts you in the thick of one of the most dramatic battles of WWII, the battle for Belorussia in 1944.

David Glantz, one of the most prolific and respected authors on Soviet military history, has written a wonderful book about the very same battle: "Belorussia 1944: The Soviet General Staff Study". David Glatnz's books are not for the casual reader. They are studies in the military art, with profusive details on troop movements, command and control, logistics and the peculiarities of each country's way of waging wars. Both dense and lacking the narrative beauty of other authors like Atkinson, Glantz's books though contain the stuff the hardcore enthusiast of military history cherishes.

David Glantz's "Belorussia 1944" and HPS's "Minsk 44" form a great and enjoyable combination.

Instead of going the usual route, this time I decided to buy "Belorussia 1944" as an e-book from Purchasing the e-book was a breeze and after the required installation of reading software from Adobe (Adobe Digital Editions), I was reading the e-book a few minutes after paying online. I don't particularly like any of Adobe's software in general because it asks you for updates every single time, but that's a personal peeve. Also, it's a bit disconcerting that both the printed and electronic versions of the book cost the same.

The "Belorussia 1944" book itself didn't disappoint. Very good read and perfect to understand what's being war gamed in "Minsk 44". The only thing that I am disappointed about is how the maps show in the electronic version. Many of Glantz's books contain maps that are hand-drawn and relatively small. These do not compress very well with the image-processing algorithms used to make e-books. The customer support people of were very gracious in trying to get me better resolution of the images, but unfortunately these small figures are helpless.


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