Locklin on science

BAP books on love and war reviewed

Posted in Book reviews by Scott Locklin on January 2, 2022

My pal BAP suggests numerous books in his podcasts. I’ve read a great many of them already, though others are new to me. I will review a couple of them here to expose them to a different audience.

Breakfast with the Dirt Cult by Sam Finlay. This is easily the best piece of literature to come out of the 20+ year long “global war on terror.” Because we live in a degenerate age, it’s also almost completely unknown: instead we have garbage human sociopaths lionized and stupid reporters accounts made into movies. Sam Finlay is an old american, in a way my family can never be, and is of the warrior tribe of Americans. There aren’t many Americans left besides his people with remnants of male virtue  (basically his people and ethnic Catholics). The warrior class of America might as well be a tribe of New Guinea cannibals if you get your information from mainstream sources; there’s been basically zero accounts of the GWoT written by the actual people fighting the war other than this one. The psychological motivations and actions of the people described are true in a way that I know about from first hand experience. The most interesting thing about it is his character, who I assume is semi-autobiographical, is also a nice guy. A regular aw-shucks joe with antediluvian ideas about how life, nation and romance should work. He gets shot and semi-crippled in combat; the stripper he got involved with was probably worse for him than the bullets. This was written 10 years ago now, but Finlay’s thoughts on how the people who constitute the country have been cheated by a socal class of lizard people might as well be current year. His descriptions of the fraudulent “expert” class are pitch perfect. Nothing has changed since then; it’s just gotten worse.  Oh yeah, and we’re not killing our boys in Afghanistan any more, and our genius “experts” are a few steps closer to the abyss.

Bel Ami by Guy de Maupassant. This is a splendid bit of escapism; a man on the make ruthlessly exploits a series of women on his path to power and fortune in Paris. It’s a little like one of my favorite movies, Barry Lyndon, though very French.

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. Ole Bappy is fond of South America. I’m not, but I sort of get his position on the subject. Nostromo is a tale of European political meddling in a sleepy, degenerate latin American country by industrialists and the hard men they employ. The eponymous character is an unforgettable Italian stevedore who was used by the European colonists to put order to the rough society. Apparently based on a real person Conrad met. It’s a tale of obsession and love with powerful subtexts on the ethnic and spiritual hierarchies of Latin American countries. If you’ve ever traveled in the turd world, you’ll get the latter almost immediately, assuming you’re not mentally retarded yourself; tropical cultures are different. It’s really about the spirit of a Faustian civilization breaking on the rocks of mute barbarism.

The Outlaws by Ernst von Salomon. This is mostly a war memoir of the post WW-1 Freikorps fighting against the communists. Frankly I found it mostly fairly dreary. However, von Salomon was also involved in right wing secret societies and the assassination of Weimar figure political Walter Rathenau. That part, unfortunately only a small part of the book, is absolutely amazing. Beyond the intensity of the account, the insanity of the events actually taking place was pretty out there: I mean, the dude killed the foreign minister. He only got a couple years in the pokey for it. I guess people were real mad at Weimar government. Amusingly the local jewish community sent him food while he was in prison because of his last name (he wasn’t jewish, but later married one, and made a living as a screenwriter). I don’t really understand von Salomon’s politics, but it was right wing, somewhat bolshie, and not Nazi. The sections on his underground revolutionary activities are brilliant. The rest of it bored me to tears.

 

Storm of Steel Ernst Junger translated by Basil Creighton. Supposedly the “new” Hofmann translation is more exact, but it contains many absurdities, and omits some of the more moving passages of Junger’s  book. Example <<In einem Regen von Blumen waren wir hinausgezogen in trunkener Morituri Stimmung.>> Hoffman: “We had set out in a rain of flowers, in a drunken atmosphere of blood and roses.”  Creighton: “We set out in a rain of flowers to seek the death of heroes.”  Hoffman’s translation is slightly more exact, but because he’s a literary rather than a military man, the dude basically mutilates the feeling and turns it into translatese gibberish. Much of the translation is like this. Creighton is an old warrior (lived to be older than Junger) and has experienced some of the things Junger did. Storm of Steel is a book that you experience, the events outlined in it are completely bonkers. He has the ancient warrior spirit; none of the world sick weariness of Remarque or the English writers.

“An officer should never be parted from his men in the moment of danger on any account whatever. Danger is the supreme moment of his career, his chance to show his manhood at its best.  Honour and gallantry make him the master of the hour. What is more sublime than to face death at the head of a hundred men? Such a one will never find obedience fail him, for courage runs through the ranks like wine.”

Mine were of Trouble Peter Kemp. This is “Homage to Catalonia” written by an actually respectable citizen instead of a filthy socialist tubercular wastrel. Since Kemp was not a filthy socialist tubercular wastrel, he joined the correct side in the Spanish Civil war. Orwell was a pretty good writer, and his soft-left socialist politics gave him a boost with the US establishment for use in propaganda against the Soviet system, but Kemp was an actual pillar of the community in the UK; son of a judge, and later war hero. He joined a Carlist militia, then later commanded in the Spanish legion; a great honor for a foreigner. He had the types of adventures you’d expect for an English speaker on the Nationalist side. When the war came to the UK a year after his adventures in Spain, he did all kinds of interesting Commando work.

 

Finally some good news by Delicious Tacos. Modernity is garbage; most people are sold garbage lives and given pathetic vices which help make life tolerable. DT describes the life of an ordinary office zombie heading into middle age; one whose primary vice was chasing ass on OKCupid; a sort of period piece of early internet debauchery and the immediate aftermath. Sections of it are obviously autobiographical, and the author writing as a pseudonym are what made it possible in the first place. Oh yeah, and the world ends. It’s one of the funniest novels I’ve read in a long time.  Sort of comedic Houllebecq meets “The Road.”

35 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Guilherme said, on January 2, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    We want you on Caribbean Rhythms!

  2. chiral3 said, on January 2, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    I’d tack On Pain onto Storm… as required Junger.

  3. chiral3 said, on January 2, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    Also, I have a Hoffman trans. from 2003. I wonder if the 2019 is an independent reprint of that (probably?) versus a new translation?

  4. electricangel said, on January 2, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for the list. I found Storm of Steel unreadable on first attempt. Maybe it was the Hoffman, not Creighton, version?

    If you’ve not read Für Volk und Fuhrer, the unrepentant memoir of a Waffen SS soldier, it makes for good reading. Interestingly, it repeats a scene from The Forgotten Soldier, about US troops trading for Nazi paraphernalia in and around the Elbe in 1945. Either plagiarism, or two soldiers of the defeated power describing how the great powers had decided to divide the spoils. I’ve ordered the first and last books you mentioned.

    Please correct your spelling of Weimar.

    And thanks for your always-interesting perspectives. You cover topics I don’t get elsewhere.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 2, 2022 at 10:02 pm

      I before E except after Germany I guess. Thanks for the correction.

      I kind of hate WW-2 stuff unless it’s some weird obscure corner, like Balkans or some fiddly detail in Russia or Manchuria or Japanese people eating prisoners livers or whatever. One of my good pals was always having me read BS about Italian submarine ninjas, combined with the Hitler channel on TV makes me kind of sick of the whole incomprehensible ant-war. WW-1 is more interesting to me as it was the real turning point in Western Civilization towards modernity. That said I did enjoy Hans Rudel’s war memoir. You have to hand it to a guy that blew up that many tanks, battleships, trains, planes, trucks while having one leg and driving his shitty outdated airplane with a cane.

      You want really bonkers war stories, you can’t beat the Memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne.
      https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/59489
      It’s indescribable what Bourgogne went through; it was shilled to me by a fictional WW-1 shell shock victim (“To serve them all my days” -free on youtube) who thought rotting in the trenches for 4 years watching his mates get turned into bone flecked jam wasn’t so bad, because Sgt Bourgogne really suffered. Napoleonic era is underappreciated in current year.

      • Altitude Zero said, on January 4, 2022 at 2:45 pm

        It’s weird, WWII now figures far larger in the popular and official imagination than it did when I was a kid back in the 60’s and 70’s, when almost every adult guy you met was a war veteran, and the war was only fifteen years old. Those guys tended to wear their service very lightly, with some notable exceptions.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 4, 2022 at 3:19 pm

          Trying to imagine Hogan’s Heroes being on the TV in current year. Failing.

          • Altitude Zero said, on January 5, 2022 at 7:52 pm

            Agreed. My dad, a combat veteran of WWII, wouldn’t have missed “Hogan’s Heroes”. Most of the WWII shows back then were funny, oddly enough, and often featured guys who had actually served. A different time, with different people.

  5. t.g. said, on January 2, 2022 at 7:11 pm

    @Breakfast with the Dirt Cult- haven’t heard of it but if it’s a criticism of the Washington DC elite machine I am interested. DC bureaucracy and politics degree feeder schools are their own 4th branch of government that no one is able to reign in anymore.

    @Nostromo- I read it recently after randomly finding it. Conrad seems mostly pessimistic about humanity which is fair. It’s a great story that has a deeper point in there somewhere besides just Latin American politics and the demise of Anglos. Something about class ambitions and tragedy. At least I thought so. I’m no lit expert, but I think Great Gatsby might be along the same lines, which is a good reread also.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 2, 2022 at 10:06 pm

      Most of Dirt Cult was pretty standard war and disco stuff you’d expect from a GWoT memoire by a thoughtful man, but he really gets spun up on the DC elites in a way few others have. Guys like that have paid the price for their hubris, abroad and then back home. Not many working class voices against the DC lizards, but his was a powerful one.

      Nostromo I think was really about the kinds of men who were responsible for European colonialism. That was what I got out of it anyway. Nostromo himself was an unforgettable intense character. There were probably many such men; he was based on a real guy apparently.

      • chiral3 said, on January 5, 2022 at 7:56 pm

        Breakfast arrived today. I read that book Cherry when it came out and wondering if it’ll read like that. Years back I got into Gritlit, or whatever you want to call the genre. There were some good ones, lie The Devil All the Time but, like sci-fi, the genre is a dearth of talented writers. I also grabbed the other Storm… German was my reading language but it has atrophied to all but nothing or profanity and nonsense. Wo sind se meine kleine tauBe. Hosen shlonger. The main point come across and the issues are in the details; important for scholars and buffs but not for travelers like me. And these are details, not like Spengler, where there’s while chapters that are nonsense – the one about herbivores and beasts of prey. Anyway, looking forward to Breakfast. I dig the cover pic. I want the t-shirt.

  6. Rickey said, on January 2, 2022 at 7:32 pm

    Appreciate the list. It reminded me of when my father took me to see my first R rated movie, Apocalypse Now. Since he and my uncles were World War II veterans, I figured he probably hated the movie for being too far “out there”, however, when we were leaving the theater, he said he really liked it and stated, “It removed all of that John Wayne glory bullshit from war.” Here are a couple of other titles to add.

    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque which was required reading in my Western Civ class.

    The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh. Not a war story but deals with the grittier side of human nature.

    • chiral3 said, on January 2, 2022 at 7:45 pm

      ‘probably hated the movie for being too far “out there”,…’

      You likely know this but Apocalypse Now was a fairly close adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which I think is also required reading, apart from the surfing scenes. It has roots deeper than a simple war movie.

      • Rickey said, on January 2, 2022 at 8:02 pm

        When I first saw the movie, I was not aware of the adaptation but soon learned about Heart of Darkness. I like to ask our recent college graduate hires at work if they ever had to read anything by John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Shakespeare, etc. Unfortunately, the answer is usually no and sometimes they say the never even heard of a particular author.

    • JMcG said, on January 2, 2022 at 9:12 pm

      Mine Were of Trouble was very good. Kemp’s next books in his trilogy weren’t really as good, except perhaps as illustrations of the advisability of staying the hell out of the Balkans and Southeast Asia. Fermor’s books in which he describes his walk from the Hook of Holland to the Iron Gates of the Danube in the thirties was absolutely wonderful. The first is called Between the Woods and the Water. It’s worth every penny and every minute.
      I’ve tried Storm of Steel twice and couldn’t get past the first hundred pages. I’ll have to try a different translation.
      Conrad-almost always worth reading.
      I read Lionel Shriver’s Mandibles a few weeks ago. While not great, it’s certainly good and mostly interesting. Worth a few bucks.
      I’m currently reading 1939- The War That Had Many Fathers, by Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof. It’s an explanation, from a German perspective, of the lead up to WWII. It’s comprehensive, at some 670 pages of text. It’s a clunky translation, and is only available in English as a somewhat expensive paperback. It’s a great corrective to the glib portrayal of the post-Versailles years in Europe. It’s not really an apologia, either. Very much worth reading.

      • Scott Locklin said, on January 2, 2022 at 10:28 pm

        Thanks for heads up on Kemp’s other books. He’s not a great writer, but it’s a very unusual story and, well, BAP was shilling it, so I gave it a go. The same publisher has some cool looking stuff about the Russian Civil War, “Always with Honor: The Memoirs of General Wrangel” -might have a look at that one.

        I’ve been meaning to read Mandibles.

        One book which made it clear the cartoon history of Weimar Germany we got was a lot of baloney was Stefan Zweig’s “World of Yesterday” which portrayed the time as horrific and insane, even though he was not subject to it. Great memoire of the late Austrian empire as well; nothing like the Wes Anderson movie (Grand Budapest Hotel).

        • JMcG said, on January 3, 2022 at 12:24 am

          Thanks, just picked up the Wrangell memoir. Also the first on BAPs list. Happy New Year, Scott.

          • Chiral3 said, on January 3, 2022 at 5:12 am

            The Wrangel recently got some discussion over on the Daryl Cooper reading list on his martyrmade substack.

        • GU said, on January 4, 2022 at 7:35 pm

          Shriver’s newest book (“The Movement of the Body Through Space”) is also worth a read, especially if you’re in the mood for something lighter.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 2, 2022 at 10:11 pm

      I didn’t care for Apocalypse Now for various reasons. Seemed too self indulgent and hippy dippy to me. I mean, I liked The Doors when I was a kid, but it didn’t do anything for me. Deer Hunter on the other hand…. I lived in Pittsburgh, so it worked for me in all kinds of ways.

      Will check out Choirboys.

      • poelcappelle said, on January 7, 2022 at 6:15 am

        I’ve always been skeptical of Apocalypse Now. In fact, until recently I felt it was just a silly movie in comparison to Deer Hunter. The Robert Duvall character and the Dennis Hopper scene, etc. It supposedly based on Heart of Darkness, but of course Heart of Darkness is about colonizing Africa, and nothing to do with the Vietnam war.

        I read somewhere that Deer Hunter was loosely based on Erich Maria Remarque’s “Three Comrades”, about guys living in nineteen-twenties Germany. The theme of forgotten veterans in a defeated, demoralized postwar country was where I thought Remarque did his best work – those novels (Three Comrades, The Road Back) were much more interesting than All Quiet on the Western Front. I thought Deer Hunter captured that idea well – I’m too young to remember the seventies very well, but I get the sense that in a lot of ways Vietnam wrecked the United States for a good 5 to 10 years afterward.

        • Scott Locklin said, on January 7, 2022 at 10:26 am

          The 70s were terrible. Looks like you’ll get a chance to experience them soon.

          • Chiral3 said, on January 7, 2022 at 12:32 pm

            @poelcappelle: Apocalypse was literally a direct copy of Heart… the characters, the river, what men can do, … etc. Obviously Vietnam had been the recipient of French colonization (as opposed to, say, British) for the previous 100 years save for a small period of Imperial Japanese interest. Vietnam was just very relevant at the time. I was born in 1976. Walking around as a kid in the 1980’s Vietnam was still a big deal. The level of unwilling participation (the draft) coupled with the ill-preparedness of the hippies coupled with the way the drafts were targeted meant that the after effects of Vietnam weren’t going to be dealt with the same way the silent generation dealt with the second Great War or Korea.

            As it relates to The Deer Hunter, there’s less allegory or code going on. It’s just a flick, a drama, but highly representative of the times in many nuanced ways. I grew up in NY. The working class areas were still arranged as immigrant communities. The Italians laid the bricks that the Poles made; the Irish were cops and fireman; the Germans ran delis; the woman that helped my grandmother with the nine kids still had the numbers tattooed on her arm. After dropping the bomb my grandfather became a Madison Ave ad man ( a la Mad Men). They all saw death but never talked about it. This is all very interesting and I could go on for a while; but, when the Vietnam war came with the draft and, at least in the north, where the immigrants in the rust belts banded together within the factories, they were pulled away and sent oversees to die. I know hippies that found gynecologists to write them notes and who stayed up for days before their physicals on amphetamines so that their vitals were so out-of-whack no Army on earth would take them. Many of my uncles and half their town were sent to Vietnam. The gazelle, the most athletic kid, with the most luck, captain of the football team, fucking the head cheerleader, was blown to hell. The kid with the worst luck, who was always hurt, who spent months in the hospital after uncontrollably riding his bike down eighth ave, through a fence, only to be hit by a car; who after getting out of the hospital was working on a boy scout project in my grandmother’s basement and lit his whole body on fire by accident with the camping stove he was using… came back fully decorated after several tours. A stone jungle killer he came home and could fuck anything he wanted but wasn’t interested. So for me, the scene with the gun… DI DI MAU! MAU! – it was about the role of chance in our lives. You could be born anywhere, born completely in to luck, and find yourself face down in the Mekong bobbing up and down next to a sampan. The luck of having the small world of your steel factory and a couple of townie girls open up to all the possibility of the jungle and the whores of Hanoi and the loss of safety and perspective that comes with that coming of age. That was Walken’s path. The movie’s about entropy: we can’t go backwards. When the world reveals itself, when men reveal themselves, and you see the potential of it all, the world can never be as small as your steel town again. Robert Deniro’s character is the pedal tone that grounds the whole story line in the tonic of what they were… but there’s a key change, and the tonic is a semi-tone off, and the movie ends with a dissonance: the bar is still there, but it’s different, Nick is dead, and they sing God Bless America, but it’s all sour. Stanley Meyer’s Cavatina was scored for classical guitar too, which perfectly captured the 1970’s.

            But, yeah, I agree with Scott, buckle up because the 1970’s was a watershed in many ways and it sucked.

        • Altitude Zero said, on January 9, 2022 at 12:26 am

          It’s important to remember that only about one-third of our troops in Vietnam were draftees, no doubt many volunteered because they thought that they would be drafted anyway, but ordinary working class Americans remained patriotic with regard to the war far longer than did the elite. The bitterness and disillusion didn’t really set in until 1969-1970, when it was obvious that, for whatever reason, victory was not in the cards.

  7. tmanz said, on January 3, 2022 at 12:36 am

    “in trunkener Morituri Stimmung”
    “in a drunken atmosphere of blood and roses”

    Not a literal or exact translation for “in a drunken ‘those who are going to die’ mood”. (Didn’t I see Wheelock’s on your shelf earlier, Scott?) I can’t even tell if Hoffman had enough Latin for Morituri. Creighton’s version is not quite literal, but a perfectly fair translation.

    • This is what I find disappointing about such a translation (I read the book in German): how does a literary man not get the obvious reference to Morituri from Jünger’s text? The salutation of the gladiators to Caesar before fighting in the Coliseum (morituri te salutant), which adds a certain dimension to what he’s saying. I’m an engineer and I knew that. I suppose these things happen. I remember having the same reaction seeing the movie Downfall. There was the scene where Gen. Weidling has to report to Hitler’s bunker to be shoot for allegedly fleeing the enemy, he makes his report that he and his staff did not flee but are directly on the front line, and after the meeting the other generals tell him that Hitler was so impressed with his report he’s named Weidling commander of the defense of Berlin. The subtitled translation IIRC said “I wish he’d have had me shot” but the actual comment was “I’d rather he’d have had me shot so then this cup would pass over me” – a clear allusion to the Garden of Gethsemane. I get puzzled why such things get left out, can’t decide whether it’s a matter of a pompous translator assuming his audiences wouldn’t get the reference and deciding to dumb the statement down, or the translator himself not knowing the reference. Used to assume the former, but increasingly suspect the latter is the case.

  8. […] Locklin reviews several books on love and war as suggested by BAP on his podcast. Other BAP suggestions I can vouch for are Mishima’s Sun […]

  9. mitchellporter said, on January 20, 2022 at 6:53 am

    Just discovered that William Hope Hodgson was a bodybuilder!

    While I respect BAP as a macho gay alt-right thinker, or whatever he is, I do think Grignr the Ecordian is the purest barbarian role model we have.

    • Scott Locklin said, on January 20, 2022 at 11:19 am

      I have picked up chicks with BAP. I think he prefers the pronouns “handsome reactionary.”

      Bodybuilding was common at turn of last century; reaction to industrial shit.

  10. Hendrik van Loon said, on February 8, 2022 at 8:33 pm

    A long time ago on Caribbean Rhythms BAP mentioned that the Russians were, without exaggeration, decades ahead of the US in terms of Propulsion. He said he’d discuss their advances in both Propulsion and Metallurgy at greater length some time later, but to my knowledge he’s unfortunately yet to follow up.

    This being your wheelhouse, could you explain how true his claim is? I’m inclined to trust him, but I’m not able to evaluate, and I’d appreciate an elaboration because it sounds interesting.

    • Scott Locklin said, on February 8, 2022 at 8:48 pm

      I’d give that a “definitely true.” I will let BAP explain maybe it is not permitted for me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: