Books to a Deserted Island

At the Virtual Wargames Club last weekend the question was posed, “what book if you only had the choice of one would you take with you to a deserted island?”

Tough question and I will admit that my first choice was one volume from Conway’s All the World’s Fighting Ships but then I thought, surely a four volume set only counts as one book so I said, all four volumes of Conway’s?

The question got expanded this week over a few emails to four books and I found that if I had to take my four favourites, well, it would be one or two more than four. Strangely, given a choice of four books, I settled for the following, in no particular order:

  1. Warship, and not just Warship 2020 but the full series on the grounds it is just one long continuous book with bits released each year 🙂
  2. Maritime Operations in the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905: Both Volumes by Sir Julian Corbett – Corbett was an Englishman given access to the Japanese archives to write this, although I would still like to get a copy of the maps
  3. The Tide at Sunrise: A History of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-05 by Peggy Warner – see a pattern emerging here?
  4. 1904 Korea Through Australian Eyes by George Rose – brilliant book of photographs of Korean life circa 1904 including Varyag (and maybe Korietz) parked at Chemulpo, Incheon, before facing up to six  Japanese vessels and a torpedo boat division – that was only going to end one way. Rose photographed for the 3D viewers popular around the Australian countryside for the entertainment of the cockies and their families in the early 1900s
  5. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown – a book my daughter and I both agree on. An uncomfortable but worthwhile read, and reread
  6. Nomonhan, 1939: The Red Army’s Victory That Shaped World War II by Stuart D. Goldman – the battle that took place around Khalkin Gol that resulted in the peace between Japan and Russia from 1939 allowing Russia to concentrate on the German invasions later
  7. and lastly (although I could name another few hundred, Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World by Philip Sabin (and I guess I should therefore include Simulating War: Studying Conflict through Simulation Games)

OK, so I can’t count! And much as I love ancient history and ancient wargaming, apart from Sabin, everything is 19th and 20th century! I could also be persuaded smuggle some historical fiction as well, perhaps the Hornblower series!

So, an interesting list and books I refer to or read multiple times.

What would you take to the deserted island?

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3 thoughts on “Books to a Deserted Island

  1. Sean Clark 23 July 2020 / 3:11 am

    Bury my heart at Wounded Knee is an all time favourite of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John@justneedsvarnish 23 July 2020 / 11:07 pm

    Before I’d even got to your list I’d said Conway’s All The World’s Fighting Ships out loud! And I’ve also got the Nomonhan book! Otherwise I think I’d add “The Last Valley: Dien Bien Phu and the French Defeat in Vietnam”!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete S/ SP 24 July 2020 / 9:58 am

    Nice to see so much RJW stuff in there. Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee is an all time classic too.



    Liked by 2 people

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