Archive for the ‘civil war’ Category

The book I read to research this post was Another Man’s War by Sam Childers which is an excellent autobiography that I bought from kindle. This book was made into a film called Machine Gun Preacher starring Gerard Butler and is set in South Sudan and about the civil war there. The essence of the book is an ex-biker turns to christianity and decides to go out to Sudan and Uganda and along with converting and helping people has to become a mercenary with a small private army that helps maintain order in an area devastated by war. There has since about 1955 been a war going on between muslims and christians with the former wanting to impose islam on everyone and the christians wanting people to have the right to choose their religion. Recently I did see a news item saying South Sudan is the newest country. Sudan is predominantly muslim and the south is predominantly christian. This argument between the 2 beliefs also affects the many in the South who follow tribal religions. Sam says that although the 2 groups are represented by armies they are often not paid and are quite anarchic with them raiding villages and setting up unofficial roadblocks to raise money, steal possessions and generally abuse the civilians. They reguarly seize people’s children by force and make them become members. The civilian populations generally have no weapons and the various want an easy time of plundering and harming them like most bullies and they get scared if anyone fires back. Sam and his mercenaries have a mission building with things like a school and hospital but also go about sorting out the bullies. Apparently charities in general give this area a wide berth because it’s too dangerous. Sam also goes into Uganda which has many of the same problems but isn’t as bad. He criticizes the American government for selling weapons that end up in the hands of this rabble. Apparently the Geneva Convention forbids selling weapons to any country with an ongoing war. On one occassion he was told 200 troops were raiding a village ahead and the Ugandan Guards at the checkpoint were afraid to get involved. He went ahead with his 5 men to sort it out and when they got there and started shooting they discovered it was about 30 men who all fled when they attacked. He does argue it is pointless the 2 sides negotiating a settlement because any principles that may have caused the war have long since been forgotten and it’s like every man for himself there. I very much enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it. It’s very moving.

 

The book I read to research this post was Loyal and Ancient City: The Civil War In Lichfield by Howard Clayton which is an excellent book which I bought from a car boot sale. I live in Birmingham so Lichfield in Staffordshire is quite near to me. It’s famous for having the smallest cathedral in Britain and also unusually it’s made of sandstone. During the Civil War, Lichfield was very loyal to the Royalists & it was a relatively large city by their standards with a population of around 3,000. It was also a key outpost close to the frontier between Royalist & Parliamentarian forces. The eastern and western parts of the country including Wales & London were Parliamentarian with a great big band cutting the middle of the country of Royalist areas. Lichfield changed hands several times as it was attacked by Parliamentarian forces & then Royalists would try to save them. Quite a few of the famous battles of the war were near to Lichfield underlying its importance. Lichfield also supplied a huge contingent of the Royalist forces but they were generally outnumbered by the Parliamentarians in the battles. Charles the 1st made Oxford a temporary capital city during the war. The war famously started when Charles went to parliament to arrest 5 members of the house who had already fled and were recruiting an army for war. Towards the end of the Civil War the Parliamentarians beseiged Lichfield and although in the meantime many other Royalist settlements like Ludlow & Dudley did surrender after relatively brief sieges the city of Lichfield stuck it out for quite a long time. Interestingly the first bishop of Lichfield was Saint Chad and the cathedral is named after him. The cathedral was badly damaged during the Civil War but they had a really good bishop who greatly built on the congregation and was good at organising the tidying up work. Of course Cromwell turned out to be a dictator and when he died and his son took over the nation as a whole soon got fed up and they brought back parliament and the monarchy. This book is really interesting and appears well researched.

The book I read to research this post was Irish History for Dummies by Mike Cronin and it’s an excellent book. I must admit these kind of niche histories that they do in these dummies books. I did read african american history for dummies recently which I also recommend. I live in england but am of irish descent and was brought up a catholic although I’m not a practising one actually my beliefs are probably more in line with spiritualism although I’ve never actively followed them.

One interesting point in the book was that there is a massive burial site at newgrange that’s set out celestially like stonehenge but is a 1000 years older and is 600 years older than the egyptian pyramids. Thousands of people flock to newgrange every year but irelands biggest tourist attraction is the giants causeway where lava from a volcano now long extinct has set in hexagonal columns some upto 12 metres high.

My mums family are from Dublin and I have visited but somewhere in Dublin I’d like to visit is the Natural History Museum which boasts the largest shark ever caught in irish waters among its exhibits.

I’ll tell you one bit of history which isn’t in the book apparently when Michael Collins and David Lloyd George were negotiating Irelands independance. The english prime minister threatened to flatten Dublin with a battleships cannons if Collins didn’t sign the agreement. Collins was later assassinated.