Hey folks! I know I was hoping to have Fortifications, Part III out this week, but in the inevitable bustle of the end of the semester combined with a few other pressing commitments, it just didn’t quite work out. Alas, as much as I love ACOUP, it must play third fiddle to my teaching and professional commitments (not to mention, you know, actually having a life). The good news is that I see no obstacles to having it finished for next week.
That said, lest I leave you all without anything to read or listen to this week, here are a few quick suggestions, starting with:
Me, writing in The Bulwark on “Ancient Insurrections – and Ours,” a discussion of ancient tyranny in light of the January 6th Capitol insurrection. I know that many of you come here to escape politics (and I don’t blame you) but for those of you who can stand to read more about it, I have written more (and for those who might want the ancient tyranny stuff, devoid of any modern political commentary, I think there’s a good chance in the coming months that we’ll revisit ‘How to Polis 101‘ – a section of the Sparta series – and get into more depth about how the various kinds of Greek polis government systems worked).
And while I’m here I should note that I have done quite a number of podcasts in the past month or so which you may have missed. I talked about historical video games in general and Paradox’s games in particular at both Three Moves Ahead and with Adrian Bonenberger at The Wrath-Bearing Tree. I also made another guest appearance on the Boiled Leather Audio Hour with Stefan Sasse, this time talking about Dune.
But now for things not by me! Over at War on the Rocks, Alex Vershinin talks logistics with “Feeding the Bear: A Closer Look at Russian Army Logistics and the Fait Accompli.” I’m not sure I would bet the Baltic entirely on the analysis here, but there is a clearly valid point: we often focus on the difficulty of our logistics (whoever ‘us’ may be) and not on the often similar difficulties of opposing logistics. I will admit, I found it funny that just as Hearts of Iron IV adds trains and trucks to its logistics system, here we have a fairly sophisticated article discussing the impact of trains and trucks on actual, real-world maneuver warfare logistics. It’s also striking how Vershinin’s point here is that part of the reason it is easy to misread Russian logistics concerns is that their logistics system has some key fundamental differences from NATO in terms of underlying structure – a reminder that such things matter!
Over at Foreign Policy, Paul Musgrave has a fascinating article on that time that Pepsi bought a significant fraction of the Soviet Navy, though as you might imagine there is both a little more and a lot less to the story than the idea that Pepsi was suddenly a world naval power (the ships were militarily worthless but the purchase reflected Pepsi’s gamble on the future of the Soviet Union).
Finally, over at Peopling the Past, they have a pair of really fascinating interviews with Anissa Malvoisin and Alice Clinch, both graduate students studying the ancient world, using archaeology to investigate questions about production and trade, which really speaks to the range of uses that these kinds of studies can have, particularly in the ways that exploring the ancient economy can help to uncover at least some facets of the lives of regular people who are otherwise mostly invisible to us.