Highly recommended: Ploesti: The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943
As regular readers know, I seldom make a recommendation, but in this case I feel that I must. I’m reading again Ploesti: The Great Ground-Air Battle of 1 August 1943 (link to secondhand hardbound copies—and it’s worth getting in hardback).
The epigraph to the book:
In Tsarist times a game of courage called Kukushka was played late at night in garrisons in Caucasia and Siberia. Two officers stood in adjoining rooms with an open door between. One had a pistol, the other had not. At a signal, the lights were extinguished. The unarmed player opened the contest by dashing toward the door, yelling "Kukushka!" The rules permitted him to go through it straight or diagonally, left or right, couching or leaping. His opponent’s problem was to shoot him as he came through the door.
– Othmar Gurtner, The Myth of the Eigerwald
And the epigraph to the opening chapter:
He who owns the oil will own the world, for he will rule the sea by means of the heavy oils, the air by means of the ultra-refined oils, and the land by means of petrol and the illuminating oils. And, in addition to these, he will rule his fellow men in an economic sense, by reason of the fantastic wealth he will derive from oil.
– Henri Bérenger, 1921
Truly a book worth reading.