Just finished Robert Edwards' White Death-Russia's War on Finland 1939-1940.
My first military history book, and my first exposure on stuff about the finnish war not written by finnish (or via finnish teachers etc).
The book was about the winter war where Soviet Union attacked Finland in order to reclaim tsarist time ground and bases to dominate the baltic sea. Soviets were supposed to walk over finland, but it didnt quite go that way. Harsh winter, good defences and general unpreparedness of the Soviet army meant that the death toll was 10 to 1 with 200 000 Soviet soldiers laying dead by the end of the war.
I learned loads about the suprising significance of winter war in europe in general, and how it destroyed the myth of soviet union as a nation of peace and exposed it as an imperialist force like any other. The impact of this avalanced through europes blinded left and really woke people up. Many other international aspects of it all were also a revelation and new to me, including the absolute lack of international support and fumbles behind the scenes in UK, frnace and sweden - which in turn goes far to explain what happened in the secont stint of the war few years later when finland actually sided with nazi germany to have another go at soviet union.
It was pretty emotional to read about battles which took place where my grandad lived and fought, with comments describing how a small ransack group of finns held off a big soviet advance. My grandad did talk about those times sometimes, and generally hated army and war saying how it was all a bosses war from both sides and they (meaning peasants and workers) just got caught in the middle.
I guess the book was a typical military history book, with the lip service to the horrors of war, but in general just reads like an excited account of an observer about tactics, manouvres, politics and high ranking officers doing important decisions. I guess boys and their toys is one way of defining books like this. He also wrote from a right wing perspective missing some important nyances of finnish sentiments and political history since the civil war. But that was obvious from the start so it didnt bother me so much.
The title, i believe, comes from a finnish sniper, who is claimed to be the most succesful sniper in history killing up to 700 soviet soldiers in just 100 days:
anyways, very educational for me, and a taste of totally different kind of literary and historical genre.