28 November 2015

Some Thoughts on Books I read in 2015 - Part 2

Political maps are deceiving. As a kid, when you look at political maps showing the neat little borders of powerful states in the past, you inevitably wonder why they couldn't expand in a certain direction, or how in the world they were defeated by another state so much smaller than them or sometimes by those who didn't even possess states! One of the reasons I like reading military history is that it helps me fill in these whys. But the military is just one, albeit important, aspect which influenced a state's fortunes. Strong governments and armies ultimately have to have some sort of economic backing, and I'm embarrassed to admit how late it was until I truly understood this. As a teen who was more interested in science than business or economics, I'd be satisfied by simple comments such as "trade flourished" or "economy was prosperous" in pop. history books. I never questioned the details of trade, how exactly governments collected revenue, or financed policies. I think the turning point was when I read a few books about the decline of the Spanish empire. Although there were cultural and demographic factors which also contributed to the empire's decline, Spain's poor economic policies which failed to improve its fiscal soundness and develop its economy unlike England or the Netherlands was what left the strongest impression on me. So now I'm slowly but steadily trying to get into economic history (hence the choice of books in this post) and it's fantastic because I'm starting to see a whole new way of viewing the past. If you're like me and ignored the interplay of economics and political history, I highly encourage you to do so as well.

23 November 2015

Sangokushi v56 (complete)

v56 is finally done. Looks like it's gonna be a Feb 2016 finish for Sangokushi since there's still 4 volumes left. Enjoy!

Sangokushi c400:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v56:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

11 November 2015

Sangokushi v55 (complete)

Volume 55 is now complete! If you think the Northern campaigns have been entertaining so far, you haven't seen anything yet. Get ready to see even crazier baits and traps in the coming volumes.

Sangokushi c391:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v55:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire

2 November 2015

Sangokushi v54 (complete)

This sly motherfucker
Vol. 54 is now complete! That last chapter was a thing of beauty with Sima Yi putting on an oscar-worthy performance of hiding how much he wants that seal of command, even going so far as to make Cao Zhen worry about the Wu army even though he just told the Wei emperor that that was just a bluff, all in order to make it impossible for Cao Zhen to not hand over the seal. It is interesting to note that this whole part in the original novel is pretty terse on the description so it's quite easy to miss reading between the lines about where Sima Yi's intentions really lie. In Yokoyama's version, however, this is emphasized via the depiction of Sima Yi's smile in the picture above, an extended conversation between Cao Zhen and Sima Yi, and last but not least, the narration on p.201 explicitly saying Sima Yi wanted the seal all along. Of course, one could always make the argument that Sima Yi is genuinely concerned for Cao Zhen but I don't really buy that.

Sangokushi c382:   Sendspace
Sangokushi v54:   Mega;   Mediafire
All Previous Sangokushi volumes:   Mega;   Mediafire