Wednesday, March 09, 2016

What's Ipecac Reading Now?

At the moment, I'm back on my World War II kick, reading Stalingrad: How the Red Army Triumphed by Michael K. Jones. Jones' work is a reinterpretation of the battle of Stalingrad based on interviews with survivors conducted after the fall of the Soviet Union and without all the communist propaganda that infected previous accounts. 

The idea that a defeated, outnumbered, demoralized Soviet army, retreating from the bigger, better equipped, triumphant, more professional German 6th army, would turn the tide of the war in a desperate stand at Stalingrad, has always seemed impossible. I'm finding the book fascinating and finally starting to understand what happened. It's still amazing, but at least the story is coming clear.

I guess now I'll have to watch Enemy at the Gates.

Before this, I read Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, the basis of two different classic movies, (1956 and 1978). I really enjoyed the story of a Doctor returning to his small town to find that alien pods have been taking over the townspeople, destroying the originals and creating exact duplicates in their place. It's a good story and well written, although the characters constantly do stupid things like not taking pictures or movies of any evidence and they keep destroying the physical evidence of alien pods, even when it falls into their laps. Still, it's easy to see why this story was made into multiple movies and created the "pod people" meme.

Afterwards, I watched the 1956 version of the movie starring Kevin McCarthy. They fix some of the glaring problems with the plot of the book and ramp up the paranoia. Given that the two leads are both divorced, I found the movie pretty daring for the 1950s. Not so daring was the studio-imposed "happy" ending. Lame. I'm looking forward to watching the 1978 version with Donald Sutherland and Leonard Nimoy.

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