A reader of this site recommended, JW Deming, recommended B.H. Liddel Hart's "Scipio Africanus" to me - and I'm damn pleased I got it.
It's excellent. It combines a mix of strategic thought and analysis with diplomacy and looking deeply into motivations for actions. From chapter 3, after leading a surprise attack and taking the city of New Carthage -
Chapter III: The Storm of Cartagena
"Some young Romans came across a girl of surpassing bloom and beauty, and being aware that Scipio was fond of women brought her to him… saying that they wished to make a present of the damsel to him. He was overcome and astonished by her beauty, and he told them that had he been in a private position no present would have been more welcome, but as he was the general it would be the least welcome of any… So he expressed his gratitude to the young men, but called the girl's father, and handing her over to him, at once bade him give her in marriage to whomever of the citizens he preferred. The self-restraint and moderation Scipio showed on this occasion secured him the warm approbation of his troops."
Livy's account enlarges the picture, saying that she was previously betrothed to a young chief of the Celtiberians, named Allucius, who was desperately enamoured of her; that Scipio, hearing this, sent for Allucius and presented her to him; and that when his parents pressed thank-offerings upon him, he gave them to Allucius as a dowry from himself. This kindly and tactful act not only spread his praises through the Spanish tribes, but earned a more tangible reinforcement, for Allucius reappeared a few days later with fourteen hundred horsemen to join Scipio.
And I recommend you thoses Wikipedia pages if you haven't read them already http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viet_Cong_and_PAVN_strategy,_organization_and_structure
Glad to see you're down with Roman History, because I've been wanting to throw this at you for a while ( I figured you're hands were full in HK). The Master's Of Rome Series by Colleen Mc Cullough. It's a fantastic read. Fiction, yes, but so is Yoshikawa's Musashi! And damn is it historically accurate; almost perfectly so. A world of strategists clawing over each other to reach the top.
If you're looking to bridge the history gap between Scipio and the 'Masters' time period, Tom Holland's 'Rubicon' is perfect.
I've scoured the books of history looking for trends - why did this person succeed, when that one failed? Why did this movement shape the world, while that one died out? Why did this nation win, and that one lose?
Some people think accidents explain history. Perhaps accidents explain some of history, but certainly not all. You see common virtues among those who succeeded, and frequently you see common vices among those who failed.
Of the common virtues, the successful seem to have an immense amount of loyalty and reverence for the people that "got them there," revering and celebrating them even as they bring more and more people to their banner. The people who break from their early friends and supporters usually end poorly, in an isolation of their own making.
You can see this with two men that had the biggest impact on their respective cultures - Muhammad in Arabia, and Hideyoshi in Japan.
Both men were low born, but came to be hugely influential. There are a number of similarities in their stories. They both found and married an exceptional, charismatic, diplomatic, high born, highly intelligent woman relatively early in their careers. The wives of these men - Khadijah to Muhammad, Nene to Hideyoshi - were their first, most passionate, and largest supporters when few else believed in them.
In my last post I presented my intent to dissect 50 shades of grey and what women love about it so much to reverse derive 'male sexuality'. The topic is so broad and I could write paragraphs on any one thing so for starters I will just dump out the quotes I've been saving and do a quick comment on each one. If anyone wants me to elaborate on any of these points I will do so but otherwise I will gloss over select ones on my own time.
Enough bantering - here is the list divided by chapter.
HEAVY SPOILER ALERT
Click back on your browser now or close this page if you don't want possible spoilers from the book.