Mankind's only alternative 5   DEC.   21  
Mankind's only alternative
War Nerd RSS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

The War Nerd May 28, 2008
War Nerd Summer Reading Guide
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
Page 2 of 4

p.s. Somebody just pointed out there are no illustrations in my new book, The War Nerd. Well, that’s totally different. Never mind why. America doesn’t want to hear about that! Let’s move on!

The Day of the Barbarians: The Battle that Led to the Fall of the Roman Empire

By Alessandro Barbero

The battle this book talks about is Adrianople, as most ancient-war fans would have guessed. I’ve always been interested in this battle, for all kinds of reasons. For one thing, out of sheer orneriness I always preferred the Byzantines to the Western Romans. Something about that Classical crap, the kind that books like the one I just discussed come out, just sticks in my craw and always has. Makes me think of Kim Philby, Oxford boys betraying us and buggering each other while they eat scones. Besides, the Byzantines faced east, where the real threats always came from. Europe was a fucking forest; how hard did the Romans have it? Even so they fucked up massively, got a classic ambush, Monagahela-style, in Teutoburger Wald, let a bunch of German irregulars with javelins pick off three whole legions.

But never mind that, my point here is to talk about this Italian’s book about Adrianople. Another reason I always liked Adrianople is that it was a very 20th-c. style battle. It was what they call a “humanitarian crisis,” and in case you think that’s a totally modern invention, you’re wrong. The Eastern Romans in 378 AD were rich and dumb enough not to massacre every stranger who crossed their borders. They were in the market for cheap labor and mercenaries, so they usually tried to do a deal when some terrified tribe came knocking on the wall looking for escape from some even scarier tribe back east.

That’s what happened at Adrianople: the Goths, an updated Scythian gang straight outta Ukraine, fled west to escape the Huns. See, the Goths were great riders but they didn’t use the compound bow from horseback. Mistake! You’ve got to incorporate both pony and compound bow if you want to win on the steppes. The Goths, who fought with swords and spears, were so terrified of the Huns that, as this book explains, they made up a story that the Huns were born when Goth witch women who’d been cast out of the tribe mated with demons in the wasteland. It wasn’t far from the truth.

The Goths showed up at the Danube, the frontier of the Empire, begging the Romans to take them in. The Danube is a serious river by Euro-standards, and the Goths were no sailors, so they just piled up there in huge refugee camps while the local bureaucrats waited for word from Constantinople on what to do.

The situation is so familiar to anybody who watches the news these days that you just know no writer can help making cheap cracks about some current event. And there are a lot of good parallels you might make. Unfortunately this Alessandro Barbero is an Italian leftie and the only one he can think of is Iraq. Dumb. This has got nothing to do with Iraq. Iraq is plenty bad enough on its own, and I’ve said so till the death threats rained down like…uh, rain, I guess…but you’ve got to be smart about it. Dumb anti-American Iraq jokes like the one this guy keeps cracking—well, if there’s anything that could turn me into a Cheney fan, that’s it.

When he’s not being an asshole, Barbero tells a good story. It was cool to hear that for the Romans, the Goths’ looks—tall, white skin, red or yellow hair—was just another sign that they were uncivilized and dirty and poor. Of course when a Euro professor says that you have to wonder, is he really channeling the ancient Romans or just showboating to sound PC? I hope the fucker’s telling the truth, because it’s cool to think of these short thick oily Caesars sneering at the genetic traits that that fool Hitler was going to make into signs of superiority 1600 years later.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Gary Brecher
Browse author
Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.

Solidarity Forever! :

Gilligan's Gulf :
African Doorman
Field Guide To Moscow: Signum Khoholus :

2006: The Year Russia Schooled The West : Russia's Report Card For The 2006 Academic Year


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442