A few years ago,I took pictures of all my Christmas ties:
- P M Prescott
- Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.
Sunday, December 25, 2022
Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Final WC for 2022
This year's final WC. What crafty things do you do?
I used to do plastic canvass. I made the edges to my desk Calander, paper tray, note holder, paperclip holder, pen holder and tissue paper holder, in school colors.
Did them all over again when I moved to different schools.
It gave me something to do with my hands while watching TV.
I also made folders for note pads and letter pads. Many of those that I made I gave away as Secret Santa gifts.
Wife and daughter still do this and go to craft groups at church and library to this day. You would not believe the treasure trove of yarn our house. Plastic canvass is not easy to come by. Hobby Lobby is about the only place that has it in stock.
Since I started writing novels and short stories my time is not taken up with reading, writing, editing, and publishing.
A month ago, our church had a festival and let members set up a table to sell arts and crafts. I sold one I Maury book. Wife and daughter sold the most of anyone there that day.
Daughter is now into crocheting and just got someone to show her to use my mother's sewing machine she inherited. This is why I have to do my writing either at the office or the library. They've evicted me from writing at home.
Wednesday, December 07, 2022
WC Best Fictional Siblings
Today's Challenge is best fictional siblings.
I came up with Sherlock's brother, but it seems in fiction siblings are usually a burden or bother or enemy. Bobby and J.R. Ewing come to mind in Dallas.
Today I've decided to toot my own horn. The Fan Plan Trilogy.
In book one, Meteor Strike I have an oil corporation planning to save civilization as the computers predict the Yellowstone super volcano will explode in 50 to a hundred years. It encompasses from 1900.
Lyman convinces Sylia and Henry to divorce so his daughter can remarry and have more children. She marries the Randal O'Neil, and they have four children: Randal Jr., Sarah and Brenda (twins) and Oliver Owen (Trip).
Book Two is Countdown. Patrick gets married and is placed as CEO of Trans Global North America, taking off some of the burden on Henry who can devote more time overseas.
Randal is slated to take over for his father as CFO of TWO, Sarah and Brenda are groomed to take over for her mother as possible candidates for running the corporation.
Oliver Owen (Tip) is groomed to take over as head of the Scientific Secret Police. It was determined that after ten years of volcanic winter and trying to restore civilization it would be done through reason and science not superstition, the SSP would be necessary to nip fanatical religious leaders wanting to blame sin and technology and starting a holy war.
Randal Jr. after graduation from Rice starts taking over the financial reigns of TGO and fathering five children.
Sarah marries and mothers two daughters. Brenda marries and has one daughter.
Henry Eastman has surgery to repair the damage that has kept him from fathering any more children and has a son, named Milton. His brother Patrick has children older than his half-brother.
Book Three, Countdown introduces the grandchildren of Sylvia Drake Eastman O'Neil.
Lyman, Henry, Randal and Sylvia have passed on and the newly named Trans Global Energy is now in the hands of the children and grandchildren. It's also getting closer to the time when Yellowstone can erupt, the question is "What if it doesn't happen?'
I leave this book off at Trump's election. I'm in the planning stages of a fourth book incorporating many of the advances of solar, wind, hydrogen, wave and other alternative forms of energy coming out today. Europe is going through a revolution since Russia invaded Ukraine in converting to different forms of energy away from fossil fuels. There's currently another revolution in urban gardening, underground gardening to fight climate change. This can be added to the Fan Plan.
Wednesday, November 30, 2022
WC 113022 Morning Rituals
Today's challenge is what are my morning rituals?
The beauty of being semi-retired is that I don't have to wake up to a clock and rush to be at work on a certain time.
I drive to my friend's office on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. I live by the high school where I taught for ten years and if I want to get down the street in front of the school, I have to leave at 7:00am or 7:45 to avoid the school rush. If I had trouble sleeping and was up during the night, I might sleep to 8 and leave then. I spend from three to four hours in the office researching, writing, editing and sometimes looking for a topic to write on.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, if my wife doesn't have something planned for us, I go to the gym at 9, work out for an hour alternating between using an arm machine, treadmill and sit down elliptical, thirty minutes each, or swim in the pool, walking the length for 800 meters. Then I drive across the street and write in the library. It has a nice room with five tables with electrical plug-ins for my laptop and where I do most of my editing.
Now for my rituals after I wake up and before I leave.
When I get up there's my medical routine. Take one pill, check my blood sugar, take shower (every other day), get dressed, put in hearing aids, put on glasses, check to see if Fitbit is charged, check my sleeping score. After thirty minutes take rest of pills, drink some water, eat breakfast.
Breakfast depends on my blood sugar, if it's low I can indulge in a green Chile cheese bagel and cream cheese. If its high I drink a glucose shake. If normal I have scrambled eggs, bacon, and regardless of my blood sugar I choose between twelve different types of tea for my only flavored beverage for the day, no sugar or sweetener. Water from then on.
Go on with the rest of my day.
All of this is subject to change on my or wife's whim.
Sundays are for church, having a nice dinner at a number of favorite eating places, and watching the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos.
Sunday, November 20, 2022
A Prayer For My Mountain
The mountain on the cover is an extinct volcano in west central New Mexico. In the 1960's and 70's tons of uranium was mined from here. It sits between the Navaho (Dine) reservation and the Laguna and Acoma Pueblos.
Men from the reservation and pueblos took jobs mining the yellow ore and within ten years were dying of various cancers. The mines shut down as demand for uranium declined, but the damage to the mountain and lives of all those who live around it never went away.
By 2010 the mine owners wanted to restart mining operations. This short story is about the fight to stop reopening the mines.
Hank Bruce is a good friend. I've reviewed a number of his books and have enjoyed all he's written. This one touched my soul.
I spent the summer of 1973 working with FBC Grants which is a town at the foot of Mount Taylor on I-40 between Albuquerque and Gallup. The little town was booming. Trailers and RV's were parked everywhere, it was estimated that in ten years it would become as big as Albuquerque.
In that next ten years the town went bust and many who I met and worshiped with were dead, all dying of cancer. In the houses that the company built for the workers and their families they used uranium dust in the concrete of the floors.
I learned that from this book.
The prayer in the title is about a man who is diagnosed with cancer at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque. He returns to his home in Laguna Pueblo to live out his last few months. A medicine man gives him a prayer staff tells him he has to go to the sacred mountain, a different name in their language, and ask forgiveness for the damage he caused.
An Anglo family moves into an abandoned schoolhouse between Laguna and Grants, the husband suffered a heart attack and they lost everything. He, wife and young children must rebuild their lives.
A medicine woman comes and welcomes them, she takes the husband around their property and teaches him how to pick seeds out of the pinecones what we call Pinon Nuts. She explains to the wife the different plants, if they are edible, medicinal qualities.
A family living not far from them also comes to welcome and share food from their garden. They have children the same age who become friends.
The medicine woman tells them that they are needed to save the mountain, as only they can convince the government to stop reopening the mines.
The man dying from cancer, the Hispanic family and the Anglo family then go up onto the mountain where they visit the scars left behind and pray for the mountain.
It ends with the speech Hank's wife, Tomi Jill Folk, gave in Congress in 2012 where she pleaded for the government to declare Mount Taylor a sacred mountain and stop all mining operations. Congress passed the bill.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
WC Favorite Media Platform
This week is favorite social media platform and why.
There are two that I use. Blogger and Facebook.
I like blogger best; it is not as restricted as fb. On blogger I have friends like on Wednesday Challenge, and Top Ten Tuesday where we can converse on comments. We can post multiple pictures, tell stories, gripe, share good times and bad times. We can uplift each other in a relaxed atmosphere.
I have good friends like Yogi, Lydia, Audrey, and Berthold that are good for stimulating reads and conversation. I've read many a good book recommended by the challenges and friends. I get to share reviews of the books I've read and talk about my struggles while writing the story I'm on at the time.
Facebook is limited, but not too restrictive yet, it's getting harder to keep up with the changes and a number of my friends keep getting sent to the doghouse for silly reasons. I haven't yet, but one friend shared a post and got clipped. I've had some shared posts removed and I couldn't even remember what it was.
It also has annoying ads. Take a look at one and a thousand just like it sprouts in seconds. Groups are nice though, Writers2writers has a group, and we keep up with each other. My college and high school let me keep up with old friends too. My 50 HS reunion was much better as we were all able to communicate through them.
I've never done Twitter, or any of the others. My son wishes his daughter wasn't using one as its costing him a fortune in cosmetics.
Saturday, November 05, 2022
The Jewish Revolt Against Rome
James Mace is the best writer of fictionalized history I've read. He has a broad palate of history and I've enjoyed many of them. The Three books I'm reviewing are of concern to me as they overlap with my writings.
These books are about the Jewish Revolt in AD 67. There are no fictionalized characters, every person in the story was actually there and mentioned in the books written at the time. The historian Josephus is prominent in the story as well as the accounts he wrote.Book one starts with the procurator of Judea, Gessius Florus trying to stir up a rebellion so he can plunder the area. He succeeds, but after the revolt starts and he doesn't have the manpower to stop it, he flees back to Italy and leaves Rome to clean up his mess.
The governor of Judea then takes a single legion to Jerusalem, and nearly takes it, but he doesn't know how close they've come to undermining a wall and he leaves only to be ambushed in a mountain valley back to Caesaria. No matter how good the legion and its ability to fight, an incompetent commander could get them killed.
Reviewer's note here: Wikipedia doesn't mention this first attempt to put down the rebellion or the defeat of the 12th legion and losing their Eagle. My copy of Josephus is a condensed version and left this out as well. Mace used the complete version.
I wish I'd read these books while I was writing my books in this time period.
A lone cohort was tasked with defending the closest port to Jerusalem, Ptolemais, 600 men with about 400 auxiliary cavalry is not much compared to the thousands of an army sent out from Jerusalem to capture the town and turn to piracy to hamper Rome's retribution.
This is James Mace at his best, describing both sides and their plans for the battle and then recounting how it unfolds.
After the Jewish army is not only defeated but routed when they outnumbered the Romans by 10 to 1. Explains how Rome's legion with its discipline and armor and a competent leader could conquer everything within its reach.
While waiting for Nero's response and his reluctance to give Vespasian command of suppressing this revolt, the various radical groups are explained. The Temple headed by the high priest, John of Giscala, a bandit that's raising an army in Galilee. Simon Giora, another bandit raising an army around Jerusalem and Eleazar of the Sicarii, (dagger men).
The high priest is willing to negotiate with Rome, knowing that Rome would destroy the country and enslave the population. He's murdered as a traitor.
The high priest's son takes over and Jerusalem is divided between four factions each trying to kill each other.
In short, the Jews are more willing to kill and fight each other than they are Rome. A dominant theme through all three books.
When Vespasian builds up his forces, he then invades Galilee. The siege of Jotapata is only a foretaste of what taking Jerusalem would be like. It took 47 days and many of his men's lives to take the town. They even used boiling oil, something that meant the invading army would spare no one inside as revenge. Vespasian does something very unexpected, he spares the life of Youseph ben Matthias, the leader of Jotapata that would normally be crucified. Youseph is Latinized to Josephus. He becomes the historian. In Judea he is the great traitor, as he gives the Romans valuable intel on what's happening in Jerusalem and the rest of Judea.
The rest of the Galilee is taken and winter ends the campaigning season.
Word comes that Nero is dead.
The telling of the siege of Jotapata is gruesome enough, but nothing prepares the reader for the horrors of what happens in Jerusalem. Not about what the Romans did to those inside the walls of the city, but what the warring factions within the city did to each other.
Before the Romans resumed the war, two factions fought over the storage facilities of grain. Enough grain to feed a city of over half a million people for two or three years. Eleazar, the head of the Temple faction burns the whole granary to keep John of Giscala from controlling it.
John of Giscala then has Eleazar, murdered in front of the throngs offering sacrifice.
It goes downhill from there.
Meanwhile Vespasian supports Galba as emperor who replaced Otho, who forced Nero to commit suicide, Vitellius then defeats and kills Galba, and Vespasian decides to march on Rome and become emperor. It's called the year of four emperors.
Vespasian's son Titus is given command of the forces tasked with taking Jerusalem.
Intrigue in Jerusalem, intrigue in Rome and confusion in the legions, as Titus is only 24 and has gone from being in command of a single legion to over 150,000 men.
The siege of Jerusalem is a worse horror story than anything Hollywood puts out around Halloween.
It's estimated that Jerusalem had from half a million or more residing in it. When the city was taken Rome enslaved 97,000. Only the wealthy survived just to become slaves. The rest died mostly from starvation, disease or were murdered for treason and dropped into a valley outside the walls to feed carrion. Battle hardened soldiers lost their lunch when the valley of rotting corpses was discovered. Reading this, pictures of liberated concentration camps after WWII came to mind.
Titus is awarded a triumph; his cousin mops up the Sciarii at Masada. The bandits at Masada are celebrated today for their defiance of committing suicide after the Romans breached the wall. They existed by robbing and killing the villages around them for food.
Titus is granted a triumph, as he brings back the largest treasure trove up to that time in Rome's history, all taken from the Temple. Some of this is pictured on the Triumphal Arch of Titus in Rome.
The Flavians beome masters of Rome.
My review is a summation of what happens, but these books go into great detail and are written by a true master of storytelling.
Just adding this, Mace has a great book on the Battle of Waterloo.
Wednesday, November 02, 2022
Erene With Wolf Medicine
Tuesday, November 01, 2022
WC Sci-fi/fantasy world you'd like to visit
Hmmmm, what world would I like to visit?
1. The Hobbit, I'd love to visit the Shire, and Rivendell. The rest of Middle Earth you can keep.
2. Dragon Riders of Pern, tame dragons and fire lizards.
3. Tony Roberts': Kastania Chronicles. One hell of an interesting empire, ruled by a very lusty Imperial family. Don't mess with a Bragalese Witch.
4. H. Beam Piper's The Fuzzie Papers. A wonderful world with a different sapient race.
5. J. A. Sutherland's Into the Dark series. Traveling through space in sailing ships while navigating dark matter.
6. I'd be remiss if I left Star Trek, off the list
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
WC Have you had a real-life encounter with a ghost?
Today's challenge is: Have you had a real-life experience with a ghost?
The answer is no. I have been in some really spooky situations and places, but no ghost.
My wife told me that in the night she saw her father looking down on us, then we got a call that he died around that time.
Hank Bruce, a member of Writers2writers, and his wife Tomi Jill Folk (editor) have a new book out that I had the honor of being a beta reader. Tomi recounted that while visiting this archaeological site of a former pueblo, that while walking up to it from the road there is a small pool of water, and whenever they visit this place at the water, she can hear women and children splashing and playing there.
Dr. Irene Blea, also a member of Writers2writers, had finally published her autobiography. Before Covid when W2W was meeting we read and commented on each other's work, this was what she was working on. It's not available yet as e-book. She grew up in the 1940's and 50's on a subsistence farm/ranch in northern New Mexico in an extended family speaking Spanish and some Tiwa (Taos Pueblo). She mentions that at night the children would hear spirits and they never saw them because they hid under their blankets.
In my book Vander's Magic Carpet, Eugene Vander's has just finished his invention of flying plates that can levitate any object, like a car and make it fly. He goes to the graves of his wife and daughter. They appear and he takes them on a magic carpet ride. That's as close as I've come to writing a ghost story or encountering a ghost.
Human Sacrifices has the protagonist seeing a demon chewing on gang bangers in a park. The demon she names Mal haunters her for part of the book, but I make it plain that she was suffering from Post-Traumatic Trauma Stress, and hallucinating from lack of sleep.
Wednesday, October 19, 2022
WC: Fantasy animals you'd like to be real
That's and easy one for me, I want a fire lizard. Everyone is so caught up in dragons, especially since GOT. To me the most enjoyable books of Anne McCaffrey's Pern books were the Harper Hall books with Menolly as the protagonist.
Keep your fire breathing dragons, a nice friendly fire lizard that you can have a mental connection too is by far the best.
Another one would be the Luck Dragon from Never Ending Story. Not your typical dragon.
Then again there's Buckbeak, from Harry Potter. He may be a little too temperamental for the average person or family and with that appetite could be very expensive.
Saturday, October 08, 2022
Vander's Magic Carpet
$.99 e-book and $9.99 paperback.
Kindle no longer lets writers go onto Unlimited unless they sign up for their advertising.
Wednesday, October 05, 2022
So much of Star Trek with its communicators, tablets, talking computers, medical technology has already happened.
No, we don't have warp drive, photon torpedoes and spaceships capable of traveling the galaxy with a crew of 500. 3D printing is coming close to fabricators, just not for food yet.
Of all the technology I would like the transporter.
It would be great to step onto the pad and I'm in the office, or at the mall, or at Roadhouse Steakhouse. A few jumps and I'm visiting my brother in Oklahoma.
In voyager one of the women has a baby delivered by transporter. I remember all the women and they were the majority in the teacher's lounge saying, "That's the way to have a baby!" or words to that affect.
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
A Friend in Need
Aerial view of Del Norte High School, circa 1972. Today there is no parking lot, the main building is gone and what looks like a three-story office building dominates the side facing Montgomery Boulevard. Del Norte Baptist Church across the street is now completely hidden by apartment buildings.
In 1997 my parents drove to Pueblo, CO. to Dad's 50th reunion. Mom kidded him, saying "Did you really go to school with all those grey-haired women?"
Now it's my turn.
My God! Fifty years go by in a blink and getting into contact with people I haven't rubbed shoulders in decades, all of a sudden, the memories come back. The sorrowful part is the number of classmates many I went through Junior High and High school with are no longer with us.
I read the names recognizing friends and foes, some since the size of our class was so large, I didn't know, but recognized their yearbook faces. One name stood out for me.
Danny and I had little in common. I was the athlete, and he was chubby and clumsy. I was always mentioned in the school paper sports section, he was never mentioned. We ran in completely different circles. In high school we didn't share many of the same classes.
What we did have in common was our faith. McKinley Junior High was 60% Hispanic. in 7th grade Danny and I were Anglo and didn't go to the same elementary schools, so we didn't have any friends. There is no grade in school worse than 7th grade and for both of us it was pure hell.
For that year he was the one person I could encourage, and he encouraged me by our belief in Jesus. He was Pentecostal and I was a Baptist. I went to the church across the street from the school. That didn't matter we shared a faith in Jesus.
In high school we met during lunch or before school and talked. He was effeminate in manner and speech. The jocks always gave me a funny look while we were laughing and joking together.
After graduation we lost contact. I went to college on a track scholarship and most of my high school classmates were out of my thoughts. Then a funny thing happened in 1989.
We had a Volkswagen Westphalia and, on a Saturday decided to go camping. Son was 8 and daughter 3. We drove to a state park not far from Albuquerque, pitched a tent for daughter to stay out of the sun and she had her toys to keep happy. We played a little baseball with plastic balls and bat with my son. That lasted about thirty minutes and we were attacked by gnats. A swarm of them and they were biting. Decided not to set up the badminton net. This wasn't fun anymore.
We packed up and went home. A few hours later I got a phone call, this was when we were in the phone book and had a land line. Danny called. He and his wife and two children were in town and their car broke down. His grandparent surprisingly lived a block away from wife's parents. He wanted to know if we could pick him up and drive them to the other side of the river.
It was a good thing we had the Westphalia, and we were back in town. We picked them up and took them to a diner for dinner then down to his grandparents. We had a great time catching up, his wife and mine talked, which is rare for my wife who is rather shy around strangers. His kids and our kids had a great time in the back of the van, good thing there weren't any seatbelt laws at that time.
We stopped afterwards and paid a surprise visit to wife's parents. On the way home it was crazy, but did God send a plague of gnats so we would be there to help a friend in need?
Today's challenge is: What is your least favorite chore and why?
Sorry if this is icky, but cleaning the bathroom is at the top.
My wife's attitude is, "You make the mess, you clean it up."
I have to do this chore not only at home, but at the office. Since I get to spend time writing for free, (I used to get paid, but pleadings are now done electronically) still I get the mail, let S. know if he needs to come in or not and keep the place clean. If you stay on top of it not a big deal.
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
WC 091422 What makes you buy a book?
Today's challenge is, what makes you pick up or buy a book?
1. It's recommended. I've bought a number of books mentioned in Top Ten Tuesday and Wednesday Challenge, as well as Berthold Gambrel.
2. The author. Tony Roberts, Mark Dawson, James Clavell, Tom Clancy, are recent authors that when they come out with a new book, I download it or buy it. I'm strictly e-book due to eyesight issues.
3. The bandwagon, if there is a current book that everyone is raving about and it's in a genre, I enjoy I'll give it a try. This is hit and miss. I've tried to read a book everyone was raving about and couldn't get past twenty pages.
4. The title or book cover catches my eye.
This is one, and I enjoyed it and all the others that followed.
5. Book by blogger friend or a local author I know from Southwest Writers or Writers2writers.
Hank Bruce, Dr. Irene Blea, Jonathan Miller, Joseph Badal, Paula Paul, Berthold Gambrel, Audrey Driscol and others.
6. Twice a year the downtown library in the basement lets you buy books by the bag at only six dollars a bag. My only exception to hard copy books, I pick hard cover where the print is bigger.
Wednesday, September 07, 2022
WC: Favorite Plot Line
Today's challenge is my favorite plot line to read or watch.
I'm going to toot my own horn here. My favorite plot line is Redemption.
Optimus is a hard living, strong drinking Roman legionnaire only interested in his basic needs and pleasure.
He's assigned to guard a pesky Jew while awaiting trial. The Apostle Paul.
He is converted to Christianity and his life is transformed. He marries and fathers two sons. He stops getting drunk and gambling and tries to right the wrongs he committed before his conversion.
While serving in the Praetorian Guard along with other Believers in The Way plots to place a Christian on the Eagle Throne.
Eugene Vanders is a happily married university professor with a fifteen-year-old daughter. He's well respected and is content.
His house is invaded by the police, and they plant drugs in order to arrest him. He's tried and sentenced to three years in minimum security. He loses his reputation, livelihood, and while in jail his wife is raped and murdered, his daughter commits suicide. (I did not describe these events.)
He tells to judge while sentenced that he will make Billy the Kid look like a boy scout and vows he will make all those who ruined his life pay for what they did.
He was working with simi conductor material and had come up with an idea to create lift by electrifying small holes creating mini tornados.
Once out of prison along with his dorm mates they create Magic Carpet Inc. and start using the Magic Carpet plates to make cars fly.
As he becomes rich with his new invention, he is able to uncover the police chief's policy called plan B, that when a raid finds nothing, they plant evidence.
In the book Vander's never kills anyone, he forgives those who ruined his life, and he makes society pay in order to regain what he lost. Berthold Gambrel in his review called Vander's the anti-Walter White.
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Penguins at the Rio Grande Zoo
Last week wife, daughter and I went to the Zoo. First time for us to see the new Penguin exhibit.
You can't use flash to take pictures, so I used video on my regular camera.
Here's what you see when you first walk in.
Be sure to click on the button in the lower right-hand corner to see full screen
Here's some frolicking.
WC Plot Line
Today's challenge is: Plot line or theme you refuse to watch.
I watched one season of Criminal Minds. Wife and I decided we did not want to understand or think like serial killers.
I watched Psycho as a teenager. That was enough, no mad slasher movies that tally up dead teenagers caught having sex.
I've watched almost all of Alfred Hitchcock's other movies and not had a problem.
I'm turned off by what passes as humor in movies today. Someone playing with a man's intestines thinking it's a movie prop is sad, not funny. Seeing women trying on bride's maid's dresses and having diarrhea is gross not funny.
I watched Carrie and have never read anything of Steven King's horror books or seen any other of his movies. My brother made me watch The Green Mile while I visited him, I could have done without the part of the guy being electrocuted painfully. I do own a copy of his book on writing.
I enjoyed reading Anne Rice's vampire, mummies, and other supernatural books, she wasn't gross or trying to freak you out. Her historical novels Cry to Heaven and Feast of All Saints are wonderful.
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Today's topic a school freeby, I'm joining Lydia in doing micro history, As per Wikipedia, microhistory “is the intensive historical investigation of a well defined smaller unit of research (most often a single event, the community of a village, a family or a person)
Wow biography is micro history, who knew.
Guess what, I Maury qualifies. The life and times of truly great scientist who changed transportation on the oceans dramatically. He is the father of Oceanography.
Other biographies come to mind:
William Manchester's American Caesar, biography of Douglas McArthur.
Elizabeth Jenkin's Elizabeth the Great, biography of Queen Elizabeth I.
Charles W. Ferguson's Naked to Mine Enemies, biography of Cardinal Wolsey.
Topical micro history would be:
Basil Lidell Hart's Strategy and World War II.
John Keegan's Face of Battle, World War I, Fields of Battle, and History of War.