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My suggestion is to read The Twilight War first, because it is a very comprehensive, "big-picture" account of the totality of U.S.-Iran relations from the early days of the Carter administration to now. It also goes into the events of 1987 - 88 in detail. It'll give you a solid background into the subject. It may even change your views on many of the presidents that we've had in office.

 

I also suggest Inside the Danger Zone by Harold Lee Wise. Its very similar to Zatarain's book, except its written primarily from the perspective of the United States Navy.

 

Yes, I just ordered Twilight War as well. I didn't have much time this morning, so I looked at "Tanker Wars" first and ordered it. Reviews on "Twilight War" are impressive. It should arrive just in time for the weekend.

 

Thanks again for the tip.

 

-Nick

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Yes, I just ordered Twilight War as well. I didn't have much time this morning, so I looked at "Tanker Wars" first and ordered it. Reviews on "Twilight War" are impressive. It should arrive just in time for the weekend.

 

Not so sure on the Twilight War. Had a chance to go over it in the shop when it came out and read some parts - it didn't seem like a well researched and written book, IMHO.

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Not so sure on the Twilight War. Had a chance to go over it in the shop when it came out and read some parts - it didn't seem like a well researched and written book, IMHO.

 

What specifically made you think it wasn't well-researched/written?


Edited by CheckGear
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Not so sure on the Twilight War. Had a chance to go over it in the shop when it came out and read some parts - it didn't seem like a well researched and written book, IMHO.

 

Amazon reviews are really good with 101 reviews. It's not too expensive either, worth taking a chance on it!

 

-Nick

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Amazon reviews are really good with 101 reviews. It's not too expensive either, worth taking a chance on it!

 

-Nick

 

Yeah, I'm very curious to know exactly why Dudikoff thinks otherwise. I understand not everyone is going to like even the best-written book, but for him to say it "didn't seem like a well researched and written book" does raise eyebrows.

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Yeah, I'm very curious to know exactly why Dudikoff thinks otherwise. I understand not everyone is going to like even the best-written book, but for him to say it "didn't seem like a well researched and written book" does raise eyebrows.

 

This is really OT, I just wanted to step in given that the book was presented with glowing expectations. IMHO, Amazon reviews are not worth much, they're like IMDB reviews. Personally, I usually read the negative reviews on both and see if they feel to have credibility.

 

Well, I really wanted to buy it as I'm interested in the matter, but after reading several random pages to get the tone of the writing, it didn't feel like a well structured and concisely written book by a professional historian, but a mish-mash of various sources, interviews, etc. Altogether, there were too many direct lines of conversation with dramatization added by the author which is not something you find in serious books. I'm not saying there aren't any useful information there, but as a whole, I doubt the author builds the background big picture well enough to provide a satisfying read and present lessons to be learned.

big

To give an example, I've bought and read 'Dirty Wars' by Jeremy Scahill. If I check Amazon reviews, it also rates pretty good. The book provides some interesting views on US direct and indirect involvement in Somalia and Yemen, but as a whole it's way too long for what it gives as it repeats itself many times. Instead of these 500 pages, it could have been 150 at most and it would lose none of its useful parts. It's like the author put every single bit he had at his hands into the book and then even repeated some over and over to get the targeted number of pages set by the publisher. Was it a complete waste of time? No, but neither it is a good book although it felt being written in a more professional way than the impression I got on the Twilight War.


Edited by Dudikoff

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A fully refit with the 80s SLEP programm Forrestal class would be cool. The CV60 USS Saratoga for example with some scorts could be fine, implemented into a piece of Sea- Land map.

Any chance to develop the mid Mediterranean ?

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Well, I really wanted to buy it as I'm interested in the matter, but after reading several random pages to get the tone of the writing, it didn't feel like a well structured and concisely written book by a professional historian, but a mish-mash of various sources, interviews, etc. Altogether, there were too many direct lines of conversation with dramatization added by the author which is not something you find in serious books. I'm not saying there aren't any useful information there, but as a whole, I doubt the author builds the background big picture well enough to provide a satisfying read and present lessons to be learned.

 

Interesting. It seems like you look for a very specific style of writing and The Twilight War simply didn't provide it. A big part of the problem may be the whole "several random pages" thing. You can't always get a good feel for how a book is by merely reading a few random pages. Some books, you do have to actually read it, as it is trying to tell a story instead of just delivering cold facts like an encyclopedia. I'm not trying to sell you the book or anything, but that hardly qualifies as a legitimate measure for determining how well-structured and concisely written a book is. Besides, a good history book will always have a lot of information at hand; concise writing is for fiction novels.

 

You may want to give Inside the Danger Zone a shot, however. Its a short, concise book that focuses on a very specific timeframe and it contains overall less information to absorb at once. It may be more to your liking.


Edited by CheckGear
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Interesting. It seems like you look for a very specific style of writing and The Twilight War simply didn't provide it. A big part of the problem may be the whole "several random pages" thing. You can't always get a good feel for how a book is by merely reading a few random pages. Some books, you do have to actually read it, as it is trying to tell a story instead of just delivering cold facts like an encyclopedia.

 

Reading a few random pages made me suspicious about the book - they I went online and searched for reviews to confirm my suspicions and I did find such reviews, thus I decided not to buy it. Furthermore, I don't like short books. E.g. the book on A-10's in Gulf War was way to short for my liking to be a highly recommended read. If I wanted short books, I wouldn't consider buying Twilight War being a rather thick book with small text which means it could potentially offer an abundance of information on the topic I'm interested in. But, when I say concise, I mean, don't just stick every single piece of information and dialogue you have and put all the weight on the reader to sort out through that mess. Especially when that dialogue is second hand information and you present it in a way like you've been there. That's bordering on fiction and not a serious history book writing.

 

But, thanks for going out of your way to present me like some sort of shallow reader with a short attention span who needs to be spoon-fed with information.


Edited by Dudikoff

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DISCLAIMER: My posts are still absolutely useless. Just finding excuses not to learn the F-14 (HB's Swansong?).

 

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Reading a few random pages made me suspicious about the book - they I went online and searched for reviews to confirm my suspicions and I did find such reviews, thus I decided not to buy it. Furthermore, I don't like short books. E.g. the book on A-10's in Gulf War was way to short for my liking to be a highly recommended read. If I wanted short books, I wouldn't consider buying Twilight War being a rather thick book with small text which means it could potentially offer an abundance of information on the topic I'm interested in. But, when I say concise, I mean, don't just stick every single piece of information and dialogue you have and put all the weight on the reader to sort out through that mess. Especially when that dialogue is second hand information and you present it in a way like you've been there. That's bordering on fiction and not a serious history book writing.

 

But, thanks for going out of your way to present me like some sort of shallow reader with a short attention span who needs to be spoon-fed with information.

 

I started reading "The Twilight Wars" and it is in a more informal/conversational style than many works of nonfiction. It reads a bit like a novel and this may give a certain impression - a bit light for some.

 

That said, it appears to be well-referenced and not loaded with here-say. There is a delicate balance at play between accessibility and reliability of references. I understand this as I've authored a couple of textbook chapters in my field. If you restrict the information to only that which is definitely proven by class 1 evidence and multiple trials, the "chapter" ends up looking more like a pamphlet. So there is always a tension between lesser data, personal experience, accepted concepts within the community, and contemporary theories that may not be well-supported (theories that are difficult to test). Also, interestingly, a lot of "well-referenced" works that have a ton of citations may not actually have good references. I've seen many works in my field where someone uses a specific study or paper to support their view, even if the study's conclusions are contrary to the referencing authors position. A lot of politics in all of this.

 

For me, I like the style of this book and it reads well. Richard B. Franks "Guadalcanal" strikes a better balance in terms of references and anecdotal info, but I know many history buffs who find it to be so dense that they don't even get started (took me a while to get into and finish it as well). "The Twilight War" is definitely more accessible, but it's a bit like meeting someone for the first time in jeans/t-shirt vs a suit - your more inclined to question their credentials and abilities.

 

If you don't like what you read, don't feel compelled to read it. For me, this is all about entertainment and there is no sense trying get through a book just because others like it.

 

I think that Checkgear is urging you not to judge it negatively after reading a few pages and seeing that there are very few formal reviews (National Public Radio had a review and they liked the book).

 

There are other books (probably) that have every statement supported by a published reference (the reliability of which can still be questioned :)). It's all about what you are looking for in your books.

 

Finally, I don't think that anyone is trying to portray your tastes in a negative light. I'm sorry if you got that impression.

 

-Nick

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You said:

 

But, thanks for going out of your way to present me like some sort of shallow reader with a short attention span who needs to be spoon-fed with information.

 

But you did say:

 

But, when I say concise, I mean, don't just stick every single piece of information and dialogue you have and put all the weight on the reader to sort out through that mess.

 

:suspect:

 

Especially when that dialogue is second hand information and you present it in a way like you've been there. That's bordering on fiction and not a serious history book writing.

 

BlackLions213 said it, but I'll echo it here. The author never gives the impression that he was there. He definitely takes a bit more of a "personal" approach, which may be the result of him having close connections to many of the key players in the story. But that doesn't make it "bordering on fiction." Also, you're going to find that a significant percentage of information used by even the most serious of historians is second-hand. I understand your beef is with the way he presents it, but, like I said, he doesn't act like he was there. Extensive usage of second-hand information shouldn't ever be a cause for concern.

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I started reading "The Twilight Wars" and it is in a more informal/conversational style than many works of nonfiction. It reads a bit like a novel and this may give a certain impression - a bit light for some.

 

I think the informal/conversation style works well with the general (American) public. I love my fellow Americans to death, but they seem to stop listening if ever they feel as though they're being talked down to. This is certainly a high-level book that transcends the partisan ideological blabbering that defines U.S. politics, but, with willpower, the average Joe can read this book and learn something from it.

 

That said, it appears to be well-referenced and not loaded with here-say. There is a delicate balance at play between accessibility and reliability of references. I understand this as I've authored a couple of textbook chapters in my field. If you restrict the information to only that which is definitely proven by class 1 evidence and multiple trials, the "chapter" ends up looking more like a pamphlet. So there is always a tension between lesser data, personal experience, accepted concepts within the community, and contemporary theories that may not be well-supported (theories that are difficult to test). Also, interestingly, a lot of "well-referenced" works that have a ton of citations may not actually have good references. I've seen many works in my field where someone uses a specific study or paper to support their view, even if the study's conclusions are contrary to the referencing authors position. A lot of politics in all of this.

 

Something to keep in mind is that history is not necessarily a scientific study. Key component to scientific study, which is determining consistency, only applies when it comes to determining whether a certain historical even occurred. There isn't much debate over whether or not a lot of the events discussed in the book occurred. The book is well-referenced, as you say and relies extensively on documents in addition to hundreds of interviews.

 

In Lee Wise's Inside the Danger Zone, the author mentions some alternative theories as to why the USS Stark suffered a missile attack, namely the idea the attack was deliberate. He presents sources for these theories, but I have never seen these theories discussed anywhere else. Even when sources are available and a legitimate argument can be made, historians have to be careful about presenting anything and everything just because there happens to be evidence. This is where you start to creep towards fiction as opposed to history.

 

I think that Checkgear is urging you not to judge it negatively after reading a few pages and seeing that there are very few formal reviews (National Public Radio had a review and they liked the book).

 

There are other books (probably) that have every statement supported by a published reference (the reliability of which can still be questioned :)). It's all about what you are looking for in your books.

 

Finally, I don't think that anyone is trying to portray your tastes in a negative light. I'm sorry if you got that impression.

 

I'm a skeptic by nature and I think we all ought to encourage others to not only be skeptical of others, but of ourselves as well. That doesn't mean doubt what you believe; that means be ready and willing to fully defend your position. I also think that, at the end of the day, it is up entirely to the reader to learn something from what they read. This discussion alone shows that two people can derive two completely different conclusions from the same material. Sort of.

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Something to keep in mind is that history is not necessarily a scientific study. Key component to scientific study, which is determining consistency, only applies when it comes to determining whether a certain historical even occurred. There isn't much debate over whether or not a lot of the events discussed in the book occurred. The book is well-referenced, as you say and relies extensively on documents in addition to hundreds of interviews.

 

A scientific study is a study of history, ideally with controlled interventions that predictably change the outcome. But most studies are not lab studies, they occur in the real world with limited control of variables (usually changing one or two big variables that the subjects may undermine unintentionally).

 

The retrospective Odom's criteria study formed the foundation of clinical knowledge till the mid-1990s - these are definitely studies of history and I see the direct parallels every time I read a book like those we are discussing. Fortunately, these retrospectives are no considered "low quality data", but no data is perfect.

 

Lastly, many "scientific" studies depend on human recollection of symptoms and functional limitations. Most important clinical topics are subjective and cannot be directly measured (except my standardized outcome measures - which are special questionnaires), but still depend on human recall and are effectively subjective. Few things are as hard to depend on as human memory, it has proven to be more like letters scribed in wind-swept sand than printed pages - reinterpreted every time and constantly changing. Even worst, most memories are complex reconstructions of limited information, hence how one fills in the gaps is based on assumptions and may not reflect reality. It's amusing to see the difference in how 4 or 5 people may recall the same events, there can be big differences, even of things that seem well-beyond interpretation.

 

So many seemingly disparate fields and notions prove to highly comparable...it's fun to see it.

 

-Nick

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A scientific study is a study of history, ideally with controlled interventions that predictably change the outcome. But most studies are not lab studies, they occur in the real world with limited control of variables (usually changing one or two big variables that the subjects may undermine unintentionally).

 

The retrospective Odom's criteria study formed the foundation of clinical knowledge till the mid-1990s - these are definitely studies of history and I see the direct parallels every time I read a book like those we are discussing. Fortunately, these retrospectives are no considered "low quality data", but no data is perfect.

 

Lastly, many "scientific" studies depend on human recollection of symptoms and functional limitations. Most important clinical topics are subjective and cannot be directly measured (except my standardized outcome measures - which are special questionnaires), but still depend on human recall and are effectively subjective. Few things are as hard to depend on as human memory, it has proven to be more like letters scribed in wind-swept sand than printed pages - reinterpreted every time and constantly changing. Even worst, most memories are complex reconstructions of limited information, hence how one fills in the gaps is based on assumptions and may not reflect reality. It's amusing to see the difference in how 4 or 5 people may recall the same events, there can be big differences, even of things that seem well-beyond interpretation.

 

So many seemingly disparate fields and notions prove to highly comparable...it's fun to see it.

 

-Nick

 

Interesting analysis.

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Interesting analysis.

 

Thank you. :)

 

I'll say it succinctly - Science is a process of systematic observation. The intention is to eliminate (or at least control) bias. Allowing the correct attributions to be made, relationships identified, and for predictable outcomes to be achieved. A study of history would adhere to the same principles, so it would seem. ;)

 

Wow...we drifted off topic. So, very oceany. Very cold. Hopefully we'll see a few renders of this as well. Would love to know more about it.

 

-Nick


Edited by BlackLion213
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Thank you. :)

 

 

Wow...we drifted off topic. So, very oceany. Very cold. Hopefully we'll see a few renders of this as well. Would love to know more about it.

 

-Nick

 

The question to ask is what location would make for a good fictional mid 1970s to 1980s theater? Historically it would have been the Med, but given the "very cold" this seems unlikely. The Faulklands? Select Warsaw pact nations come to the aid of Argentina against the British. The US follows in support of it's ally.

 

The Baltic Sea (someone else mentioned this too) post Soviet, Latvia, Estonia, or Lithuania start in-fighting and NATO sends in peace keeping forces including a carrier group. This also works for a possible Saab.

Toten

 

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A study of history would adhere to the same principles, so it would seem. ;)

 

Not to prolong the discussion, but sort of. You can't experiment with history. Unless your intent is to show why something happened or to establish trends that seem to occur with certain regularity, whatever happened, happened. But then again, that is the goal of studying history, I suppose - to predict the future.

 

Wow...we drifted off topic. So, very oceany. Very cold. Hopefully we'll see a few renders of this as well. Would love to know more about it.

 

I certainly hope its not the same old North Atlantic/GIUK Gap/North Cape area of the world...

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The question to ask is what location would make for a good fictional mid 1970s to 1980s theater? Historically it would have been the Med, but given the "very cold" this seems unlikely. The Faulklands? Select Warsaw pact nations come to the aid of Argentina against the British. The US follows in support of it's ally.

 

That's why I have this dreaded feeling it will indeed be the North Atlantic/GIUK Gap/North Cape area. As if we haven't been exposed to this theater of operations enough already. But I hold out hope it will be the North Pacific, which is also "very cold and oceany."

 

The Falklands? Wouldn't bet on it. The idea of Warsaw Pact nations coming to the aid of Argentina has little historical basis, plus it would be physically impossible. I know DCS isn't known for historical accuracy, but even that is much of a stretch for DCS.


Edited by CheckGear
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Not to prolong the discussion, but sort of. You can't experiment with history. Unless your intent is to show why something happened or to establish trends that seem to occur with certain regularity, whatever happened, happened. But then again, that is the goal of studying history, I suppose - to predict the future.

 

Yes, I agree. My original point was not to compare these books to a prospective randomized trial, but to textbook chapters on a given subject - simply that my experience is that a preponderance of references does not necessarily equate to an abundance of good quality information - both in clinical science and history. A work can appear well-referenced and well-supported, but if the quality of evidence is poor (or the references do not actually support the authors perspective - which I have seen many times) then there is little actual information contained.

 

In short, I was simply saying not to judge a book by it's cover (or general appearance or bibliography).

 

We kinda of fell down the rabbit hole with that reference - which was not my intention.

 

I also would prefer the Northern Pacific, but I live on the West Coast - so I'm biased. :thumbup:

 

-Nick

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You said:

Quote:

But, thanks for going out of your way to present me like some sort of shallow reader with a short attention span who needs to be spoon-fed with information.

 

But you did say:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dudikoff View Post

But, when I say concise, I mean, don't just stick every single piece of information and dialogue you have and put all the weight on the reader to sort out through that mess.

 

I don't see how those two statements are in contradiction. I said the book seemed poorly written. Writing a book doesn't mean copy/pasting all the material you have.

 

As for the author being there style of writing, I obviously don't have the book so I'll use some examples from the Amazon:

 

'The main thrust of the book is on-the-spot stories, conversations and character sketches. Typical are such snippets as "At two am, Dutch Heyser heard the brusque voice of his boss. 'Dutch, we lost. You're going to Iran.' "Gerraghty was in his second-floor office a short distance away... He rushed downstairs and went around behind his headquarters... He looked in the direction of his support battalion headquarters... He immediately got on the phone and called the Sixth Fleet commander..." "The officers listened sceptically but attentively, occasionally asking questions."'

 

If you don't like what you read, don't feel compelled to read it. For me, this is all about entertainment and there is no sense trying get through a book just because others like it.

There are other books (probably) that have every statement supported by a published reference (the reliability of which can still be questioned ). It's all about what you are looking for in your books.

Finally, I don't think that anyone is trying to portray your tastes in a negative light. I'm sorry if you got that impression.

 

There seems to have been some misunderstanding as I never felt compelled to read it, I was just trying to offer a word of warning against a glowing recommendation. I also never asked about everything having published references, but was questioning the book's value given the populist style of writing.

 

As for not portraying someone in a negative light, I guess his answer suggests otherwise.


Edited by Dudikoff

i386DX40@42 MHz w/i387 CP, 4 MB RAM (8*512 kB), Trident 8900C 1 MB w/16-bit RAMDAC ISA, Quantum 340 MB UDMA33, SB 16, DOS 6.22 w/QEMM + Win3.11CE, Quickshot 1btn 2axis, Numpad as hat. 2 FPH on a good day, 1 FPH avg.

 

DISCLAIMER: My posts are still absolutely useless. Just finding excuses not to learn the F-14 (HB's Swansong?).

 

Annoyed by my posts? Please consider donating. Once the target sum is reached, I'll be off to somewhere nice I promise not to post from. I'd buy that for a dollar!

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That's why I have this dreaded feeling it will indeed be the North Atlantic/GIUK Gap/North Cape area. As if we haven't been exposed to this theater of operations enough already. But I hold out hope it will be the North Pacific, which is also "very cold and oceany."

 

The Falklands? Wouldn't bet on it. The idea of Warsaw Pact nations coming to the aid of Argentina has little historical basis, plus it would be physically impossible. I know DCS isn't known for historical accuracy, but even that is much of a stretch for DCS.

 

The only problem is with the GIUK gap is size. I would be surprised if we went up in area that much from the relatively small map we currently have.

 

I do agree with your points on the Falklands, with my only counterpoint being that many proxy wars had no real strategic advantage for either side. Mostly I was just trying to make sure we didn't leave out somewhere cold and oceany in our discussion.

Toten

 

Tiger-Spit-Viggen-Fishbed-Sabre-Dora-Kurfurst-Mustang-Huey-Warthog-Hip-Black Shark Driver (Not necessarily in that order)

 

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There seems to have been some misunderstanding as I never felt compelled to read it, I was just trying to offer a word of warning against a glowing recommendation. I also never asked about everything having published references, but was questioning the book given the populist style of writing.

 

As for not portraying someone in a negative light, I guess his answer suggests otherwise.

 

I appreciate that, it's good to have a counterpoint to these arguments and the style is different than most books of it's type - I'm too new to reading it judge at this point.

 

Thank you for weighing in, I hear what you are saying.

 

-Nick

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There seems to have been some misunderstanding as I never felt compelled to read it, I was just trying to offer a word of warning against a glowing recommendation. I also never asked about everything having published references, but was questioning the book's value given the populist style of writing.

 

As for not portraying someone in a negative light, I guess his answer suggests otherwise.

 

Like I said, I'm merely trying to get folks to defend their argument when they make one. Its obviously of no consequence to anyone else if you don't read the book, but when someone makes bold claims, I want to hear exactly why they feel that way. Otherwise, there isn't much use in making bold claims.

 

You made your point clear - you hold history books to a high standard and the "populist-style writing" doesn't make the cut. No problem, now we all know where you're coming from.

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Yes, I agree. My original point was not to compare these books to a prospective randomized trial, but to textbook chapters on a given subject - simply that my experience is that a preponderance of references does not necessarily equate to an abundance of good quality information - both in clinical science and history. A work can appear well-referenced and well-supported, but if the quality of evidence is poor (or the references do not actually support the authors perspective - which I have seen many times) then there is little actual information contained.

 

In short, I was simply saying not to judge a book by it's cover (or general appearance or bibliography).

 

We kinda of fell down the rabbit hole with that reference - which was not my intention.

 

I also would prefer the Northern Pacific, but I live on the West Coast - so I'm biased. :thumbup:

 

-Nick

 

We can fall down the rabbit hole all we want. We'll always get back out. :beer:

 

I'm biased also, since I live in CA as well! Plus the North Pacific was just as important as the North Atlantic was.

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