My wife and I have a tradition during the holidays of treating ourselves to a really nice Christmas gift. For me that has always been an especially pricey book purchase, the sort of thing I wouldn't feel comfortable getting under most circumstances. This year it was starting to look as though the fourteen volumes of Carr's "History of Soviet Russia" was going to be my big gift, and I even contacted a seller who had a set for sale for a relatively reasonable price.
Then while scouting a book to read about the battle of Kursk I came across Christopher A. Lawrence's book. The thing practically screams "indulgence" to me: it's a nearly 1700-page tome about the single largest land battle in human history. It would be an ideal holiday gift too, were it not for the fact that I already had one in mind.
Hence my dilemma: do I get Carr's series or Lawrence's book? Normally I would resolve it by checking out a copy of Lawrence's book through ILL to see if it is something I want to own, but there are almost no U.S. libraries in the system with copies, and those that do don't seem the lending type. So I'm stuck making a decision sight unseen, which are the sort of book-buying decisions I most hate to make.