Books about Great Britain

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Great Britain

Regimental Histories
Anglo-Scottish Wars
Afghan Wars
African Wars
Jacobite Wars

Books - Great Britain

Marlborough's Other Army - The British Army and the Campaigns of the First Peninsula War, 1702-1712, Nicholas Dorrell. A history of the British intervention in Spain and Portugal during the War of the Spanish Succession, sometimes known as the First Peninsular War. Focuses mainly on recreating the armies involved in the campaigns, a tricky job in a period that saw units change their name whenever they changed commander. A useful study of this difficult and somewhat neglected campaign, which ended with the failure of the Allied attempt to put a Hapsburg on the Spanish throne [read full review]
Naval Resistance to Britain's Growing Power in India 1660-1800 - The Saffron Banner and the Tiger of Mysore, Philip MacDougall. Looks at the clashes between British naval power and the fleets of the Marathas and Mysore, in the period when the East Indies Company went from being a trading company to a major political power in India. The author really knows his material, and as a result we get a very detailed picture of various Indian fleets, their ships, organisation and leadership and the reasons they failed to overcome the British. [read full review]
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The Last Ironsides - The English Expedition to Portugal, 1662-1668, Jonathon Riley. Looks at the experiences of a small British force that was sent to help the Portuguese in their war of independence from Spain and that went on to play an important role in the final stage of the war, taking part in several of the rare battles and the more numerous sieges. A fascinating account of an almost forgotten episode in English military history. [read full review]
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The battle of Prestonpans 1745, 2nd Edition, Martin Margulies. An excellent history of the first part of the '45, covering the build-up to the Jacobite uprising, the brief campaign in the north of Scotland, the fall of Edinburgh and the battle itself. Detailed use of the primary sources allows us to trace who knew what when and why they acted as they did, and explains Cope's march north and his actions around Edinburgh before the battle. [read full review]
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The Twilight of the East India Company - The Evolution of Anglo-Asian Commerce and Politics 1790-1860, Anthony Webster . A look at the declining years of the East India Company, where it lost first its monopoly of the Indian trade and then the China trade and its commercial activities to become almost a branch of the British Government in India. Also looks at the Company's rivals and how well they performed in India. [read full review]
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Special Forces Pilot - A Flying Memoir of the Falklands War, Richard Hutchings. . Follows the experiences of a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War, as he got used to new night vision equipment, supported early Special Forces operations on the island and then took part in a rather farcical operation on the mainland of South America. Gives a feel for an operation conducted on a very narrow margin. [read full review]
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Beyond the Reach of Empire, Colonel Mike Snook. A very impressive examination of Wolseley's attempt to save Gordon, besieged at Khartoum, one of the most famous British military failures of the Victorian era. Snook pulls no punches in his analysis of the reasons for this failure, but also provides more than enough detail for the reader to make their own mind up about his conclusions. [read full review]
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Blood Stained Fields - The Battlefields of East Lothian, Arran Paul Johnston. Looks at a thousand years of battles to be fought in East Lothian, from the clashes between Briton and Angle to the Jacobite revolts, covering the wars of Independence, the Tutor 'rough wooing' and the battles of the Civil War. Provides good accounts of the battles, supported by explanations of the wide wider campaigns, and with equal space given to Scottish defeats and victories. [read full review]
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The Emergence of British Power in India 1600-1784 - A Grand Strategic Interpretation, G.J. Bryant. Focuses on the last forty years in which the British East India Company controlled its own diplomatic activity in India - the period in which the company's holdings expanded from a series of small trading enclaves into a sizable land empire. A splendid history of this pivotal period for the British in India, combining a good account of events with a detailed study of the motives that drove the Company and its servants. [read full review]
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British Army Uniforms from 1751 to 1783, Carl Franklin. A splendid visual guide to the uniforms of the British army during the period of the Seven Years' War and the American War of Independence, with a full page of colour illustrations for each infantry, cavalry and guard regiment. A super guide for the modeller or painter, making it effortless to visualise each of the hundreds of units covered. [read full review]
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The British Field Marshals 1736-1997: A Biographical Dictionary, T A Heathcote. A biographical dictionary looking at the first 138 British Field Marshals, a mixed group containing military leaders of varying quality and members of the British and foreign royal families. A useful reference work that gives us an idea of just how varied a group of people the British Field Marshals actually were. [read full review]
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Wingate Pasha, R J M Pugh. A biography of an important figure in the British Empire, the ruler of the Sudan for twenty years. Wingate was also involved in the defeat of the Dervishes and played a major part in the success of the Arab Revolt of the First World War, and is an interesting figure. [read full review]
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The WAAF at War, John Frayn Turner. First-hand accounts of the achievements of the WAAFs, organised by topic and supported by a good connecting text. The range of duties carried out by WAAFs is very impressive and ranges from the famous plotting rooms of the Battle of Britain to ferry pilots and even SOE agents. [read full review]
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Growing Remembrance: The Story of the National Memorial Arboretum, David Childs. Written by the person who had the original idea and whose efforts turned it into reality this is a fascinating insight into the process of turning a good idea into a functioning and sustainable institution. Interesting in its own right, this will also be an invaluable read for anyone planning to visit the site. [read full review]
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Regimental Histories

Unicorns - The History of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry 1794-1899, Jonathan Hunt. An unusual regimental history that examines the early history of the Sherwood Rangers, when they were a volunteer Yeomanry regiment that was only liable for service within the UK, and that hardly ever left Nottinghamshire. Instead it was used as an early police force, countering the Luddites, Chartists, supporters of reform and other rioters, as well as acting as a hub of social life. This is an useful examination of the early existence of a regiment that went on to serve in the wars of the twentieth century. [read full review]
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Light Dragoons: The Making of a Regiment, Allan Mallinson. A history of the four cavalry regiments that were eventually merged to form the current Light Dragoons regiment, following the four regiments from their formation in the Eighteenth century through almost all of Britain's wars since then, with chapters added to this edition to fill the gap between 1993 and 2006. [read full review]
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The Light Dragoons, A Regimental History, Eric Hunt. A history of the 13th, 15th, 18th and 19th Regiments of Light Dragoons and the modern Light Dragoons, the product of two sets of mergers between the earlier regiments. This history follows all four regiments from the early eighteenth century to the present day, tracing their involvement in the major and minor conflicts of the last three hundred years. [read full review]
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Scottish Lion on Patrol: 15th Scottish Reconnaissance Regiment, W. Kemsley, M.R. Riesco and T. Chamberlain. Originally written in 1950 and updated in 2010 this book tells the tale of a wartime reconnaissance regiment from its formation, through the D-Day landings and on to the end of the war. [read full review]
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When shall their Glory Fade? The Stories of the Thirty-Eight Battle Honours of the Army Commandos, James Dunning. Examines those Commando operations that were considered significant enough to be recognised as a battle honour, including some large scale single actions (St. Nazaire or Dieppe) and some longer campaigns and their individual actions (Italy, North Africa, Burma). Written by a former Army Commando who took part in some of the earlier raids before becoming an instructor. [read full review]
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King's African Rifles - A History, Malcolm Page. A study of the King's African Rifles, one of the most important of the local forces raised by the British in Africa. Looks at their experience against the 'Mad Mullah', their contribution in East Africa in the First World War, and against the Italians, Vichy French and Japanese during the Second World War, before moving on to the end of Empire and the last imperial wars [read full review]
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The 16th Durham Light Infantry in Italy, 1943-1945, Peter Hart. Using interviews conducted from the mid 1980s, this book tells the story of the 16th Durham Light Infantry's time in Italy as seen by the men of the unit. The result is a very valuable ground level view of the world of the fighting men, supported by a good overall account of the campaign. [read full review]
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Wandsworth & Battersea Battalions in the Great War, Paul McCue. Tells the story of two battalions raised in neighbouring parts of London as part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. An interesting approach, this allows the reader to compare the experiences of two similar battalions, one of which was captured in large numbers in the German advance of 1918. [read full review]
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The Holy Boys: A History of the Royal Norfolk Regiment and The Royal East Anglian Regiment, 1685-2010, Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. A study of the long history of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, from its formation in the seventeenth century, through its time as the 9th foot, the Norfolk regiment and its current incarnation as part of the Anglian Regiment. The largest sections look at the massively expanded regiment of the two World Wars, when enough battalions were formed to fill a small division. [read full review]
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The Kensington Battalion, G. I. S. Inglis. A history of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (the Kensington Battalion), one of the many service battalions raised as part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. This is one of the best 'unit' histories that I've read, with a good balance between the close-up details and the wider picture.The Kensington Battalion, G. I. S. Inglis. A history of the 22nd Royal Fusiliers (the Kensington Battalion), one of the many service battalions raised as part of Kitchener's 'New Army'. This is one of the best 'unit' histories that I've read, with a good balance between the close-up details and the wider picture. [read full review]
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Anglo-Scottish Wars

Border Reiver, 1513-1603, Keith Durham. An examination of the last century of warfare on the Anglo-Scottish border, which mainly involved the local families, or reivers, who took part in an endless series of border raids. Most were more criminal than military, but the same men were normally involved in the regular battles on the borders, and their activities turned the whole border region into a fortified area. [read full review]
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Afghan Wars

Retreat and Retribution in Afghanistan 1842 - Two Journals of the First Afghan War, Margaret Kekewich. An account of the First Afghan War, based on two diaries produced during the war, one by Lady Florentia Sale, the wife of a British officer caught up in the disaster at Kabul, the second by the Reverend Isaac Allen, a clergyman who accompanied the army of retribution that rescued the prisoners taken during the retreat from Kabul. [read full review]
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African Wars

Harry Smith's Last Throw: The Eighth Frontier War, 1850-53, Keith Smith. Based around a detailed history of the fighting in the Eighth Frontier War (on the frontier of the Cape Colony, South Africa), supported by a good background history of the cape and the previous frontier wars. Some chapters come from an earlier text by Neville Mapham, mainly focusing on detailed accounts of particular campaigns. [read full review]
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Jacobite Wars

Culloden, 1746 (2nd Edition), Stuart Reid. A splendid account of the battle of Culloden and the campaigns before and after the battle. Also includes a good survey of the modern battlefield, taking into account recent improvements made by the National Trust for Scotland. Very readable, with a lightness of touch that is unusual on this still controversial topic. [read full review]
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