Military

War of the White Death: Finland Against The Soviet Union 1939-40, Bair Irincheev. A detailed military history of the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union, based on an impressive knowledge of both side's archives. Focuses almost entirely on the fighting on land, with some very detailed accounts of individual battles. [read full review]
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History Encyclopedia on the Web

2017 onwards - 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - April-December 2012 - November 2011-March 2012 - July-October 2011 - January-June 2011 - March-December 2010 - January-April 2010 - September-December 2009 - January-August 2009- 2008 - 2007

9 June 2011

Waterloo: Hanoverian Correspondence One, John Franklin. The first of two volumes of primary sources relating to the Hanoverian contingent in the Allied army at Waterloo. This volume focuses on handwritten sources, many contained in the archives at Hanover. A very useful research tool for anyone studying the battle of Waterloo. [read full review]
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The Crimean War at Sea, Peter Duckers. Best known for the campaign in the Crimea and the long siege of Sebastopol, the Crimean War also involved some extensive (if somewhat one-sided) naval warfare, with British and French warships attacking the Russian Empire all around its coast, from the White Sea in the far north to the distance Pacific coast. All of these far flung activities feature in this book. [read full review]
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8 June 2011

The Alexander Memoirs, 1940-1945, Field Marshal Earl Alexander of Tunis. The memoir's of Britain's most experienced commander of the Second World War, a man who led troops at Dunkirk, in North Africa, Burma, Sicily and Italy. 'Alex' is almost too modest, focusing much more on his subordinate's achievements than on his own, but his memoirs are still an invaluable source for some of the most important campaigns of the war. [read full review]
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Six of Monty's Men, Adrian Steward. Six short biographies of six of Montgomery's key subordinates in North Africa, Italy and Normandy (Harding, Leese, de Guingand, Horrocks, Richardson and Roberts), which between them tell the story of all three campaigns, as well as casting an interesting light on Montgomery's abilities and character.  [read full review]
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Fighting Brigadier: The Life of Brigadier James Hill DSO MC, Peter Harcerode. Partly a biography of Hill (an important figure in the creation of the Parachute Regiment) and partly a history of the units he commanded in North Africa, Normandy, during the Battle of the Bulge, in the crossing of the Rhine and finally in the advance to the Baltic. [read full review]
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Armoured Guardsmen:  A War Diary, June 1944-April 1945, Robert Boscawen. The diary of a tank commander and squadron commander, written during the campaign in north-western Europe in 1944-1945, with later comments also provided by the same author. A compelling read that mixes moments of great humour with accounts of some very fierce combat, and the casualties that went with it. [read full review]
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6 June 2011

2 Dambusters: Operation Chastise 1943, Douglas C. Dildy. A well illustrated and well organised account of the famous Dambusters raid, looking at the development of the bouncing bomb, the planning for the raid, the raid itself and its aftermath. A good account of one of the best known bombing raids of the Second World War, supported by some clear and well designed maps. [read full review]
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German Soldiers in the Great War, Letters and Eyewitness Accounts, ed. Bernd Ulrich and Benjamin Ziemann. A study of the changing attitude of German soldiers during the Great War using their own letters home from the front, along with other contemporary documents, and looking at the role of disobedience in the eventual defeat of the German army. [read full review]
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Donald Dean VC, the Memoirs of a Volunteer and Territorial from Two World Wars, ed. Terry Crowdy. The memoirs of a very impressive man, a Victoria Cross winning soldier during the First World War and a senior commander with the Pioneers during the Second World War. The account of the second part of his career is of particular interest, partly because it covers part of the army that is rarely mentioned but that played a crucial part in the Allied victory and partly because of Dean's own attitude to the multi-racial and multi-cultural units under his command. [read full review]
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Wellington at Waterloo, Jac Weller. Takes a different approach to the Battle of Waterloo, looking from the fighting from Wellington's point of view, seeing how he responded to the information at his disposal rather than taking the more usual overview approach. This approach gives us a clearer picture of Wellington's handling of the battle, and helps us see why he made the decisions he did. [read full review]
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The Mighty Eighth at War, Martin W. Bowman. Looks at the evolving battle between the Luftwaffe and the Eighth Air Force, as seen by the US airmen themselves. The book is dominated by first-hand accounts of the fighting, which make up at least half of the text. Bowman provides a framework that links these accounts, as well as some detailed footnotes expanding on the airmen's experiences.  [read full review]
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Mosquito Mayhem: de Havilland's Wooden Wonder in Action in WWII, Martin W. Bowman. A collection of eyewitness accounts, mainly from Mosquito crewmen, looking at the remarkable achievements of one of the best British aircraft of the Second World War, all tied together by Bowman's explanatory text. Gives a good idea of the wide variety of missions undertaken by the Mosquito and the atmosphere in the squadrons. [read full review]
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30 May 2011

The Fortifications of Verdun, 1874-1917, Clayton Donnell. A study of the fortifications of Verdun, from the first modern works after the Franco-Prussian War to the brutal siege of 1916 and on to the modern preservation of the battlefield. Has some interesting material on the way in which fortifications developed in response to the appearance of high explosive shells fired from rifled artillery as well as on the appearance of the forts during the First World War and the siege itself. [read full review]
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Roughshod through Dixie, Grierson's Raid 1863, Mark Lardas. One of the most effective cavalry raids of the American Civil War, Greirson led his small force from north to south across the Confederacy, attracting attention away from Grant's early moves around Vicksburg. This excellent entry in the Raid series traces Greirson's progress day by day, as well as examining the reasons behind his success and other's failures. [read full review]
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19 May 2011

Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Dagger, Leroy Thompson. This is an excellent book in the new Osprey Weapons series. Written by an experienced author it offers a fascinating insight into an iconic weapon. The book traces the development and origins of this, the most lethal of fighting knives, with detail on its design, evolution and the training of the soldiers who were to use it to take the fight to Hitler with cold steel. From a collector's point of view it covers all the variations of design and also looks at its use and similar weapons in use in non British units. Packed with contemporary photographs and illustrations showing the weapons but also the lethal techniques employed in their use, the book also examines the iconic impact of the weapon and its use as a symbol of Special Forces around the world [read full review]
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11 May 2011

Warspite, From Jutland to Cold War Warrior, Iain Ballantyne. A history of the super-dreadnaught HMS Warspite, a warship that played a major part in both World Wars, fighting at the battles of Jutland and of Cape Matapan. An interesting story, well supported by a large number of quotes from sailors who served on the Warspite. Also includes brief histories of the other seven warships to carry the same name. [read full review]
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2 The Field Campaigns of Alexander the Great, Stephen English. Completing a three volume study of the campaigns of Alexander the Great, this final book looks at his pitched battles and field campaigns. Combines a detailed examination of the sources with an attempt to produce coherent battle narratives. The discussion of the sources allows the reader to judge the success of the author's own narratives.   [read full review]
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6 May 2011

Spitfire Sisters (DVD). Looks at the contribution made by the women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary, the ferry pilots who made sure that the right aircraft were in the right place during the Second World War. The documentary is built around a series of fascinating interviews with remarkable people, whose love of flying and in particular the Spitfire comes across very clearly, even sixty years after the events they are discussing. [read full review]
Commuter City: How the Railways Shaped London, David Wragg. A history of the development in and impact of the railways on London, from the earliest short lines up to the current high speed routes. Includes chapters on the railway in both World Wars, focusing on troop transport in the First and with a wider range of topics during the Second World War, including bomb damage to the line, the use of the tube as a bomb shelter and the impact the war had on the overall condition of the railways. [read full review]
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Panzer Destroyer - Memoirs of a Red Army Tank Commander, Vasiliy Krysov. The memoirs of a Soviet tank and self-propelled gun commander who fought at Stalingrad, Kursk and during the long Soviet offensives that followed, ending the war in East Prussia, and who was lucky to survive for so long, losing his crew and his commanding officer, and being wounded four times. Provides a memorable picture of life in the Red Army during some of the titanic battles on the Eastern Front. [read full review]
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1 April 2011

General 'Boy' - The Life of Sir Frederick Browning, Richard Mead. Best known for his role in Operation Market Garden, 'Boy' Browning was far from a typical Guards officer, growing up with theatrical connections in a family linked to the Savoy Hotel, and involved in the importing of Hennessy brandy into the UK, industry, while Boy married Daphne du Maurier and worked for Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh after the war. [read full review]
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"Fallschirmjager": Elite German Paratroops in World War II , Jon Sutherland and Diane Canwell. This is a visually fascinating book consisting of the personal photo album of a German paratrooper sergeant in World War II. The photos roughly in chronological order follow the Elite German paratroopers through the Balkans and Greece and during the massive airborne assault on Crete. The book concludes with photos of the Russian front but these tend to be less interesting. A brief but interesting text places the photos in context and for most part explains what is shown in them. As the book is mostly photographs it makes for a quick read but the non professional and mostly non posed photographs give a poignant insight of the reality of war for these legendary elite infantry. [read full review]
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29 March 2011

Marlborough, Angus Konstam. A useful short biography of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, looking at his battlefield victories and the way in which they were won, as well as at his skills as a diplomat and the leader of a coalition army. Concludes with a look at the dramatic fluctuation in his historical reputation. [read full review]
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28 March 2011

Children of the Camps: Japan's Last Forgotten Victims, Mark Felton. A study of the fate of the children taken into internment camps by the Japanese after their rapid conquests in the Far East in 1941 and 1942. Covers a wide geographical area, from China through Malaya and Singapore to the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. [read full review]
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24 March 2011

10 Commando 1943-1945, Ian Dear. A fascinating study of 10 Commando, a unit made up of foreign volunteers who had escaped from Europe to Britain and that carried out cross-channel raids, took part in the fighting in Italy and Yugoslavia, the D-Day landings and the liberation of Europe and the battles of Arnhem and Walcheren. [read full review]
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The Tyrants of Syracuse: War in Ancient Sicily Volume I: 480-367 BC, Jeff Champion. A study of the military history of ancient Sicily, from the battle of Himera in 480 BC to the death of Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse, in 367 BC. This period saw the Greeks of Sicily fight the Carthaginians, the invading Athenians, the natives Sicilians, and perhaps most frequently each other [read full review]
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23 March 2011

The Shepherd Lord, George Peter Algar. A novelization of the true story of Henry, 10th Lord Clifford, who was spirited away after his father's death at the Battle of Towton, and raised in hiding by his former wet-nurse and her shepherd husband. The basic outline of the story is well documented, but the twenty year gap between Henry's disappearance and his return after Bosworth is a mystery, and this is when Algar sets most of his entertaining story. [read full review]
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Robert E. Lee, Ron Field. Biography of Lee focusing on his civil war career and in particular his role in the most famous set-piece battles in the Eastern Theatre, including his triumphs at Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg and his failures at Antietam and Gettysburg. Also includes a useful section on the way in which Lee's reputation has changed over the years. [read full review]
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17 March 2011

The Vought F4U Corsair, Rafe Morrissey and Joe Hegedus. A modeller's guide to the Vought Corsair, providing a detailed account of the aircraft's physical development, lavishly supported with photographs and detailed plans as well as a section of reviews of models at various scales. Aimed at someone who already knows how to model, and who wants to know the precise details of each variant of the aircraft. [read full review]
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Eastern Inferno, The Journals of a German Panzerjäger on the Eastern Front, 1941-1943, Hans Roth. The remarkable journals of Hans Roth, who fought with an anti-tank unit attached to a German infantry division on the Eastern Front from 1941 until his death some time in 1944. Roth took part in the initial invasion, the battle for Kiev and the shattering retreat from Stalingrad, before disappearing during the destruction of Army Group Centre in 1944. [read full review]
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16 March 2011

Stilicho, the Vandal who Saved Rome, Ian Hughes. A study of the life and times of Flavius Stilicho, a half-Roman half-Vandal soldier and politician who struggled to preserve the Western Roman Empire in the last decades before the sack of Rome in 410 AD. Hughes includes some very useful material on the wider Roman world and army, making this a very useful book. [read full review]
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'A Very Fine Commander': The Memoirs of General Sir Horatius Murray, ed. John Donovan. Interesting autobiography of a lesser known British general of the Second World War, tracing his career as he moved from staff posts at home to combat in North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Italy and Austria and his post-war career that saw him serve in Palestine and Korea and rise to high rank within NATO. [read full review]
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The Distant Drum - A Memoir of a Guardsman in the Great War, F. E. Noakes. A rare example both of an autobiography written by a private soldier serving in the Guards during the First World War, and of an autobiography that covers the events of 1917 and 1918, including the German offensives in the spring and the final victorious Allied campaigns. [read full review]
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17 February 2011

U-Boat Tactics in World War II, Gordon Williamson. A well focused look at the offensive and defensive tactics used by the U-boats, focusing mainly on the Battle of the Atlantic but also covering the smaller number of U-boats that operated further afield. Well illustrated and well organised, the book provides a good overview of U-boat tactics and how they evolved during the Second World War. [read full review]
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An Airline at War, Robert L. Willet. A history of the China National Aviation Corporation, a joint venture between Pan Am and the Chinese Government. The airline struggled against Japanese aggression, poor facilities, the Communists and the terrain, but managed to survive for 20 years, playing a massive part in the development of the 'Hump' - the air route across the Himalayas that was the only way to get supplies into China for much of the Second World War. [read full review]

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Orde Wingate, A Man of Genius, Trevor Royle. A well balanced biography of one of the most fascinating but exasperating British military leaders of the Second World War, tracing his career from his inter-war days in the Sudan, through the formation of the Special Night Squads in Palestine in 1938 to the wartime conquest of Abyssinia and the famous Chindit raids in Burma. [read full review]
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Monty and Patton: Two Paths to Victory, Michael Reynolds. Twin biographies of two of the best known Allied generals of the Second World War, looking at how their early careers moulded their later commands, the difficult relationship between the two men and their individual styles of command.  [read full review]
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Wavell - Soldier and Statesman, Victoria Schofield. A major biography of a heavy-weight figure, Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East in 1940-41, in the Far East during the early Japanese victories, and Viceroy of India at a crucial period in the run-up to independence. Schofield paints a picture of a hard working, capable but modest commander, who often did a good job with very limited resources, but who was never really appreciated by Churchill. [read full review]
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31 January 2011

Doctor Goebbels, Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel. A detailed biography of the infamous Nazi propagandist stripping away the layers of mythology he created around his own life when he was in power to produce a portrait of a capable, hard working monster, who held views as extreme as any of his Nazi colleagues, and played a major part in ensuring that they were put into action. [read full review]
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27 January 2011

End Game Burma, Michael Pearson. A detailed account of the British-led campaign that resulted in the reconquest of Burma, and that saw the 14th Army fighting a long way from its main bases in India and largely supplied by the air against an enemy fighting behind the protection of the Irrawaddy River. [read full review]
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The Real Falstaff: Sir John Fastolf and the Hundred Years War, Stephen Cooper. Both a biography and a history of the times of Sir John Fastolf, a senior English commander in the later part of the Hundred Years War, and a major landowner in England and France. Made possible by Fastolf's extensive archives and by the Paston letters, this book gives us a fascinating glimpse into Fastolf and his times, from the high-point of Lancastrian France to the loss of everything but Calais. [read full review]
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17 January 2011

Henry V, Marcus Cowper. A military biography of Henry V, looking at his main campaigns and battles, his opponents, his reputation at the time and since and the primary sources for the events of his reign. Packs a lot of information into its 64 pages, and with the normal high quality selection of pictures and maps. [read full review]
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Bernard Montgomery, Tim Moreman. Focusing on his time in North Africa and in northern Europe in 1944-45, Moreman's biography of Britain's best known general of the Second World War looks at his style of leadership and the reasons for his successes and his failures, and the famous character flaws that poisoned his relationship with his American allies. [read full review]
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Hitler's Paratrooper - The Life and Battles of Rudolf Witzig, Gilberto Villahermosa. A biography of the German paratrooper who planned the attack on Fort Eben Emael in May 1940, before taking part in the costly victory in Crete, and then fighting in North Africa, on the Eastern Front and in Holland as the elite paratroopers were increasingly used as standard infantry. [read full review]
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14 January 2011

Katana, The Sword of the Samurai, Stephen Turnbull. This book in the new Osprey series on weapons traces the development, use and impact of one of the world’s most famous weapons, the Katana or Samurai sword.  Written by the leading western expert on the samurai and prolific osprey author Stephen Turnbull, the book is fascinating, well written and illustrated to Osprey's usual standards with colour plates, drawings and photographs. The book's subject is detailed and brought to life with the descriptions of some of the famous sword masters of Japan as well as challenging the myth of the Katana as the Samurai’s primary weapon. Well worth adding to your collection. [read full review]
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10 January 2011

Carthaginian Warrior, 264-146 BC, Nic Fields. A look at the very varied armies that served Carthage in its long series of wars against Rome in the central and western Mediterranean, examining the origins of the soldiers, their equipment, organisation, pay and way of life. Fields has to cover a lot of ground, as by this period Carthage raised its armies from across the Mediterranean. [read full review]
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