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Models - Weapons - Seventeenth Century - Eighteenth Century - Nineteenth Century - Twentieth Century - War of the Spanish Succession - Dutch Republic - United States - Spanish Civil War

The Red Army 1922-41 – From Civil War to ‘Barbarossa’, Philip Jowett. Covers the period from the end of the bitter Russian Civil War to the disasterous start of Operation Barbarossa, a period of frequent instability but that saw the Red Army expand from its low point just after the Civil War to become an apparently powerful force by the end of the 1930s. First half looks at the size, structure and general status of the Red Army as well as the often quite sizable campaigns it was involved in during this period, as well as the purge that ripped the heart out of its officer corps in the 1930s, second half at the uniforms of the period (Read Full Review)
Raiders from New France – North American Forest Warfare Tactics, 17th-18th Centuries, René Chartrand. Looks at how the French in Canada learnt from the native Americans to develop a method of warfare that was effective in the forests of North America, allowing them to carry out a series of daring long range raids against the English colonies of New England, New York and Newfoundland, taking advantage of their dominance in the wilderness to attack British settlements all along their frontier and sometimes deep into the colonies, then defeat most attempts to pursue (Read Full Review)
How Armies Grow, ed. Matthias Strohn. Looks at how the major Western armies expanded to deal with the threat of major wars from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic to Second World Wars, looking at the contrast between the peace-time conscription based armies of Prussia/ German and France and the largely voluntary tradition in Britain and the United States. Shows how the Continental system was able to produce large armies quickly, but the Anglo-American system, if given time, could eventually match them (Read Full Review)
Recce - Small Team Missions Behind Enemy Lines, Koos Stadler. Looks at the career of a South African soldier who served with the Bushmen during the Border War and then with various Special Forces Units on a wider front, taking part in some ambitious, if not always successful, long range missions with the Small Teams part of the Special Forces. Fascinating material on the nature of South African Special Forces operations in the bush, as well as the author’s love of the wild and the way in which his political views changed over time as he was exposed more often to his opponents views. (Read Full Review)
The Hall of Mirrors – War and Warfare in the Twentieth Century, Jim Storr. A sweeping examination of twentieth century warfare written by a long serving officer in the British army, covering a vast array of topics. Gives the reader plenty to think about, although for me marred by a tendency towards sweeping claims that aren’t always accurate, poorly integrated ‘what ifs’, and a tendency to claim ‘historians don’t discuss this’ for some very familiar topics! Interesting for the vast array of topics covered, and for its thought provoking nature (Read Full Review)
Liberty or Death – Latin American Conflicts, 1900-70, Philip Jowett. Looks at the seemingly endless of wars, revolutions and coups that dominated Latin America during the first seven decades of the 20th century, ranging from relatively minor border conflicts to the two decades of chaos in Mexico in the 1910s and 1920s. In some ways a rather depressing read, with its array of largely pointless conflicts, brutal dictators and often hard to justify American interventions, but also very informative, filling a sizable gap in my knowledge (Read Full Review)
Cuzco 1536-37 – Battle for the Heart of the Inca Empire, Si Sheppard. Looks at the long siege of Cuzco that came close to ending the Spanish occupation of the Incan Empire (at least temporarily), but ended as a Spanish victory that ensured their control of the west coast of South America, and ended any chance that the Incans might have survived as an independent power. This account of the siege covers the entire conquest period, before moving onto the siege and the various relief efforts, with a focus on just how the tiny Spanish forces managed to defeat the vast Incan armies (Read Full Review)
Muscovy’s Soldiers - The Emergence of the Russian Army 1462-1689, Michael Fredholm von Essen. Looks at the three generations of Muscovite armies between their emergence from Mongol rule and the reforms of Peter the Great, starting with the Mongol inspired army, moving onto the political and military reforms of Ivan VI the Terrible, and on to the more westernised units formed by the early Romanovs. An interesting look at how Muscovy’s history and the very different nature of her borders shaped her army, forcing her to field troops that could cope against Tartar raids or in clashes with European armies (Read Full Review)
Remembrance Poems and Readings, David Roberts. An impressive collections of poems, essays and speeches on the nature of war and the nature of remembrance, with a mix of items that would be of use at remembrance events and some that perhaps wouldn’t work if read out by anyone other than the author are still useful as thought provoking items for the reader. Includes works from the middle ages up to the modern world, with as you might expect a great many inspired by the two World Wars, but also more modern conflicts and just general thoughts on the nature and cost of war(Read Full Review)
Foundations of an African Civilisation - Aksum and the Northern Horn 1000 BC-AD 1300, David W. Phillipson. Focuses on the Kingdom of Aksum, a major civilisation that thrived in the northern Horn of Africa, with material on the long period before it emerged and the dynasty that followed. A detailed academic study of the kingdom most famous for introducing Christianity to Ethiopia and the earlier rock cut churches, focusing largely on the archaeological evidence. Aksum emerges as a fascinating civilisation, capable of producing some impressive monuments and supporting a sizable population in the area around its capital (Read Full Review)
The Irish Brigade 1670-1745 – The Wild Geese in French Service, D P Graham. An excellent history of the Irish troops who went on to form the Wild Geese, the exiled Irish forces fighting for the French. At its best when looking at the Williamite War in Ireland in 1678-81 when the Irish troops were fighting directly for James II after he had been expelled from England, and on the period before that, when Irish troops served the French and Spanish because the Test Acts prevented most Catholics from joining the British forces (Read Full Review)
The Pope’s Army – The Papacy in Diplomacy and War, John Carr. A military and political history of the Papacy, from the earliest years under Roman rule, through the long period where the Pope was also the temporal ruler of the Papal States, through the unification of Italy and on to the present day. An entertaining dash through the almost two thousand long life of one of the oldest institutions in the world (Read Full Review)
Europe: Chained by History, Larry J. Hilton. A generally well meaning book looking at the history of Europe, and suggesting that a truly united Europe is the continent's best chance for a safe and prosperous future, somewhat marred by a series of minor historical errors that rather niggle (including Vienna's attempt to claim Mozart as a native son). Includes a very strong examination of hyper inflation and the rise of anti-Semitism in Vienna, a dark shadow that marred an otherwise impressive city [read full review]
The Great Siege of Malta - The Epic Battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St. John, Bruce Ware Allen. Looks at one of the pivotal conflicts of the Sixteenth Century, when a massive Ottoman army attempted to capture Malta, then the main base for the Knights of St. John. This excellent history traces events from the earlier siege of Rhodes, where the Knights were defeated, through the intervening years of intermittent conflict, and on to the Great Siege itself, covering both the fighting on Malta and the attempts to raise the siege [read full review]



Large Scale Warship Models – from Kits to Scratch Building, Kerry Jang. A guide to how to build what must be the largest type of models produced in any significant numbers, hugely impressive warship models that can be almost three meters long! An interesting combination of impressive examples of these huge models and very detailed technical discussions of issues (including a page of notes on glue that covered several times more types than I realised existed!). Should serve as inspiration for anyone considering getting into this hobby, as well as a useful guide to the art itself (Read Full Review)
The Art & Making of Fantasy Miniatures, Jamie Kendall. Overall an interesting eye candy book easy on the eye but with very little discussion , information or insight in this fascinating subject, visually impressive, the artwork is very nice and the photos of figures in over 230 pages are a treat to the eyes. Some of the background text is interesting on the history of the companies covered is fascinating on what inspired figure ranges or how they evolved, but with limited text, and not all of the games covered are still going early in 2021 (Read Full Review)
North Africa and the Middle East – Wargames Terrain & Buildings, Tony Harwood. Part two in a series on scratch building wargaming terrain, looking at North Africa and the Middle East, but with no particular time period in mind. Contains a mix of fairly simple and more complex models, mainly buildings but also including a gunboat and an entire oasis scene. The many and varied techniques look fairly achievable, and the instructions are nice and clear. Now I just need an excuse to build myself a model mud brick hut! (Read Full Review)


Soviet Pistols – Tokarev, Makarov, Stechkin and others, Leroy Thompson. Looks at the pistols used and produced in the Soviet Union, from the pre-revolutionary Nagant M1895 to post-war automatic pistols, with excellent sections on their development and technical details, greatly aided by the author’s experience with these weapons, supported by good sections on their use in combat (Read Full Review)
The Bayonet, Bill Harriman. Looks at the long history of the bayonet, from its emergence as a novel weapon that helped revolutionised warfare in the seventeenth century by eliminating the need for pikes, through its time as one of the queens of the battlefield, before its downfall in the face of increasing firepower on the late 19th century battlefield. Good both on the physical development of the bayonet, and its use and influence on the battlefield (Read Full Review)
The M4 Carbine, Chris McNab. A look at a weapon originally designed for rear echelon troops and other secondary uses but that has become one of the standard issue weapons in the US Army. Looks at its controversial early years and the prolonged series of improvements that turned it into a gun that is reliable, accurate and highly regarded by most who use it. (Read Full Review)

Early Military Rifles 1740-1850, Balaza Nemeth. Focuses largely on the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the period that saw the first standardised rifles begin to appear, before the rifle slowly replaced the smoothbore musket as the main weapon of the infantry. An excellent book that covers the development of the flintlock and percussion muskets, and each countries training, ammo and tactics, (Read Full Review)

Seventeenth Century

The Cretan War, 1645-1671: The Venetian-Ottoman Struggle in the Mediterranean, Bruno Mugnai. Looks at the details of the long war between Venice and the Ottoman Empire triggered by the Ottoman invasion of Crete, but which included major naval battles in the Dardanelles and land campaigns along the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic. Looks at the armies that fought the war, pre-war Crete, diplomacy, the European contribution to the Venetian war effort, the naval battles and the sieges, although could have done with a simple narrative of the war (Read Full Review)
King Philip’s War 1675-76, America’s Deadliest Colonial Conflict, Gabriele Esposito. Looks at the last real chance the Native Americans of New England had to reclaim their homeland from the Puritan colonists who had arrived fifty-five years earlier, and rapidly spread across the area, while the Native Americans had been devastated by disease and pushed out of many of their original areas as the colonies expanded. The result was a costly war, in which the Native Americans were able to inflict a series of costly defeats on the Colonists, but not able to realistically threaten their larger settlements, giving them little or no chance of defeating the more numerous colonists (Read Full Review)
Armies of the War of the Grand Alliance 1688-97, Gabriele Esposito. A look at the armies of this lengthy but rather indecisive war, which acted as something of a precursor to be more famous conflicts of the 18th century, but still involved most of the main armies of Western Europe, and included the start of the Jacobite wars. A useful guide to these armies, combined with a chronology of the main war and the Glorious Revolution (Read Full Review)
King William’s War, Michael G. Laramie. A look at the American part of the War of the League of Augsburg, mainly a clash between the English and French colonies in North America and their Native American allies, at a time when the Native Americans were still a major power, and the European colonies were still surprising fragile. (Read Full Review)

Eighteenth Century

Armies of the Great Northern War 1700-1720, Gabriele Esposito. A look at the many armies that were involved in the Great Northern War, from the main participants in Russia and Sweden to the Cossacks, Tatars and Ottoman forces that were briefly involved during Charles XII’s time in exile. An important conflict that ended Sweden’s brief time as a great power and established Russia as a Baltic power, and helped establish the reputation of Peter the Great as a great military reformer(Read Full Review)
Peter the Great’s Revenge – The Russian Siege of Narva in 1704, Boris Megorsky. Looks at one of Peter the Great’s successes during the Great Northern War, the capture of the Swedish controlled fortified city of Narva, a key position on the western approaches to Peter’s new city at St Petersburg. An interesting mix of a day-by-day narrative of the attack and inserts explaining how the major figures were and discussing aspects of eighteenth century siege warfare. An effective approach that gives us a rounded picture of the nature of siege warfare during the Great Northern War, as well as looking at the only time the Russians actually needed to storm a major besieged city(Read Full Review)
Peter the Great Humbled - The Russo-Ottoman War of 1711, Nicholas Dorrell. Looks at the short and almost disastrous Russian invasion of the Ottoman Empire, which ended with Peter the Great and his army trapped on the Pruth and forced to surrender on Ottoman terms. Covers the various armies involved on both sides, the commanders, the aims of the two main commanders and the course of the short, and for Peter, almost disastrous war. Despite some victories away from the main front, the war could have ended with Peter’s power greatly diminished and he was lucky to be offered rather generous terms(Read Full Review)
Fontenoy 1745 - Cumberland's Bloody Defeat, Michael McNally. Looks at a key French victory during the War of the Austrian Succession, where the British infantry enhanced their reputation after advancing into a trap and nearly winning an improbably victory despite being attacked from three sides. Traces the campaign that led to the British being drawn into that trap, and the failures elsewhere on the battlefield that meant that the famous infantry attack had little real chance of success, leading to a French victory that began a successful conquest of the Austrian Netherlands (Read Full Review)

Nineteenth Century

Zulu Terror – The Mfecane Holocaust, 1815-1840, Robin Binckes. Looks at a period in which a series of violent clashes between the Zulu and related groups (probably) triggered a period of forty years of violent mass migration in which hundreds of thousands of people (if not more) were killed. Follows the traditional historical view of this period, so traces the activities and impact of a series of leaders, including Shaka, Matiwane, Mzilikazi and Dingane, a group of men who very clearly left a massive impact on southern Africa (Read Full Review)
Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance 1864-70: Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay & Argentina, Gabriele Esposito. Looks at one of the most costly wars in South American history, between Paraguay's military dictator and an alliance of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Begins with a history of the war itself, triggered by the ambitions of Paraguay's dictator, before moving on to examine the four armies involved in the conflict. A useful English language account of the largest war in the history of South America [read full review]
The First Afghan War 1839-42 - Invasion, catastrophe and retreat, Richard MacRory. A deeply relevant look at the first, and most disastrous, British intervention in Afghanistan, which saw the complete destruction of a British army, in what was one of the worst setbacks ever suffered by the British army in India. Covers the reasons for the invasion, the initial campaign, the wasted year at Kabul, the build-up to disaster, the failed retreat and the army of retribution, which allowed the British to put a gloss on the war [read full review]

Twentieth Century

Armies in Southern Russia 1918-19, Phoebus Athanassiou. Looks at the armies involved in the very confusing fighting in Ukraine in 1918-19, with pro-Bolshevik, Red Army, White Russian, Ukrainian, Allied forces and even some German forces all involved in the fighting, with a brief overview of events, and a look at the size, organisation and perhaps most importantly in this campaign the character of the many forces involved (Read Full Review)

The Great Bear at War – The Russian and Soviet Army 1917-Present, Chris McNab. Looks at the emergence of the Red Army in the civil wars that followed the Bolshevik revolution, how it coped with the initial defeats in 1941 and evolved into the force that eventually captured Berlin in 1945, how that shaped the post-war army and how that armed failed in Afghanistan, then the post-Soviet decline and more recent rise of the new Russian Army. Ends before the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but describes the army that has fought in that war, and outlines some of the potential weaknesses that have been starkly exposed in combat (Read Full Review)
Armies of the Greek-Turkish War 1919-22, Philip S. Jowett. Combines a look at the very varied armies of this war with a history of the war itself, which is now largely forgotten, despite involving sizable armies on both sides and ending with one of the first examples of large scale ethnic cleansing. Covers a wide range of troops, from the regular Greek and Nationalist armies to the varied irregular forces that fought on both sides, and in particular on the Turkish side (Read Full Review)
Armies of the Italian-Turkish Wars – Conquest of Libya, 1911-1912, Gabriele Esposito. Focuses more on the war itself than the armies that fought it, with the main emphasis on the fighting in Libya, but also covers the conquest of the Dodecanese and the limited naval campaigns. Does include orders of battle and descriptions of the armies themselves, but these take up less space than is often the case in this series. The result is a useful introduction to this relatively little known but significant war (Read Full Review)

War of the Spanish Succession

The War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714, James Falkner. An excellent new single volume history of this important conflict, covering all of the areas of conflict and the related diplomatic manoeuvres. Provides a clear example of a war in which outstanding military victories didn’t lead to the sort of political results that one might have expected, but one that still greatly reduced the power of France and set the tone for the series of wars that dominated the Eighteenth Century [read full review]
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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]
Malplaquet 1709, Marlborough’s Bloodiest Battle, Simon MacDowall. A good account of Marlborough’s most costly victory of the War of the Spanish Succession, a genuine example of a Pyrrhic victory, won at such cost that it helped turned British opinion against the war, and that was of more benefit to the defeated side than to the victors. Good material on the campaign that led to the battle, the unusual battlefield, and the brutal and costly battle itself.(Read Full Review)


Dutch Republic

For Orange and the States - The Army of the Dutch Republic, 1713-1772. Part I - Infantry, Marc Geerdink-Schaftgenaar. A detailed look at the infantry of the Dutch Republic in the years between the end of the War of the Austrian Succession to the adoption of new uniform regulations in 1772 when new uniform regulations were adopted, ending a period of obscurity. The first half of the book is a readable military history of the Dutch Republic from its foundation to the end of its second year of involvement in the War of the Austrian Succession, the second half a reference section bringing together what we know about the uniforms and commanders of each regiment in the Dutch infantry (Read Full Review)
Dutch Armies of the 80 Years' War 1568-1648 (1) Infantry, Bouko de Groot. Traces the dramatic evolution of the Dutch armies during the long war of independence, which saw the Dutch Republic emerge as one of Europe's military superpowers. Part one focuses on the infantry, which began as unwieldy blocks of poorly trained men, and developed into a powerful, flexible force, using new tactics and centrally produced weapons (Read Full Review)
Dutch Armies of the 80 Years' War 1568-1648 (2) Cavalry, Artillery and Engineers, Bouko de Groot. Traces the impressive development of the Dutch cavalry, artillery and engineering forces during the long wars of independence from Spain, a period in which they went from being improvised forces created at great speed to highly professional specialists, with advanced artillery and increasingly proficient and well equipped engineers, allowing the Dutch to carry out ever more ambitious campaigns (Read Full Review)
Nieuwpoort 1600 – The First Modern Battle, Bouko de Groot. Looks at the first major victory won by the reformed army of the Dutch Republic, the first recognisably modern European army, retrained to use the new concept of ‘drill’, which generally made it easier to command, respond quicker to commands, helped keep musketry accurate and controlled for longer, and even improved the resilience of drilled units. Contains an excellent account of those reforms – how they worked and the advantages they gave the Dutch, as well as the campaign and the battle itself, along with the aftermath in which any benefits from the Dutch victory were largely squandered(Read Full Review)

United States

Apache Warrior vs US Cavalryman, Sean McLachlan. Looks at the forty-year long struggle between the US Cavalry and the Apache tribes of the US south-west, which lasted from the US conquest of the area in 1848 to the final surrender of Geronimo in 1886. Benefits from focusing on the two main combatants in these was – the entire fighting force of the Apache tribes and the US Cavalry, to present an overview of how the conflict was eventually won by the United States(Read Full Review)
Apache Warrior 1860-86, Robert N. Watt. An interesting look at the Chiricahua Apaches and their twenty five year long struggle against encroaching Americans and Mexicans, ending with the final surrender of Geronimo and Mangus in 1886. Looks at how the Apache trained for conflict, the distinction between war and raiding, and the risk avoidance that dominated Apache planning, supported by a good mix of successful and unsuccessful raids. [read full review]
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History of the Third Seminole War 1849-1858, Joe Knetsch, John Missall and Mary Lou Missall. Looks at the last of the three wars fought against the Seminoles of Florida, in an ultimately failed attempt to completely remove them from the recently formed state. An interesting conflict in which many US regulars appear to have had some sympathy for their opponents, and which ended with the symbolic removal of some of the Seminole leaders, but left behind a viable population that still lives in the peninsula(Read Full Review)
John and Sebastian Cabot - The Discovery of North America, Charles Raymond Beazley. Originally published in 1898, this is a classic, and still useful, examination of the careers of John and Sebastian Cabot, two key figures in the early history of English exploration. Beazley focused very heavily on an examination of the contemporary records of their voyages, and attempted to untangle the rather confused web of the activities of the father and son explorers, concentrating mainly on their time in English service. Includes most of the key documents, allowing the book to retain much of its value [read full review]


Spanish Civil War

The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 (1) Nationalist Forces, Alejandro de Quesada. Looks at the forces that fought under Franco during the Spanish Civil War, from these elements of the pre-war army that sided with the rebels to the German and Italian forces sent by Hitler and Mussoline. Covers the army, air force and navy, and packs an impressive amount of information into the limited space. [read full review]
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Famous Faces of the Spanish Civil War, Steve Hurst Famous Faces of the Spanish Civil War, Steve Hurst. A look at the impact of the Spanish Civil War on a selection of artists who were either caught up in, or took part in, the fighting. Organised chronologically, so it also tells the story of the war, from the outbreak of the fighting to the Nationalist breakthrough on the Ebro. [read full review]

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