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Here we offer a selection of our favourite books on military history. Some are the books we have used as sources for this site, some are good introductions to their subjects and others are interesting oddities.

We also have a selection of 1,734 longer book reviews.

All links on this site go straight to the relevant Amazon web site (currently we link to the UK, US and Canadian sites), where you can place orders for any of the books listed here.

Recent Reviews

Click for full list of recent reviews

Britannia AD 43 – The Claudian Invasion, Nic Fields. A study of the first year of Claudius’s invasion of Roman Britain, a year that saw the Romans win two known battles, at the Medway and the Thames, the Emperor arrive in person to justify his Triumph, and the Romans establish a province in the south-east of the island. This isn’t the best documented of campaigns, but we do get a good discussion of where the Romans might have landed, their route after the landing, and the two battles, as well as a useful description of the opposing forces(Read Full Review)
Dunkirk and the Little Ships, Philip Weir. A good account of the evacuations of 1940, starting with an account of the campaign in the west which led to them, followed by an examination of the evacuation itself. This is followed by a look at the ships that actually carried it out, from the destroyers that carried the most men to the famous small ships that have since captured the imagination. Followed by a look at the other evacuations of 1940, and the efforts to commemorate them all. (Read Full Review)
US Soldier versus British Soldier – War of 1812, Gregg Adams. A look at three battles on the Canadian front of the war of 1812, showing how the US infantry learnt from its defeats in the first two years of the war to become an effective fighting force, more than capable of hold its own against the small British army in Canada, although not capable of actually conquering Canada (Read Full Review)
Armies of Ancient Greece – c.500-338 BC – History, Organization & Equipment, Gabriele Esposito. A decent military history of classical Greece from the emergence of the Hoplite to the rise of Macedon, along with three chapters looking at the rise of the Hoplite, the actual armies and their equipment, all supported by a vast number of colour pictures of re-enctors in authentic Greek military equipment. Covers a wider period than is often the case, including earlier wars than in many similar books. (Read Full Review)
Septimus Severus and the Roman Army, Michael Sage. A good biography of the first Roman Empire to emerge from the Empire’s African provinces, and found of a dynasty that provided a last period of stability between the death of Marcus Aurelius and the outbreak of the third century crisis. Covers the background to Roman Africa, his early career, his rise to power and the civil wars that secured his reign, his own wars, and the controversial reigns of his sons.(Read Full Review)
The German Soldier’s Pocket Manual, 1914-1918, ed . Stephen Bull. An interesting selection of documents relating to German infantry tactics during the First World War, including an early instruction manual on trench warfare from 1915, one Allied report on German tactics in 1918, instructions for using individual weapons, and the increasingly sophisticated instructions for the infantry attack that were being produced well before the generally accepted emergence of storm trooper tactics. Presents a useful cross section of the many similar documents produced by the Germans, and which demonstrate their constant determination to learn from the fighting (Read Full Review)
Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia – Brother and Sister of History’s most vilified family, Samantha Morris. A fairly convincing attempt to restore the reputation of the most famous and most notorious of the Borgias, the brother and sister Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia. Does a good job of redeeming Lucrezia’s reputation, although Cesare still emerges as unusually bloodthirsty and treacherous even for the period, so much so that he attracted the special interest of Machiavelli (although most of the more scandalous stories are easily disproved)! Overall this is an entertaining account of the lives of one of the most infamous families of European history(Read Full Review)
Spanish Galleon vs English Galleon, 1550-1605, Mark Lardas.Looks at the design, construction and crews of English and Spanish galleons, the differences between them (and how they changed), their place in the naval world of the late sixteenth century, and three iconic clashes involving galleons on both sides. Particularly interesting when looking at why the two countries produced different designs of galleons, and how the Spanish in particular learnt from their experiences and produced better ships after the Armada. (Read Full Review)
Destroyer Cossack detailed in the original builders’ plans, John Roberts. A splendid entry in this series based around builders plans of warships, looking at the Second World War Tribal class destroyer HMS Cossack. Includes the normal series of deck and side plans taken from the massive ‘as fitted’ plans, along with more unusual plans, including detailed plans of the engine room and bridge, diagrams showing the water supply system and internal fuel pipes and extra plans showing other members of the class, as well as a design history of the class, and a more detailed look at the Cossack’s own short service life.(Read Full Review)
Russian Tanks of World War II – 1939-1945, Stephen Hart. Looks at the tanks used by the Soviet Union during the Second World War, from the obsolete light tanks of the 1930s to the excellent T-34 and their increasingly powerful heavy tanks, as well as their self-propelled guns, and even the many types of western tanks sent to the Soviet Union under lend-lease. Most tanks get a page or two, with a brief history, a technical description, notes on their performance, stats and a side-on full colour illustration (Read Full Review)
North Cape 1943 – the Sinking of the Scharnhorst, Angus Konstam. A look at the last battle in which a British battleship fought against an enemy battleship, and the last clash between battleships fought without airpower. An excellent account of this battle, including a good background history, an explanation of the many advantages held by the British, and a detailed account of the battle, seen from both sides (Read Full Review)
Renaissance Armies in Italy 1450-1550, Gabriele Esposito. Looks at the main eight armies of the Italian Wars, a series of major conflicts that dominated Italy during the first half of the sixteenth century, and ended with the country largely dominated by Spain. Traces the development of each these armies during a period that saw the emergence of the first recognisably ‘modern’ infantry, the Spanish ‘tercios’(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)

 


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