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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 1,874 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

Hitler’s Navy – The Kriegsmarine in World War II, Gordon Williamson. Based on the same author’s fourteen earlier volumes on the German navy, but with a chapter on the operational history of the Kriegsmarine added. As a result we get good sections on less familiar types of vessels – the minesweepers, patrol boats and sub-chasers, as well as sizable sections on the S-Boats and U-Boats, which were in many ways the most effective part of the Kreigsmarine, as well as a look at the more famous surface warships (Read Full Review)
The Viking Siege of Paris – Longships raid the Seine, AD 885-86, Si Sheppard. Looks at a rare example of a lengthy Viking siege, the year-long but unsuccessful siege of Paris. Sets the siege in the context of the internal power struggles for the Carolingian Empire and the split nature of secular and religious authority in the period (with key commanders of the defence coming from the church), as well as the aims of the Viking raiders, then follows with a good account of the lengthy siege itself, with its focus on the bridges connecting Paris to the banks of the Seine (Read Full Review)
Tiger vs Churchill North-West Europe, 1944-45, Neil Grant. Looks at the design and development of these two tanks as well as how they performed in Normandy. Acknowledges that they didn’t perform the same role and rarely actually clashed face to face, but still does a good job of comparing their contributions to the overall campaign and examining how well they performed their intended role as well as looking at one of the few large scale clashes between the two (Read Full Review)
US Submarine vs IJN Antisubmarine Escort – The Pacific, 1941-45, Mark Stille. A look at the clash between US submarines and purpose build Japanese convoy escort vessels in the Pacific, a rather one sided battle in which the Americans overcame a slow start to almost wipe out Japanese merchant shipping while the Japanese escorts arrived late and appear to have been largely ineffective. Includes length sections on the development of the submarines and escort vessels and their technical specifications, followed by a year by year and base by base look at the exploits of the US submarines (Read Full Review)
War in Japan 1467-1615, Stephen Turnbull. Takes a thematic approach to the longest and most confusing period of warfare in Japanese history, so avoids getting bogged down in the seemingly endless procession of minor feuds and battles, and instead looks at a selection of key families, as well as the process of reunification that eventually ended the chaos. Could have done with a little more on the Onin War and the collapse of the Shogun’s authority, but otherwise this is an excellent account of this rather confusing period (Read Full Review)
Weapons of the Samurai, Stephen Turnbull. A very useful look at all samurai weapons apart from the Katana – how they developed, how they were used, what impact they had on the battlefield and how that may have changed over time, all supported by an impressive array of sources including fascinating battle reports listing all of the wounds suffered by survivors, and contemporary illustrations that give a fine visual record of particular periods (Read Full Review)
SBD Dauntless vs A6M Zero-Sen: Pacific Theatre 1941-44, Donald Nijboer. A look at the clashes between the most successful American dive bomber of the Pacific War and by far the most important Japanese naval fighter of the conflict, covering both the Zero’s effectiveness at stopping the SPD carrying out attacks, and the ability of the SPD to stand up to the Zero in air to air combat. Starts with a great deal of technical and general background before moving onto detailed examinations of the direct clashes between the two types, using sources from both sides to present a realistic view of their successes and failures (Read Full Review)
Badon and the Early Wars for Wessex circa 500 to 710, David Cooper. An interesting attempt to locate some of the mysterious battles between the Britons and the early Anglo-Saxons, using a wide range of sources and techniques to try and pin down the territories controlled by the combatants and examine the various suggestions for locations to see which ones make most sense. Sometimes suffers from too much application of modern military techniques to a very different world, but otherwise very good, with some interesting ideas about this very obscure period (Read Full Review)
Mortar Gunner on the Eastern Front Vol I: From the Moscow Winter Offensive to Operation Zitadelle, Dr Hans Heinz Rehfeldt. The first part of a two part diary written by a soldier in the Grossdeutschland regiment then division, covering the period from his arrival at the front outside Moscow in the winter of 1941, through the battles of 1942 and on to the  failure of Operation Citadel in 1943. Paints a vivid picture of the life of a front line soldier during a period after the initial rush of success on the Soviet Union, but when it could still win victories as well as suffering defeats over both winters (Read Full Review)
Condottiere 1300-1500 – infamous medieval mercenaries, David Murphy. A study of the infamous mercenaries who dominated Italian warfare during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, fighting for the many city states and small powers that dominated Italy in the prolonged series of lengthy but indecisive wars of the period. Looks at the nature of condottiere warfare, how they were recruited and organised, how they fought, how loyal they were to their employers (and the reverse), and the increasingly complex logistical systems created by the Italian cities to support their armies (Read Full Review)
The Siege that Changed the World – Paris 1870-1871, NS ‘Tank’ Nash. A detailed study of the Prussian led siege of Paris of 1870-71, combined with a more general look at the entire Franco-Prussian War. Does a good job of putting the siege within the context of the wider war, as well as looking at the military and civilian aspects of life in Paris under siege, the problems faced by the Germans, and the attempts to raise new armies across unoccupied France (Read Full Review)
Stalin’s Armour 1941-1945, Soviet Tanks at War, Anthony Tucker-Jones. Starts with a good examination of pre-war Soviet tank development, the strengths and flaws of the Soviet tank forces of 1941 and their impact on the fighting in 1941, as well as the efforts to evacuate the Soviet tank industry east, but later tends to turn into a general account of the fighting on the Eastern Front with less focus on the armoured aspects (Read Full Review)
The Battle of the White Mountain 1620 and the Bohemian Revolt, 1618-1622, Laurence Spring. A rare example of an English language study of part of the Thirty Years War, looking at the Bohemian revolt and the key battle of the White Mountain which saw the revolt’s main army defeated and resulted in the fall of Prague and the eventual exile of Frederick V Elector Palatinate from both Bohemia and his original lands, as well as drawing other powers into the conflict, helping it to expand across Germany. A good account both of the revolt and the battle that effectively ended it (Read Full Review)
Japan’s Pacific War – Personal Accounts of the Emperor’s Warriors, Peter Williams. A fascinating series of interviews with Japanese veterans who had been involved in the fighting against Australian forces during the Second World War, with a focus on the land battles, but also interviews with pilots and sailors. An invaluable series of accounts that give us some idea of what life was like in the Japanese armed forces during the war, as well as the veterans attitudes to the war in general, to their own superiors and to their opponents (Read Full Review)
Roman Conquests – The Danube Frontier, Michael Schmitz. A study of the two and a half centuries of warfare that took the Romans from the east coast of the Adriatic to the northern banks of the Danube, in a series of conflicts that stretch from the height of the Republic, through the foundation of the Empire and onto the Dacian wars of Trajan and on to the largely defensive wars of Marcus Aurelius. Brings together a series of conflicts that are rarely connected, but that saw the Romans slow push the frontier of Empire away from the most dangerous approach route to Italy, later to be used by Attila the Hun (Read Full Review)
Air War Varsity, Martin W. Bowman. A look at the final major airborne operation on the western front in the Second World War, Montgomery’s truly massive crossing of the Rhine around Wesel which combined a traditional river crossing with paratroopers and gliderborne troops, to break the last serious German defensive position on the northern part of the front, opening the way for the final advance across northern Germany to the Baltic. Mainly built around eyewitness accounts from survivors of the attack, combined with a brief narrative of events (Read Full Review)
Case Red – the Collapse of France, Robert Forczyk. A compelling look at the second part of the campaign in the west in 1940, the German attack on the French defensive line on the Somme and the advance across France that followed once that line had been broken. A very valuable study of this part of the campaign, which is often ignored or at best covered very quickly in most English language accounts of the war. Although I don’t agree with all of the authors views, they are all well argued, and the account of the fighting is excellent and covers plenty of topics that are often ignored, including the role of the French air force and the brief and unsuccessful Italian invasion (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)
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 Battle of the Catalaunian Fields AD 451, Evan Michael Schultheis. A look at the famous clash between Atilla the Hun and a Roman led army that is sometimes described as the battle that saved Western Europe from being conquered by the Huns, but that actually came a year before Atilla invaded Italy, and only a few years before the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Places the battle within the context of fading Roman power in the west, the wider series of wars against Atilla, and the impact it had on the collapse of Rome (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)
Tanks of D-Day 1944 – Armor of the beaches of Normandy and southern France, Steven J. Zaloga. A useful look at all of the ‘funnies’, the special tanks that were considered for use on D-Day, looking at their development, purpose and suitability, followed by an examination of how they were deployed and how they performed on each of the D-Day beaches and during Operation Dragoon. Nice to have the descriptions of these vehicles combined with a good account of how they actually performed in battle (Read Full Review)
The Netherlands East Indies Campaign 1941-42 – Japan’s Quest for Oil, Marc Lohnstein. A look at one of the less familiar Japanese conquests of 1941-42, the complex but rapid conquest of the vast areas of the Netherlands East Indies, a skilful campaign marred by the sadly inevitable war crimes and massacres by the conquering Japanese. A good narrative of the battle that clears up the confusion that can come from shorter overviews, and shows the Japanese to have had a clear plan that they implemented successfully (Read Full Review)
Heroes of Coastal Command – the RAF’s Maritime War 1939-1945, Andrew D. Bird. A series of short biographies of Coastal Command pilots that gives some idea of how varied the command’s roles were, covering operations from the Bay of Biscay to the Arctic north, and the Channel Coast to Norway. Also gives a more sobering idea of just how high the costs were of the Coastal Command campaign, with several of the men covered not surviving the war, and all of the accounts including a regular death toll. (Read Full Review)
The Last Days of the High Seas Fleet – From Mutiny to Scapa Flow, Nicholas Jellicoe. Looks at the dramatic last few months of the German High Seas Fleet, from the mutinies that saw the officers lose control of most of the fleet, through the trip into internment at Scapa Flow and on to the famous scuttling of the fleet. Includes an excellent account of the dramatic day of the scuttling, which makes one realise that it was a truly massive event, and helps one understand the apparently over the top reaction of the handful of British sailors in Scapa Flow at the time. Also goes on to look at the post-war salvage operations, an impressive story in its own right. (Read Full Review)
Liberty Factory – the untold story of Henry Kaiser’s Oregon Shipyards, Peter J Marsh. A detailed examination of the Kaiser Ship Yards of the US Pacific North-West, newly built war emergency yards that ended revolutionising ship building and producing hundreds of Liberty Ships, Victory Ships, Escort Carriers and other essential vehicles in an area that had previously focused on high skilled wooden ship building rather than the large scale production of metal merchant ships. A good text, supported by excellent contemporary photographs, covering the ships themselves, the working end of the yards, and the massive support effort required to keep the work going. (Read Full Review)

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