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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 1,770 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

Battle Tactics of the American Revolution, Robbie MacNiven. An impressive look at the tactics used by the four major combatants in North American – the British, American Patriots, Germans and French – covering their regular forces and the various militias, with sections on infantry, cavalry and artillery. Covers both the theoretical organisation of these units, and how they actually performed in combat(Read Full Review)
Armies of Ancient Italy 753-218 BC, Gabriele Esposito. An impressive array of full colour, full page pictures showing enactors with reconstructed ancient Italian arms and armour, supported by a text split between a fairly uncritical narrative of Roman military history that rather skips over the general doubts about the accuracy of later Roman accounts of the early period, and a series of chapters looking at the individual peoples of ancient Italy and how they fought (Read Full Review)
Storm-333 KGB and Spetsnaz seize Kabul, Soviet-Afghan War 1979, Mark Galeotti. Looks at one of the most successful elements of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the successful attack on Hafizullah Amin’s palace outside Kabul, which saw the Afghan leader captured and killed by a force that included Soviet troops that were part of his own garrison. An interesting account of a skilfully conducted operation that only cost nine Soviet lives, although one that didn’t live up to its long term expectations(Read Full Review)
The Galatians – Celtic Invaders of Greece and Asia Minor, John D. Grainger. A detailed history of the Galatians, tracing their development from Balkan raiders to part of the Hellenistic state system, and on to their relationship with the expanding power of Rome. Does an excellent job of looking at events from the Galatian perspective, rather than as they were seen by their Greek enemies, so we see them evolve from a raiding force into a more or less regular part of the Hellenistic state system, before eventually succumbing to the power of Rome. (Read Full Review)
SAS Combat Vehicles 1942-91, Gavin Mortimer. Focuses as much one the uses made of the vehicles as the vehicles themselves, although does have plenty of details on the Willys Jeep and the other vehicles used by the SAS. A good way to approach the missions of the SAS, which were so often dependent on their vehicles for success. Also good that it covers more than just the familiar actions in North Africa, but follows the SAS to Italy, France and into Germany, as well as into the post-war Land Rover period. (Read Full Review)
Lepanto 1571- The Madonna’s Victory, Nic Fields. Takes an unusual but effective approach to the battle, starting with eleven chapters looking at some of the participants, before moving on to look at the ships, guns and soldiers and sailors, and only finally examining the battle itself, which was a famous victory with surprisingly limited results. An excellent book on a battle fought in a rather unfamiliar style, combining oar powered galleys with gunpowder weapons including bow mounted cannons and handguns. (Read Full Review)
The Army of Ptolemaic Egypt 323-204 BC – An Institutional and Operational History, Paul Johstono. Looks at the organisation and performance of the army of the first four Ptolemies, members of the longest lived of the successor kingdoms founded after the death of Alexander the Great. Takes advantage of the impressive array of surviving documents (mainly papyri) to study the structure of the army in great detail and then compare those results to what we know about the army’s performance, and what ancient historians reported about the army(Read Full Review)
Napoleon’s Women Camp Followers, Terry Crowdy. A look at those women who were officially present with the French armies during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, focusing largely on the laundresses and the vivandiere or sutlers, who provided any supplies that weren’t part of the official ration. Based on a mix of official regulations, soldier’s memoirs and contemporary art works, this book paints an interesting picture of this key non-military element of the French army(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)
Animals in the Second World War, Neil R. Storey. Looks at the full range of animal involvement in the war, from the practical use of horses, mules and dogs to the dreadful impact on domestic pets of the outbreak of war. Horse and mules, dogs and pigeons each get their own chapter, reflecting their wide-spread use, while other animals are covered topic by topic. Fairly short, but with lots of interesting material (Read Full Review)

 


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