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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 2,156 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

Desert Armour – Tank Warfare in North Africa, Beda Fomm to Operation Crusader, 1940-41, Robert Forczyk. Starts with a look at the pre-war doctrine, equipment and available forces for the British, Americans, Italians and Germans, before moving on to look at the first three of the five sweeping movements in the desert war – the British defeat of the Italians, Rommel’s first offensive and the siege of Tobrok, and the relief of Tobruk and Rommel’s retreat west (Read Full Review)
Children of the 1940s – A Social History, Mike Hutton. A look at the life of British children in the 1940s written by an author who was a child in that period, so influenced by his own experiences. Nice that it continues for the entire decade, so we get the four post-war years as well as the more familiar wartime period.  Focuses more on the feel of events – what it was like to escape to the cinema, or the impact of radio comedy than on a more academic study of childhood in the period (Read Full Review)
Life in Britain & Germany on the Road to War – Keeping an Eye on Hitler, Anton Rippon & Nicola Rippon. A parallel history of Britain and Germany in the inter-war years, looking at the rise of the Nazis, how it was seen in Britain, and what else was attracting attention in Britain in time, from the Jarrow Hunger March to the abdication crisis. An interesting approach that helps explain why events in Germany that in retrospect seem hard to ignore didn’t always get the attention we would expect at the time (Read Full Review)
Jagdpanzer, Thomas Anderson. Looks at the dedicated tank hunters built by the Third Reich, ranging in size from the small but effective Hetzer to the massive and far less mobile Jagdtiger. Traces their development from an emergency measure to cope with the unexpectedly effective Soviet tanks to purpose built machines designed alongside their turreted equivalents as well as weapons based on outdated chassis produced to keep factories in production. Well supported by wartime German reports on most of the machines, which reveal what their users felt about them (Read Full Review)
Dunkirchen 1940 – The German view of Dunkirk, Robert Kershaw. Looks at the Dunkirk campaign from the German point of view, examining why they were unable to prevent the British evacuating most of their own army, and a significant number of French troops. Covers the entire campaign from the initial German invasion onwards, so we can trace the entire course of events, and see how the nature of the campaign changed after the initial period of rapid German success, how much significance the Germans gave to the battle, and why they weren’t able to eliminate the Dunkirk pocket more quickly (Read Full Review)
Case White – The Invasion of Poland 1939, Robert Forczyk. A detailed history of the Polish campaign of 1939, starting with a history of the revived Polish Republic, its attempts to industrialise and create a powerful military, and its political problems, before moving on to the increase of tension with Nazi Germany, the outbreak of war and the actual campaign. Also covers the lacklustre performance of Poland’s new allies, Britain and France, in the months before the outbreak of war and their lack of real action once the fighting began. Shows us a campaign that was nowhere near as one-sided as many accounts would suggest, although one that the Poles would have struggled to win without external support that never came (Read Full Review)
Cowpens 1781 - Turning Point of the American Revolution, Ed & Catherine Gilbert . Looks at one of the most important battles of the American War of Independence, the defeat of Tarleton’s British Legion and the succesful Patriot retreat into the safety of Virginia that helped trigger the campaign that ended at Yorktown. Shows how remarkable the leadership of Danial Morgan was, taking advantage of the weaknesses of Tarleton’s leadership and the terrain at Cowpens and compensating for the known weaknesses of his own militia to come up with a plan that survived two potential disasters to produce one of the most one sided Patriot victories of the war (Read Full Review)
British Celtic Warrior vs Roman Soldier – Britannia AD 43-105, William Horsted. Looks at three early battles between the Romans and the British, Caratacus’s last battle, the invasion of Mona (Anglesey) and Mons Graupius. Inevitably provides more detail on the Roman side than the Celts, simply because of the limits of our sources, but does a good job of recreating these three battles (as far as is possible) as well as examining their impact on the overall state of the Roman conquest. (Read Full Review)
F3D/ EF-10 Skyknight Units of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Joe Copalman. Looks at the combat record of the US Navy’s first jet powered night fighter, starting with its limited use as a night fighter over Korea, where it suffered six losses and claimed six victories, to its more succesful time as an electronic warfare aircraft, operating around Cuba and in Vietnam, detecting and jamming enemy radar (Read Full Review)
Roman Plate Armour, M.C. Bishop. A good examination of the most famous type of Roman armour, focusing on the Lorica Segmentata most often seen in modern depictions of the Legions, as well as the muscled cuirasses worn by the officers. Includes a clear decription of each of the three types of Lorica Segmentata, looking at how they were constructed, how they differed and way, as well as sections on how it was made, its flaws and how it probably performed in and out of battle (Read Full Review)
Japanese Soldier vs US Soldier, New Guinea 1942-44, Gregg Adams. Looks at three battles spread over a year and a half that show the changing nature of the fighting on New Guinea. At Buna the inexperienced Americans were at the end of a long supply chain, and struggled. At Biak the Japanese had to adapt new tactics to avoid being defeated on the beachs, but the Americans were soon able to adapt themselves. At the Driniumor River the Japanese were the attackers, but it was a desperate venture that ended in evitable and costly defeat (Read Full Review)
Japanese Infantryman versus US Marine Rifleman: Tarawa, Roi-Namur and Eniwetok, Gregg Adams. Looks at the three of the island attacks during the US invasion of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, showing how difficult it was to defend these small flat atoll islands against the massive concentration of firepower the Americans were able to bring to bear combined with the training and high morale of the attacking US Marines, especially when the Americans were willing to bypass the most strongly defended islands in the Marshalls. Good material on the types of Japanese troops to be found on the islands, their plans for defending them and why they failed (Read Full Review)
Syria and Lebanon 1941 – The Allied Fight against the Vichy French, David Sutton. A useful account of a campaign that is often just a footnote in wider histories of the fighting in the Middle East, but that saw the Vichy French in Syria put up a rather harder fight than expected, but also saw the Allies adapt well to the changing circumstances, taking Damascus early in the campaign and completing the conquest of Syria in just one month (Read Full Review)
F-8 Crusader Vietnam 1963-73, Peter E. Davies. Looks at the track record of the US Navy’s best dogfighter of the Vietnam War, covering its development, weapon systems, the rival MiG-17 and MiG-21, and the key combats in the most active period in the late 1960s, when most of the direct clashes between the rival fighters took place. There aren’t many of these clashes, but they are well described, and are unusual for the combination of classic dogfighting and guided missiles (Read Full Review)
Ju 87D/ G Stuka vs T-34 – Eastern Front 1942-45, Robert Forsyth. An interesting look at how the Stuka dive bomber was pressed into service as an anti-tank weapon, first as a dive bomber and later as a cannon armed ground attack aircraft, and how it faired against the T-34. Covers the development of both weapon systems, the training of their crews, the combat record of the Stuka against the tanks, along with good sections on German research into exactly what was the best method to attack T-34s with the Stuka (Read Full Review)
Absolute Emperor – Napoleonic Wargame Battles, Boyd Bruce. An interesting approach to Napoleonic wargaming, aimed at getting large battles fought with relatively few figures and in a reasonable timespan, focusing on the division as the unit of maneuver and the corps as the command level. Simple core rules combine with a set of changes for each major combatant in the conflict, to give a nice feel to the game. The control system takes some getting used to, with all orders set at the start of the game, corps commanders limited in their options, and divisions freer as long as they stay within command range of the commander (Read Full Review)
Crecy, Battle of Five Kings, Michael Livingston. A fascinating reconstruction of the Crecy campaign and battle, using a very wide range of contemporary sources to reconsider every aspect of the campaign, from the original invasion of Normandy to the attempt to reach Edward’s allies in Flanders, the location of the battle, and the course of the fighting itself. Very well researched and makes good use of a wide range of sources, to successfully argue that the traditional location is wrong, convincing argue in favour of a new location and to provide good evidence that some aspects of the battle went rather differently to the standard account (Read Full Review)
Roman Mail and Scale Armour, M.C. Bishop. Looks at two types of armour that were used throughout the Roman period, by legionaries, Praetorians and auxiliaries and in many different variants. Covers the evidence for their use, the variants known to exist, how they were manufactured and maintained and even how easy it was to put them on! A useful guide to some of the most significant Roman military equipment. (Read Full Review)
Corregidor 1945 – Repossessing the Rock, Mark Lardas. An account of the US return to Corregidor which shows out an ambitious plan for a paratroop drop on the key high ground neatly bypassed the strongest Japanese defences, decapitating the Japanese commands structure in the first few minutes and giving the paratroops the high ground. This was a rare example of a Pacific island landing where the result was decided on the very first day (Read Full Review)
Anglo-Saxon Kings and Warlords AD 400-1070, Raffaele d’Amato & Stephen Pollington. Looks at the nature of the military leaders of the Anglo-Saxons, their kings and other war leaders, covering their arms, armour, possible use of cavalry, the titles by which they were known and how they fitted into Anglo-Saxon society, finishing with a look at four of the many battles fought in this period, all involving external enemies (Read Full Review)
Allied Warships vs The Atlantic Wall, Normandy 1944, Steven J Zaloga. Looks at the duel between USS Texas and the German Batterie Hamburg at Cherbourg, a clash in which the gun battery was largely undamaged and the Texas perhaps lucky to only suffer minor damage. Demonstrates that really well built heavily protected gun emplacements weren’t vulnerable to destruction by naval gun fire in 1944, and well designed ones were even quite hard to disrupt (Read Full Review)
Bf 109D/E Blitzkrieg 1939-40, Malcolm V. Lowe. Looks at the development and combat record of the Bf 109D and Bf 109E from the Spanish Civil War through the invasion of Poland and onto the campaign in the west in 1940, a period in which the Bf 109F in particular proved to be as good or better than any contemporary fighter, and had the advantage of superior fighter tactics developed in Spain and a core of pilots with more experience than their rivals (Read Full Review)
Castles in the Sky: A Wargame of Flying Battleships, Eric Farrington. An interesting game that combines First World War naval warfare with post War of the Worlds flying ships, to give us a world of flying dreadnoughts and cruisers, generally armed with variations of their familiar weaponry, but with the added complication of altitude to cope with. A fun game, complete with a good random scenario generator and campaign system, and an unusual way to use a collection of small warship figures. (Read Full Review)
Spitfire Photo-Recce Units of World War 2, Andrew Fletcher. Covers both the technical development of the PR Spitfire and its cameras and the operation history of the type, from the early days of one experimental aircraft to its use in many squadrons around the world and to provide coverage of topics from the German Navy to Hitler’s secret weapons as well as making vital contributions to the D-Day landings (Read Full Review)
The Texas Revolution 1835-36 – Texian Volunteer versus Mexican Soldier, Ron Field. Looks at three battles of the Texan Revolution – the Alamo, Coleto Creek and San Jacinto, two Mexican and one Texian victories. Shows that in the right circumstances the Mexican army could be very effective, but it was also fragile and collapsed very quickly when caught out by a surprise attack at San Jacinto (Read Full Review)
Carrhae 53 BC – Rome’s Disaster in the Desert, Nic Fields. Looks at one of the most one-sided defeats suffered by the Roman Republic when the army led by Crassus was almost wiped out during an invasion of Parthia, and Crassus and his son killed either in the battle or the aftermath. Includes good background information, an examination of Crassus’s actual army and a look at the nature of the Parthian military, all of which helps explain why the battle was so one sided (Read Full Review)
F4U Corsair vs A6M Zero-Sen – Rabaul and the Solomons 1943-44, Michael John Claringbould. A well researched examination of the most intense period of aerial combat for the Corsair, facing Japanese Navy Zeros in the Solomon Islands and over Rabaul, a period in which the Japanese could still hold their own against their American opponents in individual battles, but were worn down by the ever increasing numerical advantage possessed by the Americans. Proves that the Corsair wasn’t that dominant in 1943, when faced with skilled Japanese opponents, and demonstrates just how hard fought these battles were (Read Full Review)
F4F Wildcat – South Pacific 1942-43, Edward M. Young. Looks at the most intense period of combat for the Grumman F4F-4 Wildcat, over the Solomon Islands in the summer and autumn of 1942, when the Americans learnt how to take advantage of the slower Grumman fighter’s greater robustness and firepower to come to terms with the Zero, which before that had swept almost all opposition from the skies (Read Full Review)
The Aircraft Carrier Hiryu, Stefan Draminski. An excellent study of the carrier Hiryu, combined a good history of her with very impressive plans. Makes very good use of 3D illustrations, which are placed alongside the detailed 2D plans so we can see what the element being show on the plans looked like as well as having the accurate details of the plan. Especially effective for deck plans and cross sections, where it gives us an idea of just how crowded these carriers could be (Read Full Review)
A War of Empires – Japan, India, Burma & Britain, 1941-45, Robert Lyman. An impressive account of the four year long Burma campaign, a multi-national affair involving Japanese, British and Commonwealth, India, Africa, Chinese and American troops, and which began with a crushing British defeat and the longest retreat in British military history and ended with some of the biggest defeats suffered by the Imperial Japanese Army. Very good on the Indian involvement in the conflict. (Read Full Review)
Soldiers of Fortune – Mercenaries and Military Adventurers, 1860-2020, Anthony Rogers. Looks at the widespread use of mercenary forces by governments and rebel forces in Africa, the Indian Ocean, South America, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia, demonstrating that there were a wide range of types of mercenaries, very varied levels of success, and varied motives, as well as the difficulities with defining what a mercenary actually is (Read Full Review)
Eastern Front 1945 – Triumph of the Soviet Air Force, William E. Hiestand. Looks at the last major contested air campaign of the Second World War, where the revitalised Soviet Air Force clashed with the bulk of what was left of the Luftwaffe during the campaigns that saw the Soviets advance into Germany and capture Berlin. Looks at how the Red Airforce had caught up with and then surpassed the Luftwaffe to gain and largely keep air supremacy in the final campaigns of the war, even after the Luftwaffe shifted most of its remaining aircraft east (Read Full Review)
Sunderland vs U-Boat – Bay of Biscay 1943-44, Mark Lardas. A good account of one of the iconic clashes of the Second World War, with the Sunderland often being the face of Coastal Command despite the relatively limited number of U-boats it sank. Covers the development of both weapons, the nature of their crews, the earlier clashes, and the key battles of 1943-44 when the Sunderland’s numbers increased, their ability to detect U-boats improved and their enemies decided to stand and fight on the surface, leading to 24 sinkings (Read Full Review)
Roman Army Units in the Eastern Provinces (2) – 3rd Century AD, Raffaele D’Amato. Combines a brief introduction looking at the history of the period and the location of the units known to have been posted in the Roman East at this time with a longer section looking at their arms, equipment and cloths, organised on a province-by-province basis, so giving us an idea of how things changes as you moved around from the Danube provinces into Roman Syria and down into Egypt. An unusual but effective approach (Read Full Review)

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