Military History Book Shop

Browse our
Book Shop

By War By Country By Time Period Special Subjects

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 2,071 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

The First Anglo-Sikh War 1845-46 – the betrayal of the Khalsa, David Smith. Looks at a conflict in which the large Sikh army was so poorly led that it became clear that some of the Sikh leaders had betrayed their army, allowing the British to turn a potential defeat into a clear but costly victory. Provides a good background to the war, looks at the conflicts within Sikh society and then good accounts of fiercely fought battles themselves, in which an uninspired British commander was handed victory by the even worse performance of the Sikh leadership (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)
Ghost Patrol, A History of the Long Range Desert Group 1940-1945, John Sadler. Covers the entire history of the LRDG from its formation and heyday in North Africa, and through the more difficult years where it was sometimes difficult to find a clear purpose for the group, and in which they suffered heavy losses in the Aegean and often struggled to cope with the political motivation of their partisan allies in the Balkans, but were still able to prove their value (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)
Holocaust – The Nazis’ Wartime Jewish Atrocities, Stephen Wynn. A good introduction to the topic, covering many of the main elements of the holocaust, including the most infamous of the camps, the Wannsee Conference and some of the German planning behind the holocaust and their attempts to cover it up. Could do with a proper summary of the subject, but otherwise serves as a good introduction to the topic, which doesn’t pull its punches and leaves us in no doubt as to what happened (Read Full Review)
Nakajima Ki-49 ‘Helen’ Units, George Eleftheriou. Looks at the combat record of the Ki-49 Donryu, a significant Japanese army bomber in 1943-44, but one that was normally available in small numbers and suffered heavy losses in conventional operations, and had little success in kamikaze missions from the Philippines. One gets the impression of an aircraft that entered combat too late, making it very vulnerable to improved American aircraft, and after Japan had been forced onto the defensive, and thuis suffered heavily in almost all of the theatres it was used (Read Full Review)
H6K ‘Mavis’/ H8K ‘Emily’ vs PB4Y-1/2 Liberator/ Privateer – Pacific Theatre 1943-45, Edward M Young. Looks at the relatively small number of clashes between American and Japanese four engined aircraft over the Pacific, which saw the US patrol aircraft shoot fifteen down H6Ks and H8Ks for no loss, part of a wider dominance of the PB4Y against Japanese bombers and patrol aircraft. The small number of clashes allows the author to look at every single example in some detail, and in every case the victory was certain, with fourteen aircraft seen to crash and the fifteenth known to have gone down in China (Read Full Review)
Churchill - Master and Commander, Anthony Tucker-Jones. Focuses on Churchill’s military experiences looking at his brief but adventurous career in the British Army, military experiences as a journalist (sometimes overlapping), his First World War era experiences as First Lord of the Admiralty, an active commander on the Western Front, and return to politics as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Minister of Air, and most famously his time as Second World War Prime Minister (Read Full Review)
Normandy 1944 – German Military Organization, Combat Power and Organizational Effectiveness, Niklas Zetterling . Looks at the actual strength in men and equipment of the German units that fought in Normandy, how many casualties they suffered, how many reinforcements reached them, when they arrived (and which parts of the unit reached Normandy), and their fate at the end of the battle for Normandy. Also includes an examination of the impact of Allied air power, the relative combat effectiveness of the Allied and German armies and a very useful look at the different way in which their armies were organised, and how much of the combat strength was in divisions or supporting units (Read Full Review)
Leyte Gulf – A New History of the World’s Largest Sea Battle, Mark E. Stille. An excellent account of the battle of Leyte Gulf, looking at the flaws in the basic Japanese plan, the background to the battle, then covering each of the individual battles that made up the overall fight seperatly, and including the fighting around Formosa in the days before the invasion of Leyte. A good history of this massive naval battle, with good detail on the overall Japanese plan and its many flaws, the divided US command structure and the four main battles and several subsidiary battles (Read Full Review)
Early Pacific Raids 1942 – The American Carriers Strike Back, Brian Lane Herder. Looks at the early US carrier raids, small scale attacks on isolated Japanese garrisons that came while the Japanese were conquering the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, Malaya and Burma that nevertheless improved US morale, worried the Japanese and gave the US carrier force valuable experience before the bigger battles to come later in 1942. Covers each of these relatively small raids in great detail, filling a gap in most accounts of the Pacific War (Read Full Review)
British Frigates and Escort Destroyers 1939-45, Angus Konstam. Covers the Hunt class escort destroyers, and the River, Loch and Bay class frigates, a series of essential escorts that entered service during the Second World War, and played a major role in the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. Looks at the design process, lists all of the ships in each class with key dates, and then follows the careers of the Hunt class escort destroyer Atherstone and River class frigate Swale to give some idea of the activities of typical members of the class (Read Full Review)
The Russian S-300 and S-400 Missile Systems, Steven J Zaloga. Looks at the development and deployment of the last Soviet strategic air defence missile system, developed during the 1970s to defend Soviet cities and other high value targets, looking at how the original version was developed into longer range and more effective systems, often for the export market. A useful guide to a system that evolved through several different generations in three distinct models, for the air defence force, army and navy (Read Full Review)
Panzer Reconnaissance, Thomas Anderson. Combines descriptions of the various vehicles used by the reconnaissance units (bikes, armoured cars, half tracks and fully tracked) with a history of the reconnaissance units themselves, their official orders of battle, and how they actually performed in action. Gives a much broader picture of the role of these vehicles than books that focus more on the vehicles, and makes it clear that in reality units used whatever vehicles were available, rather than the neat orders of battle (Read Full Review)
Power, Treason and Plot in Tudor England – Margaret Clitherow an Elizabethan Saint, Tony Morgan. Looks at the tragic life of Margaret Clitherow, a Catholic convert in York who was executed for refusing to enter a plea when she was accused of sheltering Catholic priests. Covers the religious history of England from Henry VIII onwards, the increasingly harsh anti-Catholic laws introduced under Elizabeth I, the life and times of Margaret and her family, her earlier brushes with the law, and the events that led to her death. A somewhat depressing but still interesting history of a dark period of religious persecution (Read Full Review)
Meat Grinder – The Battles for the Rzhev Salient 1942-43, Prit Buttar. Looks at the massive battles west of Moscow in 1942 and early 1943, most of which involved unsuccessful Soviet attempts to push the Germans away from Moscow, including Operation Mars, launched alongside the counterattack at Stalingrad, and which ended as a costly Soviet defeat (only to be redeemed by the success at Stalingrad, which forced the Germans out of the salient). Includes a series of costly Soviet defeats, but also an interesting spell where an entire cavalry corps survived for five months behind German lines, and the eventual German retreat from the salient (Read Full Review)
Roman Legionary vs Gallic Warrior 58-52 BC, David Campbell. Looks at three of the key battles between Caesar’s legions and the Gauls, all of which were close fought battles that could have gone the other way, but which this book suggests were won by a combination of Caesar’s own leadership and personal courage and the professionalism of the Roman infantry, which knew what to do in a crisis without waiting for orders. (Read Full Review)
Ju 87 Stuka vs Royal Navy Carriers – Mediterranean, Robert Forsyth. Looks at three attacks made by German Stukas on British carriers in the Mediterranean in 1942 – Illustrious, Formidable and Indomitable – each of which ended with the carriers damaged but not sunk. Includes interesting chapters on the training of Stuka crews and British naval anti-aircraft gunners, the design of the armoured carriers, and the impact of these battles on the naval war in the Mediterranean (Read Full Review)
Leuctra 371 BC – The Destruction of Spartan Dominance, Murray Dahm. An excellent account of this crucial battle, looking at the four different accounts of the fighting in the ancient sources as well as what we know about the commanders, and the Theban plan of battle, and how that contributed to their victory, and with it the start of the rapid decline of Sparta. Especially strong on the differences between the four sources, where they can be reconciled, and where they can not, and the reasons for the differences, especially in Xenophon (Read Full Review)
Armies of the First Sino-Japanese War 1894-95, Gabriele Esposito. Combines a useful account of the build-up to war and the course of the war itself, before moving on to look at the modernised Japanese army and the very varied Chinese forces that opposed them. Provides a good overview of the war that saw Imperial Japan emerge forcefully onto the world stage, and marked a stage in the decline of Qing China. (Read Full Review)
British Coastal Weapons vs German Coastal Weapons – The Dover Strait 1940-44, Neil Short. Looks at the somewhat uneven dual between the German guns around Calais and the smaller number of British guns on the Kent coast, a battle that saw parts of Kent under direct German artillery fire from 1940 until the German guns were captured in September 1944. The book looks at the guns themselves, how they were operated, the impact they had, and how the German guns were eventually captured by the Canadians in 1944 (Read Full Review)
The HAWK Air Defense Missile System, Marc Romanych & Tacqueline Scott. Looks at the standard US air defence missile system of the Cold War, tracing the repeated upgrades to the system (effectively becoming a totally different system more than once), how it was deployed by the US (but never actually fired in anger), and its actual combat record with Israel, Iran and Kuwait. An interesting technical study of the family of HAWK missile systems, (Read Full Review)
Japanese Conquest of Burma 1942 – The Advance to the Gates of India, Tim Moreman. A look at the Japanese conquest of Burma, a campaign that lasted for five and a half months, most of which saw the British retreating, and which saw experienced Japanese soldiers repeatedly defeat inexperienced British, Indian and Burmese troops and eventually overcome experienced Chinese troops in central Burma. An excellent account of this impressive Japanese victory, which completed their conquest of the British Empire east of India, with good material on the Chinese contribution to the campaign (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)
Enigma - How Breaking the Code Helped Win World War II, Michael Kerrigan. Takes a different look at the story of Bletchley Park, focusing on how the information that came from the broken codes was used and how it affected the course of the war. Includes enough material on the code breaking to give proper context, along with accounts of the various campaigns it affected, with the positive and negative results. An interesting approach, that helps place the work of Bletchley Park more firmly in the context of the wider war, looking at both the successes and failures to use the intelligence it provided (Read Full Review)
F2H Banshee Units, Richard R Burgess. Looks at the career of one of the US Navy’s first generation jets of the 1950s, which saw brief combat as a fighter and fighter-bomber in Korea, and longer use as a photo-reconnaissance aircraft, as well as becoming the Navy’s first tactical nuclear bomber, briefly a night fighter (in rather small numbers) and serving with the Canadian air force (Read Full Review)
F6F Hellcat – Philippines 1944, Edward M. Young. Looks at the massive air battles fought by the F6F over the Philippines, first against conventional opposition and later against the Kamikaze. Covers the background to the campaign, the development of the F6F, the status of the rival air forces at the end of 1944, how the US fighter pilots were trained (impressively) and finishes with a look at the combat itself, giving the book a nice balance between background information and the combat accounts (Read Full Review)
Operation Crusader – Tank Warfare in the Desert, Tobruk 1941, Hermann Buschleb, translated David Dorondo. Provides an interesting view of the German side of the first part of Operation Crusader, from the start of the battle to the end of November, with a major focus on Rommel and his activities. Would be better if the combat chapter had continued to the end of the battle rather than stopping at the start of December, but a good German view of the battle (Read Full Review)
Elizabeth’s Navy – Seventy Years of the Postwar Royal Navy, Paul Brown. Traces the evolution of the Royal Navy during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, taking it from the huge post-war Navy of 1952 to the tiny fleet of today, dominated by the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Each chapter begins with a history of that decade, including any naval conflicts (mainly the tail end of Korea and the Falklands War) and how it affected the Navy, then moves on to a series of photographs of sample ships of that period with captions normally describing their fate (Read Full Review)
The D-Day Training Pocket Manual 1944, ed. Chris McNab. A useful selection of official British and American publications that helped establish the doctrine and plans used on D-Day. Covers a wide range of topics, from plans for naval and air support to how to consolidate the beachhead, as well as the intelligence available about the nature of German beach defences (Read Full Review)
III. Germanic SS Panzer-Korps – The History of Himmler’s Favourite SS-Panzer-Korps, 1943-1945: Volume 1: Creation-September 1944, Lennart Westberg, Petter Kjellander & Geir Brenden. A good history of this unit, looking at the very political reasons for its formation, the largely unsuccessful attempts to fill it with Scandinavian volunteers, and the essentially political purpose of the entire Waffen-SS before moving on to look its first year in combat, starting with the brutal anti-partisan actions in Croatia before it moved to the northern end of the Eastern Front where it was caught up in the collapse of the German position at Leningrad and the defence of Estonia (Read Full Review)
The Trafalgar Chronicle New Series 4. Twenty one articles on Nelson’s Navy, with a focus on individuals who had some connection to Nelson (ranging from serving with him, to having seen him at a distance!), as well as articles on topics ranging from early North American ports to hot air balloons or the role of Women in London’s sailortown. Covers a wide range of people, from American privateers to the longest serving officer in the history of the Royal Navy (Read Full Review)
The Phantom Vietnam War – An F-4 Pilot’s Combat over Laos, David R. ‘Buff’ Honodel. The Vietnam memoirs of David R ‘Buff’ Honodel, who served as an F-4 fighter-bomber pilot operating mainly over Laos from a US base in Thailand, often attacking the Ho Chi Minh Trail at its least vulnerable stage. Gives us a very atmospheric account of life as a front line pilot fighting a war that didn’t officially exist, the perils of front line service and the impact of the changing attitude to the war back in the US (Read Full Review)
The Killing Fields of Provence – Occupation, Resistance and Liberation in the South of France, James Bourhill. Looks at the impact of the Second World War on Provence, from the French defeat in 1940 to the liberation in 1944 and on to the end of the war. Looks at the nature of resistance and collaboration, the activities of the resistance and the German operations against them, Operation Dragoon and the fighting that followed, the ‘purge’ that followed liberation, and the use of the area as an American rest camp (Read Full Review)
Napoleon’s Infantry – French Line, Light and Foreign Regiments 1799-1815, Gabriele Esposito. Looks at the organisation, structure and uniforms of the French infantry units during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods. Shows how the Royal army was transformed into the victorious Revolutionary Army with its demi-brigades and attitude of egality, then into Napoleon’s more traditional army, with its regiments, increasingly Imperial rather than Revolutionary insignia and new Imperial nobility (Read Full Review)

Help - F.A.Q. - Contact Us - Search - Recent - About Us -  Subscribe in a reader - Join our Google Group - Privacy