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Our Book Reviews


In the course of our research, we have found several books useful so we've listed and reviewed them. Select a category to browse the book list, use the form to search for a specific topic, or select from our featured reviews.

If you have read a particularly good book, we would welcome your recommendations too - Send us your book reviews.

Featured reviews :

  • Marshal Ney at Quatre Bras

    Paul L. Dawson
    Do we need another book about Waterloo? If they are like this we most certainly do. This book is different because of the primary source material researched to create it. The usual story is not trotted out without a fresh critical analysis. Within the book one chapter stands above all others for me and that is chapter 8. The movements of 1st Corps is a tale of mismanagement and confusion and has been a source of conjecture for all who study Quatre Bras. Paul Dawson makes, as clear as possible, the events of the day carefully weighing the evidence for the ultimate actions of the key players. He makes the confusion clear while bewailing the fact that verbal exchanges which could have played an important part on the day are lost to history. This is a book for the Waterloo 'aficionado' written in a way which is easily accessible to the general reader. I highly recommend this book and at the time of writing look forward to, the soon to be published, Paul Dawson's 'Waterloo. The Truth at Last'.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • The Forgotten War against Napoleon

    Gareth Glover
    Initially I was confused. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't this. It didn't seem like a Gareth Glover, a writer I admire immensely. It is about conflicts around the Mediterranean which I knew of and were in no way forgotten. The chapters were short and pithy, with a wealth of footnotes. However once I got into the swing of the book, and it does swing along, I found I was greatly enjoying it. In effect it became a Gareth Glover. It is written in a most readable style with loads of well researched information. The book has 56 chapters, the shortest only one page long, 16 illustrations, all contemporary with the events, and 33 maps. For me the true value of this book is that it connects events which are most usually only studied in isolation. What the author has demonstrated is the inter-connection between seeming disparate events. The connection coming about because they are on or of the Mediterranean. When I finished this book I was sorry it wasn't longer. It is a tour de force and reminded me of areas which I now want to revisit and to read more about in greater detail. It is an excellent overview. The only thing wrong with it is the title.
    Pen & Sword Military. Pen & Sword \Books \Ltd., 2017
  • Man of War

    Anthony Sullivan
    Having very recently read about the development of the supply system for the Baltic fleet [see Transformation of British Naval Strategy review on this site] I developed an interest in the career of Admiral Saumarez. Quite fortuitously I found Anthony Sullivan's new book on the life of the man himself. The book covers the whole of his life and, as one would expect from the title, gives a lot of information about his naval career. The ships he served on, the ships he commanded, the squadrons and fleets he eventually led, as well as the actions he was in are all there. Saumarez did not fight in the battle of Trafalgar and, to the authors credit, that battle gets only a paragraph in passing. The author has done his research and does not need to pad out the narrative. The book is without illustrations but has a sufficient number of maps and battle plans to support the text. Saumarez was a remarkable fighter, a true naval hero, a family man and a man of his time who was not free of some minor blemishes this I know from reading this excellent book.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • The Transformation of British Naval Strategy

    James Davey
    This is a book aimed more at the specialist rather than the general browser. Having said that it is written in an easy flowing style which makes the subject matter easy to understand. The subject of the book, sub-titled 'seapower and supply in Northern Europe 1808 to 1812' is the logistical problem of keeping a substantial fleet supplied with all its needs far from any base. The story is one of the evolution and development of systems which brought together the different branches of the supply chain to become a very efficient 'machine'. The end user, Admiral Saumarez's fleet, contributed greatly, in terms of the feed back, to the vast improvements made. The text is supported by very few illustrations and maps but with a wealth of tables and graphs. A book not to missed by students of Napoleonic naval warfare. I warmly recommend a fascinatingly good read.
    The Boydell Press, 2012
  • The Global Seven Years War

    Daniel Baugh
    This book is no lightweight with 665 pages of really 'meaty' text and a further 81 pages of supporting notes and index. The content covers, in depth, the full nine years of the Seven Years War. The military, naval and the political aspects with their necessary interactions are well covered. The character, motivation and machinations of the leading figures are described as are the resultant effects. The book is without illustrations but has seventeen supporting maps. The narrative flows easily and logically and pages once started are difficult to put down because always there is something interesting coming next. The vast majority of the text is free from the author's opinions and comments which are reserved for the long final chapter. A war of four continents and seven oceans in one excellent readable book.
    Routledge, 2014