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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 :

  • Grouchy's Waterloo

    Andrew W. Field
    Very early on in this book the author endeared himself to me with two statements. On page 6 he expresses his intention not to name any places without including them on a map. As one who hates having to read with a map open by my side I applaud this notion in spite of the fact that he doesn't always succeed in mapping every place all though the book. On page 12 he refers readers elsewhere for the lead up to Waterloo stating that there is to a plethora of fine books on the subject. Again I was both surprised and pleased to find a 'Waterloo' book that did not start with Napoleon's escape from Elba. The book is written from a factual rather than a judgmental position with many insertions of contemporary and post event quotations from reports and diaries. However the last chapter 'Analysis and Conclusions' , where he does discuss the key controversies, is particularly worthy of note. My overall opinion is that the research has been thorough, the style of writing clear and lucid with many maps and illustrations. A book not to be put down until it is finished. Very highly recommended.
    Pen & Sword Military. Pen & Sword \Books \Ltd., 2017
  • Securing the Narrow |Seas. The Dover Patrol 1914-1918

    Steve R. Dunn
    There is quite a story about efforts in World War One to control that narrow strip of sea which separates Britain from the continent. If not the whole story this book gives a very good impression of covering most of it. From the lowest ranks with 'ordinary men doing extraordinary things' to the damaging petty jealousies and rivalries at the top of the Admiralty. It covers the failures in understanding that sea warfare was changing, failure in ships not really designed to fulfill the tasks asked of them. It illuminates the superhuman efforts and devotion to duty shown by the middle and lower ranks when they were asked to compensate for strategic inadequacies. The ships ranged from drifters taken in from the fishing fleet to monitors fitted with 15 inch guns. The tasks ranged from patrolling the anti-submarine boom, to bombarding enemy troops in Flanders, to the attacks on Zeebrugge and Ostend. Personal stories abound as in the sinking of H M S Sanda taking with it the oldest serving officer at sixty-seven and a signal boy of fifteen. In another incident on the death of a sailor he was found to have two wives, a problem for the pay-office! The book is well written, thoroughly researched, well illustrated. While reading this book I occasional put it down because I was enjoying it so much I didn't want it end. It really is that good.
    Seaforth Publishing. Pen and Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • The Dutch in the Medway

    P. G. Rogers
    Before reading this book you wonder why Seaforth would re-published a 1970 book. When you have finished it you'll say 'I'm glad they did'. The subject is one small but very important battle in the Second Anglo-Dutch war. The author places it in its historical context both the before and after. The writing style is such that reading it is easy, it is detailed enough for the military buff, but not at the expense of the general reader. The text is supported by sufficient maps and a few well chosen illustrations which includes a print of a contemporary map. The author's explanations and opinions are well supported by quotations, included in the text, from the writings of people at that time. His sources, listed at the end of the book, are many and varied. We thoroughly recommend this book. If you are left wanting to know more about the Royal Navy in the latter half of the Seventeenth century then 'Pepys's Navy' by J.D.Davies, reviewed elsewhere on this site, is the book for you.
    Seaforth Publishing. Pen and Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • Hitler's Ardennes Offensive

    Danny S Parker Ed.
    This second book from the same stable [see 'Battle of the Bulge, a German view' reviewed earlier] follows on to deal with the period of attack and its ultimate failure. I felt a privileged and fascinating insight into the Battle of the Bulge. I particularly valued the detail about the attempts to take Bastogne. I have come to realise that the seemingly exaggerated American accounts of the 'glorious defence' are neither exaggerations nor understatements. The book suffers from the same fault as its predecessor in being short on maps, the reader needs a fairly large scale map to fully understand the detail of the manoeuvres. Reading with a map really rewards the effort. Our view is that this a very good piece of work by the editor and is thoroughly recommended to all who who wish to gain greater insights into the Second World War in Europe.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2016
  • The Irish Guards in the Great War

    Rudyard Kipling
    Not a lot of military history books could be better than the war diaries and personal correspondence of the First battalion of the Irish Guards written up by Rudyard Kipling with style. Although narrowly focused on this relatively small group of men it is essentially about every soldiers war. This is because it gets down to the minutiae of single men, section and platoon actions. The sweep of strategy and the grand plans are for other places. The text is well supported with illustrations and maps. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone seeking a full understanding of the Great war.
    Spellmount Ltd., 1997