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Our Reviews


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

If you have read, watched or listened to a particularly good item, we would welcome your recommendations too - Send us your reviews.

Featured reviews :

  • Peninsular and Waterloo General

    Marcus de la Poer Beresford
    Here we have a life story which would stretch credulity as a novel but this is no imaginary creation. Denis Pack not only attended many battles but got into the thick of most of them. Multiple times he left the battlefield wounded and as many times he stayed on the battlefield wounded. He lead men in battles in South Africa, South America, the Peninsular and at Waterloo. He knew both defeat and victory and as well as wounds he also suffered imprisonment. He died in London of a ruptured blood vessel aged only 46 years old. His character both as a man and as a commander of men is beautifully drawn out in this book.
    This is a large well-researched book which contains material not previously published presented in an easy readable style. Also there are a number of sketch maps and a good set of relevant photographs.
    A jolly good read which we highly recommend.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2022
  • Naval Battles of the Second World War

    Leo Marriott
    This is a really good read. Together with a companion volume every major naval action of the Second World war is covered. Necessarily the coverage is brief for example the battle of the Atlantic has five pages of text, but every entry is supported with photographs and a map. The author’s intention was to produce a basic guide and in this he has succeeded superbly. For those whose appetites have been whetted the selected bibliography guides them to more extensive descriptions of the battles.
    This is a perfect introduction for anyone new to this field but the ‘old hands’ can still get a lot from it. We highly recommend Leo Marriott’s book.

    Pen & Sword Maritime, 2022
  • Running the Gauntlet

    Bernard Edwards
    I really enjoyed this book, as gripping as a good novel, until it hit home how inappropriate is the word ‘enjoyed’. The men in this book are not fictional characters from some author’s imagination. This is the story of some of the brave men who did a very dangerous job many of whom died in the course of their work. Some were blown to pieces in an instant others died after many days adrift in an open boat or on a Carley float. The job those fellow merchant seamen who survived did, showing courage and skilled seamanship, was crucial to the nation’s survival.
    This well researched book covers only a few of the losses to the merchant navy fleet but it is well representative of the service we should never forget.
    Once started it is a difficult book to put down and we highly recommend it.

    Pen & Sword Maritime, 2022
  • Armoured Warfare in the British Army 1914-1939

    Dick Taylor
    The fly leaf note calls this book a tour de force and so it is. It very thoroughly covers the very beginning of British armoured vehicles through to 1939. The first fumbling attempts towards mechanized warfare gave Britain world leader status by the end of the First World war. The internal politics of the army plus the financial constraints of the depression lost us that leadership by the start of the Second World war. Naturally there is a lot about the use and misuse of the first tanks and some dramatic description of conditions inside them. This book ranges from battlefield heroism to Whitehall shenanigans and tells both stories well.
    There are a lot of photographs scattered through the book, the appendices are a mini reference book in themselves and the bibliography is extensive.
    This is the first of a three volume work and the next volume cannot come too soon. We very highly recommend it

    Pen & Sword Military, 2022
  • Task Force 58

    Rod Macdonald
    Here we have a big meaty read which I enjoyed from cover to cover. This book is well focussed on the fast carriers but it also works on many other levels. Overall it is the story of the naval come back after Pearl Harbour in the course of which there was a change of fleet capital ships from battleships to carriers. The author, Rod Macdonald, has looked with his own eyes on some of the ships wrecked by American carrier aircraft and has done a great deal of research which is here presented in a clear chronological progression. There is little departure from the pure factual level except in some of the many quotations from people involved in the events. Much of the descriptive impact comes from the numbers of ships, planes men and casualties. The fleet assembled for the final attack on mainland Japan had more carriers than there are in the whole of the world’s navies today. There was a large percentage of downed American fliers who were rescued by ships and submarines placed along the route they were expected to take; this contrasts with a military who sent out kamikaze planes and man guided bombs. There are many more themes running through the narrative than can be covered in a brief review all of them are interesting.
    It is a big book of over 500 pages containing a gripping story, a few good photographs, brief biographies of some of the leading Americans and an extensive bibliography. The one weakness is the absence of a good size scaled map of the whole area plus a few maps of particular actions.
    We highly recommend this book.

    Frontline Books, 2021