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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 :

  • Wellington's Infantry

    Gabriele Esposito
    Here is a book with a bit of a wow factor and it goes much further than the title suggests. All the British Guards, Line, Scottish and Light Infantry regiments are covered. Then come the hundreds of units from around the world. A further section covers foreign troops in British service and this includes the Kings German Legion. The range is from the many full regiments raised in Canada to the militia companies of the West Indies. Militias, Veterans and Fencibles are all included even the Select Embodied Militia, making the coverage truly comprehensive. By way of example of the inclusivity one unit mentioned is the grand sounding Canadian Light Dragoons raised in 1813 comprised only eighty men but took part in several engagements until disbanded in 1815. Naturally in a book of 137 pages the coverage of each unit is slight being an overview of the whole picture rather than the detail.
    The many illustrations showing a range of uniforms of different units are really excellent and the bibliography points the reader to further reading. There is also a concluding chapter on uniforms and the changes made in this period.
    Forgive the somewhat misleading title, many of these units mentioned never came anywhere near Wellington’s zone of command. Enjoy a jolly interesting read and put this book in your reference section for dipping into as the need arises or when you just feel like looking at the pictures
    We strongly recommend this book.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • Elizabeth's Sea Dogs and their War against Spain

    Brian Best
    In Brian Best’s book we have all that the title promises. Taking only 185 pages to cover such a rich history it is necessarily a potted account of all the major figures and events. That said we have a really good cover to cover read which doesn’t leave one feeling short changed although it does arouse interest enough to want to explore particular aspects further. Every reader will get something from this book which provokes interest; for me it was the chapter on Military Elizabethans, the men who fought on land and sea.
    The text is complemented with some appropriate illustrations and a brief bibliography.
    We commend this book as one to settle down with and enjoy.

    Frontline Books, 2021
  • A Noble Crusade

    Richard Doherty
    This is the story of the fighting Eighth Army from its creation in 1941 to its disbandment in 1945 . The many levels of action are covered from the strategic thinking which determined its use and its composition, which changed over time, to the individual hero charging a machine gun emplacement. In reading this book one becomes very aware of the changes in the character of their battles from the mile after mile dashes through the desert to the yard by yard slog through Italy. The author draws out the multi-national nature of this ‘British’ army with troops from all over the world from Canada to Poland, the long way round, and even Italians after their country’s capitulation. The index of VCs reflects the multi-national nature; the largest number of VCs being from India and the only double VC of the war was a New Zealander.
    There is an interesting set of photographs, some useful maps and the bibliography is extensive. The research must have been considerable and has resulted in a most readable, at times gripping, story which can be enjoyed by a very wide range of readers.
    After enjoying the book so much it may appear churlish to enter a major criticism but this is the story of less than half the Eighth army. For each man in the firing line there were seven or eight behind the lines, and occasionally in front, enabling the fighter to do his job. For example in the battle of Mareth, when the New Zealanders went through Wilders Gap they were guided by Military Policemen who had been carried well in advance by the LRDG and had signed the route some then stood as individual pointsmen at special places on that route. A chapter on the support Corps would have moved this book from very good to superb.
    Given that caveat we highly recommend it to a wide range of readers.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2020
  • The Castle in the Wars of the Roses

    Dan Spencer
    Forget for a moment the focus on castles and here we have a good overview of the whole of the thirty years Wars of the Roses. Now add in the focus on castles, an oft neglected element in the strife, and you have a very good book. Of course there is a great deal about the military aspects of castle control but ,as this book explains, there was so much more to ‘The Castle’. Not least was the prestige of owning or being in charge of a castle as this was most probably given by royal patronage. Naturally, given a change of king, new people were given the spoils which included the castle and all that went with it. The post Conquest notion of regional power base continued to hold sway both as military and civil realms and area control meant income. Disputes occurred often hiding personal enmities within the context of a civil war even to the extent of fuelling the conflict.
    One thing which has always intrigued me which is reinforced by the information in this book is the tiny size of the garrison in many very large castles. For example huge Caernarfon had about twenty men, Carisbrooke had ten men-at-arms and ten archers, and Harlech about twenty four men for most of the period.
    In addition to the general text there is a set of rather good photographs and four maps but, unfortunately do not have a scale on any of them. Only a selection of the castles mentioned in the text are on the maps and it would have been interesting to have a map showing every castle almost as a density and distribution diagram. The concluding chapter and the three appendices, people, sieges, and garrisons are superb. An extensive bibliography rounds off the book.
    In summary thoroughly researched and well written. We highly recommend this well-known story brought to life in a most readable form with a new twist.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2020
  • The Long Range Desert Group in the Aegean

    Brendan O'Carroll
    I read this book because I had enjoyed the author’s Images of War book on the Long Range Desert Group in North Africa. [reviewed elsewhere on this site]. How could they change from motorized desert men to foot slogging island hopper?
    How they did it comes early in this gripping story of small groups of highly trained and motivated men fighting their war. Every chapters reads like a Boy’s Own story of daring do, of tough fighting and lucky escapes. But unlike adventure stories the heroes don’t always get away. Those that didn’t are listed in the Roll of Honour in the appendices. Brendan O’Carroll has done an enormous amount of research using both published and personal records. He gained the trust of ex-members of the LRDG and of the families of deceased soldiers. The result is a mass of information put over in a no nonsense easily accessible way. What is hardly mentioned, because the focus is so sharp, is the whole Aegean islands debacle which gives their noble exploits a context.
    There are a few maps, some rather special photographs and a bibliography. I did find it useful to have read the desert book first as this seemed to fix the nature of the LRDG.
    We highly recommend this book as a good read and as an insight into a little known war zone.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2020