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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 :

  • Suez Crisis 1956

    David Charlwood
    Another in the 'Cold War 1945-1991' series, and in this shortened format they can sometimes 'bite off more than they can chew' - in 128 pages they can sometimes attempt to cover too much and either end up superficial or miss bits out. However this one is just about right. It sets the whole crisis in it's context. It covers the disagreements and wider political climate and you get a good picture of the 'why' and the 'how' of Egypt and President Nasser's move on the canal. It is very light on the actual military action, but good on the political side in particular the actions of Anthony Eden and Eisenhower. It also has an afterward drawing parallels between Suez and the 2003 Iraq war. In all, a good summary of an event that still has echos today.
    Pen & Sword Miitary, Barnsley, 2019
  • Britain's Desert War in Egypt and Libya 1940-1942

    David Braddockl
    This is a text book written for officers studying for Staff College and Promotion examinations. It is a concise account of a very significant part of our military history, covering, as it does, the North African campaign from 1940 to 1942. Each battle, advance and retreat is covered and the book finishes at the battle of El Alamein. It is an engaging and eminently readable account which, when I had finished it, I wished it had continued all the way to the end of the North African campaign.
    The focus is on senior officer ranks in their administration especially command and control and shows clearly how it differed from commander to commander.
    There are a few photographs and many useful maps placed appropriately throughout the text. At the end of the book are some supportive appendices including quite a tough set of questions for any readers who really want to challenge themselves.
    David Braddock’s book was written with a serious purpose and it is a great pleasure to read. This book is superb and we highly recommend it.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2019
  • A Spy in the Sky

    Kenneth B Johnson
    Subtitled "A Photographic Reconnaissance Spitfire Pilot in WWII", this is as it seems, a memoir of a PR pilot. But it's more than just that. Johnson was a young airman volunteer, who knew only that he didn't want to be drafted into the army to face terror and death on the battlefield. So as soon as he was old enough he volunteered for the RAF thinking he'd spend the war sweeping out hangars. Somehow he ended up being chosen for NCO aircrew, showed an aptitude and volunteered for Spitfires, albeit unarmed ones! This led to him being in almost suicidal situations flying from North African airfields over the Med in unarmed, barely serviceable aircraft deep into enemy territory. It is a touching book, written in his own words, about how poorly he was treated as an 'other rank' in an officer's world. Even after he received his commission, he felt no acceptance and his health suffered as a result. This book fills in a valuable gap, exploring a very different viewpoint of Spitfire flying and is to be recommended.
    Pen & Sword Air World, Yorkshire, 2019
  • The Royal Navy 1800-1815

    Mark Jessop
    This book follows Mark Jessop’s The Royal Navy 1793-1800 [ reviewed elsewhere on this site] There have been many books written about the Royal Navy of the Napoleonic period these books are different. The difference is due to two main factors one the presentation and two the sources. The author has confined himself to primary source material mostly written within a decade of the events. This, in itself, is not so uncommon but it is the presentation of the information that makes this book almost unique and imparts a special liveliness to the ‘facts’. The author has created about twenty people who report, discuss and reflect upon events as they understand them from their stations in life in the times in which they lived. It is to the author’s credit that the voices ring true.
    We warmly recommend this book to ‘beginner’ and ‘old-hand’ alike. The beginner because it makes the information so accessible and real. The old-hand because it enriches the wealth of information with a flavour of the times.

    Pen & Sword History, 2019
  • The Trafalgar Chronicle, New Series 4

    Ed. Peter Hore
    The Trafalgar Chronicle is the journal of The 1805 Club which publishes new research into a broad range of subjects connected with the Georgian navy. This edition, new series 4, edited by Peter Hore, contains twenty-one articles many of them with an American interest but with a wide range of subject matter. Among the articles is the intriguingly titled ‘Nelson was an Irishman’, as well as articles on ‘Sin Bo‘suns’, the oldest Admiral of the Fleet ever with a naval service of 96 years, and ‘Jack Punch’ the one black post-captain of the period. The subjects of the non-biographical articles include privateers, the balloon, carronades, the battle of St. George’s Cay and the Russians on the Tagus. I could go on to list all the articles as I enjoyed everyone.
    The book is beautifully produced with some rare appropriate illustrations, and extensive references. A rather nice touch are the brief biographies of the contributors.
    Every article is well written, extensively researched, informative and a joy to read. We highly recommend it to both expert and layman alike.

    Seaforth Publishing, 2019