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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 :

  • Roman Britain's Missing Legion

    Simon Elliot
    Here we have an historical detective story pursued with academic rigour. The mystery trail is that of the legio IX Hispana from its raising by Octavian in 44/43 BC to its disappearance from the historical record between 104 and 108 AD. All the plausible explanations are dealt with. The four major possibilities/probabilities are each considered both in an evidential way and speculative way. The conclusions are as precise and strong as the evidence allows. This raising and discussion of the possibilities is the substance of the book and is fascinating to follow
    There are some appropriate photographs and an excellent bibliography. .To give away the conclusion would be to spoil a real detective story.
    We highly recommend this book.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • Desert Raids with the SAS

    Gerald Hough
    This is a truly remarkable story which rings true from beginning to end. It reads like a novel or Boys Own adventure story except that it includes the blood and the gore and not a lot of glory. Stoic bravery, mental strength and raw courage are the qualities which run as a thread throughout the book. Gerald Hough has written up his father Anthony’s wartime experience with his regiment in North Africa, with the SAS and as an escaped prisoner of war. Much of the text is gripping and makes the book difficult to put down. There are many notable events and one of which stands out for me is Major Hough’s terror at being depth-charged while being transferred as a p.o.w. from North Africa to Italy in an Italian submarine.
    There is a very good set of supporting photographs and two appendices which bring the story up to date. The title of the book is misleading as there are only two of the sixteen chapters about the SAS and only one raid is described.
    We highly recommend this book as a fascinating insight into one man’s war.


    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • United States Marine Corps in the Korean War

    Michael Green
    As with all of this series of ‘Images of War’ the pictures with their appropriate annotations are the story. However the supporting text places the sets of photographs in their context. All aspects of the marines involvement in the war are covered and this clearly spells out their special role. In addition to the photographs of the marines in action there are pictures of their equipment from carbines to aircraft. There also many photographs of the weapons used by their opponents. Michael Green has done a superb job in pulling these together from many disparate sources.
    The final impression of the Korean conflict is that the fighting was tough and at times the weather was tougher. But the real ‘grit’ of the book comes in the final paragraph. Although there were rarely as many as 20,000 marines in Korea at any one time there were over 30,000 casualties in the course of the conflict among which were 436 aircraft of the marines airwing.
    We warmly recommend this book to all our readers and especially those unfamiliar with this ‘sideshow’ of a war. Having read this you will want to go on and read more about this conflict.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • The Power and the Glory

    Steve Dunn
    This is a novel view of the Royal Navy over most of its existence. Naval Reviews were the pulling together of the fleet to show the nation’s power and might ostensibly [even ostentatiously] to the monarch but to friends and potential enemies alike. The author has brought together a fascinating array of information not only about the ships but material ranging from the strategic background to the lunch menus. The result is a brilliant overview of our changing navy with a bonus of insight into the society of the time of change.
    Photographs abound throughout the book and the text is lucid and engaging .
    However for those, like me, who love the Royal Navy the full story is a tragedy. The book tells the nation’s story of increasing power until its zenith and then the steady decline to today’s level. This is also the navy’s story.
    We highly commend this novel approach to naval history to all readers.

    Seaforth Publishing, 2021
  • Napoleon and the Art of Leadership

    William Nester
    When I first saw this book I was fearful that it was just another biography of Napoleon. But part of the title ‘the art of leadership’ intrigued me. I was pleased to find that the author stuck faithfully to his brief for at least the first three-quarters of the book. The focus was very clearly on the leadership actions and thinking of Napoleon himself and includes on the way the large amount of advice on leadership he gave to others. The final quarter reverts to more of a biography which perhaps reflects the absence of fresh thinking on Napoleon’s part.
    Almost incidentally to the main theme we end up with a rather good biography of this ‘flawed genius’. We see the initial energy and drive of the genius become more and more egocentric until the flaws take over. This narrative flows through the book and beautifully draws out the increasing mismatch between what Napoleon said/wrote and what he did.
    It is quite a large book as befits the subject with 395 pages of well written text and with over a hundred further pages of supporting notes.
    We highly recommend this book to those who only want a good read about the life of a ‘flawed genius’ and those who want more will get more.

    Frontline Books, 2020