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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 :

  • The Two Battles of Copenhagen

    Gareth Glover
    This book covers the two battles of Copenhagen, the intervening years and what followed. Both the political and military aspects are dealt with in relation to one another. There is an extensive bibliography should the reader wish to follow up any thread in greater detail.
    I declare my bias I am a Gareth Glover fan and I am pleased to say that this book will not disappoint others like me. The narrative flows easily without getting bogged down in lists or too much factual detail. But the detail, the product of much research, is contained in the appendices of which there are thirty six. The author’s forte in flushing out hitherto unpublished first hand accounts is used to good effect. He makes clear the difference between reporting and opinion whenever he has exercised his judgement especially when dealing with variations between a number of original accounts.
    There are a number of illustrations throughout the book and a well chosen set of colour plates in the centre of the text. The weak point, true of almost every recently published book, are the maps. It is all very well to insert small facsimiles of the original maps which were used at the time but they are very little use without scales to the reader attempting to understand locations. I turned to the maps in The Great Gamble by Dudley Pope, published in 1972, and used its four excellent maps.
    This is a most readable, informative and enjoyable book which we fully recommend to anyone with an interest in the Napoleonic period.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2018
  • Arnhem. Battle for the island and evacuation.

    Battlefield History TV Team
    When I saw the picture on the case of this DVD I had very low expectations of the contents. The main character in the foreground is holding a Sten gun by its magazine and aiming it when it isn’t cocked. This is very wrong firstly because when fired the magazine easily shakes loose and secondly one would need to move the weapon away from the sighting position in order to cock it.
    When I came to watch the DVD I got a pleasant surprise, proving the old adage ‘don’t judge a book [or DVD] by its cover’.
    I found a beautifully presented, accurate account of the final stages of the battle. This is the fourth film in the Operation market garden series. The strategic plan is simply told as is the tactical execution. There is a good balance of talk to camera by the experts and some veterans. The location of the battle as it is today is used as backdrop to aid the explanations of the developments. To balance the talk the film also includes maps, archive footage and re-enactor footage.
    All in all it is good material well presented which kept me interested and entertained for the whole 80 minutes.

    Pen & Sword Digital, 2013
  • Wellington's Foot Guards at Waterloo

    Robert Burnham & Ron McGuigan
    This book by Robert Burnham and Ron McGuigan is a thorough exposition of who the Foot Guards were and what they did. Some readers will think it is telling them more than they need to know. For example when it comes down to colour of eyes and hair why should that matter? It doesn’t ‘matter’ but it, along with the other factors described, does build a strong picture of who those men were as people and incidentally indicates the thoroughness of the authors research. The authors are also to be admired for sticking to their subject and not being pulled into more general descriptions of the battles; even so it is still a large 380 page volume.
    Within those pages are some rather apt plates which support the text and there is an extensive bibliography. The very useful Name index allows the reader to follow many persons through the action, some with over twenty references in the text. I also liked the way that the rank and file are treated which is as well as any other book I have read. There is far more information concerning officers available to the researcher and, while acknowledging this, the authors have compensated for the lack to some extent. This includes the contents of the fifteen appendices which contain a mass of detailed information for the reader to access easily.
    There are some minor criticisms which do not detract from the overall value of the book. The maps are reproductions of those appearing in a book published in 1874 which would have had, and still need, keys and supporting text. The plan of Hougoumont appears on page 136 rather than page 171 as shown in the list of maps.
    In our opinion this book successfully bridges what is a difficult divide between a reference book and a good sit down read and, as such, will delight both the Waterloo buff and the casual reader.

    Frontline Books, 2018
  • United States Army Armoured Divisions of the Second World War (Images of War series)

    Michael Green
    What the title should really say is 'The organisation and structure of ...' as the text of this book is much more about how the command structures that became the US Armoured divisions came about and how they were organised. It gives a brief history of armour development before the war, and how the US Army responded to it.Then it goes into some detail on the ethos behind the various commanders' reorganisations, and how the establishments ended up. There is a very brief section at the end on the battles of the different divisions, but if you were looking for unit histories, I wouldn't choose this. Where the book comes into it's own is, as you'd expect from the series, in the imagery. Basically after the text detailing what vehicles each division was authorised to maintain, there are extensive photographs of all the vehicles and equipment mentioned, showing wherever possible each variant. Using the usual, well produced mix of contemporary black and white photos alongside modern colour images of museum exhibits and restored examples, after going through this book you'll definitely be able to spot an M4A1 from an M4A3(76) Wet. The sometimes dry main text is well balanced by the detailed annotations to the photos. All in all, a thorough coverage for the armoured enthusiast, modeller or re-enactor.
    Pen & Sword Military, Barnsley, 2019
  • Marengo

    T. E. Crowdy
    We have always known the plot of the story of the battle of Marengo reads more like fiction than fact. By 1630hrs on the 14th June 1800 the Austrians had won the battle of Marengo, their Commander in Chief left the battlefield to his deputy. By 2300hrs the Austrians had been routed and the French had won. Here, by the skin of his teeth, the myth of Napoleon’s invincibility was born. The hero triumphs in the end.
    T. E. Crowdy’s Marengo is not a novel but an excellent factual account. However he fills out the facts with detail and evocative descriptions which grip the reader as a good novel should. For example, pg.168, as he writes about Napoleon’s guards he can ‘see’ them and then the reader can too. It is obvious that Crowdy has done a massive amount of research and tried to place it before the reader with integrity and where necessary he has explained his dilemma. His note 4 to chapter 10 should be mandatory in every account of Napoleonic battles.
    The book has 316 pages, 41 appropriate mono or coloured plates, a useful set of end notes and an extensive bibliography. As to the maps, 17 of them, I can only make my usual criticism of the absence of scale for the first six. Also included are five and a half pages of description of the topography of the battle field which gives the third dimension to the maps. Who can see what from where is an important factor on any battlefield.
    This is a book has both story and information it can be both studied and enjoyed. We highly recommend it to all levels of readership

    Pen & Sword Military, 2018