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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 Men of Wellington's Light Division

    Gareth Glover and Robert Burnham
    The vast majority of this book consists of letters written by officers of the 43rd Light Infantry to their families and friends back home. The authors have done a splendid job in searching out these previously unpublished accounts of the lives of these men. The reader gets a fascinating insight into what mattered to the men. The range of their concerns/interests is enormous but food, money, clothing, billeting and promotion get regular mention. There isn’t a great deal of detail about the actions they were part of perhaps this is avoided to spare the recipients although the wounding and death of fellow officers and men is often reported. One particular poignant letter from Ensign John Brumwell where, after having the officers on each side of him killed, he writes ‘I am beginning to think the ball is not yet cast that is intended for me.’ The next letter his parents received was to tell them of his death.
    This book contains a wealth of information, written without the ‘benefit’ of hindsight, which will enrich our understanding of life in Wellington’s army. We highly recommend it as a jolly good read.

    Frontline Books, 2022
  • Blood, Guts and Gore.

    John Gordon Smith
    This book is to be enjoyed as a novel although it is so much more than that. The true adventure of John Gordon Smith, an Assistant Surgeon with the 12th Light Dragoons, from pre-Waterloo, through the battle to the end of the occupation of France. Previously published in 1830 and now resurrected by Gareth Glover whose introduction and footnotes enhance the text.
    This book is little more than a fascinating insight into one man’s experiences and thereby to an understanding of soldiering in that time. One can learn How to persuade a young man to have his shattered arm amputated. That the French did not serve horseradish, considered a necessity, with roast beef but it could be obtained from the apothecaries. How you find your regiment again after you’ve been left behind for three days caring for wounded. All this and much more is in John Gordon Smith’s reality and he tells it well.
    We warmly recommend it to a wide range of readership.

    Pen & Sword History, 2022
  • Armoured Warfare in the British Army 1939-1945

    Dick Taylor
    This is the second book in a three part series on Armoured Warfare by Dick Taylor. Part one has a good review on this site and this book is every bit as good. The enormous amount of research is presented in a easy readable way and would appeal to a large range of readers. The key story is the rapid development of both the hardware and the application of it brought about in the heat of warfare. The many failures including those of the senior commanders in the struggle to catch up with German tank warfare are clearly spelt out. The story is told by following the course of the war through the armoured units involved in the variety of campaigns. There are appendices on some technical aspects and a good and necessary glossary.
    This is a book to settle down with for a good read or to use as a reference on armoured actions in World War Two. Roll on the third book of the series.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2022
  • Battle Understanding Conflict Hastings to Helmand

    Graeme Callister & Rachael Whitbread
    This is a rather different sort of book in not being about a war, campaign or battle but rather about all battles. It gives the reader a framework through which to assess any particular battle or conflict. The authors make the case that every conflict has a number of contributing factors which add or subtract from the outcome. Their approach is to give each of these factors a chapter which concludes with an account of one or two battles in which the particular factor was significant. They do stress that all the factors have a part to play to a greater or lesser degree in every battle. They also point out the ever present difficulty of finding accurate information about these matters.
    The aim of the book is to aid in the understanding of battles and in this it succeeds very well indeed.
    We highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand battles of any place or period.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2022
  • Eyewitness at Dieppe

    Ross Reyburn
    Wallace Reyburn was a truly exceptional war correspondent the only one who went ashore during the ill-fated Dieppe raid 1942. He wrote of his experiences in ‘Rehearsal for Invasion’ a war time best seller. This book, written by his son Ross, has three parts. Part one, A Fortunate Survivor, Ross introduces his father to the reader and places the Dieppe raid in its context. Part two, Rehearsal for Invasion, is Wallace Reyburn’s account of his involvement in the landing. He doesn’t shy away from the brutality of close-quarter combat and records the bravery of the Canadian troops fighting against better armed more numerous Germans. Part three, The Appendices, give a flavour of the times and how the book was received.
    The adventure is ‘Boys Own’ stuff, beautifully written, absorbing yet gritty in parts. The whole rings true and we highly recommend it as a very good read.

    Pen & Sword History, 2022