Clash of Steel
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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 :

  • United States Airborne Divisions 1942-2018 (Images of War series)

    Michael Green
    Another in the "Images of War" series, this is a good overview of the equipment and organisation of, primarily, the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, with some coverage of other divisions and their brief histories. It nicely blends their WW2 histories with airborne actions since then, up to their modern organisation, kit and equipment, and vehicles/aircraft including their current deployment of drones.
    The main focus of the book is, of course, the usual mix of photographs that you will have come to expect if you are a regular to these publications. Archive and in theatre images are coupled with museum exhibits, reenactors and press/publicity photos. A very handy volume.
    Pen & Sword Military, 2019
  • The Zeppelin

    Michael Belafi (Trans. Cordula Werschkun)
    This is a fascinating study of a fascinating man and his more than life-long obsession with lighter-than-air flight. It primarily covers Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin's life and the early Zeppelins, before the 1st World War. There are copious photographs from the early days covering the main developments and achievements, and I have rarely seen such coverage in a single book. There is a very short chapter on their use as a weapon in WW1, and it is clear that the author thoroughly disapproved of it's militarisation, and gives it very little space, but I think it should be applauded for that. There are plenty of books demonising the Zeppelins, and it's very refreshing to have one that doesn't.
    There is also a decent section on what I would call the glory days of the dirigibles, during the 1920's and early 30's but the main focus is still the early years, since the Count himself died in 1917 and I feel that the book is none the less for that. There is even a final chapter that covers the modern airships that are the Count's direct descendants which is valuable to provide a sense of continuity and re-birth.
    The text in some places can seem a little unusual to English eyes, since it is quite clearly and unashamedly a translation of a German work. But I found that once I had accustomed myself to that, it read smoothly and enthusiastically. It fills an important gap on my early aviation bookshelf, and I would unhesitatingly recommend it to fill the similar gap on yours.
    Pen & Sword Aviation, 2015
  • Gurkha Odyssey

    Peter Duffell
    An odyssey is a long eventful journey and an appropriate title for this book. The story is of the author’s journey with and in the Gurkha ‘family’. The manner of its telling, in the main, is like a dinner party conversation with an excellent raconteur. In the telling not only do we see the Gurkhas but we see the author. Peter Duffell is a fighting man both with his men in the jungles of Borneo and for his men in the corridors of Whitehall. The period covered is from the early 1960s to 2018 with some coverage of early history. The unit focused on is the 2nd Gurkhas and therefore sadly does not include the Gurkha contribution to the Falklands war [7th Gurkhas].
    The book is well illustrated with a dozen pages of colour plates and some super Ken Howard drawings. Nine maps, all with scales, help in the telling of the journey. There is more to Gurkha history than told here and this book is a taster which will leave you wanting to find out more.
    Gurkha Odyssey is a most enjoyable cover to cover read which we highly recommend.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2019
  • British Submarines in Two World Wars

    Norman Friedman
    This book was a real eye opener for me. I thought I knew quite a lot about submarines but my knowledge paled into insignificance when found the wealth of information before me. Here is a book that tells you all you need to know about submarines. One could probably build a period submarine with little more than the plans and descriptions here laid out. But the book is more than a technical manual. The thinking and attitudes which under pinned the planning and the execution of the Royal Navy’s submarine strategy are well described. The inter-war years are particularly fascinating in this respect. The vessels themselves and the thinking behind them range from the actual through the practical and onto the weird and wonderful. Many things caught my eye and imagination among which were beam firing torpedoes, a large submarine cruiser mounting 6 x 6” guns, some very strange and ugly hull forms, and an aircraft carrying submarine which was built but never went into service. There is also a special mention for the only action in which a submarine has torpedoed another while both were submerged.
    This is a large book, 295 mm by 250 mm portrait with 429 pages. There are many photographs, about one per page in total, all appropriately annotated. There are many reproductions of technical drawings from the National Maritime Museum and numerous superb John Lambert drawings. There are also two three page and one four page spread of whole ship drawings from the NMM. It is clearly the product of a massive amount of research written up in a very readable style. However I would caution against cover-to-cover reading unless you can absorb facts at a very high rate. There is no dross, ‘all meat and no gravy’ as my grandfather would say.
    This is a rather special book and we highly recommend it.

    Seaforth Publishing, 2019
  • The Last British Battleship HMS Vanguard 1946-1960

    R A Burt
    The last books I reviewed, published by Seaforth, were two volumes on Coastal Forces [see elsewhere on this site] which dealt with the smallest WW2 Naval craft so it is quite a jump to the largest battleship we ever built. Vanguard’s displacement was about 500 MTBs a truly magnificent ship which I know from personal experience having been on board at a Navy Day in Portsmouth in the late 1950s. So my question was is this book as good as the Coastal Forces books and will it do the ship justice?
    My hopes were fully realised by the text, the photographs and the technical drawings. The text is very technical in parts which truly reflects the subject but in the main can be easily followed. Although there are a few difficult bits where unexplained initials are use. The photographs are many and varied showing every stage of the ship from builders yard to breakers yard. One very poignant picture, the last in the book, is of the bow section just lying forlorn in the mud.
    The technical drawings, nearly all by the author, are superb. The drawings are of the whole ship including two three page and one four page spreads. There are also many detailed drawings of weapons systems, radar etc. All drawings are fully annotated as appropriate to their scale.
    All this is presented in a beautifully produced large portrait format, about 260mm X 300mm.
    We very highly recommend this well researched work.
    Footnote: There is an error in the title as the Royal Navy still has a battleship in commission
    i.e. H M S Victory, flying the flag of the Second Sea Lord/C-in-C Naval Home Command.
    Seaforth Publishing, 2019