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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 :

  • Coastal Defences of the British Empire

    Daniel MacCannell
    The physical structures for the defence of the coasts are occasionally touched upon but rarely dealt with in detail. That this book does just that makes it special. The text flows easily and covers the political background, the designs and discussions around them and goes on to the building, equipping and manning of the great variety of structures. In addition to the British Isle overseas territories are covered. There are lots of illustrations placed in their relevant locations throughout the book. Among the extensive end notes there are many references out to further reading.
    This is both an informative and enjoyable read which we recommend to all readers.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • The Second World War Through Soldiers Eyes

    James Goulty
    A great variety of soldiers speak through these pages and their experiences from Call-Up to post discharge is covered. There is mention of all theatres and all branches. Although, understandably, the bulk of the experiences are of active service I found the chapters on being a POW and the casualty/medical chapters fascinating as it is rare to find them dealt with in this way. James Goulty has done an excellent job in selecting quotations as his research must have led him to a very large pool. His text causes one to feel that ‘this is how it really was’.
    It is not a large book, 179 pages, and therefore gives only an overview but the bibliography is very extensive. There is also a set of well annotated photographs.
    Having read many books on detailed aspects of WW2 this book has a value in that it causes one to stand back and perhaps find a new focus. If you start this book you won’t put it down and we recommend you start it.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • 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