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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 :

  • Hitler's War in Africa 1941-42

    David Mitchelhill-Green
    This is a quality read which I am sorry to say, by ending just after Alamein, finishes too soon. It is clear from the massive bibliography and extensive footnotes that a great deal of research has gone into the writing of this book. There is sufficient information about the strategic position of the North African theatre to give context to the tactical events. However the real life of the book is in the quotations from individuals on both sides of the conflict. The reader isn’t spared from the truth about war and some of the more gruesome passage make quite uncomfortable reading. One British soldier’s comment on burying German dead has stuck with me he wrote ‘apart from the uniform they are just like us.’
    There are a few useful maps most of which have scales and keys. There are sixteen pages of appropriate photographs but incidentally there are many more in David Mitchelhill-Green’s Images of War books from this same publisher.
    This book is both informative and gripping, a jolly good read, which we highly recommend and hope that a further book, Alamein to the end, is on the way.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • The Great Waterloo Controversy.

    Gareth Glover
    Another classic Gareth Glover about the battle of Waterloo but this book is firmly focussed on the 52nd Foot. There is a little about the regiment prior to the battle and slightly more about them up to the end of their time in France after the fall of Paris. The 52nd became the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry notably going in gliders to hold Pegasus bridge on D-day, WW2.
    The controversy referred to in the title is around the defeat of the Imperial Guard in the final stages of the battle. So many accounts present the myth that it was the foot guards alone who achieved this. Glover expertly and conclusively destroys the myth, explaining on the way how it came into existence, and replaces it with the best available evidence of what really happened. The author qualifies his reliance on first-hand accounts by the nearness in time to the event that the account was written and the proximity to the action of the various writers. A large part of the accounts are included in the text. The last two chapters and the appendices are an excellent summary of what is in effect a mass of primary data.
    There are some useful maps, a nice set of photographs and an extensive bibliography.
    We highly recommend this book which, as well as being a jolly good read, is also a lesson in battle history writing.

    Frontline Books, 2020
  • Battle for the Bocage 1944

    Tim Saunders
    This is the story of one small campaign of a whole world war. This is the crucial action which turned a toe hold into a hand hold. The desperate struggle which was pushed forward by the 50th Division aided by 7th and 8th Armoured divisions, Royal Artillery and all other support arms. The text is very clear and there are numerous photographs, almost one per page, of the people and the equipment. There are maps of different kinds which cover every planned advance and the general area of operations. Unfortunately not a single one has the scale which leaves the reader to work hard with the text to understand the distances involved.
    The narrative works at the level of divisions, battalions, batteries, companies, platoons, squadrons, troops, sections and individuals. The ‘voices’ of the officers and men plus their various citations for bravery tell a vivid tale. Also the German side is not neglected from the reporting of actions and feelings. I would like to have seen a full body count at the end for this campaign, it must have been very high and would have served as a sobering reminder of the real cost of this ‘hand hold’.
    This book is not easy to put down, it’s a real page turner. You may of course reflect that when you finish it the campaign will be much clearer to you than it was at the time to any of those involved from Army commander to Tommy Atkins. The fog of war has been blown away by Tim Saunders.
    We highly recommend this great read.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021
  • Italian Battleships Conte di Cavour and Duilio Classes 1911-1956

    Ermino Bagnasco and Augusto de Toro
    This is the story of the ships of two classes of Italian battleships, Conte di Cavour and Duilio Classes from their beginnings to their ends. The design decisions which brought them into being, the building processes, their wartime activities and the finale of the breakers yards are all here. The period covered is from 1911 to 1956. The book is packed with information which could only have been gathered and presented through painstaking research by the two authors. The text is clear and lucid and is supported by an incredible number of photographs of all aspects of the ships’ existence. Even the various camouflage designs and colours are illustrated. There cannot be much to be known about these vessels, as individual ships that is not in this book.
    It is a pleasure to read and we warmly recommend it to a wide range of readers.

    Seaforth Publishing, 2021
  • Napoleon's Imperial Guard

    Gabriele Esposito
    This is a fairly slim volume to cover such a large topic but what it does it does very well. From the book as a whole two things come out very clearly. The first is how personal to Napoleon the Imperial Guard was and secondly how complete an army, albeit a small army, the total guard was. At its core was the infantry added to which were the cavalry, heavy and light including lancers, foot and horse artillery, engineers, sailors and Gendarmerie. The development of this special body of troops is traced from the pre-revolutionary Royal guard through the Consular guard to its final Imperial title. This includes the ebb and flow of its composition always with Napoleon’s personal stamp upon it . The creation and nature of the Old, Middle and Young Guards is clearly spelt out. The use of foreign troops within the Guard e.g. Poles and Mamelukes, continues to draw out the personal connection of Napoleon with his soldiers. The strong focus of the book is on the uniforms which are described in detail and supported by superb illustrations of many of them.
    We recommend this book as an eye opening introduction to this special element of the Napoleon myth.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2021