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Our Book Reviews


In the course of our research, we have found several books useful so we've listed and reviewed them. Select a category to browse the book list, use the form to search for a specific topic, or select from our featured reviews.

If you have read a particularly good book, we would welcome your recommendations too - Send us your book reviews.

Featured reviews :

  • Securing the Narrow |Seas. The Dover Patrol 1914-1918

    Steve R. Dunn
    There is quite a story about efforts in World War One to control that narrow strip of sea which separates Britain from the continent. If not the whole story this book gives a very good impression of covering most of it. From the lowest ranks with 'ordinary men doing extraordinary things' to the damaging petty jealousies and rivalries at the top of the Admiralty. It covers the failures in understanding that sea warfare was changing, failure in ships not really designed to fulfill the tasks asked of them. It illuminates the superhuman efforts and devotion to duty shown by the middle and lower ranks when they were asked to compensate for strategic inadequacies. The ships ranged from drifters taken in from the fishing fleet to monitors fitted with 15 inch guns. The tasks ranged from patrolling the anti-submarine boom, to bombarding enemy troops in Flanders, to the attacks on Zeebrugge and Ostend. Personal stories abound as in the sinking of H M S Sanda taking with it the oldest serving officer at sixty-seven and a signal boy of fifteen. In another incident on the death of a sailor he was found to have two wives, a problem for the pay-office! The book is well written, thoroughly researched, well illustrated. While reading this book I occasional put it down because I was enjoying it so much I didn't want it end. It really is that good.
    Seaforth Publishing. Pen and Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • The Dutch in the Medway

    P. G. Rogers
    Before reading this book you wonder why Seaforth would re-published a 1970 book. When you have finished it you'll say 'I'm glad they did'. The subject is one small but very important battle in the Second Anglo-Dutch war. The author places it in its historical context both the before and after. The writing style is such that reading it is easy, it is detailed enough for the military buff, but not at the expense of the general reader. The text is supported by sufficient maps and a few well chosen illustrations which includes a print of a contemporary map. The author's explanations and opinions are well supported by quotations, included in the text, from the writings of people at that time. His sources, listed at the end of the book, are many and varied. We thoroughly recommend this book. If you are left wanting to know more about the Royal Navy in the latter half of the Seventeenth century then 'Pepys's Navy' by J.D.Davies, reviewed elsewhere on this site, is the book for you.
    Seaforth Publishing. Pen and Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • Hitler's Ardennes Offensive

    Danny S Parker Ed.
    This second book from the same stable [see 'Battle of the Bulge, a German view' reviewed earlier] follows on to deal with the period of attack and its ultimate failure. I felt a privileged and fascinating insight into the Battle of the Bulge. I particularly valued the detail about the attempts to take Bastogne. I have come to realise that the seemingly exaggerated American accounts of the 'glorious defence' are neither exaggerations nor understatements. The book suffers from the same fault as its predecessor in being short on maps, the reader needs a fairly large scale map to fully understand the detail of the manoeuvres. Reading with a map really rewards the effort. Our view is that this a very good piece of work by the editor and is thoroughly recommended to all who who wish to gain greater insights into the Second World War in Europe.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2016
  • The Irish Guards in the Great War

    Rudyard Kipling
    Not a lot of military history books could be better than the war diaries and personal correspondence of the First battalion of the Irish Guards written up by Rudyard Kipling with style. Although narrowly focused on this relatively small group of men it is essentially about every soldiers war. This is because it gets down to the minutiae of single men, section and platoon actions. The sweep of strategy and the grand plans are for other places. The text is well supported with illustrations and maps. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone seeking a full understanding of the Great war.
    Spellmount Ltd., 1997
  • Battle of the Bulge. The German View

    Danny S Parker Ed.
    A book both enjoyable and frustrating. Enjoyable because of its insights into the complexity of planning the campaign and for the remarkable different view one gets of Hitler. In my view worth reading for that alone. The content is all meat, no padding, and rich in depth and width. A thoroughly worthy piece of work. The frustration comes with the paucity of maps for which I had to compensate with a much larger scale map. If I were Prime Minister I would make it a law that in any work of fact every place named in the text must appear on a map in the book. Also frustrating was the lack of a glossary. Many German general staff ranks are mentioned in abbreviated form and lots of formation initials are used which one has to reference elsewhere. This detracts from the enjoyment and makes reading in bed difficult. Even with those criticisms I would commend this book to anyone interested in a fuller understanding of how wars/battles are planned or with an interest in the Battle of the Bulge.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books \ltd., 2016