Books on Wars since 1945

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Iraq
Arab-Isreali Wars
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Books - Wars Since 1945

Iraq

The Funny Side of War for the Sick and Demented, Mat Vance. An unvarnished account of the experiences of a US Army Scout who served during the war in Iraq, but focusing on the more light-hearted (for a certain definition of light-hearted) aspects of his service career. The stories ring true, although it is unusual to find an author willing to put himself at the centre of quite so many escapades. Provides a different point of view of life in the modern US military, and thus a valuable work. [read full review]
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Baghdad Operators: Ex Special Forces in Iraq, James Glasse with Andrew Rawson. Looks at the experiences of a retired British Special Forces soldier who ended up founding a sizable security firm operating in Iraq in the years after the Second Gulf War. Takes the reader through the chaos of Iraq, where survival was often a matter of random chance, helped by the impressive skills acquired by Glasse and his colleagues. [read full review]
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Iraq Full Circle, Col Darron L. Wright. A compelling and thoughtful eyewitness account of the war in Iraq written by an American officer who took part in just about every phase of the war, from the original invasion through the rising insurgency to the Surge and the slow improvement in conditions that followed, right through to the very last combat patrol in Iraq. Gives an informed view on what the US did right and wrong during the war and how the US military learnt from its early experiences. [read full review]
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Operation Iraqi Freedom: US Army Abrams, Bradley & Stryker, Andy Renshaw & Ryan Harden. Combines a look at the history and development of each type of vehicle with a detailed illustrated walk-round of real machines and an interesting modelling guide, in each case taking a base kit and at least one or two upgrade or modification kits, and giving useful advice on how to combine the various components to produce an impressive final model. [read full review]
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Blood, Sweat and Steel: Frontline accounts from the Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq, Peter Darman. A collection of frontline accounts from a wide range of participants in the two recent wars in Iraq and the current war in Afghanistan that makes a valuable contribution to the literate on the nature of combat, as well as being published for a good cause in Help for Heroes. [read full review]
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F-14 Tomcat Units of Operation Enduring Freedom, Tony Holmes. This book covers the use of the  F-14 Tomcat in Operation Enduring Freedom to conduct long range bombing strikes in Afghanistan. It shows how a combat aircraft can be adapted when it is fairly redundant in its original role. A well illustrated Osprey, full of comments from the actual pilots. [see more]
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Arab-Isreali Wars

Mirage III vs MiG-21, Six Day War 1967, Shlomo Aloni. Looks at the development of both aircraft, their entry in Israeli and Arab service and the actual fighting during the Six Day War, a short enough conflict to allow the author to look at every clash between the Mirage III and MiG 21 [read full review]
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The Six Day War 1967: Jordan and Syria, Simon Dunstan. A well balanced account of the fighting on the Syrian and Jordanian fronts of the Six Day War, two short but critically important campaigns that saw the Israelis capture all of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, with an interesting post-script on the war's political impact in Israel and the Arab world. [read full review]
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Israel's Lightning Strike: The raid on Entebbe 1976, Simon Dunstan. This second entry in Osprey's new Raid series looks at the long range operation mounted by the Israelis to rescue terrorist hostages being held at Entebbe in Uganda. After sections on hijacking and the Palestinian terrorist organisations, we get a day-by-day account of the crisis, while the second half of the book focuses on the raid. A well organized and clearly written account of one of the most daring anti-terrorist operations ever carried out. [Read Full Review]
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Africa

Watershed - Angola and Mozambique: A Photo-History - The Portuguese Collapse in Africa, 1974-75, Wilf Nussey. An excellent photographic history of the end of the Portuguese Empire in Africa, triggered by the overthrow of the Fascist regime back in Portugal. Based around the photos take by the Argus Africa News Service, supported by a text written by  the then head of the service. Follows a tragic tale of great but disappointed expectations after Independence was followed by prolonged civil wars in both countries. [read full review]
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The Rebel in Me - A ZANLA Guerrilla Commander in the Rhodesian Bosh War, 1975-1980, Agrippah Mutambara . Very much the insider's view of the Liberation struggle in Zimbabwe (with about half of the book looking at the Rhodesian attack on the ZANLA HQ at Chimoio), written by a key figure in the political side of the struggle who is still loyal to Mugabe. Fascinating material on the ZANLA struggle, just be aware that politically this is very one sided. [read full review]
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Bushmen Soldiers: The History of 31, 201 & 203 Battalions during the Border War 1974-90, Ian Uys. Looks at the history of two battalions of Bushmen soldiers who served with the South Africans during the Border War in Namibia/ South West Africa, after fleeing Angola at the end of Portuguese rule. Somewhat uneven in place, and in need of more background material, this is still an interesting account of a fascinating unit and its men. [read full review]
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Bush War Rhodesia 1966-1980, Peter Baxter . A valuable look at a conflict in which the well trained Rhodesian military won almost every direct confrontation of the Bush War, but at the same time lost the overall war, after failing to protect their population from repeated attack. Takes a balanced approach to the topic, acknowledging that the Rhodesian cause was morally insupportable and the overall campaign almost unwinnable, even while examining a military campaign in which just about every direct clash was won by the Rhodesian military. [read full review]
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General Works

America's Modern Wars - Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, Christopher A. Lawrence. A largely statistical analysis of post-war counterinsurgency warfare, looking to see if there are any patterns that might help explain the outcome of insurgencies. Provides some thought provoking data, suggesting that high force ratios are key, as long as the insurgency doesn't get too big, and also goes some way to disproving other ideas. Not great on the human element of these conflicts, but still a very valuable study of the sort of conflicts that look to dominate in the future [read full review]
US Army Rangers 1989-2015, Leigh Neville. Looks at the current incarnation of the US Rangers, looking at its involvement in Panama, Iraq (twice), Somalia and Afghanistan. Tracing the development of the Rangers from a unit expected to conduct short sharp operations against high value targets into one capable of operating at a high tempo for long periods of time, repeated conducting several raids on the same day. An interesting book that doesn't skip over the regiment's failures in its current form, as well as looking at its impressive successes [read full review]
Helmand to the Himalayas - One Soldier's Inspiration Journey, David Wiseman. A two-part memoir, starting with the author's experiences in Afghanistan, where he took part in the British deployment to Helmand, where he was involved in the aftermath of a traumatic attack on British troops by bogus Afghan policemen, then moving on to his recovery from the physical and mental trauma the author suffered after being badly wounded in combat. This second section is the most valuable, with an unflinching account of the impact of post traumatic stress and an entertaining account of the Everest expedition that helped with the author's recovery [read full review]
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Honourable Warriors: Fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, Richard Streatfield. Follows the experience of a company commander operating in Sangin in 2009-2010, during a period of intense active operations in which his unit slowly began to win control of the area away from the local Taliban, although at fairly heavy cost. Contains a detailed analysis of the correct way to operate in this sort of environment if there was to be any chance of long term success, and how that was implemented at company level. [read full review]
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Special Forces Pilot - A Flying Memoir of the Falklands War, Richard Hutchings. . Follows the experiences of a helicopter pilot during the Falklands War, as he got used to new night vision equipment, supported early Special Forces operations on the island and then took part in a rather farcical operation on the mainland of South America. Gives a feel for an operation conducted on a very narrow margin. [read full review]
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Helmand - Diaries of Front-Line Soldiers, Various Authors. Focuses on the diaries of John and Ian Thornton, brothers who served in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2011-12 respectively. John was killed close to the end of his tour of duty, and profits from the book go to the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, a charity founded to honour his memory. The two Thornton diaries are supported by two other diaries and two personal reminiscence to produce a vivid picture of the life of a frontline solder in Afghanistan. [read full review]
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Images of War: The Soviet-Afghan War, Anthony Tucker-Jones. A photographic history of the disastrous Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a conflict that lasted for most of the 1980s and drained the Soviet economy and military as well as leaving Afghanistan devastated and vulnerable to the Taliban takeover after a prolonged civil war. [read full review]
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Concrete Hell - Urban Warfare from Stalingrad to Iraq, Louis A. DiMarco. Looks at nine very varied examples of urban warfare from the largely conventional fighting in Stalingrad in 1942 to the political manoeuvring required in more modern conflicts such as the battle for Ramadi in 2006-7. Looks at both the 'what' and the 'how' of urban warfare in an attempt to examine how the urban battle can be won in future. [read full review]
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America's Elite - US Special Forces from the American Revolution to the Present Day, Chris McNab. Takes segments from a number of earlier Osprey titles to produce a history of US Special Forces from the pre-revolutionary Rangers to the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, with material on the Civil War, the Second World War, Vietnam and the post 9-11 wars. [read full review]
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US Marine Infantry Combat Uniforms and Equipment 2000-12, J Kenneth Eward. Looks at the equipment used by the US Marine Corps during a prolonged period of combat that forced the introduction of improved uniforms, protective equipment and weapons to deal with an unexpectedly dangerous battlefield. Behind the sea of acronyms (for which the author can't be blamed!) is a very valuable account of the way in which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have forced the Marines into a rapid programme of re-equipment. [read full review]
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Operation Enduring Freedom: America's Afghan War 2001 to 2002, Tim Ripley. A well balanced account of the American campaign to topple the Taliban and disrupt or destroy Al Qaeda, with interesting sections on the pre-war Taliban, the CIA's early involvement in Afghanistan, the uneven progress of the short war and the controversial aftermath of the removal of the Taliban from power. [read full review]
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Underground Structures of the Cold War: The World Below, Paul Ozorak. Looks at what underground structures were built, when and most importantly why, focusing on the main players in the Cold War but with brief chapters on a wide range of countries. The focus of most structures was on survivability during a nuclear war, so the book serves as a vivid reminder of the apocalyptic dangers of the Cold War. [read full review]
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American Missiles 1962 to the Present Day, The Complete Smithsonian Field Guide, Brian D. Nicklas. A spotter's guide to American missiles since the introduction of the 'M for Missiles' designation in 1962. Most get a single page, with one or more photos, basic specifications and a paragraph or two of text. Useful both as an overview of missile development over the last half century and for anyone who needs to identify a particular missile. [read full review]
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In a Bosnia Trench, A Wartime Memoir of a Muslim Bosnian Soldier, Elvir Kulin with Maury Hirschkorn. A impressively un-judgemental account of the Bosnia War as seen by a young Bosnian Muslim from the Sarajevo area, of value both for its account of the fighting, and of the rapid descent into civil war in the former Yugoslavia. [read full review]
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Royal Marine Commando 1950-82 - From Korea to the Falklands, Will Fowler. This book focuses on the daily life of the Royal Marine Commando, from enlistment to combat, with an emphasis on how things changed over the thirty two years covered, a period bookmarked by conventional wars in Korea and on the Falkland Islands, but that was largely dominated by a wide variety of more unusual engagements that tested the flexibility of the Commandos. Fowler's book helps explain why the Royal Marine Commandos were so successful at adapting to these different difficult conditions [see more].
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