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Here we offer a selection of our favourite books on military history. Some are the books we have used as sources for this site, some are good introductions to their subjects and others are interesting oddities.

We also have a selection of 1,533 longer book reviews.

All links on this site go straight to the relevant Amazon web site (currently we link to the UK, US and Canadian sites), where you can place orders for any of the books listed here.

Recent Reviews

Click for full list of recent reviews

War Bows, Mike Loades. Looks at the longbow, crossbow, composite bow and Japanese Yumi, largely based on previously published Osprey books, but updated for this combined edition. Brings together four fascinating topics to provide a useful overview of the many types of war bow that were used from western Europe to Japan, and the varied types of archery that developed around them.  Useful to have all four together in a single volume, allowing a more direct comparison between the different types(Read Full Review)
Aboard the Farragut Class Destroyers in World War II, Leo Block. Looks at life onboard the eight ships of the Farragut class, the first newly designed destroyers built for the US Navy after the First World War, and the prototypes for the ‘1,500 ton’ destroyers. Written by a veteran of these ships, using his own knowledge and the memories of the decreasing number of surviving crewmen to produce an in-depth picture of the life of the enlisted men on these small but hard hitting warships(Read Full Review)
Period Ship Modelmaking – An Illustrated Masterclass, Philip Reed. A lavishily illustrated account of the creation of two models of the American privateer Prince de Neufchatel, one waterline model and one with a full hull. I’ve no idea how useful it will be for the ship modeller, not being an experienced scratch builder, but it is a very pretty book, and the end results are very impressive. Most of the work is covered in great detail (apart from the original creation of the ship’s hull, which only gets a single short paragraph!)(Read Full Review)
Empire and Espionage, Spies in the Zulu War, Stephen Wade. Looks at the use of military intelligence by both sides in the Zulu War, demonstrating that the Zulus actually began the war with the better intelligence capabilities, and a clearer idea of their opponents plans and abilities than the British did. Also looks at the wider context of British military intelligence, including its development over time and its place in the world of the 1870s and Britain’s increasing obsession about Russian expansionism, including a fear that they might be about to attack the Suez canal, cutting the British Empire in half(Read Full Review)
Waterloo - The Campaign of 1815 Volume 2 - From Waterloo to the Restoration of Peace in Europe, John Hussey. A good history of Waterloo and its aftermath using the most recent research and ignoring long held ideas that have since been disproved. Has a useful focus on the command decisions made by the senior leaders on each side, and how they impacted on the eventual result of the campaign. Provides a well balanced examination of the successes and mistakes on both sides, as well as placing Waterloo in the wider context of the 1815 campaign (Read Full Review)
A Military History of China, David Richard Petriello. An ambitious attempt to cover several thousand years of Chinese history in a single volume, from the earlier legends to the conflicts of Communist China. A generally successful book, despite getting a little too bogged down in the fine details of many of the ancient and medieval campaigns, with a useful examination of the motivation behind China’s external wars. Supported by over 100 maps, which make it easier to trace the course of events and identify the very many kingdoms that appeared in the area now covered by modern China (Read Full Review)
Apache Warrior vs US Cavalryman, Sean McLachlan. Looks at the forty-year long struggle between the US Cavalry and the Apache tribes of the US south-west, which lasted from the US conquest of the area in 1848 to the final surrender of Geronimo in 1886. Benefits from focusing on the two main combatants in these was – the entire fighting force of the Apache tribes and the US Cavalry, to present an overview of how the conflict was eventually won by the United States(Read Full Review)
Murat’s Army - The Army of the Kingdom of Naples 1806-1815, Digby Smith. A very pretty book, based on the paintings of Henri Boiselier, produced in the first half of the 20th Century. The book is dominated by full colour, full page reproductions of his illustrations of the many and varied uniforms worn in Murat’s small and not terribly effective army of Naples. Each comes with a brief caption that explains what we are looking at, and any errors in the original painting (normally fairly trivial).(Read Full Review)

 


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