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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 1,665 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

Armoured Cruiser Cressy, detailed in the original builders’ plan, Andrew Choong. Looks at the Cressy class armoured cruisers, using the beautifully drawn ‘as-fitted’plans produced after they were completed, to illustrate their actual layout in great detail. Part of a splendid series, this is a good example of a particular type of armoured cruiser, with many of its guns carried in two layers of casemates along the sides. By 1914 the armoured cruiser was almost obsolete, and the Cressy class is most famous for the loss of three to one U-boat on a single day, but when new they were were powerful modern ships. As with all of these books, this answers all sorts of questions about the layout of these ships, and is fascinating to look through.(Read Full Review)
Battle in the Baltic – The Royal Navy and the Fight to Save Estonia and Latvia 1918-20, Steve R Dunn. Looks at the Royal Navy’s involvement in the Baltic after the Russian Revolution, where it played a significant role in securing the independence of Estonia and Latvia, against threats from the Bolsheviks, expansionist Germans, White Russians who wanted to restore the entire Tsarist Empire, all the time working without any significant political support at home, or any clear idea what the British government policy actually was. Despite the limited resources available the Navy still managed to carry out a motor boat attack on the main Soviet fleet, as well as providing invaluable support for the fighting on land, despite poor conditions that even triggered some minor mutinies.(Read Full Review)
The Petlyakov Pe-2 – Stalin’s Succesful Red Air Force Light Bomber, Peter C. Smith. Looks at the development and career of the Petlyakov Pe-2, the most important Soviet twin engined bomber of the Second World War, and a successful dive bomber that played a major role in the fighting on the Eastern Front. Includes very detailed sections on the development of the aircraft, as well as its combat record, potted biographies of many of the key Pe-2 pilots, and its fairly brief post-war career. Sometimes exaggerates the significant and performance of the Pe-2, but is otherwise excellent. (Read Full Review)
The Komnene Dynasty - Byzantium’s Struggle for Survival 1057-1185, John Carr. Looks at the history of the most famous dynasty in Byzantine history (largely because of the work of Anna Comnena and its overlap with the early Crusades), with a focus on the well documented reign of Alexios I. This is a useful examination of a dynasty that started well, saving Byzantium from possible collapse in the aftermath of Manzikert, but that ended with an equally disasterous defeat and dynastic chaos in the last two reigns. Also includes a useful overview of earlier Byzantine history and a brief look at the period after the end of the dynasty, which saw their descendants rule the tiny Empire of Tribizond, while Byzantium was sacked by the Crusaders. (Read Full Review)
Ancient Warfare Vol X, Issue 1: Conflict Between Sparta and Athens - The Archidamian WarAncient Warfare Vol X, Issue 1: Conflict Between Sparta and Athens - The Archidamian War Focuses on the Archidamian War, the first ten years of the Great Peloponnesian War, which saw both Athens and Sparta win major victories and suffer costly defeats, before ending in a draw and a short-lived peace. Covers the type of troops involved, the roles of Pericles, Brasidas and Socrates, the siege of Plataea, the temple of Athena Nike and the clash between Sparta and Argos. Also looks at letters written by Roman troops in the eastern desert of Egypt, and the evidence for PTSD in the Roman world [see more]
Spoils of War – The Fate of Enemy Fleets after the Two World Wars, Aiden Dodson & Serena Cant. Looks at the fate of the defeated nation’s fleets after the two World Wars, when the surviving ships were split between the victorious nations, but not after a great deal of debate about who got what, and what should happen to the remaining ships (as well as to those that might have been salvageable). Includes a clear narrative of events, and a very useful reference section, tracing the fate of each surviving ship(Read Full Review)
The Modern Cruiser – The evolution of the ships that fought the Second World War – Robert C. Stern. Looks at the most varied class of major warship, covering everything from tiny scout cruisers not much bigger than the largest destroyers up to the massive battle cruisers of the First World War. A well structured book, with each chapter looking at a particular period and the cruisers produced in response to the naval treaties in place at the time combined with reports of what each power’s rivals were building. An interesting look at a series of warships that wouldn’t have existed in the form they did without the London and Washington naval treaties(Read Full Review)
Hitler’s Panzers – the Complete History 1933-1945, Anthony Tucker-Jones. A well structured book that gives a useful overview of the development and deployment of Germany’s armoured vehicles during the Second World War, although that would have benifited from some further editing to avoid repetition and some inconsistency. Its main strong point come in the chapters on combat deployment, which acknowledge that the varied types of tanks fought as part of a larger war machine, and not in individual tank-vs-tank battles(Read Full Review)
Modern Africa Wars (5) - The Nigerian-Biafran War 1967-70, Philip S. Jowett. Looks at the armies of the Biafran War, a civil war that broke out fairly soon after Nigeria gained independence, and saw the eastern part of the country fail to break away. A studious neutral account of the war, largely ignoring the accusations of war crimes levelled against both sides (Read Full Review)

 


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