Author: Seema Syeda

Last Battle - cover

The Last Battle: endgame on the Western Front, 1918

The General commanding the Bollockyboos Has strictly revised all his previous views… He keeps his battalion, untiring, approving, All moving and firing and firing and moving; They know about guns, they know about tanks, They’ll take any risk you like with their flanks… They are all at one that training is fun And there’s nought […]

Norfolk Admirals

The Other Norfolk Admirals: Myngs, Narbrough, and Shovell

Close to Charing Cross station in London is the oddly named Ship and Shovell pub. Initially, this seems a strange combination, until you realise that the Shovell in question is not a misspelt digging implement but honours Sir Cloudesley Shovell (c.1650-1707), one of the most renowned admirals of the 17th century. Shovell is but one […]

Squadron

Squadron: ending the African slave trade

The West Africa Squadron of the Royal Navy had more or less terminated the slave trade on the West African coast by the 1850s. This book is not about that story. It concerns another unfolding on the opposite side of the continent. As the West African trade collapsed, the East African trade soared. The trafficking […]

Stormtroopers

Stormtroopers: a new history of Hitler’s brownshirts

Daniel Siemens’s excellent new history of the Sturmabteilungen — the SA; better known as the Nazi Party’s Stormtroopers or Brownshirts — includes a lot of violence. It begins with the horrific murder of an innocent Polish down-and-out in German Upper Silesia in August 1932. Accused of being a Communist, he was savagely beaten to death […]

Brit Army WWI - cover

The British Army and the First World War

My heart sank slightly when I was asked to review this book. I expected yet another dirge about needless casualties, poor generalship, a reworking of ‘lions led by donkeys’. But, no, I was completely wrong: pusillanimous poets do not get a look in; instead we get rigorous analysis of facts, the figures that support them, […]

Grant

Grant

Ulysses Simpson Grant is probably the most recognisable army officer in the pantheon of American history. He is, at the same time, most likely the least understood and most under-appreciated person. This marvellous work by Ron Chernow should do much to resolve that conundrum. Born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, in 1827 to jesse and Hannah […]

hue

BOOK REVIEW: Hue 1968: a turning point of the American war in Vietnam

Some of us still remember the time quite vividly. By the end of 1967, the United States had been involved in the conflict in South-east Asia for nearly two decades. While its advisors had helped the Vietnamese in their struggle against Japanese invaders during the Second World War, in the post -war years the United […]

German-troops-in-retreat,-1918

The Hundred Days Offensive: did the British win it for the Allies?

While admitting that Haig was no genius, revisionist historians have argued that by 1918, he was able to co-ordinate successfully all elements of military force – artillery, armour, airpower, and infantry – to achieve a decisive victory in the series of operations known collectively as ‘The Hundred Days’. Does this argument stand up to critique? Chris Bambery tests the case.

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They Shall Not Grow Old

Taylor Downing reports on Peter Jackson’s new WWI centenary film. New Zealander Peter Jackson is known to cinema-goers for the lavish spectacles in which he specialises in breathtaking digital effects, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012-14), both adapted from the novels of J R R Tolkien. He has now just released a remarkable […]

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