MHM has curated a list of 2017’s best military history titles: the nominees for this year’s Military History Monthly book awards. Our selection includes some of the best-researched, most-insightful, and most-readable titles reviewed and featured in the magazine over the last year. But we need your help to select the winners!
Choose your favourite from the list of 12 books below, then click here to cast your vote.
The winners will be announced at Senate House in London on 23 February as part of Current Archaeology Live! 2018, an annual 2-day conference run by our sister magazine Current Archaeology, and hosted by the Institute of Classical Studies.
The MHM Book Awards are sponsored by Casemate UK, a specialist military history publisher and book distributor representing many independent publishers including Helion & Company, Histoire et Collections, Karwansaray Publishers, and Potomac Books Inc.
Opposing the Slavers: the Royal Navy’s campaign against the Atlantic slave trade
By Peter Grindal
Published by IB Tauris
This is a magnificent achievement which thoroughly illuminates a previously misunderstood or even partially forgotten part of the history of Great Britain, and the Royal Navy. There is no doubt whatsoever that it should be on the shelves of any serious student of naval history. A hugely important book.
Maps of War: mapping conflict through the centuries
By Jeremy Black
Published by Conway
Maps of War is a large-format book appropriate for a such a large-scale enterprise. Black’s survey of conflict-related mapping stretches from the earliest known examples to the present day, as well as reaching around the globe. It also a great excuse for creating a book with lots of well-reproduced images of maps, all in colour wherever possible. Organised on a straightforward historical narrative this is a very tasty book.
Pathan Rising: Jihad on the north west frontier of India, 1897-1898
By Mark Simner
Published by Fonthill
Pathan Rising offers the reader an authoritative account of this people’s uprising against the British on India’s North-West Frontier, during 1897-1898. The spark of conflict flared in June 1897 and within a few weeks the British were battling a full scale revolt by the rebellious tribes. This is a fast-paced and thoroughly researched account of these turbulent events, of a vicious and often brutal conflict with heroic actions on both sides.
The Great War and the Middle East
By Rob Johnson
Published by Oxford University Press
This book by Rob Johnson is a new take on the strategic and operational course of WWI in the region, covering the precursors to the conflict and the background to the forces involved, before looking at the military decision making and the campaigns in some detail, whilst finally exploring the issues of peacemaking after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. It is a powerful, all encompassing book with real penetration into issues and processes involved. It also challenges preconceptions about the relative influence of the various players both during the conflict and afterwards.
The Spartan Regime: its character, origins and grand strategy
The Grand Strategy of Classical Sparta: the Persian challenge
By Paul A Rahe
Published by Yale University Press
These two books pull together the fragmentary evidence for the history and character of ancient Sparta, focusing on the irreducibly military character of this very distinctive Greek city-state. Rahe’s two volumes form a pair, one analysing the origins of the Spartan state in the 7th and 6th centuries BC, the second analysing the strategy and tactics of Sparta in the Persian Wars of the first half of the 5th century BC.
Praetorian: the rise and fall of Rome’s imperial bodyguard
By Guy de la Bedoyere
Published by Yale University Press
This, a genuinely novel concept, a book focused exclusively on the elite bodyguard troops of Imperial Rome, is carried off with great aplomb by a veteran expert on Roman history and archaeology. The book charts the emergence of the Guard, its military organisation, its role in imperial politics, its role on campaign, and its eventual disbandment as a threat to the stability of the state.
Passchendaele: a new history
By Nick Lloyd
Published by Penguin/Viking
This book offers a fresh analysis for the centenary year, drawing heavily on German sources to construct a more comprehensive account from both sides. Lloyd argues that the battle passed through a succession of phases shaped by the tactical innovations of attackers and defenders. He also makes a compelling case that Haig was driven by essentially political motives, and that the sheer momentum of the offensive carried it forwards, beyond rational control.
Earth is Weeping: the epic story of the Indian Wars for the American West
By Peter Cozzens
Published by Atlantic Books
This masterful volume is replete with maps, diagrams, contemporary magazine illustrations, and photographs. It is difficult to imagine a more beautifully organized, written, and presented book. It is a well crafted narrative which condenses and summarises some of the more significant and memorable conflicts during the US Indian Wars.
The Black Watch: Fighting in the Front Line, 1899-2006
By Victoria Schofield
Published by Head of Zeus
This is the second, and last, volume of this rigorously authoritative work which gives a detailed account of every conflict fought by the Black Watch, since its first action at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. Based on a decade of researching diaries, letters, and memoirs, as well as on interviews with surviving veterans.
Waterloo, The Campaign of 1815: Volume 1, from Elba to Ligny and Quatre Bras
By John Hussey
Published by Greenhill Books
The scale of Hussey’s first volume on Waterloo is formidable! Yet its size is accurately matched in this highly authoritative, carefully planned, and absorbing oeuvre. The book reflects the author’s fascination with the politics, strategy, and tactics of this turning point of world history: and one can especially appreciate Hussey’s insight into the special challenges of coalition warfare.
Boots on the Ground: Britain and her army since 1945
By Richard Dannatt
Published by Profile Books
A fine history of the British army since 1945 by a former Chief of the General Staff . He clearly demonstrates how a military machine can only be efficient when it is closely attuned to the policy that governs it and the funding allocated to it. Every aspiring politician, as well as those who simply enjoy the history of Britain over the last seventy years, should read this book.
Implacable Foes: war in the Pacific, 1944-1945
By Waldo Heinrichs and Marc Gallicchio
Published by Oxford University Press
The book covers the war in the Pacific, beginning with MacArthur’s advance along the north coast of New Guinea in spring 1944, up o and including the debate about dropping the atom bomb in 1945. The great strength of Implacable Foes is in understanding the many dimensions, political, strategic, and tactical, of the Pacific War. This is a rich and full book.
Voting closes on 5 February 2018