MHM has curated a list of 2018’s best military history titles: the nominees for this year’s MHM book awards. Our selection includes some of the best-researched, most-insightful, and most-readable titles reviewed in the magazine over the last year.
The shortlist of 12 books can be found below.
The 2019 MHM Book Awards are sponsored by Osprey Publishing. Osprey Publishing, part of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, is the leading publisher of illustrated military history. Now in its 50th year, Osprey has published thousands of titles on a range of subjects from ancient times to the present day.
Hue 1968: a turning point of the American war in Vietnam
By Mark Bowden
Published by Grove Press
Analysing the strategy, tactics, and mistakes of both sides, Bowden’s account of the pivotal battle for the city of Hue is nothing short of masterful. Already a distinguished writer, Bowden spent five years researching the battle, sorting through masses of documents, and personally interviewing scores of participants from both sides.
Last Hope Island: Britain, occupied Europe, and the brotherhood that helped turn the tide of war
By Lynne Olson
Published by Scribe
Assessing Britain’s role as a refuge for thousands of European exiles during WWII, Last Hope Island is a great read, packed with the tales of colourful characters. It provides a well-timed new take on some familiar stories, as Britain reassesses its
relationship with the EU.
The British Army and the First World War
By Ian Beckett, Timothy Bowman, and Mark Connelly
Published by Cambridge University Press
A densely written and beautifully researched book that discards many of the populist theories about the British Army in WWI. It contains a rigorous analysis of the facts, the figures that support them, and, refreshingly, a proper explanation of the fabric of the Army and the officers and men who fought – and won – Britain’s greatest war.
Stormtroopers: a new history
of Hitler’s Brownshirts
By Daniel Siemens
Published by Yale University Press
In this rich, detailed history, Siemens argues that the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ was not the end of Hitler’s Sturmabteilungen (SA) – their influence lived on in the ideology, culture, and psychology of the Nazi Party after 1934. A convincing thesis, supported with immense scholarship and research in national and local archives.
By Ron Chernow
Published by Head of Zeus
Ulysses Simpson Grant is one of the most recognisable army officers in the pantheon of American history. He is also one of the least understood and most under-appreciated. This marvellous work does much to resolve that conundrum. A revelatory and riveting book, it is perhaps the best-researched, best-written biography of Grant available on the market.
Squadron: ending the African
By John Broich
Published by Overlook Duckworth
A brilliantly constructed and beautifully written account of a story of the Victorian Navy that has everything: fascinating characters, exotic locations, political intrigue, fast action on the seas, and a burning sense of social justice. Broich has meticulously unearthed a story buried in the primary archives. He is an outstanding academic and storyteller.
The Other Norfolk Admirals: Myngs, Narbrough, and Shovell
By Simon Harris
Published by Helion
This superb book is much more than a biography of three admirals: it is an account of the British Navy from the time of Cromwell to the reign of Queen Anne. Shedding new light on an often overlooked era of naval history, it is written in a style that is both edifying and entertaining, by an author with an impressive naval pedigree.
The Last Battle: endgame on the Western Front, 1918
By Peter Hart
Published by Profile Books
Peter Hart’s book is a great and compelling read, and an immensely important corrective to the normal obsession with the Somme and Passchendaele. In the autumn of 1918, the reformed British Army played a major role in the total defeat of the German Army. Read The Last Battle and you will never forget this.
The Royal Navy’s Air Service in the Great War
By David Hobbs
Published by Seaforth
This rigorously researched and engagingly written book is peppered with as many personality-led anecdotes of the pioneering days of naval flying as it is with hard facts and figures. It is a definitive history, and essential reading for any serious student of naval aviation or the First World War.
World War II at Sea: a global history
By Craig L Symonds
Published by Oxford University Press
Symonds’ work is gripping and well-written, bringing an enormously important and long overdue new approach, one that looks at the Second World War in its entirety from the perspective of those who fought their battles out on the water, rather than from the often restricted perspective of the land war.
The British Civil Wars at Sea, 1638-1653
By Richard J Blakemore and Elaine Murphy
Published by Boydell Press
This timely study presents a comprehensive analysis of the Civil Wars from a naval perspective, considering the structure, organisation, and manning of not just the Parliamentarian and Royalist navies, but that of the Irish Confederates too. Thoroughly researched, the book fills a large void in the understanding of the British Civil Wars.
Masters of Mayhem: Lawrence of Arabia and the British military mission to the Hejaz
By James Stejskal
Published by Casemate.
With great accuracy, detail, enthusiasm, and insight, Masters of Mayhem recounts the evolution of Allied combined operations against the Ottoman forces in the Hejaz. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Stejskal provides a new perspective on the well-trodden story of the Arab Revolt.