MHM Book of the Year 2020: Shortlist

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Military History Matters Book of the Year award

MHM has curated a list of 2019’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.

Voting has now closed, and the winners will be announced shortly

Sponsors of the MHM Book Awards 2020

The award is sponsored by The Cultural Experience, who provide exceptional expert-led escorted historical, battlefield, archaeological and cultural tours to world-wide destinations for travellers seeking an exotic, erudite and entertaining holiday as part of a small group of agreeable kindred spirits. The tours include talks by renowned academics and historians, innovative and well-researched itineraries, comfortable travel, wonderful restaurants and carefully selected hotels. Click here to find out more.

Seapower States: maritime culture, continental empires, and the conflict that made the modern world

Andrew Lambert
Yale University Press

In this ambitious polemic, Lambert attempts to establish beyond doubt one simple premise: the defining factor in the development of the modern world has been the conflict between ‘Seapower States’ and their rivals, the land empires of which
perhaps the best example is Imperial Rome.

Click here to read the full review.

Fighting the People’s War: the British and Commonwealth armies and the Second World War

Jonathan Fennell
Cambridge University Press

This complete history of the Commonwealth Armies before WWII focuses on the morale of the vast array of soldiers. Well written and accessible, it contains a wealth of fresh information, with Fennell giving revelatory insights into subjects with which readers
previously may have believed they were familiar.

Click here to read the full review.

The Lusitania Sinking: eye-witness accounts from survivors

Anthony Richards
Greenhill Books

The sinking of the passenger liner Lusitania was more than just a maritime disaster: it may have changed the course of history by bringing America into WWI. Richards assembles an astonishing collection of first-hand recollections, revealing the personal stories behind the calamity.

Click here to read the full review.

Arnhem: the complete story of Operation Market Garden, 17-25 September 1944

William F Buckingham
Amberley Publishing

Buckingham provides a comprehensive history of Market Garden, famously brought to life on screen in A Bridge Too Far. In an extremely rich account, he meticulously reconstructs the operation, furnishing the reader with a detailed yet accessible narrative of the events of 75 years ago.

Click here to read the full review.

The American Military: a concise history

Joseph T Glatthaar
Oxford University Press

The American Military: a concise history is an essential introduction to the development of the US Army, from the initial landings of the first English colonists at Jamestown to the conflict in the Middle East today. What Joseph Glatthaar gains through brevity, he does not lose in detail and cutting insight.

Click here to read the full review.

24 Hours at Balaclava, 25 October 1854: voices from the battlefield

Robert Kershaw
The History Press

Robert Kershaw, a former soldier, borrows the tried-and-tested format of recounting a battle through the experiences of those involved, particularly junior officers and NCOs. The result is viscerally evocative, with a gripping account of the ill-fated Charge of the Light Brigade.

Click here to read the full review.

The British Are Coming: the war for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777

Rick Atkinson
Harper Collins

In the first book of a proposed trilogy, Rick Atkinson employs extremely detailed research and stylish writing to explain the often-maddening events that led to war. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, The British Are Coming is the gripping story of the opening phase of what would prove to be a truly titanic struggle.

Click here to read the full review.

Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill, and the road to war

Tim Bouverie
Bodley Head

The policy of appeasement and the Munich Crisis do not lack for coverage in the annals of British history. Yet in Appeasing Hitler, Tim Bouverie triumphs by providing an original account of the arguably disastrous policy that led to WWII, a story heightened by his thriller-like writing style.

Click here to read the full review.

Normandy ’44: D-Day and the battle for France

James Holland
Bantam Press

Last June saw the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a monumental event that marked the beginning of the end of the Third Reich’s control of continental Europe. James Holland recounts the dramatic events through the experiences of individuals, providing a fresh perspective on an old story.

Click here to read the full review.

The Vietnam War: an intimate history

Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns
Ebury Press

This co-authored history explores the Cold War conflict from the point of view of not just the Americans, but also the Vietnamese, both North and South. This is a weighty companion to the highly acclaimed 2017 television series, which was written by Geoffrey C Ward and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Click here to read the full review.

The Allure of Battle: a history of how wars have been won and lost

Cathal J Nolan
Oxford University Press

How important are ‘decisive battles’ in the history of war? Is conflict really as simple as victory at Austerlitz and defeat at Waterloo? In this controversial and compelling book, Cathal Nolan explores 2,000 years of military history in order to provide an answer.
He does not disappoint.

Click here to read the full review.

The Fortress: the great siege of Przemysl

Alexander Watson
Allen Lane

Przemysl was a great fortress-city on the northern edge of the Carpathians, which became the site of a brutal siege during the First World War. In this exceptionally valuable work, Alexander Watson reminds readers of the colossal operations on the Eastern Front, so often eclipsed by the memory of the trenches.

Click here to read the full review.

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