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
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Seapower States: maritime culture, continental empires, and the conflict that made the modern world
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.
Fighting the People’s War: the British and Commonwealth armies and the Second World War
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.
The Lusitania Sinking: eye-witness accounts from survivors
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.
Arnhem: the complete story of Operation Market Garden, 17-25 September 1944
William F Buckingham
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.
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.
24 Hours at Balaclava, 25 October 1854: voices from the battlefield
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.
The British Are Coming: the war for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777
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.
Appeasing Hitler: Chamberlain, Churchill, and the road to war
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.
Normandy ’44: D-Day and the battle for France
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.
The Vietnam War: an intimate history
Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns
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.
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.
The Fortress: the great siege of Przemysl
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.