Books

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Great War Lives: A Guide for Family Historians – Paul Reed

Fuelled by TV shows such as Who Do You Think You Are?, interest in family history has exploded in recent years. And because it was the first British war in which the whole nation – women workers, nurses, and ambulance drivers, as well as men; volunteers as well as conscripts and professional soldiers, sailors, and […]

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Small Wars by Colonel C E Callwell : a Military Times Classic

We review Colonel C E Callwell’s famous Late Victorian counter-insurgency manual, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice. The military academies are buzzing with counter-insurgency theory. Recent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Lebanon, Gaza, and elsewhere are putting a premium on anti-guerrilla doctrine. Little wonder, then, that Colonel C E Callwell’s Small Wars, a century-old manual […]

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Military Times’ Book of the Month: The Kill Zone, by Chris Ryan

Book Club: The Kill Zone Chris Ryan is ‘the one that got away’: the one member of the famous Bravo Two Zero SAS team dropped into the north-western desert of Iraq in 1991 who succeeded in escaping across the Syrian border. Of the others, three were killed and four captured. Ryan’s story of the military debacle […]

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Cultures of War, By John W Dower

‘A date which will live in infamy’ was the iconic phrase coined by President Roosevelt to describe the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. The same phrase was frequently used in the media after the 9/11 attacks. Prof. John Dower, whose previous works include a Pulitzer Prize winning study of post-war Japan, uses this as a […]

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Killing Time, by Nicolas J Saunders

Killing Time: Archaeology and the First World War In the new, revised (paperback) edition of Killing Time, Nicholas J Saunders has updated his groundbreaking book on archaeology and the First World War. The original chapters remain, and it is pleasing to see the addition of a new chapter on the very recent excavations taking place […]

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Forgotten Voices of the Victoria Cross, by Roderick Bailey

Compiled from the sound archives of the Imperial War Museum, this oral history recounts the deeds of those – as recounted by the men and their admiring comrades – who were awarded the highest decoration in Britain’s gift for acts of valour. Covering VCs won in conflicts from the award’s inauguration during the Crimean War […]

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Six Weeks, by Jonathan Lewis-Stempel

Six Weeks: the short and gallant life of the British officer in the First World War The stiff upper-lip spirit of the public schools that provided the bulk of the subalterns who died in such droves in the Great War’s trenches is much mocked today. But Jonathan Lewis-Stempel’s superb study of them and their antique […]

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Road of Bones: The Siege of Kohima, 1944, by Fergal Keane

The Battle of Kohima, though fought on a smaller scale than its Russian equivalent, is rightly remembered as the ‘Stalingrad of the East’. It was a vital turning-point in the Second World War. An Anglo-Indian force – initially totalling just 1,500 men – endured a gruelling siege by a Japanese army ten times the size, […]

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The Life and Times of Frank Thornton Birkinshaw, by Barbara Isabel Rudoe

The Life and Times of Frank Thornton Birkinshaw is exactly that, devoting two of its chapters to Frank’s enlistment in the 8th Royal Warwicks and his later transfer to the RFC. Frank celebrated his 17th birthday in the trenches of Ploegsteert, on the Western Front, and his letters home tell the familiar grim story of […]

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Wellington's Highland Warriors, by Stuart Reid

Wellington’s Highland Warriors: from the Black Watch Mutiny to the Battle of Waterloo. The amalgamation of the Scottish regiments into one ‘super-regiment’, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, in 2004 left many lamenting the demise of the long tradition of some of the British Army’s most famous regiments. Since the shift from the traditional system, the […]

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