Ebooks to Go: The Kydd Collection

April 3rd, 2014

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by BigJules

When I first started writing the Kydd series, the story of one man’s journey from pressed man to admiral in the Great Age of Fighting Sail, there were few ebooks around – now they’re rivalling physical books in terms of sales and popularity!

The Kydd Ebook Collection, Bundle 1

The Kydd Ebook Collection
Bundle 1

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One of the things I’ve discovered about publishing since becoming an author is that this industry never rests on its laurels and is continually finding new ways to serve readers.

All my Kydd titles are available as ebooks around the world in various formats – kindle, epub, iBooks etc. and it is a great pleasure for me to announce the launch today of the first of my UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton’s Kydd Collection Ebook Bundles. This comprises the first three books – Kydd, Artemis and Seaflower.
Kydd

Thomas Paine Kydd, a young wig-maker from Guildford, is seized by the press gang, to be a part of the crew of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship Royal William. The ship sails immediately and Kydd has to learn the harsh realities of shipboard life fast.
Artemis

Now a true Jack Tar, Kydd sails into Portsmouth Harbour and a hero’s welcome after a ferocious battle against the French. However his jubilation is cut short when a family matter threatens to take him from the life he has grown to love.
Seaflower

It is two years since Thomas Kydd was spirited away in the night to serve his country aboard the old line-of-battle ship Duke William. Now, he and and the other members of the ill-fated Artemis are shipwrecked sailors, back in London waiting to be summoned as court martial witnesses.

Naval Anti-aircraft Guns & Gunnery

March 12th, 2014

B1950

Every so often, a book is published that will prove the definitive work on its subject. This is such a book and fully justifies its cover price, although Pen & Sword are famous for their discounts and special offers for on-line purchasers, so a real bargain is possible. The full cover price will not deter an enthusiast or a naval professional and copies are likely to fly off the shelf for private and professional libraries around the world. Hopefully, the readership will be even wider, because this is a book that covers naval anti-aircraft weaponry and systems comprehensively and with integrity.

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NAME: Naval Anti-aircraft Guns & Gunnery
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 050314
FILE: R1950
AUTHOR: Norman Friedman
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 399
PRICE: £45.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, Second World War, aircraft, naval aviation, AAA, anti-aircraft guns, anti-aircraft gunnery, defensive fire, machine guns, canon, medium guns, HA, High Angle, DP, Dual Purpose.
ISBN: 978-1-84832-177-9
IMAGE: B1950.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/pyu4qzk
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Every so often, a book is published that will prove the definitive work on its subject. This is such a book and fully justifies its cover price, although Pen & Sword are famous for their discounts and special offers for on-line purchasers, so a real bargain is possible. The full cover price will not deter an enthusiast or a naval professional and copies are likely to fly off the shelf for private and professional libraries around the world. Hopefully, the readership will be even wider, because this is a book that covers naval anti-aircraft weaponry and systems comprehensively and with integrity.

For more than five hundred years, the gun was the supreme naval weapon. Each new generation of gunners sought to increase the range and accuracy. At what was to prove the end of the gun as the primary naval weapon, it had been married to radar, high definition optics and fire control computers. It still continues on, but now as CIWS to defend against unmanned weapons systems and in medium calibre to take on lower value targets or targets too close for safe missile lock. It has almost entirely been superceded by aircraft and missiles.

The Royal Navy appreciated the coming changes very early on. In 1911 formal training of British naval aviators had begun at a training field initially operated free of charge by the Royal Aeronautical Society, before being purchased and run by the Admiralty. The first pilots to complete their flying training were tasked with writing the first manuals and tactical notes. This resulted in recommendations on the use of bombs, depth bombs and torpedoes. The RN successfully made the first drop from an aircraft of a torpedo just weeks before the outbreak of WWI. Through WWI, the RNAS expanded rapidly and demonstrated the power of the military aircraft, with parallel development of aircraft carriers and anti-aircraft gunnery. The move of all British aviation assets into the newly formed RAF in 1918 was to prove damaging to naval interests and the RN, in common with other navies, was poorly prepared to defend its ships against the aircraft and aerial weapons becoming available in 1939, simply because they had spent the period between 1918 and 1939 dependent on the RAF with its obsolete marine aircraft, facing inadequate training for anti-aircraft gunnery crews. This was both a lack of days in exercise against aerial attackers, and in a lack of aircraft with greater potential than the aircraft of 1918.

Some development by several navies did advance anti-aircraft gunnery between the World Wars, but the major advances came from bitter experience after 1939. The Royal Navy had prepared to launch a strike from carriers on the German High Seas Fleet in port in 1918. The attack plans were set aside when the RN lost its aircraft to the RAF. In 1939, the plans were dusted down and later used in a strike on the Italian Fleet in its homeport, giving the RN a six month advantage in the Mediterranean. The success of the raid encouraged the Japanese to make their own plans for a strategic strike on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour. It was only bad luck for the Japanese that the US carriers were at sea and escaped the attack. Had they been tied up in harbour, the Japanese would have secured a six to eight month advantage and that would have allowed them to land troops in Australia and probably to negotiate an armistice that allowed them to keep most or all of their annexed territories. They also demonstrated the superiority of aircraft when their bombers caught HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse. Although Repulse was a WWI design, Prince of Wales was the latest RN KGV Class battleship. Although the war emergency battleship Vanguard was built, with second hand guns taken from ships converted to aircraft carriers, the KGV Class was the last full class of battleship built by Britain, and the British design ultimate for that type of warship.

By 1939, almost every warship carried at least some machine guns to defend against aircraft. The British Army mounted two Bren Light Machine Guns (license-built from a Czech design for an infantry squad support light machine gun), on post mounts that could be elevated almost vertically, in their small Derby Class Motor Launches that had been constructed primarily to provide fast targets for gunnery training. Even the largest battleship carried machine guns as part of their anti-aircraft armament. These weapons were hand operated in the main and single gun locations. They depended on the human eye and the web sight for defending against fast attack aircraft. Some small patrol and SAR motor boats carried machine guns in aircraft turrets, but these were still controlled manually and depended on the human eye and the skill of the gunner, although some had the more sophisticated reflector gun sights fitted to contemporary fighter aircraft.

The modern cannon began to be added to warships from the early 1930s and the Vosper prototype private venture torpedo boat MTB102 was equipped with a single 20mm cannon for operation against aircraft and other warships. By the end of WWII, fast patrol and attack craft were fitted with a number of cannon and some were mounted on power carriages that were designed to carry two cannon. Some patrol craft had also been upgunned to 40mm cannon on powered mounts. The cannon proved to be a very effective dual-purpose weapon for small craft, being effective against aircraft and surface targets. Even so, the cannon fitted to small warships were still manually operated even when the warship was fitted with radar. The gunner was a potential risk to friendly vessels and it became normal practice to have a seaman assigned to each cannon gunner to strike him in the back when his fire stated to come close to friendly warships or to his own craft. This was because the gunner became fully concentrated on aircraft targets and could follow them through a friendly warship without realizing what he was doing.

The major advances were to be with larger guns. By definition, a larger gun was almost always a dual-purpose weapon, sometimes a single mount but usually a twin gun mount. The innovation was to enable the gun to achieve a high angle of fire, but also allow it to aim at surface targets. These larger guns were frequently mounted in enclosed turrets and provided with the ability to move automatically against the rolling of the warship. This ability was frequently independent for each barrel on a mount or turret. The German Navy was to fit guns with this ability to their capital ships and the system proved very effective in removing one factor that could reduce accuracy.

The increasing sophistication of gun mounts was also a weakness. Once a mount was powered by hydraulics or electrics, it could be put out of action by a power failure. One factor noted in the loss of HMS Prince of Wales was failure of power to anti-aircraft mounts, although another story was that the multiple 2 pounders or Pom Pom guns suffered a simple but devastating mechanical failure. The feed trays on these guns were designed to hinge for cleaning and were secured by a bar and split pin. The split pins were often not refitted after cleaning, the bar being held in place only by gravity. During the air attacks, the guns were firing continuously and bars vibrated out, allowing movement of the feed trays, which caused the guns to jam.

Multiple mounts like the British Pom Pom were popular and used with guns from rifle calibre to 40mm. And with four or eight barrels per mount They were also large enough to consider introducing radar control, which was routinely being added to larger guns up to 16 inches.

Prior to 1939, gunnery on larger warships depended on high grade optical rangefinders in gunnery control posts. This was augmented by spotter seaplanes that were particularly important for maximum range fire by the heaviest guns that reached over the visual horizon. As radar became more dependable during WWII, it began to replace the spotter plane. In the same period, development of gunnery computers was moving from mechanical, to electro-mechanical, to electronic.

For anti-aircraft gunnery, the number of these guns dramatically increased on all classes of warship. Development work was also directed into the munitions issued for anti-aircraft use.

The author has examined the development of anti-aircraft guns on warships from the first weapons systems, through to the late developments in WWII. This inevitably means a weighty book and the division by country is helpful in considering development of technology and tactics. There are a great many illustrations, including many rare photographs. Highly recommended

Scotland and the Sea

March 12th, 2014

B1949

Scotland's maritime story is significant to the development of Empire and the placing of British manufactured goods in a category of their own, the envy of the world. Most of the important new enterprises were family concerns and frequently the story of brothers working together.

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NAME: Scotland and the Sea
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 050314
FILE: R1949
AUTHOR: Dick Taylor
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 272
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Ship building, marine architecture, ship design, shipyards, shipping lines, passenger ships, liners, warships, steel, industrial revolution, Clyde
ISBN: 978-1-84832-750-4
IMAGE: B1949.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/o5hdl84
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Britain was the cradle of modern shipbuilding, a natural progression of the Industrial Revolution. Exactly why Britain was the first nation to develop, by combination of coal, steam, water and steel, an industrial base is difficult to explain. Why some parts of Britain came to develop innovative industrial shipbuilding is perhaps easier to explain.

In this fascinating new book, the claim is made for Scotland and although Northern Ireland and the North of England can make some similar claims, Scotland can fairly lay claim to a significant part in the maritime industrial revolution. Previously, British shipbuilding had been concentrated from the Thames and along the Channel Coast where the many estuaries were particularly suited to wooden boat construction and maintenance. It was also the stretch of coastline that faced the traditional enemy, France, and accounted for the major British naval bases. After the Battle of Trafalgar, Britain was supreme as a naval nation. There was no credible competitor.

Coal had been mined for many years before the start of the Industrial Revolution, but the start of the revolution was powered by water. The textile industry found the North of England a convenient location with many streams and rivers to power the new textile machines and also close to the ports that served the Empire. The Clyde also saw an expansion of ship owners. Where coal had been mined in relatively small quantities from mainly drift mines for fuel to heat buildings and to fuel steam pumps in Cornwall, deep mining of coal was needed to fuel the next stage of the Industrial Revolution and these new coalfields were located in the North of England and in Scotland. That made it convenient to develop the new coal and steel based industries in the North.

The smelting of iron ore and the production of steel was not confined to the North of England and to Lowland Scotland, but the heavy concentrations were there. As the major iron and steel production was there, it naturally attracted all of the new enterprises that supplied and used the product of heavy engineering. As a very profitable new industry it paid premiums for labour and this labour was drawn from around the British Isles. There was also a rapidly developing trade with the colonies where steel and metal based product was shipped to the agricultural colonial states and the raw materials and crops were carried back to Britain and then exported to other countries. That encouraged a concentration of shipping companies close to the factories that produced the metal products.

Scotland's maritime story is significant to the development of Empire and the placing of British manufactured goods in a category of their own, the envy of the world. Most of the important new enterprises were family concerns and frequently the story of brothers working together.

The author has told the story very well and included some very interesting images in support of the text.

Sadly, the story is largely historic. Today, the once mighty shipbuilding industry has declined, the decline speeding with membership of the European Union which was keen to reduce shipbuilding capacity. There were also many other contributory factors, including poor labour relations and a failure to maintain the level of innovation. There remain many reminders of how important Scotland was in Britain's maritime development, but few prospects for a major rebirth.

The Men Inside the Metal, The British AFV Crewmen in WW2, vol.1

March 12th, 2014

B1948

The publisher became established with a range of books for model makers and model engineers and also covered Polish subjects. From that starting point, an outstanding range of special interest books are now available and contain much more than just notes and images for modellers. This book, one of two volumes, takes a detailed look at British AFV Crewmen in WWII.

The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs, many in full colour, and also by specially commissioned artwork. The text is concise, effective and easy to read. The book will be of special interest for modellers and historical re-enactment groups, because it provides a level of detail that is missing from most other books that cover WWII and AFVs.


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NAME: The Men Inside the Metal, The British AFV Crewmen in WW2, vol.1
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 050314
FILE: R1948
AUTHOR: Dick Taylor
PUBLISHER: MMP Books
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 111
PRICE: £24.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, Second World War, armoured warfare, clothing, uniforms, webbing equipment, deployment, tactics, dress, weapons, communications equipment
ISBN: 978-83-89450-66-1
IMAGE: B1948.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/p7zyhxo
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The publisher became established with a range of books for model makers and model engineers and also covered Polish subjects. From that starting point, an outstanding range of special interest books are now available and contain much more than just notes and images for modellers. This book, one of two volumes, takes a detailed look at British AFV Crewmen in WWII.

The book is lavishly illustrated with photographs, many in full colour, and also by specially commissioned artwork. The text is concise, effective and easy to read. The book will be of special interest for modellers and historical re-enactment groups, because it provides a level of detail that is missing from most other books that cover WWII and AFVs.

Although the book is designed to meet the needs of specialist readers, it also provides a very interesting exposure of uniforms, badges and equipment that will appeal to a much wider readership, including those who collect militaria.

The illustration is first class as is to be expected from an MMP Books publication. The layout is logical and straightforward. There are four chapters, covering uniform, badges and insignia, personal equipment, and crew equipment and weapons. These chapters are each broken down into sub-chapters.

A very useful addition to the range of warpaint books and related land warfare books.

Chemical Soldiers, British Gas Warfare in World War One

March 12th, 2014

B1947

The use of poison gas may have been first proposed by a British Napoleonic War frigate captain who also proposed the use of naval aviation to deliver the chemical weapons, but it was the Germans who first used them a hundred years later. This book provides a comprehensive view of the weapons and how the British set about training and deploying specialist troops to counter the weapons.

The author has woven data from official records with personal data from diaries, letter and memoirs, to build a unique and thorough review of the weapons, the British special troops training and deployment and taken a critical look at the Brigade's leader. A good selection of maps, sketches and photographs are used through the body of the book to ably illustrate the text.

This is an important book because it provides a balanced coverage of its subjects and exposes the myths and misunderstandings that have sprung up over the years.


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NAME: Chemical Soldiers, British Gas Warfare in World War One
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 280214
FILE: R1947
AUTHOR: Donald Richter
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 282
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, The Great War, World War One, First World War, trench warfare, gas, chemical weapons, flame throwers, mortar shells, artillery shells, gas curtains
ISBN: 1-78346-173-X
IMAGE: B1947.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/phhoaq5
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The use of poison gas may have been first proposed by a British Napoleonic War frigate captain who also proposed the use of naval aviation to deliver the chemical weapons, but it was the Germans who first used them a hundred years later. This book provides a comprehensive view of the weapons and how the British set about training and deploying specialist troops to counter the weapons.

The British Army has been composed of regiments that recruited locally and special regiments and corps that were established to address new technology and tactics. Following this time honoured procedure, the British Army established the British Special Brigade, often referred to by troops as the 'comical chemical corporals'. Special organizations were frequently the butt of jokes in the trenches and RAMC medics were often referred to as 'Rob All My Comrades' because stretcher bearers were frequently suspected of looting the dead and wounded, usually unfairly.

Chemical weapons have traditionally inspired fear, but have been variable weapons operationally. When the Germans began using poison gas, they used a crude system of delivery, locating banks of gas canisters in forward trenches or cutting a special trench closer to the British and French lines. The gas canisters fed distribution nozzles that might be partly buried in front of the gas attack trench. The Germans then waited for a favourable wind and opened the gas taps. In ideal conditions, the gas cloud silently drifted towards and into the British trenches. Often, the wind direction changed and on some occasions, the gas cloud turned around before reaching the enemy trenches, drifting back on the Germans. As a result, the Germans developed both the means of delivering the gas and respirators for the use of their own troops to protect from a drift back. The British initially had no gas, no delivery systems and no respirators. The result was that early German gas attacks caused significant injury to British troops.

There was also one further potential danger for the Germans. As long as they depended on crude delivery systems, there was a danger that enemy artillery might rupture banks of gas cylinders and an unfavourable wind could circulate the released gas in the German trenches before the troops became aware of the danger and donned respirators. This encouraged the Germans, and the British, who rapidly built their own chemical weapons in retaliation, to manufacture mortar shells and artillery shells to deliver gas in targeted strikes on the enemy, reaching further behind the front lines. Work also went into developing bombs that could be dropped from aircraft.

Even with new delivery systems, chemical weapons had many limitations. They worked best when the wind was steady on one heading and the enemy were unaware of the attack taking place. Once the British and French were aware of the German weapons and had developed their own respirators and protective clothing, they only had to develop a system of gas detection to render the weapons virtually useless. However the gas was delivered, wind conditions could blow it away from the target trenches and it normally dispersed rapidly to ineffectual levels.

The more effective chemical weapons were flamethrowers. Some will argue that these are not really chemical weapons but fire projectors. In reality they require a delivery system and a flammable fluid that is engineered to increase its effectiveness and to stick to the target. The fluid is therefore an engineered chemical substance and not just a simple petroleum product. Projectors require a method of propelling the fluid and igniting it. The usual method being to employ compressed gas. The projectors were initially designed as mounted weapons located in the trenches, but smaller portable devices proved very effective in storming machine gun positions and trenches. As armoured vehicles were developed, flamethrowers became one of the available weapons systems that could be carried.

Where poison gas and nerve gas has been rarely used, the flamethrower has enjoyed widespread use through a series of wars since its initial development and napalm bombs have proved very effective weapons for delivery by aircraft. All of the early development work was completed during WWI and only relatively small refinements have been made to chemical weapons and their delivery systems since then.

The author has woven data from official records with personal data from diaries, letter and memoirs, to build a unique and thorough review of the weapons, the British special troops training and deployment and taken a critical look at the Brigade's leader. A good selection of maps, sketches and photographs are used through the body of the book to ably illustrate the text.

This is an important book because it provides a balanced coverage of its subjects and exposes the myths and misunderstandings that have sprung up over the years.

The Stockbrokers’ Battalion in the Great War, a History of the 10th (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers

March 12th, 2014

B1946

The unusual aspect covered very effectively by the author is the Pals' Battalions. Today, expectations and use of qualifications encourages individuals to join a military organization as an officer and to accept whatever postings follow. There are still British regiments where several members of a family might serve together but that is the exception rather than the rule and becomes progressively rarer as the number of regiments reduces and the old practices of drawing recruits from a small geographic area fade away.

The author has done a good job in researching and drawing content from letters and diaries, to produce an account that is poignant and uplifting together. He has also shown how those left behind in London took special interest in "their battalion" and how Livery Companies gave money to buy weapons and also instruments for the band. The Lord Mayor was made Honorary Colonel, any family and friends sent parcels of food and gifts. It was a very close family and every loss was deeply felt.

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NAME: The Stockbrokers' Battalion in the Great War, a History of the 10th (Service) Battalion Royal Fusiliers
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 280214
FILE: R1946
AUTHOR: David Carter
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 272
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWI, The Great War, World War One, First World War, trench warfare, Pals' Battalions, the City at War
ISBN: 1-78303-637-1
IMAGE: B1946.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/o8rgghg
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The author has covered one aspect of the Great War that may be a particular novelty for the modern reader. The weapons of war are fairly easy to understand because many of them soldiered on through WWII and even into very recent times. As they have started to phase out, their replacements are similar in many respects and large quantities of WWI designed weapons are held in reserve stocks around the world. Uniforms and units are still familiar and soldiers continue to drill in much the same way. This means that many of the books emerging during the next few years will deal with concepts and activities that are not far removed from those of today, and technology has evolved rather that suffered a revolution.

The unusual aspect covered very effectively by the author is the Pals' Battalions. Today, expectations and use of qualifications encourages individuals to join a military organization as an officer and to accept whatever postings follow. There are still British regiments where several members of a family might serve together but that is the exception rather than the rule and becomes progressively rarer as the number of regiments reduces and the old practices of drawing recruits from a small geographic area fade away.

The Great War was in several respects son of the past that incorporated some novel technology, rather than being the start of a new military environment. One aspect demonstrating that heritage was the establishment of battalions and regiments that were staffed by people from the same streets or occupations. That in turn made the Great War terrible because whole streets and communities of young men, and not so young, were wiped out in days. Some communities never recovered from the losses.

It was in this environment that the Stockbrokers' Battalion was created. Young men from the middle classes volunteered and found themselves alongside the same people who had sat at desks next to them or crowded onto dealing room floors. They spoke the same language in the same accents and with the same jargon. Many of these young men could have qualified for commissions and been sent to any one of many units where all their new comrades would be strangers when they came together. They were happy to enlist because it meant they reached the action faster and were guaranteed a place with friends and relatives. In 1914 there was also a rush to get into action because everyone expected the war to end by Christmas, then the next Christmas and so to the end in 1918.

The author has done a good job in researching and drawing content from letters and diaries, to produce an account that is poignant and uplifting together. He has also shown how those left behind in London took special interest in "their battalion" and how Livery Companies gave money to buy weapons and also instruments for the band. The Lord Mayor was made Honorary Colonel, any family and friends sent parcels of food and gifts. It was a very close family and every loss was deeply felt.

To fully understand the story of the Stockbrokers' Battalion, it is necessary to understand the social factors of the time, at an age where duty and obligation came before rights and entitlement. The author has provided a readable account that goes a long way to help the reader understand, but the practices of the time were of another country. Any reader born after 1960 may struggle to achieve a full understanding, but this book does much better than many others to help the process.

Towton, The Battle of Palm Sunday Field 1461

March 12th, 2014

B1945

 

This new book provides a vivid reconstruction of a bloody fight of attrition. The main body of text and the photo plate section provide an engaging narrative, supported by time line tables, maps, notes and preface. As an account of this immensely important English battle, the book will be very difficult to better and makes many earlier accounts dated and no longer applicable.

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NAME: Towton, The Battle of Palm Sunday Field 1461
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 280214
FILE: R1945
AUTHOR: John Sadler
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back
PAGES: 186
PRICE: £12.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Medieval warfare, Wars of the Roses, English history, Edward IV, lead Church, Ramshaw Woods, Saxton Church, North Acres, Cock Beck, Brotherton Marsh, Dacre Cross, Yorkshire, early guns
ISBN: 1-78346-192-6
IMAGE: B1945.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/nnmcz8z
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: The Wars of the Roses were to prove a protracted conflict between the Houses of York and Lancaster. They ended only when Henry Tudor, who some believe held a poor claim to the throne, defeated and killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth. The recent discovery of the body of Richard III may well encourage some innovative reviews of the closing stages of the Wars of the Roses.

The author has provided a fresh and comprehensive review of the Battle of Palm Sunday Field. As this battlefield has received a great deal of recent archaeological attention, it is possible that the full significance of the battle has been over played. That will not be fully understood until every other battlefield of the period has been given the same level of attention. As a tipping point in the conflict, Towton may fully justify the claims that is was the most significant, but in the fullest sense, Bosworth Field must be regarded as the most significant because it was a decisive conclusion in the civil war that left one clear winner, Henry Tudor.

At Towton, the engagement was massive by the standards of the time. It has been claimed as the longest, bloodiest battle in English history and it certainly assembled two large armies that fought fiercely through a very long day. A Medieval battle was a slogging match where each side attempted to sap the energy of the opponents and hope to be able to force them from the field, hunting the fleeing soldiers and cutting them down in ones and twos or in small groups. The fury continued beyond the end of battle with the dead and dieing mutilated as they lay on the ground. Although archers were employed and early firearms were making their appearance, a battle was largely fought by two scrums in close contact. The result was that any soldier that received no wounds was the exception and probably avoided injury by holding back from the main fight.

This new book provides a vivid reconstruction of a bloody fight of attrition. The main body of text and the photo plate section provide an engaging narrative, supported by time line tables, maps, notes and preface. As an account of this immensely important English battle, the book will be very difficult to better and makes many earlier accounts dated and no longer applicable.

Mark Antony, A Plain Blunt Man

March 12th, 2014

B1944

The author has provided a very readable review of Mark Antony, based on careful research. He shows Mark Antony as a pivotal figure with a precise political vision for the Roman world and places him in a fresh perspective. This differs from many previously accepted reviews of Mark Antony but the case is convincingly argued. Undoubtedly, others will take a fresh look in the future and may present a different set of views which is inevitable because of the way that evidence was recorded and presented, mostly by people who supported other Roman factions and were keen to present those they supported in a favourable light.

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NAME: Mark Antony, A Plain Blunt Man
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 280214
FILE: R1944
AUTHOR: Paolo de Ruggiero
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 295
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Cleopatra VII, Battle of Actium, Octavia, Herod the Great, Brutus, Octavian Augustus, Gaius Julius Caesar, Cicero, Ptolemy XII
ISBN: 1-78346-270-1
IMAGE: B1944.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/ppfjkkw
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Mark Antony is one of the best remembered Romans and yet in most respects he is one of the least accomplished. He lived in one of the most significant periods in recorded history, at the time of Rome's move from a republic to an empire and at the birth of a new religion. He was undoubtedly a capable and experienced soldier who served in Judea as a cavalry commander and with distinction in Gaul where he supported his uncle Julius Caesar and was decisive in the defeat of conspirators at Philippi.

Mark Antony has acquired many detractors, both in his lifetime and in history. Many write him off as a simple soldier but although he was an experienced and largely successful soldier, he was much more. In another time he could well have become an Emperor of Rome and came from one of the great patrician families. Of course, becoming Emperor was often a bitter sweet success because many a Roman General was propelled by circumstances and his troops into the position, only to then become the target of conspirators, often falling to the assassin.

Mark Antony probably only became widely known in history because he survived the assassination of his uncle Julius Caesar and Shakespeare used him to present the obituary moments after his uncle was killed. There have been several theories to explain his escape, but it may have been as simple as the assassins considering him as a potential ally at least in the short term.

His relationship with the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra may be another reason why he has survived in history. Several of the senior characters in Ancient Rome took a broadly similar path from the centre stage. When the enemies mobilized in Rome, it was a logical escape route to flee to Greece and then on to Egypt where there was a prospect of bringing together supporters and then taking on the enemies in Rome.

In his relationship with Cleopatra, it was as much an affair of state as an affair between a man and a woman. Cleopatra needed a Roman protector as much as Mark Antony needed a base from which to attack his enemies. He has often been portrayed as Cleopatra's puppet, but that is not backed by the evidence.

The author has provided a very readable review of Mark Antony, based on careful research. He shows Mark Antony as a pivotal figure with a precise political vision for the Roman world and places him in a fresh perspective. This differs from many previously accepted reviews of Mark Antony but the case is convincingly argued. Undoubtedly, others will take a fresh look in the future and may present a different set of views which is inevitable because of the way that evidence was recorded and presented, mostly by people who supported other Roman factions and were keen to present those they supported in a favourable light.

For anyone beginning to develop an interest in the story of Ancient Rome, this is a very good point to start because it is set at the point where the Republic gave way to the Empire, and also because it is set at the birth of a major new religion that was eventually embraced by Roman Empires and adapted to suit their views of gods and religion. Beyond those cardinal points, the author has produced an elegant account that is easy to read without the need to develop a narrow academic focus that makes so many otherwise good studies impenetrable.

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