Storm Warning


In an age when 24 hour news breaks for weather forecasts several times in every hour, and forecasts are shown not just for a small area but for countries around the world, it is hard to appreciate that weather forecasting is a relatively young science. From ancient times man has sought to forecast weather by observing natural signs and influence it by making sacrifices, but forecasting as we know it today traces back little more than 150 years. The author traces the origins of the weather forecast from the first faltering steps in the Eighteenth Century to the latest computer aided, satellite measured forecasts of today. The barometer played a vital role in providing the information form which to predict trends but even today a forecast can be spectacularly wrong. The foreword, prologue and list of principle characters starts the work of well before the author launches off into the unfolding story which has a few surprises and some nice anecdotes

Still Waters


This is a readable and interesting book about the people and places of the Norfolk Broads. The book begins with a story which I am sure will strike a cord with many boat owners as Miles Hedley describes a trip to purchase a waterproof jacket and his subsequent return with a 16ft canoe! In an attempt to justify this extravagance to his family he claimed it was the prelude to a book he was going to write about a canoe trip through the varied waters of the Broads. Thus the seeds were sowed which have sprouted into an interesting book that features a variety of people who together underline the unique character of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads. From Lord Somerleyton to boat builders and eel catchers Miles has spoken to them all. Water Craft readers will be particularly interested in the sections covering yards such as Wherry Yacht Charter and the Norfolk Broads Yachting Co and the interview with the former ferryman of Reedham Raymond Stone. Whilst the text has much to offer the boating enthusiast the photography has less to offer this audience

Stephen and Matilda


The author tells the story of the civil war to secure the succession following the death of Henry I. After 14 years of bitter fighting, a compromise allowed Stephen to rule until his death, to be succeeded by Matilda’s son, grandson of Henry I. The story paints a vivid picture of the twists and turns of Medieval politics and society. The is an interesting selection of images contained in a black and white plate section. Maps, charts and sketches are used through the text. The civil war was a war of castles and this is well described. With interest increasing in this period of English history, the book is well-timed and a valuable source of material

Stanford’s River Thames


This book is based around Stanford’s best-selling River Thames Map. One of the interesting challenges in reviewing books is that publishing cycles result in long periods when no new work is published on a particular subject area and then there is a deluge of titles. The growth in interest in inland sailing seems to have triggered a flurry of new titles, new editions, reprints, and new work based on or inspired by some other older work. Each book takes a different approach. This book was a joy to read because of its depth and variety. Greater use of colour would have been very nice but there are good colour photographs, spaced in several sections though the book, and covering the seasons and moods of this great river. The black and white photographs are well chosen, complimenting the colour plates. Following a trend, the photographs are not individually attributed to the respective photographers and one may assume that some, perhaps many, were shot in black and white because they are generally well lit and appear to have been lit for black and white rather than being shot as colour and reproduced as black and white. There are some engaging sketches and cartoons that fit well with the text

Spirit of the Blue


A very chatty book that provides an in depth biography of Peter Ayerst. It is difficult to categorise Ayerst because his RAF career was unusual in a number of respects. He was one of the very few professional fighter pilots to join the RAF before WWII and survive the Battle of Britain. That is in itself unusual but his frontline career included the Battle of France, the Battle of Britain, the North African campaign, the D-Day landings, bomber escort, intruder sorties against V Weapons, escorting King George’s Dakota, test flying at Castle Bromwich and then flying the first and second generation jet fighters, concluding with the Mach 2 Lighting. During this career, Ayerst managed to fill four log books and flew almost every Mark of Spitfire

Special Operation Aviation


This takes a look at various units around the world used for covert missions. The book is illustrated in full colour throughout with many dramatic images mainly taken by the author himself. Topics covered include Gulf War special forces support, Germany’s maritime border guards, US Navy SEAL support and the maritime RN/RAF Harrier Force. On an historic note Allen covers the Borneo jungle operations which includes rare colour photographs of Whirlwind HAS7 and Belvedere operations before bringing the story up to date with the FAA’s return to Borneo for training in 1997

Soviet Warship Development Volume 1


This is a superb reference work covering each class of warship to be built or used by the Soviet Navy between 1917 and 1937. The scenes of neglected rusting warships shortly after the Russian Revolution of 1917 are very reminiscent of the scenes in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Breyer has provided a history (a good length by the standards of this kind of reference book) for each class of ship together with a specification table, plans and B/W photos. Model makers will be particularly interested in the cutaway drawings and cross section drawings which have been included

Song of the Clyde


This is a well researched story of the growth of shipbuilding in Scotland on the River Clyde and the transformation of the area to its present condition. The story is told with enthusiasm and illustrated with excellent black and white photographs, maps, and drawings. The effect on shipping and shipbuilding across the world by Clyde yards has been immense and, even today, the Clyde plays an important role in the development of marine technology

Small Arms


This is a general design review of modern battlefield small arms in the Brassey’s Land Warfare series. All of the current and recent designs are covered with great thoroughness and supported by clear technical drawings. In addition to a review of the components of modern small arms, there is also an authoritative review of ammunition, requirements, and body armour. The future is forecast and this section is followed by a useful glossary and bibliography

Sir Cloudesley Shovell


As Horatio Nelson, Sir Cloudesley Shovell came from humble origins in Norfolk and rose through the Royal Navy on merit. He is remembered most as a result of his ship and three others in company running aground off the Isles of Scilly in October 1707, but his career as a fighting commander compared well with more famous Royal Navy officers, including Nelson. He also played a part in the politics of his time, taking a significant role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and being elected MP for Rochester in 1695