Anatomy of the Ship, The Battlecruiser Hood

B1851

 

To her credit, Hood was the largest RN warship and a beautiful vessel that could be used to advertise the power of the Royal Navy, serve when required as a Royal Yacht, look magnificent as the Flag Ship. On the debit side, she was a wet ship, some saying that there were destroyers that were drier in any sort of weather. Most significantly, she proved unable to match the rate of fire and accuracy of the German battleship Bismarck and her thin sparingly applied armour was unable to protect her magazines from plunging fire, resulting in her loss with almost all hands. In fairness to the ship, the shock of her destruction was as much to do with unfounded belief in her invulnerability, and poor gun handling skills that may have resulted from her crew becoming accustomed to acting as a floating billboard for Britain and the Royal Navy, rather than as a working ship of war.

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Anatomy of the Ship, The Battleship Dreadnought

B1850

 

HMS Dreadnought was one of the most important warships in history and the most important ship of the late 19th Century. She was so significant that navies were forced to describe their battleships as ‘pre-dreadnought’ or ‘dreadnought’. At the time of her design, the Royal Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and had reigned supreme for almost a hundred years. If Dreadnought had marked the height of British ship design she would be a suitable epitaph for the Royal Navy as is began to move towards decline. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Royal Navy is that even after British politicians have done everything possible to ensure that it declines to a minor coast defence force, it is still capable of innovating and designing outstanding new warships.

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The Burning Shadow

B1849

 

The Bronze Age is full of mystery. We really do not know how people of the period recorded their own history because only scattered fragments have survived and been much interpreted by archaeologists. That interpretation may be very seriously flawed. What we do know is that some very sophisticated societies developed at least 10,000 years ago. Many were inundated by the seas, some are known to have been destroyed suddenly by earthquakes and dramatic volcanic activity. The author has set her story three and a half thousand years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean. The story feels real and grounded firmly in know facts, but that is the job of the author to provide an environment that wraps around the reader.

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HMS Belfast, Cruiser 1939

B1848

As noted above, the book stands on its photographic content. It is lavishly illustrated. There are some drawings which add valuable detail, but illustration is mainly photographic and predominantly in full colour. It is a visual treat and provided at an extremely aggressive low price. Good gloss paper stock has been used and this results in pin-sharp images that are well-lit.

If you can’t visit the ship on the Thames, you must buy this book. If you do intend to visit HMS Belfast, this book provides an excellent primer to make the best of your visit.

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Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Camera

B1847

The author has been involved in aviation publishing for more than 30 years and has been given special access to the BBMF at Coningsby. He is an active private pilot and has amassed an extensive photolibrary. This new book follows his first for Haynes, “Red Arrows in Camera” and is once again a unique photo essay. Many of the outstanding photographs were shot by the author, but there are also photographs from other sources, tracing the history of the RAF’s heritage flight. Where there is text and caption text, it is concise and necessary to support the images, rather than the images supporting the text. That should in no way diminish the words penned, but it should be seen as a combination of necessary words with a most powerful essay produced through the finest images.

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The Voyages of the Discovery, The Illustrated History of Scott’s Ship

B1846

The Discovery will be forever associated with Capt Scott and his ill-fated dash to the South Pole, but that was only a small part of her history. The author has provided a comprehensive history from design and building to her eventual restoration and display in the port of her birth.

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Looking Down on War, The Normandy Invasion, June 1944

B1845

This is a photo essay covering the greatest amphibious operation to take place in Europe. The title suggests that this is a collection of aerial photographs and there are many outstanding aerial photographs, but there are also clear maps and photographs taken from the ground.

Historically, authors have depended on D-Day images that were shot from the ground, with maps that include information from often several different sources. Aerial photographs are rarely used and this book is a very valuable addition to available photographic information already published. It provides a new perspective on the landings and subsequent actions in Normandy. As never before, the reader can gain a view of the scale of this amazing military information, both of the German defences and the Allied forces landing, being resupplied and breaking out from the beach heads.

This is a book not to be missed.

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Fight Another Day

B1844

This book carries a foreword by the Late Airey Neave MP who was murdered by an IRA bomber. Appropriately, the same publisher has reprinted, in a new format, the book by Airey Neave that was originally published in the early 1950s. The two men served together after escaping German prisons, having been captured during the closing stages of the Battle of France. Together they combined their experiences to help evaders and escapers to exfiltrate from Occupied Europe as members of MI9. Langley was head MI9.

The two books complement each other and expand the combined story. Neave was wounded at Calais and ended up in the ‘escape proof’ Colditz Castle, where he was to make the first successful ‘home run’ escaping via Switzerland. Langley lost an arm at Dunkirk, was captured, but eventually made his escape Lille, Paris, Marseilles, Spain and Gibraltar.

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They Have Their Exits

B1843

The author was an extraordinary man who had a number of significant careers. This book is the third reprint, and the first in this format, of a book first published in 1953. The story is unique but was written before the author became a Minister of the British Government and was murdered by an IRA bomber.

Airey Neave trained as a lawyer, joined the Territorial Army volunteers as an artillery officer and was sent to France following the outbreak of war in 1939. He formed part of the rear guard at Calais, where he was wounded and taken prisoner. From that point he became dedicated to escape. After one escape he was held for a time by the Gestapo who threatened to shoot him as a spy. The was then transferred back the German Army POW program and sent to the ‘escape proof’ Colditz Castle. There he became the first British POW to make a ‘home run’ with a Dutch officer. He reached Switzerland and was then sent down the escape line through Unoccupied Vichy France, Spain Gibraltar and back to Britain

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Dogfight, The Battle of Britain, Anzac Battles Series

B1842

The author starts off by asking the question ‘Do we need another book on the Battle of Britain?’. He then fails to completely answer the question in his introduction, although he answers it very well in the earlier Acknowledgements. This is essentially a view of the Battle of Britain from the perspective of Australian and New Zealand pilots. As such it is a very welcome addition to the pool of information on what was the first turning point in World War Two.

The author tells the story of the 171 airmen from New Zealand and Australia, the second-largest group in the foreign contingent, put their skills, resolve, character and courage into the largest aerial battle yet to be fought in the skies of Europe. ‘Dogfight’ tells the story in detail and completes the knowledge of what these brave young men did in fighting Nazi aggression.

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