Book Review – Decisive Battles of the English Civil War

B2014

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The author has conducted an original investigation and provides a stimulating review of the battles that shaped the civil war and carried Parliament to ultimate victory. He has taken each major battle in turn, looking critically at contemporary accounts and established narratives of historians. In the process, he questions some established wisdom, providing a new perspective to the battles as he mounts compelling arguments to support his study.

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A History of Frauds Through the Ages, Beggars, Cheats and Forgers

B2018

First glance at the title might encourage the reader to think this might be a story of everyday political folk, but it is in fact a carefully researched study of a much neglected area of British history. It produces a fascinating view of historical scams and holds the reader’s attention to the end.

This book is thought provoking and will reward the reader’s time.

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Sniper in Helmand, Six Months on the Frontline

B2016

This new book provides a very valuable view of the military environment and provides information that should be part of the intelligence map that is needed to guide the future relationship between NATO and the Afghan people. The author is one of the small band of soldiers who have the capability to become snipers and Afghanistan has always been the battlefield for snipers. Snipers are a rare breed who earn the respect of enemy and comrade. It is a dangerous and arduous task that requires the development of considerable skill and determination. It also requires discipline and great patience.

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Chinese Hordes and Human Waves, a Personal Perspective of the Korean War 1950-1953

B2017

As it was, the Korean War became a nasty battle of attrition, often in dreadful weather conditions and always with the threat that the Koreans and their Chinese allies would simply flood troops into battle and accept appalling casualty rates to swamp the UN troops.

The author was a junior Gunner officer at the time and experienced the conditions. This has enabled him to paint a vivid picture of the battle, his allies, the enemy, the conditions and terrain as first hand observations. From this perspective alone, this would have been a memorable and engaging account of a war that is almost unknown today. What lifts it onto a higher plane and makes it an outstanding account, is that the author rose to senior rank, served as an intelligence officer and was a qualified Chinese interpreter. This has allowed him to combine the young officer’s experience of battle with the strategic and theatre tactics that come with the senior officer’s perspective and view of the wider stage.

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The Agincourt War, A Military History of the Hundred Years War from 1369 to 1453

B2015

The author has put the Battle of Agincourt into perspective against other important, if less well known, battles and engagements, providing also a greater depth to his presentation of the war than other authors have. The reader will come away from this book with a new understanding of how the armies fought and why the fortunes of war fell as they did. The author has given deserved honour to Henry V’s captains who have frequently been overlooked in other histories and details the parts played for France by Bertrand du Gueschlin and Joan of Arc.

The great achievement of the author is to present his careful research and compelling arguments in a manner that is both satisfying to the historian, without reducing the attraction to the layman. There are few illustrations, but the text conveys the drama and paints the pictures in an excellent piece of work.

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Decisive Battles of the English Civil War

B2014

The author has conducted an original investigation and provides a stimulating review of the battles that shaped the civil war and carried Parliament to ultimate victory. He has taken each major battle in turn, looking critically at contemporary accounts and established narratives of historians. In the process, he questions some established wisdom, providing a new perspective to the battles as he mounts compelling arguments to support his study.

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The Spartan Supremacy 412-371 BC

B2013

Sparta was a small city state. Only one part of its history has been heavily covered by historians, who have neglected the periods to either side of the Peloponnesian War. The result is that Sparta is not set in perspective against its history. What historians have done is take a decision on what they think is interesting or important against a wider canvas. This new study corrects previous defects in coverage and the result is a very readable book that looks at to period 412-371 BC to give a true perspective of Sparta, addressing questions previously ignored.

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British Steam Locomotive Builders

B2012

The first reaction to the book is WOW!! The amount of work that has gone into collecting all of the information and packing it tightly into 704 pages is impressive and has built a book that no serious enthusiast or historian can afford not to add to their existing library of essential works. 350 builders have been identified and recorded and the text is supported by 541 illustrations and 47 diagrams. In the process, it is possible that a builder has been missed, or a rare locomotive escaped inclusion, but it does not seem very likely.

Even the most knowledgeable enthusiasts and historians will find some surprises when reading this book, it really is that comprehensive. It is one of those rare reference works where it will answer every question, if the readers only know enough to ask.

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German U-Boat Losses During World War II, Details of Destruction

B2011

This is a fully revised and updated edition of what must be the definitive reference on German U-boat losses. The author has conducted an exhaustive study and provides details of every U-boat sunk between 1939 and 1945, with the Allied units that sank them. This is an essential source for historians and enthusiasts, but it also provides a reference for anyone who is attempting to understand the enormous cost to the German U-boat service during WWII. Considering the effort expended in producing this highly detailed reference, the cover price is very aggressive, even before the traditional Pen & Sword discounting of newly published books and periodically to promote sales on multiple books relating to an anniversary or some other key event relating to the topics covered.

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Why the Japanese Lost, The Red Sun’s Setting

B2010

The author is an experienced military historian and this is a worthy addition to his catalogue. He has provided a compelling argument for the rapid rise and fall of Japan in the 1940s. There is good illustration in a photo plate section to compliment the readable and well argued text. There have been a number of attempts to explain the rise and fall of Japan by historians, military officers, diplomats and enthusiasts. This book stands well to the fore and this reviewer considers it the best available account. A very useful addition to the library of any enthusiast or professional.

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