Westland Lysander, 1936-46 (all marks), Owner’s Workshop Manual

B2093

This new addition to the publisher’s fine range of aviation titles has received the Haynes Workshop Manual treatment. A lavishly illustrated work, this book features full colour throughout and some excellent sketches and drawings. Happily the interesting subject is still represented by a handful of aircraft that have been restored to flying condition and work the air show circuits. The author may be unknown to aviation enthusiasts, but has excellent credentials as a wordsmith. He worked for the RNLI for 28 years and is remembered for his work in presenting the world’s foremost lifeboat service as the RNLI Director of Public Relations. On retiring from the RNLI he has written some excellent books on lifeboats and branched out into writing about WWII intelligence operations. His family includes Admiral Wake-Walker who was Senior Naval Officer at Dunkirk who transferred his Flag to MTB102 when his destroyer was sunk under him. MTB102 was the Vosper prototype for the hundreds of gunboats and torpedo boats built during WWII by Vospers. At the time, the skipper of MTB102 was still working on the tactical manuals for Coastal Forces and went across to Dunkirk to see what he could do to help. MTB102 was one of the last vessels to leave Dunkirk, having survived many attacks by German aircraft, including a 500kg bomb dropped by a dive bomber, exploding within three feet of the transom.

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The Vikings and Their Enemies, Warfare in Northern Europe 750-1100

B2029

The author has specialized in Scandinavian history during the period when the Vikings burst out onto Europe and beyond. His knowledge of warfare and tactics of the time is impressive and this book takes a fresh approach to the period, considering both the Vikings and their enemies. This is probably the finest account of warfare during the period and is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand this extraordinary period. There is a compact by useful photo-plate section and the writing style is descriptive and easy to follow.

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One Year, One Empire, Four Emperors, AD69, Emperors, Armies & Anarchy

B2028

The author has a very readable style and he has chosen a period in Roman history that provides many twists and turns as Rome emerged from the period of rule by Nero. The result is a fascinating account of a fascinating slice of Roman history.

The author has followed the machinations, to elevation and destruction of potential contenders and the role of the Legions in influencing the process. There is much of the thrills and tension of a novel. Even readers who would rarely consider an historical account of a period in ancient history will find a plot and pace to keep them turning pages. This is a book that must be recommended for even the most casual reader and become required reading for any aspiring historian of this period.

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Lincoln’s Assassin, The Unsolicited Confessions of J Wilkes Booth

B2027

The author has taken lively and innovative approach to presenting one of the possible diaries of the conspiracy theories that surround the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The book is set out as a play and imagines the unsolicited confessions of an assassin who has escaped, only to emerge many years later. The book layout is appropriate in as much as J Wilkes Booth was an actor who came from a well-known American acting family, and the assassination took place in a box at a theatre.

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Prelude to Waterloo, Quatre Bras, The French Perspective

B2026

The author has produced the most interesting account of the vital battle that preceded the main battles of Waterloo. He has based his review on French primary sources that have never been published before in English and the book has been published to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle. Naturally, the French view of Quatre Bras differs in several respects from the widely read English accounts and reviews.

The author has upset that comfortable and convenient view by using French accounts to take a fresh view and the stimulating result will be enjoyed by readers. The resulting account is not a simple “we wuz robbed” French view of the type that is periodically offered by French historians. What the author presents is a balanced view of how events built to the first serious contact of forces at Quatre Bras and how that key skirmish influenced the two large set piece encounters between Wellington and his Allies with Napoleon’s forces at Ligny and at Waterloo.

The author has produced a balanced view together with fresh insight. The reader will achieve a broader base of views and be better able to draw conclusions. This is therefore an important book and a timely publication.

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The Boer War 1899-1902, Ladysmith, Magersfontein, Spion Kop, Kimberley, Mafeking

B2025

This book is text-based but it does have an interesting photo plate section that includes in the background of one image an observation balloon that gave British artillery a new advantage, and an image of naval guns sent ashore and mounted on carriages. This also provided the Royal Navy with valuable experience that was carried into the man-carrying kite experiments from 1903 and the acquisition of aircraft.

For the military enthusiast, this book provides a very useful bridge from the military environment of the Napoleonic Wars into the global conflicts that marked and marred the Twentieth Century. This book is highly recommended.

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Letters from the Light Brigade, The British Cavalry in the Crimean War

B2024

The Light Brigade became immortal, their fame stretching far beyond a British remembrance. History generally remembers the Light Brigade as the victims of poor leadership and a determination to charge artillery when prudence would have called retreat. However, there are also those who consider the Light Brigade as having achieved the objectives set but been let down by inadequate follow through that would have turned a costly repulse into a stunning victory. The controversy surrounding the Charge of the Light Brigade will probably continue long into the future, but this new book is based on the letters home from those who served on that fateful day. The author has made a very good selection of previously unpublished letters that were written within eight days of the battle. This is primary source material that provides unique insight.

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The First World War A – Z, From assassination to Zeppelin – everything you need to know

B2044

This is an excellent pocket book and primer for the First World War. IWM is a unique military museum inspired by a desire to commemorate and explain the War-to-end-all-Wars, as WWI was then regarded, and the part played by the nations of the British Empire. It is therefore most fitting that this valuable pocket book has received contributions from many of the staff of the museum, to provide a first class overview through the synopses they have written. It follows the path of pocket books that can be used as an introduction for the young, or as a rapid reference by the enthusiast who may have a great deal of knowledge of the general subject.

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Gatwick Airport, The First 50 Years

B2042

Of the international airports around London, Gatwick is number two. This lavishly illustrated book charts the history of the airport from the purchase of a flying field in the 1930s by two young men. The quality of the illustrations is good to outstanding and the text is readable and concise, painting the picture of the history of Gatwick from a humble start to a bustling modern airport with good road and rail links for passengers. The author is a lifelong aviation enthusiast and his love of aviation enhances a very workman-like book that provides an excellent review of the airport and the struggles it has worked through

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Letters from the Light Brigade, The British Cavalry in the Crimean War

B2024

The Light Brigade became immortal, their fame stretching far beyond a British remembrance. History generally remembers the Light Brigade as the victims of poor leadership and a determination to charge artillery when prudence would have called retreat. However, there are also those who consider the Light Brigade as having achieved the objectives set but been let down by inadequate follow through that would have turned a costly repulse into a stunning victory. The controversy surrounding the Charge of the Light Brigade will probably continue long into the future, but this new book is based on the letters home from those who served on that fateful day. The author has made a very good selection of previously unpublished letters that were written within eight days of the battle. This is primary source material that provides unique insight.

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