The Roman Empire and the Indian Ocean, The Ancient World Economy & the Kingdoms of Africa, Arabia & India

B2067

This book will contain many surprises for most readers. The established wisdom of historians has concentrated on the Roman Navy operating in the Mediterranean and to a very limited extent between the British Isles and the European mainland. As with most civilizations of the Ancient World, the need for trade, and the advantage of rivers, lakes and oceans as highways, meant that travel by sea was far more common and extensive than most have been taught. Even far into history, true ocean voyages were undertaken, many being involuntary voyages resulting from violent storms, but many also being deliberate voyages of trade and exploration. Read this book and change your view of the importance and scope of maritime activity in Ancient Rome.

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Lost Legend of the Thryberg Hawk, The Mystery Crossbow Boy who Saved the Fortunes of York at the Battle of Towton

B2066

This is a great story that is well worth reading and will appeal to a much wider readership because it is a cracking tale that demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses of the human character, suspense, thrills and the violence of a Medieval battlefield.

This is an enjoyable and compelling tale that sits somewhere between fiction and non-fiction. As with most victors, the Tudors embarked on an enthusiastic re-writing of the history of the epic struggle between York and Lancaster. Some stories were deliberately suppressed and others were simply left out of the Tudor account of the civil wars between the two houses. However, oral histories, frequently dismissed by historians as ‘folklaw’ in favour of the highly misleading propaganda of the victor, contain valuable information and may prove the true history of events. What they lack is the fine detail and personalities of the story. When an author combines folk law, with historical research and creative imagination, the resulting book can become a very valuable element of historical knowledge. It remains for each reader to decide how far to use this new book as an expansion of knowledge of what took place and how far to treat it as a great story, well-told and a saga of events.

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Antigonus the One-Eyed, Greatest of the Successors

B2065

The publisher is building a fine catalogue of titles covering aspects of the Ancient World, and particularly of the lesser known leaders and conflicts. This new book forms part of that catalogue and tells the exciting story of one of those competing to succeed Alexander the Great. The sudden death of a young Alexander left a huge vacuum and the years following saw a number of individuals seek to succeed him. Enthusiasts will have already come across these competitors, but probably only in rough outline. This book provides a comprehensive review of one of the Successors. Perhaps one of the least likely, Antigonus has come to be regarded as the Greatest of the Successors. ‘Greatest’ is always a subjective description but the story of Antigonus is absorbing and motivating.

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Sheriffmuir 1715, The Jacobite War in Scotland

B2064

The author has provided an accurate account of the events leading to Sheriffmuir to coincide with the three hundredth anniversary. It is a moving and sad story and all the more pertinent as the latter day dependency party, the SNP, tries to replace union with the rest of the British with subservience to Brussels.

This enjoyable book provides a comprehensive account of the battle of Sheriffmuir, throwing light on how it was fought. It has included eyewitness accounts, some previously unpublished and all important to the understanding of this fight. There are also chapters that review the organization, training, weapons, and tactics for both the Jacobite forces and the Government army. It may not convert any of those strongly holding to established views from either extreme, but it will allow the more open minded to consider this critical part of Scottish history.

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Surrender at New Orleans, General Sir Harry Smith in the Peninsula and America

B2063

This is a gripping story of love and war, worthy of a well-crafted novel and all the more absorbing as a true story of two extraordinary characters.

Enthusiasts may know something of the story of General Sir Harry Smith and the Spanish beauty he married, but this carefully researched book provides a level of detail that tells their story in full and an extraordinary story it is. For most, the two subjects will be completely unknown. Napoleon, Wellington, Pitt, and Nelson are such powerful legends that there is little room for the cast of thousands of extraordinary soldiers, sailors and politicians that lived through the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Wellington and Nelson shared much in that they were ably supported by bands of brothers and Smith was one of Wellington’s band of brothers in Portugal and Spain, and again at Waterloo.

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Images of War, Great War Fighter Aces 1914-1916, Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

B2062

This book is another fine collection of images, many of which have not appeared in publications before. The text supports the images but this is not a simple photo essay. The author has provided well-researched text that provides an essential narrative and adds greatly to the impact of the images. The primary purpose of the book is to provide a comprehensive recognition of those pioneer military aviators who achieved the status of ‘Ace’, being a pilot with five or more ‘kills’ to his credit. It is possible that not every Ace has been included because there are alleged to have been a number of pilots during this period who may have achieved the requisite number of ‘kills’ but died in battle and to have never received due credit. However, that is no reflection on the author because he has reported officially recognized aces and provided also some good images of the aircraft being used at the time.

This book captures the essence the early years of aerial combat in WWI and will be greatly appreciated by enthusiasts, scholars, and those developing an interest in aerial combat.

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Howard Pixton, Test Pilot & Pioneer Aviator, The Biography of the First British Schneider Trophy Winner

B2061

A fantastic tale, told with love, affection and pride by a daughter. One of two books about test pilots that have no rival. This is a book that no one, who expresses interest in aviation, can afford to be without. The other book is ‘Wings on My Sleeve”, the story of that other outstanding British test pilot Capt ‘Winkle’ Brown RN. Between these two books, there is not only a great aviation story from each, but an encapsulation of British Aviation and the development of the role of test pilot. Pixton’s story is incredibly exciting and a real treat.

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An Expendable Squadron, The Story of 217 Squadron Coastal Command 1939 – 1945

B2060

There are occasions in reviewing new books where there is a mixture of sadness and gratitude. This is one such book. The author died this year and that is sad because he did not see the reaction to his writing or receive the deserved recognition of strong sales of what is a particularly important book that tells a story much neglected. Gratitude, because he provides a highly detailed account of a single squadron in Coastal Command during WWII. It is a fitting memorial to him and to his comrades, but it is also a very appropriate tribute to all in Coastal Command who made the most of resources restricted by a neglectful political class and an air force command that believed primarily in strategic bombing and point defence land-based interceptors. Coastal Command crews flew long, cold, noisy missions, often without any other aircraft and in weather conditions that would have grounded other aircraft. They also flew into withering enemy fire and pressed home their attacks with outstanding courage.

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Victoria Crosses on the Western Front, August 1914 – April 1915, Mons to Hill 60

B2059

This book records the 59 awards of the Victoria Cross made for the period from the start of WWI to April 1915, the period from Mons to Hill 60. The award of 59 VC s for less than a year of combat is a good indication of the ferocity of the battles on the Western Front. The author has aimed to achieve two objectives with this excellent book. Firstly, he is providing a valuable companion for those visiting the battlefields. Secondly, he is providing a detailed record for those enthusiasts and historians who study the Great War and the terrible trench warfare that made the Western Front a war of attrition. Both publisher and author are to be commended for a fine book that is presented well and supported by a wealth of photographs, sketches and maps.

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The Rise of the Seleukid Empire, 323-223 BC

B2058

This is the first book in a new series, tracing the fortunes of one of the greatest superpowers of the Ancient World. If this book is typical of the series, it will be a cracking read and a very valuable addition to the knowledge of the Ancient World. The first book has modest illustration, limited to maps and charts, but the easy narration style of the text makes this an very informative work that will appeal both to those already knowledgable in the period, and those coming into it for the first time.

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