Despatches from the Front, Disaster in the Far East, 1940-1942


Once again the ‘Despatches from the Front’ series has delivered an important collection of despatches that has been introduced and sensitively edited. There is the usual crisp illustration for which the series is known. The despatches show what senior commanders were seeing and thinking and as a collection of primary sources, this book will be invaluable as a reference work for enthusiasts, researchers and those who just want to side step the middlemen historians. A very illuminating book on a much under-covered subject. Highly recommended.

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Blue Diamonds, The Exploits of 1 Squadron RAF 1945-2015


The author served with 14 Squadron and was appointed Honorary Secretary of the 14 Squadron Association. Now an airline pilot, he has undertaken careful research to produce an accurate account of the career of 14 Squadron from the end of WWII to 2015. Complete accounts of this kind provide definitive books on their subject and will not only sell well to a defined readership on publication, but continue to be sought-after reference works for many years to come. The text is well-supported by an excellent selection of illustrations, including maps, photographs and full colour drawings. The text flows nicely and encourages the reader to work through the book. Strongly Recommended.

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Anatomy of the Ship, Tudor Warship Mary Rose


Conway Maritime established a reputation for a series of books that provided a high quality set of images, many unique, that described the structure and technology of the subjects. Since then, the imprint has passed through a number of hands and each new owner has managed to maintain the high standards originally achieved. This new book has demonstrated that Bloomsbury Publishing is a safe pair of hands for the Conway imprint. There is text and it is very good descriptive material that fully supports the fine selection of images. The subject is unique and this book shows just why the Mary Rose is such an important vessel. Those who filed through the original restoration shed were awed by the remains of this warship. It was a damp cold dark experience because the remaining hull structure had to be sprayed continuously at a controlled temperature during the initial restoration process. The author provides a brief history and introduction with some outstanding images and specially produced drawings. Highly Recommended.

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The Adventures & Inventions of Stewart Blacker, Soldier, Aviator, Weapons Inventor


Every so often, previously unpublished biographies and collections of diaries and correspondence surface and are turned in a unique and very enjoyable book that is compelling and, while seeming incredible against modern experience, is entirely believable. This book is one such. Stewart Blacker is a larger than life individual who was not that unusual in his times, but has perhaps no modern equivalent. That is as much due the changes in society as it is in the human. There are parts of Blacker that will be familiar. He is in part ‘Q’ from the James Bond stories. In part he is Biggles from that fictional aviator. There are many extracts of his character and experiences that do chime today but, as a whole, he is really extraordinary and shows how life in the early years of the 20th Century was more flexible than today. This is a book that should be read by many as a fascinating insight into times past, and the level of endeavour that is so different from the period a century later. Very Highly Commended for style and content.

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With Wellington in the Peninsula, The Adventures of a Highland Soldier, 1808-1814


This is a first-hand account of the Peninsula War by a soldier who was there. First published in 1827, this is a primary source account, that includes material from others who fought in the campaigns in Portugal and Spain. This material has been sensitively edited to produce a new book with illustration, mainly in the form of maps. The author has written with humour, colour and frankness that has lost noting in the editing. It is not a history book or a stiff account written late in life by an old soldier. The text flows and has character. The author attempts to paint a comprehensive picture of a series of campaigns that took British soldiers into France and the defeat of Napoleon. The result is an entertaining and informative story that reads well and will appeal to all who are interested in the period. A very worthwhile book.

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The Ship of the Line, a History in Ship Models


The author is one of the foremost naval historians of his generation with special skill and knowledge of sailing warships of the 18th and 19th Centuries. He has been widely published for many years and his knowledge sought by period film companies. This book therefore needs little introduction. What it does very well is provide full colour illustration of ships that have long since ceased to exist. Traditionally, books covering the history and technology of these wooden warships have required drawings and sketches, with a few colour photographs of rare survivors, such as HMS Victory, USS Constitution, and the Swedish Vasa. What the author has done is use colour photographs of models held in the great maritime museums and originally built mostly for training or sales purposes.

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Battles of the Greek and Roman Worlds, a Chronological Compendium of 667 Battles to 31BC from the Historians of the Ancient World


The author has brought together the works of ancient historians and produced an impressive compendium that is both exciting and vivid. There is humour and candour and the chronological order of the battles will be a great help to those embarking on a study of ancient warfare and politics. There is some very good illustration with maps and battle formations. Both land and sea battles are covered. This paints a full colour picture of ancient warfare and the result is excellent.

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Gunboat Command, the Biography of Lieutenant Commander Robert Hichens DSO DSC RNVR


The capital ships often collared the headlines and in peace and war they were a very visible statement of power, but the coastal craft were the frequent stars of WWII and were key to some of the most important activities during the conflict. The subject of this biography is in many ways typical of the buccaneering skippers of Coastal Forces, recommended for the Victoria Cross before his death and recipient of the DSO and DSC, mentions in despatches and the respect of his peers and superiors. This is one of those books that reaches out beyond a traditional readership of naval warfare enthusiasts. It is not the easiest task for a son to write about a dead father, but this is an example of how it can be done and done well. It is more than a factual account of a very brave young man and his comrades, displaying affection, respect, love, and a deep understanding. Highly recommended – page turner!!

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Operations in North Africa and the Middle East 1939-1942, Tobruk, Crete, Syria and East Africa


This is another volume in the fine series of unabridged despatches, collected to cover specific campaigns. Authorship is always a tricky area with this type of book. The authors have done much more than an editor would to create a credible collection of primary source material and have provided the essential introductions. The text material is complemented by a good photographic illustration in the form of a photo-plate section. This type of book is a must for researchers, writers and well-informed enthusiasts, It is also essential reading for military professionals. However, it is a very readable work that provides fascinating insights from those who were in command and should appeal to a much wider readership. Recommended.

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HMS Pickle, The Swiftest Ship in Nelson’s Trafalgar Fleet


Depends on the size of your pockets, but this is a pocket-size book that packs a big punch. A great deal of information is packed into this volume, including a very good photo-plate section. There are also charts, tables and sketches through the body of the book to provide a significant amount of illustration, all to a high standard. This is a fine account of a part of the most famous sea battle that has received very little coverage. It is nicely produced and offered at a very affordable price. Naval enthusiasts will be keen to obtain a copy, but this is one of those books that should be a priority for anyone starting to develop an interest in the story of Nelson and the Royal Navy. Very highly commended.

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