The Nelson Encyclopaedia


There will be a large number of new books published, and some old favourites reprinted, on the subject of Nelson in the run up to the 2005 bi-centennial of Trafalgar. This book is a very handy volume for both the committed Nelson enthusiast and those becoming interested in his life and events. The author was formerly Deputy Director of the Royal Naval Museum where he was responsible for the very strong Nelsonian focus there. He is now Director, Trafalgar 200 at the National Maritime Museum. Colin White has produced, in the form of an encyclopaedia, a synopsis of Nelsonian facts. There is nothing new, but the great strength of the encyclopaedia is that it provides an excellent breadth of coverage. Those developing an interest in the subject will find that it is an ideal general reference from which to plan further reading. The committed enthusiast will find this work a very good index to the subject

The Naval War in the Mediterranean 1940-43


A very affordable and well written work on an important theatre of WWII. Clear text is supported adequately by maps and charts, positioned in the text. Photographic illustration is provided in 16 pages of black and white photographs and artisits impressions from British and Italian sources. Recommended reading for the period

The Naked Soldier


Several countries continue to employ mercenaries. Of these, the Ghurkhas of the British Army and the French Foreign Legion are perhaps the most famous. Down the years, military formations of this type generate myth, legend and romance which is far from the reality of life in their ranks. The French Foreign Legion produces at least one book for each generation. The Naked Soldier is a gritty account of five years in the life of a British volunteer that pulls no punches. The author has painted a picture that is human, honest, violent and at times shocking. In a light narrative style that is eminently readable, the author also paints a picture of himself and his motivations. He could be any one of many thousands of young men who grow up in uncertainty and develop a restless spirit, frequently migrating to a military career in one of the special forces that governments use in the most difficult conditions. After serving the minimum five year term in the Foreign Legion, gaining his parachute wings and becoming an NCO, Sloane moved to the British Parachute Regiment, then into the 22 SAS before joining that growing army of security consultants employed by private companies and operating in post-invasion Iraq. It is to be hoped that the author will make the time to write accounts of his experiences after the Foreign Legion, in the same honest and involving style as his tale of French service

The Model Rocketry Handbook


This really is rocket science. A fascinating book that deals will all aspects of model rocketry. Even those who may not feel the urge to participate in this sport will find the subject interesting. The author has covered the history, scale and functional model construction, propellants, stability recovery and ground support systems. All of the principles and formulae can be applied to any of the classes of model rocketry and form the basis for more ambitious hobby rocketry. The sport continues to gain popularity and there are now many standard products that can be purchased as components and complete kits, to help maintain the enviable safety record of this sport and make the introduction easier for new comers

The Men of the Mary Rose


The recovery of the Mary Rose has been a significant and lengthy process of conservation and discovery. For many it is assumed that the value of such an enterprise is in the discovery and study of artefacts. There is no denying that the knowledge of naval technology of the times has been significantly advanced. Social study has also been advanced with the recovery of personal possessions carried aboard by the crew. These possessions provide a view across society of the time, or at least of male society, because items used by the most junior member of the crew through to the commander of the vessel have spanned social standing and wealth. What is of at least equal value is the knowledge gained by forensic archaeology through the study of skeletal remains. Dr Stirland has set out the results of her important study. We know something of the wealthy in societies reaching back into ancient history because the wealthy spent some of their assets on attempting to achieve some form of immortality. In some societies the rich and powerful spent a very large percentage of their wealth on this pursuit. Unfortunately the surviving remains have represented a very tiny percentage of the population of the times. A pyramid or a ship burial tell us much of one individual

The Maritime Compendium


This is a glorious collection of drawings and sketches of maritime subjects and famous sailors. There is little more than token text, introducing each section of this visual treat. The illustrations vary greatly from clip art and dark engravings to the most detailed and crisp technical drawings. Virtually every aspect of maritime technology, design, and affairs is covered in a series of logical sections. Many images are very rare and many readers will see them for the first time


The Marine Art of Geoff Hunt


Geoff Hunt is perhaps best known for his work in painting Nelson’s Navy and the publisher has strongly made this link on the dust jacket, coupling the artist particularly with Patrick O’Brian and his fictional work set in this period. However, the artist has catholic tastes in marine painting, having produced work on modern racing yachts, warships, workboats and much more. This book reproduces a cross section of his work with strong emphasis on the Nelsonian period and illustrations for Patrick O’Brian’s best selling books

The Man Who Found The Broads – George Christopher Davies


This is a fascinating book especially for those who have followed articles about sailing on the Norfolk Broads. This book provides an excellent contrast to these articles and is in effect two books for the price of one. In addition to the informative biography of Davies this book contains a reprint of the 48 photographs together with their original captions from Davies’ book “The Scenery Of The Broads And Rivers Of Norfolk And Suffolk.” As a collection these photographs give an interesting insight into the scenery and boating of the Broads during the early 1880s. From the age of twenty five Davies had a book published almost every year for the next twenty five years but it is for his work about the Norfolk Broads which he is best remembered

The Madness Of Kings


From Caligula to Bush and Blair, the author takes us on a tour of the insanity of leaders. There is an amazing amount of information packed into the pages but the stories are so involving that the reader is not conscious of the amount of knowledge. It may be that a leader does not have to be mad but it can help if he is. In the same way, the author did not have to write with wit and humour but it helps to relieve some of the horror in the tales. It is a difficult act of balance to write of kings and to finish with politicians who would be kings. That balance has not been entirely achieved. In the earlier chapters, kings were kings, singular characters and all view from the perspective of history. Madness is also a difficult concept to work with because it is a judgement from perceptions. Mad George, George III rather than George W Bush, is an example of a monarch who was naturally a kind and gentle person who suffered from a recurring condition that many would argue was not clinical insanity. Caligula may have been bad as much as mad. Henry VIII and Ivan both started out with promise and displayed attractive qualities, their personalities changing with their experiences

The Lusitania – Unraveling The Mysteries


The author uses material researched by the American diver John Light together with the fruits of his own research to produce a highly readable account of the ill fated liner. The former commercial diver who has dived on the wreck himself begins by providing a lot of background material such as a description of the pre war era of large Atlantic liners as well as an insight into life onboard early U Boats