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Charge!: The Interesting Bits of Military History [Hardcover]

Justin Pollard
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

2 Oct 2008
War brings out the very best and worst in people although, frankly, its usually the latter. But for all our thousands of years of practice at this most dangerous art there is precious little evidence that we're either outgrowing it or getting any good at it. It is an occupation filled with heroism, genius, hubris, idiocy and blind panic all bought on at least in part by large measures of astonishingly good and bad luck - and they're all here in Charge! This is not a book filled with battle diagrams swarming with arrows or 100,000 word descriptions of the tactical basis for the Pastry War.
It is a book about the smaller tragedies and triumphs that actually go to make up the big picture - toilets that sink U-boats, unsporting attacks on Christmas day, armies that stop for tea, bombs on renegade balloons, drunk generals, blind kings, blind drunk generals, circular warships, and all the joy and misery that such things bring with them. And an interesting bit about the Pastry War.

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Charge!: The Interesting Bits of Military History + Loose Cannons: 101 Things They Never Told You About Military History (General Military)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; First printing. edition (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719523044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719523045
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 20.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 532,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Another fusillade of facts, with some stirring, some farcical and some grisly tales from some  of the odder crannies of military history . . . This will keep the dear old brigadier supplied with anecdotes for months'

(Sunday Telegraph)

'Barmy Armies: tales of derring-do (and derring-don't)'


'A damn fine and mirthful read, especially those sections that - rightfully - give the rise to the perfidious French!'
(Damien Lewis, bestselling author of Apache Dawn)

'Even if this book can't eliminate all future military blunders, it will be invaluable for preparing witty after-dinner speeches'

(Diplomat Magazine)

'WAR may be hell, but Justin Pollard in a new book, Charge!, has unearthed some funny and strange episodes in military history' (Dover Express & Folkestone Herald)

'It's a great collection of really interesting titbits, anecdotes, drunken generals, circular boats, and a war allegedly started by a bit of pastry'

(Birmingham Mail)

Book Description

Huzzah! A cornucopia of military blunders from one of the writers of QI

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
If, like me, your attention span for history is shorter than it really should be and your ability to retain historical facts is limited, then this book could be for you. Pollard has collected a confectionery of pithy stories from the history of warfare, so that you and I can read and enjoy, and also bluff our way through conversations about history with a funny ancedote. One of the bits of history that most people have for instant recall is that "Archduke Ferdninand was shot in the Balkans"; well that's here too, and you can read about the near-miss that was the assassination attempt in Sarajevo. A few of the stories ring vague bells with me, like the "Zimmermann Telegram" which brought the USA into the first World War, but largely the stories were new to me, and the tales of sinking, crashing and collapsing of everything that might be expected to float, fly or stay vaguely solid make it a page turner. For example, the sinking of the Mary Rose has been much written about, but who remembers the sinking of the Royal George, which rather ingloriously sank while rum barrels were being loaded through gunports near the waterline? Pollard is good at concisely telling the salient facts, with humour, but also with due respect for the topic. This book is a bluffer's guide to military history, and I hope that other books in the series will follow so that I can appear to be knowledgeable in other areas of history in the future.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine read - highly recommended 28 Nov 2008
By dr
We bought "The Interesting Bits" last Christmas for four people and ourselves and everyone was delighted with such a fantastic book. Now they are all getting "Charge!" for this Christmas. It is a great read -well written, witty and requires no background knowledge of history to enjoy it. I hope there is another one next year otherwise we'll be stuck as to what to give...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A stomping success! 14 Nov 2008
This book is a nice easy read containing numerous interesting stories and facts. It will reinforce your historical knowledge with some of the more bizarre events that have occurred throughout the history of warfare. It is a good addition to any historian's library in order to supplement the conventional with a small compendium of lesser known historical events and trivia.

Overall a very good read, I would recommend the book to others who are interested in Military History and want a lighter, yet still informative read.

The book contains stories from all over the world and does not focus solely on British Military History.
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