An Open letter to the Publisher of this book.
One word: PICTURES.
Or better still, five words: This book screams for pictures!
I wanted to like this book, I really, really did. I knew a little about the 'funnies'- various modifications of armored vehicles, mostly tanks, that performed specialized function, and mostly developed under the guidance of General Sir Percival Hobart, another of typical brilliant English inventors who manage to come up with things that no one else can even imagine, let alone make work.
Anyway, as almost every serious student of WWII knows, these 'funnies' proved themselves starting on D-Day and were vital to getting aground and later around in Normandy. Even the US Military, which largely scoffed at the funnies, used some at D-Day (DD Shermans, armored bull dozers, and even some flails, I believe), and would call upon General Hobart to ask for a loan from time-to-time, to help with particular missions. I thought I had finally found the book that would enlarge my knowledge. But alas, this book fails. Why? Well, in large part, simply because it lacks pictures. The middling size article in Wikipedia, with nine pictures as of June 2012, almost has more pictures than this entire book of 256 pages! It has a few illustrations, but many of them are worthless. Why? Most of them are small hand-drawn, pen-and-ink illustrations of the funnies in action. They are so small, purportedly to show the 'funnies' in action, that the funnies are often lost in the picture-the 'explosions' are often bigger than the devices. These illustrations are generally dark, and so small that they add nothing to the book.
For example, it wasn't until page 223 that I really could understand what a Buffalo looked like, and that was from a description that the author quoted from a letter.
By the way, the maps could stand improvement as well. In Figure 1, D-Day, the hand-drawn lettering is so small as to be practically impossible to read. Later maps are of such a small area that they provide no sense of where in Europe they are-little towns along some of the rivers in Holland and Germany where little battles raged are shown, but not in context.
The majority of the book talks about the funnies in action, and here the book gets into detail, maybe too much detail. It talks about what each little unit of the funnies does all the way from Normandy to Bremen.
So, in conclusion, I would raise the score of this book from a 2 to a 3 if they just put some nice, clear photos in it. I would raise it to a 4 if they would spend a little less time talking about what each unit did, and a little more time talking about the funnies themselves.