The television series which spawned this book was clearly aimed at the "Time Team" audience; tackling a serious subject in a lightweight manner, it was informative and irritating in equal parts. The book is the same.
In theory battlefield archaeology is fascinating, serving to check contemporary accounts against the facts, and potentially rewrite history. The book gives a vivid account of the battle as understood by history, and then looks at the result of the survey. Unfortunately the hard evidence on the ground is often in short supply, leading to academic embarassment on the part of the authors, and a lot of the kind of speculation which tries one's patience. There are some moments when the metal detector finds do, however, completely contradict the historical record and lead to a new understanding. So far, so fascinating.
These, alone, would make a slim book. "Two Men in a Trench" is padded out partly by the inclusion of a lot of unnecessary detail about the process of the survey, finding the battlefield, pitching the tents etc etc, with moody shots of the presenters gurning into the rain or poncing about in historical costume; partly with a collection of illustrations derived, it would seem, from old children's books, and partly by arranging everything in a rather long-winded layout. This is what makes it irritating. On the plus side, the authors are at pains never to glorify war, and pay great attention to the ordeal of the common peasant soldier.
The battles covered are: Shrewsbury, Barnet, Flodden, Newark, Culloden and "Firth of Forth", actually a study of the role of the 2nd World War fortifications at Inchkeith.
Like the television programme, the book would appeal most to, and be suitable for, the intelligent schoolchild, or adults who want to brush up on their history without too much strain. I should make it clear that I enjoyed both series and books, for all their faults. Neil Oliver, whose style is firmly impressed on the book, has since gone on to make a very successful career, so clearly he has his finger on the popular pulse.