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Waterloo 1815 (2) (Campaign 277)
Waterloo 1815 (2) (Campaign 277)
by John Franklin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent new history of the Battle of Ligny, 25 Feb. 2015
Waterloo (2) Ligny is the second in a three-part volume set written by author John Franklin to mark the 200th anniversary of the 1815 campaign, with volume-one focusing on the Battle of Quatre-Bras and volume-three considering the Battle of Waterloo itself. Since there are some common elements to the series, the potential reader is encouraged to read the following review in conjunction with that previously written for volume-one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Waterloo-1815-1-Campaign-276/dp/1472803639/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424893034&sr=8-1&keywords=Waterloo+1815+%281%29+%28Campaign+276%29

Of the four major actions fought during the Waterloo campaign of June 1815, Ligny is perhaps the second least studied, and therefore one of the least written about. However, the author of this title has gone some way in addressing this void present in the current literature. Indeed, any proper understanding of the Waterloo campaign cannot be gained without considering this important clash of the French and Prussian armies on 16 June 1815.

Similar to his first volume, the author examines the main opposing commanders, as well as the opposing armies and strategies. This is done in-depth and forms about the first third of the book. Following on is an equally in-depth examination of the opening stages of the campaign and the battle itself, which consists of the greater part of the title. The author finishes the volume by considering the aftermath of the fighting and including information about the battlefield of Ligny as it appears today. Finally there is a suggested further reading section aimed at assisting those who wish to learn more.

As with volume-one, the book is extremely well written in an easy to follow format and is extremely well illustrated throughout in full colour. The title sits within Osprey’s current campaign series and so follows a strict structure within a prescribed ninety-six pages. However, the reader should not be fooled by the relative shortness of the work, since it is packed heavily with detail and useful analysis. Overall the book deserves a five out of five star rating and deserves a space in the library of both the general reader and the military history enthusiast alike.
Comment Comments (13) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 2, 2015 3:47 PM BST


Waterloo 1815 (1): Quatre Bras (Campaign)
Waterloo 1815 (1): Quatre Bras (Campaign)
by John Franklin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent new history of the Battle of Quatre-Bras, 23 Dec. 2014
If you ask most people what they know about the Waterloo campaign of 1815 they will probably tell you something about the events of 18 June. However, much less studied, and consequently less written about, are the two major actions that took place two days earlier; the Battles of Quatre-Bras and Ligny. As the 200th anniversary of Waterloo approaches, author John Franklin, known for his previous published works on Hanoverian and Netherlands correspondence of the campaign, has written a trilogy of books that explore the whole campaign from Napoleon’s escape from exile on the island of Elba to his final defeat at Waterloo. Volume one, which is reviewed here, examines Quatre-Bras, while volumes two and three consider Ligny and Waterloo respectively.

As with most Osprey titles of this type, the book is relatively short at 96 pages. However, this should not fool the reader in to thinking it is limited in content, since the book is packed with detail and excellently illustrated. The latter contains reproductions of well-known (and lesser-known) paintings as well as modern three-dimensional maps that greatly assist the reader in understanding the battle and overall campaign. In terms of written content the author has included information on both the opposing military commanders and their armies (accompanied by the Orders of Battle), and most crucially an in-depth analysis of the opposing plans and strategies. Armed with this the reader is then presented with a detailed account of the opening of the campaign and battle itself, which makes up the greater part of the book. An examination of the aftermath follows along with interesting information about the battlefield today. Finally the author has also included a detailed timeline, which, in a similar fashion to the maps, enhances the readers understanding of the development of events.

The book is extremely well written and easy to read, and should appeal to both the military enthusiast and general reader alike. One thing that does stand out about this book is the fact no black and white images have been used, with all illustrations being presented in full and vivid colour. The title also gives proper recognition to all nationalities involved, and thus is a refreshing change from the widespread Anglo-centric view of events that still dominate the bookshelves. That does not in any way diminish the British contribution to the defeat of Napoleon, but rather offers a much more balanced and accurate view. It should be noted that the book is intended to be read as part of the trilogy, which if done will enable the reader to gain a thorough understanding of the Waterloo campaign, yet it also acts well as a standalone book if so required. Overall this book deserves a firm five out of five star rating.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 27, 2014 11:58 AM GMT


The Great War 100: The First World War in Infographics
The Great War 100: The First World War in Infographics
by Scott Addington
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully designed and informative book!, 10 Dec. 2014
With the centenary of the First World War underway, there has been an explosion of new books published on the conflict, which add to the already considerable number of existing titles. However, ‘The Great War 100: The First World War in Infographics’ by Scott Addington offers the reader something new and very different.

The book, as the title suggests, uses infographics (that is visual representations of information and data) to explore the numerous aspects of the Great War. However, this is not simply a book full of First World War related pictures as seen in other works, rather it offers the reader a very smartly designed set of modern graphics that instantly convey to the reader information on the aspect of the conflict that is being explored on the page before him or her. Along with the graphics is text, giving more data and information, but this is kept to a relative minimum. Subject areas of the First World War examined in the book include themes such as weapons, medals, tanks, aircraft, ships, casualty statistics, amongst many many more. In addition the author explores each year of the conflict as well as the nations involved.

While the use of such graphics may sound slightly odd for a history book it actually works extremely well. Addington has put together a beautiful yet highly informative book that should appeal to both the general reader and the history enthusiast alike. Likewise the book will be of interest to a wide range of ages. This unique and well put together work deserves a five out of five star rating.


Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance in the Last Year of WWII
Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance in the Last Year of WWII
by Randall Hansen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.24

4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting look at German resistance at the end of WW2, 1 Nov. 2014
Much has been written about the Second World War, and indeed a visit to any major bookshop will yield more books on this conflict than any other in the history section. However, few have been published that remember the Germans who actually resisted Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, whether from the beginning, or as initial supporters those who later turned against their Führer as the defeat of Germany became certain. Randall Hansen, Director of the Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto, has attempted to fill this lesser known, yet fascinating, void in literacy works.

The book, unsurprisingly, exams the 20 July plot against Hitler, and explores the motivations of the key protagonists, such as Claus von Stauffenberg and Friedrich Olbricht, amongst others, in their attempt to kill the Führer before seizing control of Berlin in what would be termed Operation Valkyrie. This is followed by the furious retribution vented by Hitler on the plotters, including Erwin Rommel, who increasingly become resistant and critical of the Führer’s leadership. The liberation of Paris is also considered, and how Dietrich von Choltitz, the German General in charge of the city’s occupation, along with other high-ranking officers, resisted Hitler’s orders to destroy the city according to his infamous instructions to turn it into rubble. Hansen goes on to look at numerous other examples of resistance by German military and civilians alike until the final surrender in May 1945. During this examination of resistance of the final year of the Second World War the author places each example within its proper context, presenting the reader with a description of the wider events, which in turn fosters a better understanding of the subject.

The only minor criticism of the book is the author’s somewhat relentless criticism of the British, while praising the Americans. In reality both deserve criticism and praise, but Hansen seems to leave the reader feeling he has ‘over-egged’ it allowing a little bias in to his work. All that said this is still a very good book, and anyone reading this review should not be put off buying the book. Overall it is an excellent work, easy to read, and well structured, deserving a firm four out of five star rating.


Moleskine Booklight - Purple
Moleskine Booklight - Purple
Price: £10.85

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a rechargeable reading light!, 30 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It is difficult to review something as simple as a book light. However, it should be said that this particular product is excellent, being usefully charged via USB and easily attached to a book. Many book reading lights rely on expensive batteries, but the rechargeable nature of this light is a massive bonus.


Waterloo: The Aftermath
Waterloo: The Aftermath
by Paul O'Keeffe
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something different for the Waterloo enthusiast!, 30 Oct. 2014
The number of books written about the Battle of Waterloo is staggering! And the number of books appearing in bookstores in late 2014 (or planned for release in early 2015) is equally as staggering! However, author and lecturer Paul O’Keeffe has produced something a little different for the Napoleonic Wars enthusiast, or even the general reader, that is, as the title suggests, an examination of the aftermath of the battle rather than the action itself. Quite often military history books close with the end of the campaign considered, or at best present the reader with short epilogue of what happened when the fighting stopped. Understandable when the focus is on the action, but as is almost always the case, the events following the cessation of hostilities can be equally as fascinating as the battles themselves.

O’Keeffe’s book begins when the Hundred Days campaign was still being fought, although it does not tell the story of the fighting, but rather the almost forgotten peripheral, but related, events that took place in Brussels and surrounding areas. However, it quickly moves on to describe the horrifying scenes that would have been encountered on the battlefield of Waterloo the day after Napoleon’s final defeat. Here the author describes those scenes in heart breaking detail, including the unfortunate plight of the wounded, the horses, and the scavenging local peasants who roamed the fields in search of anything they could make use of, as well as accounts of the barbarity inflicted upon some of the surviving protagonists, both by the enemy and former fellow comrades alike. Moving on again the book also examines how the news of Wellington’s and Blucher’s victory was broke in London and elsewhere, how often the first murmurings in the press go it so wrong, but as more accurate details flowed how the celebrations finally began. The Allied occupation of Paris is likewise examined, detailing the differences of opinion between British and Prussian feelings towards their former enemy, the latter of course having suffered so greatly at the hands of the French earlier in the wars. Napoleon’s fight to retain power, and his fantasies of saving France at the head of another French army are revealed, before his final imprisonment by the British, which turned him in to a curious spectacle off the coast of England on-board HMS Bellerophon, where thousands of sightseers risked the waters in small boats in the hope of catching a glimpse of the man who had set Europe ablaze for so many years. Finally O’Keeffe looks at the retribution handed out to some of Napoleon’s former military and civilian supporters, some escaping death to flee to America or elsewhere, others being not so fortunate, either being shot or facing the infamous guillotine as their reward for loyalty to the Emperor.

The author has produced an incredibly fascinating account of some of the key events in the wake of the Battle of Waterloo. It is an easy read, devoid of too much academic language which can so often put off some readers, yet it remains a serious study of this aspect of the late and immediate post-Napoleonic period. Whether you are a Napoleonic enthusiast or a general reader, this book should be read by anyone with an interest in the climatic events of June 1815, either as a companion book to another on the battle itself, or as a standalone work. Overall O’Keeffe has produced a work worthy of a five out of five star rating!


The First Anglo-Sikh War
The First Anglo-Sikh War
Price: £4.91

5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever written on the First Anglo-Sikh War to-date!, 16 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The First Anglo-Sikh War is one of those conflicts that are often overlooked by historians and authors. There are few books that deal with the campaign in any real depth and it is frequently found relegated to a chapter or two within the wider subject of Indian campaigns. One reason for this may be the relative lack of readily available material that exists for academics to examine compared to other conflicts. However, it appears the author of this title has overcome this obstacle and unearthed a substantial amount of research. It is, therefore, refreshing to see a new book that examines the First Anglo-Sikh War in greater detail to previous publications.

The book begins with the usual preface and introduction – the latter of which deals with the build-up to the war and its causes. Following this we see the book split into two main sections. The first examines the war itself, including the beginning of operations, and its battles: Mudki, Ferozeshah, Bhudowal, Aliwal and Sabraon. For each of the battles there is an analysis of the opposing forces, the battlefield and casualties in addition to an account of the battle itself and the aftermath. The first section ends with a brief description of the ensuing, but temporary, peace up to the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Sikh War.

If that wasn’t enough for the reader the second half of the book acts as battlefield guide for the potential war tourist. Each of the five battlefields, mentioned above, are again considered this time examining them as they were in the past and as they are today. Mentions are made of the various war memorials and graves as well as other associated key features. For each of these a navigational reference is given to aid the visitor to accurately pinpoint them – a very welcome addition to a battlefield guide! Even if you are not able to visit the battlefield sites yourself this section of the book will be of great interest as it adds to the overall understanding of the campaign.

In addition to being very well researched the book is also very well written. Each page and chapter flawlessly flows into the next being a joy to the reader. Previous works have tended to be heavily reliant on British sources but this book also manages to include much from the Sikh point-of-view offering the reader a much more balanced account of the war and ultimately a more accurate portrayal of events. It is also well illustrated with maps of the battlefields as well as contemporary images and photographs of the battlefields today. This is an excellent book which deserves a five out of five star rating!


The First World War in Colour
The First World War in Colour
by Peter Walther
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £23.79

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something a little different for WW1 historians, 8 Oct. 2014
With the centenary of the First World War it is perhaps hardly surprising that a host of new books on the conflict are being published in 2014. However, Peter Walther’s new title is a little different, not because it is a book full of period photographs, but because it is a book full of original colour photographs taken between 1914 and 1919. Nor are these photographs mere black and white images that have been digitally colourised, rather they are actual images taken using colour film at the time. Although not generally well-known by many today, the use of colour film dates back to the Victorian period, and by the time of the First World War the technology had progressed to produce some quite vivid full-colour images. Of course this type of film was very expensive, and so the black and white option remained by far the more common in use. However, the author of this book has managed to compile over 300 amazing and rare colour images from archives of Europe, Australia, and the United States.

The book is set out in chronological order, with each year of the war having a varying numbers of chapters. At the beginning of each section a written description of the major events of that year are included, following which the images themselves are presented to the reader. Along with each image is a detailed description of what the scene depicts, including where and when it was taken. The subjects of the photographs are wide and varied, including soldiers, politicians, war-torn landscapes, and almost anything one can think of that is connected to the First World War on land. However, most of the images appear to depict France and the French, perhaps because they were more pioneering with colour film at the time, but there are some that show British Empire and other troops too. The size of the photographs reproduced in the book vary in size, but most are quite large when compared to the many period black and white images found in other works. Indeed the book is a hefty publication, being printed in a large format and having almost 400 pages.

From time to time the reader picks up a book, and has trouble putting it down. This is certainly one of those! The colour photographs present an amazing insight into a world and time that many of us have only ever seen in black and white. Although rare colour images from the time are well-known to historians, this is perhaps the first time such a comprehensive book has been published after gathering together so many from archives across the world. Anyone who has any interest in the First World War will find this title a worth while addition to the home library. Five out of five stars!


The Sea Warriors: Fighting Captains and Frigate Warfare in the Age of Nelson
The Sea Warriors: Fighting Captains and Frigate Warfare in the Age of Nelson
by Richard Woodman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Rip-roaring tales of small boat actions of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars period., 1 Oct. 2014
As the title suggests this book is about some of the many small-scale naval actions fought by daring British frigate captains during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. There is a wide range of books that concentrate on the larger fleet battles of the period, including the Glorious First of June, Aboukir Bay, and of course Trafalgar. However, few have been written that consider in any great detail the lesser-known, but in many ways equally as important, small boat actions and the commanders that fought them. Richard Woodman is thankfully one of those few authors who have successfully attempted to redress this imbalance. He is also well placed to write such a book, having previously authored many other works on naval history, including both factual and fictional accounts. It should be noted that this book was originally published in 2001, but the edition reviewed here is that released by Seaforth in 2014.

The book begins with the early actions of the French Revolutionary Wars, slowly working its way in to and through to the end of the ensuing Napoleonic conflict. Some may recognize the names of certain sea warriors and their ships mentioned in the text, including the likes of Thomas Cochrane, Edward Pellew, HMS Speedy, and HMS Indefatigable, but a whole host of other lesser-known commanders and frigates are brought to the attention of the reader. Of course it was not all about daring tales of battles on the high seas, but also the mounting of blockades and the protection of merchant shipping, all of which are explored in detail within this volume. In addition to the main text there is also a very useful chronology of the key events during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, which help place the events described within the wider context of the Great War of the period.

It is obvious that Woodman knows his subject very well, and the quality of his research shines throughout the whole book. It is also very well written, with excellent descriptions of the thrilling actions that often leave the reader sitting on the edge of his or her seat! There is, as one might expect, a lot of use of nautical terms, which may leave the non-naval expert slightly unsure in certain places. However, the author has included an extremely helpful glossary of sailing terms, which if read before the main part of the book, arms the reader with all he/she needs to understand the nature of warfare at sea during the age of sail. Whether you are new to the subject, or are an old sea dog, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in naval warfare or the Napoleonic period. Woodman has produced a book that is worthy of a five out of five star rating!


The Crimean War (Images of War)
The Crimean War (Images of War)
by Martin Mace
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.48

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Nice Pictorial Record of the Crimean War, 27 July 2014
As the title suggests this book is formed from a collection of 150 rare photographs that were taken throughout the Crimean War. Indeed the conflict was the first to be extensively photographed, and the first to see professional war correspondents follow the armies into the field with cameras, reporting back what they had witnessed for newspaper readers at home. One of the most famous of these new breed of journalists was Roger Fenton, and many of his splendid photographs have found their way into this title. Although quite a number of books have been published on the Crimean War, this is perhaps the first to tell the story in pictures rather than words. As they say, a picture paints a thousand words!

The book itself is divided into eight chapters, which chart the conflict beginning with the commanders, through the major battles, and the immediate aftermath. Each chapter begins with a brief explanation of the chapter content, before presenting to the reader the photographs themselves. These take the form of either the protagonists or the landscapes against which the actions of the war took place. Along with each is a detailed caption explaining to the reader who or what the picture depicts. Some of the photos have inevitably been previously published in other books, but here you are able to view them at much larger sizes than many books offer, allowing the viewer to muse over the fascinating detail often missed on smaller versions.

While the book cannot be considered a detailed history of the Crimean War, there are far too few words, it does offer the reader an extremely interesting insight into a conflict, which is largely forgotten by many today. Anyone interested in the war should consider buying this book, as it certainly deserves a spot on the shelf of any Victorian military historian’s home library, and would serve as a great companion title to a general history of the war.


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