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Saladin: Hero of Islam
Saladin: Hero of Islam
by Geoffrey Hindley
Edition: Hardcover

46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent volume!, 6 Jun. 2007
This review is from: Saladin: Hero of Islam (Hardcover)
Saladin was without a doubt a most extraordinary man and a key character in the Muslim world in the late 1100's. So famous was he for his actions then, that now, several hundred years later, his achievement are legendary and he is still revered by thousands the world over!

This excellent and very readable volume written by a specialist in this period of world history cleverly provides the reader with a fascinating insight into the life and times of this most remarkable man and describes how, as a brilliant soldier and battlefield commander, he rose to power in an area that included Egytpt, Palestine and Syria.

The name Saladin often brings shivers down ones spine, however as this book proves, he was a chivalrous leader who also enjoyed a unequalled political skills and an enviable reputation for mercy after his conquests.

This well written volume includes some excellent black and white photographs and copies of period drawing, maps and paintings. There is a valuable notes section, a glossary of Arabic terms and a detailed bibliography, making it a valuable addition to any ancient history enthusiasts library.

Washington's War: From Independence To Iraq
Washington's War: From Independence To Iraq
by Michael Rose
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must for Army Officers and Historians, 6 Jun. 2007
Michael Rose, or to give him his correct title - General Sir Michael Rose KCB CBE DSO QGM - the author of this absorbing hard hitting publication is no stranger to modern warfare! Having initially seeing active-service in Malaysia and Oman, he later commanded the 22nd Special Air Service Regiment at the time of both the London Iranian Embassy siege and then the Falkland's War. He later assumed command of the UN Protection Force in Bosnia and therefore I honestly believe he is well qualified to write this excellent volume, in which he not only sets the scene in the historical context, but also explains and compares the similarities in the basic principles of guerrilla warfare employed by the American Revolutionary armies in 1775 and the tactics employed by insurgents in both Iraqi and in other areas of modern conflict today.

Amazingly as we now know, even with a "ram-shackle" army of insurgents, Washington's brilliant campaign of 1775 worked and his indirect attacks and ambush tactics were contributory factors in leading him and his army into defeating one of the greatest powers in the world at that time. Proof alone that military might then, may not as now always be enough to succeed against well motivated and determined enemy forces.!

Today the USA that is the world's dominant superpower, when they entered Iraq in 2003 they seem to have made the same mistakes that the British Army made over 200 years ago against Washington's troops - they too underestimated the hostility against them and believed they could fight widespread insurgence using troops trained only in conventional warfare. They are now however beginning to learn the expensive lesson as the British did all those years ago, that sheer military power is not enough.

This hard-backed, value for money and what some may consider to be long overdue volume will, I feel, be invaluable for any serving army officer about to deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan. Anyone with an interest in the American War of Independence and modern history will find it a fascinating read too.

Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
by Julie Summers
Edition: Hardcover

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with beautiful photos, 4 Jun. 2007
Military historians and family history researchers along with the many of the thousands who regularly visit the battlefields and Commonwealth War cemeteries around the globe each year, will be delighted with this superb large format colourful volume, which in a mixture of words and beautiful photographs chronicles the history of the multi-national organization that is tasked with caring for the final resting places of over 1.7 million Commonwealth war dead of both the Great and Second World Wars.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission who's work is funded by the Australian, British, Canadian, Indian, New Zealand and South African Governments, skillfully and caringly maintains cemeteries in no less than 23,000 cemeteries in locations spanning 170 countries worldwide, was founded 90 years ago with the aim of recording the exact burial places of servicemen killed in battle and providing them with a grave, where without distinction in rank, race or creed, but with uniformity would be remembered in perpetuity.

Writing this book would not have been an easy task, however the author has succeeded, in not only covering the history of the Commission, but has also cleverly "woven in" many fascinating stories behind the headstones adding a human and sensitive perspective to the history too. This factor alone makes fascinating reading however, when the text is coupled together with Brian Harris's brilliant and very often artistic photographs taken in Europe, Canada, the Middle and Far East, the volume becomes more valuable to both the researcher and casual reader.

As all royalties from the sale of this excellent volume are being donated towards the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, I would therefore urge anyone with an interest is this fascinating subject to purchase this volume to assist them in keeping up their excellent work.

Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe
Home Run: Escape from Nazi Europe
by John Nichol
Edition: Hardcover

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book!, 28 April 2007
If you are interested in the Second World War, then I promise you that here is one title you will not want to miss!

This exciting and often very moving volume provides the reader with hours of excellent reading and a fascinating insight into the world of escape and evasion in wartime Europe, where no less than a quarter of a million allied soldiers, sailors and airmen found themselves in captivity following failing to be evacuation at Dunkirk or after being shot down during bombing raids over enemy held territory. Amazingly between 3000 and 5000 of these men actually managed to avoid capture, remained free and many remarkably made it back to Britain to "fight another day" too. This is their story!

John Nichol - one of the co-authors of this excellent book, is no stranger to being on the run in enemy territory - whilst serving as a member of the crew of a RAF Tornado during the First Gulf War, he was "shot down", subsequently captured and became a Prisoner of War, therefore he is able to relate to those brave men of sixty years ago and is suitably qualified to co-write this volume.

Pain-staking research, wading through massive amounts of archive material together with the collation of many eye witness accounts has resulted in a publication that not only explains how allied servicemen found themselves behind enemy lines in the first-place, but continues to cover tales of sheer determination and cunning evasion also. It recalls acts of extraordinary heroism amongst the ordinary men, women and sometimes the children of occupied France, Belgium and Holland, who risked their lives and those of their families and friends in operating safe houses and setting up escape routes to bring our boys back to safety. Not all escapes were successful or without cost however, as the book also proves by providing the reader with rare first hand accounts of torture and interrogation and life in the gaols and concentration camps of the notorious Gestapo and their Nazi colleagues.

This engrossing volume provides a unique insight into a very different aspect of the war. It is without a doubt a must for researchers and enthusiasts bookshelves and is exceptional value at only twenty pounds .

The Captain's Steward: Falklands, 1982
The Captain's Steward: Falklands, 1982
by Barrie Fieldgate
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £24.99

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusal view of the Falklands War!, 26 April 2007
This excellent volume based on a diary written by Falkland's Veteran Barrie Fieldgate provides the reader with a fascinating insight into life aboard a British warship on the lead-up to and during the Falklands War of 1982. Although many volumes have already been written by about this conflict by senior officers, politicians and historians, this particular one has been written by an ordinary naval rating who along with his ship-mates did an extraordinary job in extreme conditions and therefore adds a new perspective to the written history of war.

The author served as the Captain's Steward onboard the Royal Navy frigate HMS Broadsword at this time and as such was ideally situated to experience the private thoughts and fears of everyone from the ordinary seaman on the mess deck to the officers in the Wardroom and the Captain- the man with overall responsibility for the multi million pound vessel and everyone on board her.

Fieldgate's diary begins on April 5, 1982. At this point he outlines his general duties and daily life on board Broadsword. OK, much of this is routine naval life, however it describes the many incidents that he and his colleagues were involved in at the time and the excitement amongst the crew when the ship arrived in an overseas port the ship had not previously visited and therefore from a social history point of view alone, this volume is important too. However back to the main story, Broadsword had in fact left Gibraltar and was heading for Naples, when the ship received "the one and only signal that the whole ship's company had hoped would never be received" - the ship had been ordered to return to Gibraltar and prepare to sail to the South Atlantic - and war! At that point, the author states "We all realise that this is for real," .This fascinating volume therefore continues and recounts the progress of the war and his experiences aboard as the number of casualties (men and ships) mounted as several British warships were hit by enemy fire. During the period between 01st May and the 24th May, British ships were in fact under constant attack from the enemy and this book reflects exactly what the author saw of those actions".

There is no doubt that this volume will interest men who served in the Falklands at that time. Those who were aboard Broadsword will not wish to be without it I am sure, however anyone with an interest in this war will find it an entertaining read and a useful source of reference. There is a very useful (although irrelevant) section on naval heroes in history and a guide to naval terminology, jargon and slang. There are some very good black and white and colour photos too that feature either life on board the ship or other ships either on fire or crippled by enemy action.

A useful addition to the maritime enthusiast's library!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 1, 2010 12:31 PM GMT

Hitler's Panzers (Images of War)
Hitler's Panzers (Images of War)
by Ian Baxter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Photographs!, 9 April 2007
This really is an excellent publication from Pen and Sword's Images of War series and is therefore certain to appeal to a wide range of readers with an interest in armoured fighting vehicles. Military historians together with modellers and militaria collectors will find it invaluable as it is packed to the hilt with a wonderful collection of over 250 rare black and white photographs featuring German tanks and their crews from the Second World War period as well as a number that date back to the early 1930's too.

There are more photographs than text, but don't let this deter you as these splendid photographs together with their accompanying text/captions are worth thousands of words and actually tell a unique story on their own, especially as they include pictures men and their machines taken during training as well as during their time on active service on many fronts during the war itself.

The author has gone to great lengths in his research to find the splendid subject matter for his book, this has involved scanning official war archives as well as private collections and the result is, that he has produced a excellent value for money and invaluable publication.

The British Army Handbook 1939-1945 (Army Handbook)
The British Army Handbook 1939-1945 (Army Handbook)
by George Forty
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very useful volume at a very affordable price!, 8 April 2007
Military Historians, Militaria collectors and Family History Researchers with an interest in the British Army in the Second World War cannot go far wrong by buying this superb value for money volume, as I am sure it will be invaluable in their research whatever it might be now and in years to come.

In common with the other titles in this excellent series of books from Sutton, this volume is once packed to the hilt with a wealth of very readable information, therefore providing the reader with a comprehensive overview of the British Army during one of the crucial periods in our history. There is no doubt, that this excellent work is the result of a vast amount of research by the author- who as an ex-army officer himself, certainly knows his stuff and has therefore succeeded where many have failed in producing a volume that, although it does not profess to cover everything about the British Army, has gone most of the way towards that task!

This soft-back volume covers details of mobilisation and training, unit formations, headquarters structure as well as weapons and equipment, however it also includes chapters on tactics plus so much more. I personally think it is worth the price for the numerous photographs alone and although they, along with the maps and diagrams etc. are black and white, they do not detract from the quality of the publication.

If you have the slightest interest in the British Army, this is a book for you and at under fifteen pounds, is a good investment.

Monty's Highlanders: 51st Highland Division in the Second World War
Monty's Highlanders: 51st Highland Division in the Second World War
by Patrick Delaforce
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A first rate history of a first rate division!, 6 April 2007
This in a nutshell is a very affordable, first rate history of first rate division written by a first rate author with actual wartime battlefield experience and therefore I am sure it will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially those with an interest in this particular division and the men who served in it .

Monty once described the 51st Highland Division as one of the finest formations that had ever served under his command. In fact, it was the only infantry division that had served with him from his time in the Western Desert at El Alamein through to the invasion of Normandy and then the final entry into Berlin.

After facing a disaster at St Valery in 1940 when many members of the division were either killed or captured, the division soon re-formed and fought with distinction throughout the war, however this was not without cost either, as they suffered over 2,000 casualties at El Alamein plus a further 1,500 men were lost whilst liberating Sicily. During the 11 month period between 1944 and 1945 they also sustained a further 9,000 casualties too!

After hard fighting in North Africa and Italy, the division returned to England in time to take part in the Second Front, they landed in Normandy and successfully fought through the Bocage to triumphantly re-occupy St Valery. After taking Le Havre, they continued on through Holland and the Ardennes and were amongst the first troops to cross the Rhine.

Famous for their HD cipher, they were sometimes referred to as the "Highway Decorators" however they were highly skilled troops who were well led and their achievements during this conflict will be immortal.

The Black Watch: A Concise History
The Black Watch: A Concise History
by Trevor Royle
Edition: Hardcover

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise yet lacking little!, 6 April 2007
Formed in 1725 as an independent security force (or watch) their initial task was to guard the lawless areas of the Scottish Highlands. From those dark years through to the present day, the Black Watch has served its country fearlessly and has earned the enviable reputation as being one of the finest fighting regiments in the British Army.

Brave men of the regiment added many battle honours to the regimental colours over the years- they are of course too numerous to mention them all here, however historically famous names such as Alma, Sevastopol and waterloo, together with Egypt, South Africa, Ypres, Arras, Loos, Somme, Cassino, Tobruk and El Alamein will be familiar to many and need no further elaboration in respect of the hardships suffered and the gallant actions fought . In post war years, the regiment saw active service in Korea, Kenya, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and more recently in Iraq. Other unusual accolades include them being the last Resident battalion in Hong Kong and were present there in 1997 when the British flag was lowered for the last time. Rather unusual is the fact that 8 Pipers of the regiment also led the funeral procession of the late President John F Kennedy !

This excellent concise history follows Trevor Royale's previous publication detailing the history of the Royal Scots-another distinguished Scottish regiment who, along with the Black Watch were "swallowed up" in 2006 (as part of the government's radical defence policy), into the newly formed Royal Regiment of Scotland. Despite this volume's compactness and most attractive price, the author has successfully managed to cover nearly 300 years of distinguished service in enough detail to provide the military historian, collector and family history researcher with a host of invaluable information. In common with his previous volume, this title has some excellent colour and black and white plates too, together with an appendix that includes a fully comprehensive index, a Regimental Family Tree, a full list of battle honours together with citations for the Victoria Cross together and details of regimental marches, badges and tartans.

All in all, a very useful reasonably priced volume that will appeal to a wide range of readers, especially those with an interest in this regiment.

Somme Harvest: Memories of a P.B.I. in the Summer of 1916
Somme Harvest: Memories of a P.B.I. in the Summer of 1916
by Giles E. M. Eyre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for Gt War enthusiast, 19 Feb. 2007
Sub titled "Memories of a B.B.I. in the Summer of 1916" his excellent and very moving volume recalls the war time experiences of a rifleman whilst serving in the 2nd Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps as he fought in the trenches of France in the period between May and July 1916.

Some may of course wonder how one man - an ordinary Rifleman, could fill a 260 page volume with his experiences, for what is, in the whole context of the Great War, a relatively short period of time. Having read the volume from cover to cover, I can now appreciate that this brave but amazingly un-decorated man experienced more fighting and scenes of death and carnage than many did in the whole of the war and perhaps their lifetime too.

The author enlisted in August 1914, and having served in one of the two Special Reserve battalions at Sheerness, was soon posted to 7th KRRC (one of the first of that regiment's Kitchener battalions) at Winchester. He moved to France with his battalion in May 1915 and subsequently fought at Hooge when the Germans used the dreadful flame-thrower for the first time and on the 30th July that year alone, his battalion suffered no less than 300 casualties. In December 1915 he too was wounded and returned to England to convalesce. hence the reason this account opens after he returned to France, when his new battalion (2 KRRC ) launched a large scale raid on the Triangle at Loos - a raid which cost over 240 casualties, including Rifleman William Mariner VC, who was blown to pieces in front of the author! Graphic descriptions of further bitter fighting follow and cover subsequent events up until the actions at Bazentin and Pozières Ridge where his battalion commander, company commander and sergeant major were killed and he was eventually taken prisoner.

Military historians with a general interest in the Great War and family history researchers with a special interest in the King's Royal Rifle Corps will find this volume fascinating. Many men are mentioned by name too, therefore aiding research.

It is yet another excellent value for money volume from this publisher that so many of us a grateful to, for making our research affordable.

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