Okay, so its a book based upon an excellent TV Series: War Walks. Yes it had been published as two volumes previously, but this book I simply love.
History for me was spoiled at school as it was so... boring! Dates and events and nothing else. This book changes all of that. I have a fondness for historic novels and recently read Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell and wanted to know more. I saw this at an event in Cheltenham where the author talked about Azincourt alongside Cornwell and Ian Mortimer and simply had to get this book because it is different. No longer this leader and that leader, this time and that time, marched in battle formation. But instead it gets you to what it was like for the common soldier.
Yes, like all good historians, Richard Holmes tells you the important stuff such as why the battles were faught, who was involved and why. But he tells you more than that. This book teaches you about the batles in not just the overarching way that historians tend to, but the details are there such as what it was like to use a longbow and see 60,000 arrows a minute fired (and what it was like on the receiving end!).
Seveal key battles from the 1066 battle of Hastings through the hundred years war and on to the two world wars. All are covered in the background reasons why they were faught and the immediate soldiers viewpoint. Some anecdotal stories are included and all go towards giving the reader a real insight into these pivotal moments in history.
I like it from the viewpoint of simply having an interest in this type of history, but this book is equally good for the history buff, the school pupil and really anyone needing to know.