books monthly november 2019
  Pen and Sword books for Christmas 2019

 

 

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Andrew J Bird: Heroes of Coastal Command

 Published by Pen and Sword 9th September 2019

Heroes of Coastal Command, Andrew Bird examines the maritime war between 1939 and 1945, interweaving accounts of events of the period with personal stories of individuals caught up in them. Through interviews, letters, diaries and reports, all combined with his own research, the author looks afresh at the maritime conflict, reassessing long-held views of the Cinderella Service s defensive and offensive capabilities through the eyes of ordinary individuals battling for survival above the oceans against flak gun, enemy aircraft and weather as the stakes rose higher and the number of casualties become catastrophic. Heroes of Coastal Command makes the reader think again about the RAF s maritime arm, Coastal Command, which was established in 1936. Throughout the war, its crews worked tirelessly alongside the Royal Navy to keep Britain s vital sea lanes open. Together, they fought and won the Battle of the Atlantic, with RAF aircraft destroying 212 German U-Boats and sinking a significant tonnage of enemy warships and merchant vessels. Often working alone and unsupported, undertaking long patrols out over opens seas, Coastal Command bred a special kind of airman. This includes individuals such Lloyd Trigg, who was awarded the Victoria Cross; Roger Moorwood, a Blenheim pilot who flew in the Battle of France; Jack Davenport, who flew his Hampden; John Watson, the sole survivor of a Short Sunderland which was lost during a rescue mission; Maurice Guedj, a Frenchman who escaped from Morocco to join the Free French Air Force; Sam McHardy, who for a short while became a Coastal Command ground coordinator posted aboard a Royal Navy destroyer for a raid on Norway; and Ken Gatward, who flew a unique daylight mission over Paris to drop a Tricolore on the Arc de Triomphe. These are just some of the fabulous stories, full of daring and breath-taking courage, and individuals explored in this book.

This fabulous book sets the record straight about the largely unsung heroes of Coastal Command, whose job it was to patrol our coasts and various other coastlines around Europe and the Med, to keep it safe from enemy attack during world war two. My uncle John was a pilot with coastal command, and although I couldn't find his name in the book, I know that what he did during the war made him a hero for me.

 

Helen Massey-Beresford: Food Lover's Guide to Paris

 Published by Pen and Sword 1st September 2019

The Paris may have enjoyed decades as the undisputed gastronomic capital of the world, but food revolutions in the likes of London and Copenhagen have challenged its reign in recent years. After a spell of complacency, Parisian chefs have had to up their game, with delicious results. This guide will show you where to sample the best of the French classics, from cosy bistros to swish brasseries, as well as where to check out the more recent innovations in the Parisian food scene: everything from high quality street food with a French twist, to newly-popular vegetarian restaurants, juice bars and locally brewed craft beers. The guide will also offer a practical guide to making the most of your Parisian food experience like a local.

A superb "time out" kind of guide to the cafés, restaurants, bistros etc., that inhabit the streets of Paris. Essential reading for visitors to the city, brilliantly presented and laid out.


 

Robert Hume: The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims

 Published by Pen and Sword 18th Septemberr 2018

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly are inextricably linked in history. Their names might not be instantly recognisable, and the identity of their murderer may have eluded detectives and historians throughout the years, but there is no mistaking the infamy of Jack the Ripper. For nine weeks during the autumn of 1888, the Whitechapel Murderer brought terror to London s East End, slashing women s throats and disembowelling them. London s most famous serial killer has been pored over time and again, yet his victims have been sorely neglected, reduced to the simple label: prostitute. The lives of these five women are rags-to-riches-to-rags stories of the most tragic kind. There was a time in each of their lives when these poor women had a job, money, a home and a family. Hardworking, determined and fiercely independent individuals, it was bad luck, or a wrong turn here or there, that left them wretched and destitute. Ignored by the press and overlooked by historians, it is time their stories were told.

I have read dozens of books about Jack the Ripper but they all had one thing in common, they concentrated on the identity of the murderer, and although they contained details of the victims, it was never in this much detail. Robert Hume presents us with clear and concise biographies of the Ripper's victims, and whilst it is tempting to think of them as all being prostitutes and the Ripper's despicable acts of violence and ultimate murders of them as some kind of cleansing process, their backgrounds, gone into in this much detail, shows them as something completely different. You will have to, you must read this brilliant book, it puts a whole new perspective into the canon of literature about the most infamous murderer of the last two centuries.

 

Robert Gardner: Battle of Britain Broadcaster

 Published by Pen and Sword 18th September 2019

In 1936 Charles Gardner joined the BBC as a sub-editor in its news department. Shortly afterwards, he was joined by Richard Dimbleby and together they became the very first BBC news correspondents. They covered everything from shipwrecks to fires, floods to air raid precautions and, in Garner's' case, new aircraft. Their exploits became legendary and they laid down the first principles of news broadcasting - of integrity and impartiality - still followed today. With the outbreak of war Charles Gardner became one of the first BBC war correspondents and was posted to France to cover the RAF's AASF (Advanced Air Strike Force). He made numerous broadcasts interviewing many fighter pilots after engagements with the Germans and recalling stories of raids, bomb attacks and eventually the Blitzkrieg when they all were evacuated from France. When he got home he wrote a book AASF which was one of the first books on the Second World War to be published. In late 1940 he was commissioned in the RAF as a pilot and flew Catalina flying boats of Coastal Command. After support missions over the Atlantic protecting supply convoys from America, his squadron was deployed to Ceylon which was under threat from the Japanese navy. Gardner was at the controls when he was the first to sight the Japanese fleet and report back its position. Gardner was later recruited by Lord Mountbatten, to help report the exploits of the British 14th Army in Burma. He both broadcast and filed countless reports of their astonishing bravery in beating the Japanese in jungle conditions and monsoon weather. After the war, Gardner became the BBC air correspondent from 1946-1953\. As such, he became known as The Voice of the Air,' witnessing and recording the greatest days in British aviation history. But Perhaps he will best be remembered for his 1940 eye-witness account of an air battle over the English Channel when German dive bombers unsuccessfully attacked a British convoy but were driven off by RAF fighters. At the time it caused a national controversy. Some complained about his commentary being like a football match,' and not an air battle where men's lives were at stake. That broadcast is still played frequently today.

Hugely enjoyab;e biography of Charles Gardner, whose voice became familiar to millions of radio listeners during and after WWII.

 

David Grant: Unearthing the Family of Alexander The Great

 Published by Pen and Sword 9th Septembert 2019

In October 336 BC, statues of the twelve Olympian Gods were paraded through the ancient capital of Macedon. Following them was a thirteenth, a statue of King Philip II who was deifying himself in front of the Greek world. Moments later Philip was stabbed to death; it was a world-shaking event that heralded in the reign of his son, Alexander the Great. Equally driven by a heroic lineage stretching back to gods and heroes, Alexander conquered the Persian Empire in eleven years but died mysteriously in Babylon. Some 2,300 years later, a cluster of subterranean tombs were unearthed in northern Greece containing the remains of the Macedonian royal line. This is the remarkable story of the quest to identify the family of Alexander the Great and the dynasty that changed the Graeco-Persian world forever. Written in close cooperation with the investigating archaeologists, anthropologists, and scientists, this book presents the revelations, mysteries and controversies in a charming, accessible style. Is this really the tomb of Philip II, Alexander's father? And who was the warrior woman buried with weapons and armour beside him?

David Grant presents his evidence regarding the family of Alexander the Great in a clear and compelling way. Faultless ancient Greek history.

 

Evan McGilvray: Poland and the Second World War 1938-1948

 Published by Pen and Sword 10th September 2019

The invasion of Poland by German forces (quickly joined by their then-allies the Soviets) ignited the Second World War. Despite determined resistance, Poland was quickly conquered but Poles continued the struggle to the very last day of the war against Germany, resisting the occupier within their homeland and fighting in exile with the Allied forces. Evan McGilvray, drawing on intensive research in Polish sources, gives a comprehensive account of Poland's war. He reveals the complexities of Poland's relationship with the Allies (forced to accept their Soviet enemies as allies after 1941, then betrayed to Soviet occupation in the post-war settlement), as well as the divisions between Polish factions that led to civil war even before the defeat of Germany. The author narrates all the fighting involving Polish forces, including such famous actions as the Battle of Britain, Tobruk, Normandy, Arnhem and the Warsaw Rising, but also lesser known aspects such as Kopinski's Carpathian Brigade in Italy, Polish troops under Soviet command and the capture of Wilhelmshaven on the last day of the war.

The compelling story of the invasion of Poland and the efforts of the Polish underground to undermine and frustrate the acts of cowardice and genocide of Hitler's invading troops. Some grim but essential reading in this fascinating book.



Lynn Huggins-Cooper: Spinning and Weaving

 Published by Pen and Sword 23rd September 2019

This book offers a whistle-stop guide to the history of spinning and weaving. The story begins in prehistory when people first wove yarns to create clothing and blankets. The book explores the ways in which spinning and weaving has continued to be important throughout human history (or should that be herstory), in artistic, economic and functional terms. The second part of the book brings us up to date, via interviews with modern day spinning and weaving artisans. These textiles artists generously allowed the author a window into their studios and discussed the way they use and adapt traditional methods, techniques and tools for the twenty first century. Photos of their work, and their working environment offers a unique view into the world of this ancient craft. Finally, if you are inspired to try your hand at this fascinating and most ancient of crafts, the book also has a resources section. It includes a valuable list of suppliers of fibre, dyes, tools and yarn, as well as information about training courses, useful websites and more everything you need to get started.

This latest title in Pen and Sword's Heritage and Crafting Skills series looks at spinnig and weaving. Beautifully written and illustrated.

 

Kevin Turton: Britain's Unsolved Murders

 Published by Pen and Sword 10th September 2019

Britain has its fair share of unsolved murders. Crimes that have both fascinated and horrified in equal measure, with many as baffling today as they were when the stories first hit the headlines in the national press. Spanning 100 years between 1857-1957, this book re-examines thirteen of these murder cases and retells the stories that have endured and confounded both police and law courts alike. Each chapter provides an account of the circumstances surrounding the killing, of the people caught up in the subsequent investigation and the impact it had on some of their lives. It also explores the question of guilt and to whom it should, or should not, be attached. Each of these murders poses an undeniable truth; no-one was ever proven to have committed the killing despite, in some cases, accusing fingers being pointed, arrests being made and show trials taking place. Consequently, notoriety, deserved or otherwise, was often attached to both victim and accused. But was it ever merited? From the questionable court case surrounding Scotland's now famous Madeleine Smith, and the failed police investigation into Bradford's Jack the Ripper case of 1888, to the mysterious deaths of Caroline Luard and Florence Nightingale Shore at the start of the twentieth century, this book disturbs the dust, sifts the facts and poses the questions that mattered at the time of each murder. Did Harold Greenwood poison his wife in Kidwelly? Who was responsible for the Ripper-like killing of Emily Dimmock and Rose Harsent? Why did Evelyn Foster die on the moor near Otterburn in what became known as the Blazing car murder and who strangled Ann Noblett to death in 1957? These are just some of the cases examined and the stories behind them. Each and every one, no matter how appalling the crime, still deserving of justice.

Kevin Turton's casebook of unsolved murders in Britain over a hundred years is not comprehensive and doesn't make that claim. The cases he does present are examined in minute detail and the end result makes for a thoroughly fascinating read.

 

M2/M3 American Half Tracks of the Second World War

 Published by Pen and Sword 16th April 2019

Among the most successful armoured vehicles produced by American industry - known as the Arsenal of Democracy - during the Second World War were the M2 and M3 half-tracks. They served on every battlefront and were as recognizable as other famous American wartime vehicles like the Sherman and the Jeep, and around 40,000 were produced between 1941 and 1945\. They were easy to assemble, operate and maintain, and their versatility allowed them to fulfil a variety of purposes. This volume in Pen & Sword's LandCraft series traces the design, development and manufacturing history of the M2/M3 and describes its operational role within the Allied armies. A selection of archive photographs showing the M2/M3 in action gives a graphic impression of how adaptable these vehicles were and records the range of equipment they could carry. The book is an excellent source for the modeller, providing details of available kits, together with specially commissioned colour profiles demonstrating how the M2/M3 used by different units and armies appeared.

This fascinating book about the M2/M3 half track vehicles used by the USA during WW2 is not primarily designed solely for model makers, though it does admirably suit that purpose. The illustrations are spectacularly good, and the vehicle details are spot on.

 

STUG III and STUG IV German Army and Waffen-SS Western Front 1944-1945

 Published by Pen and Sword 19th June 2019

In the last years of the Second World War the Sturmgesch tz III (StuG III) and Sturmgesch tz IV (StuG IV) played a vital role as assault guns during the German army's struggle to block the Allied advance on the Western Front. As the Wehrmacht's tank forces declined, these armoured vehicles were thrown into every defensive operation. They are not as well known as the Tigers and Panthers, but German resistance would have been much weaker without them. They were also among the most frequently encountered German armoured vehicles on the battlefields, which is why they are such a fascinating subject for Dennis Oliver in this volume in the TankCraft series He uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the StuG III and StuG IV deployed by the German army and the Waffen-SS during these doomed campaigns. A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic armoured vehicles.

Pen and Sword's series on land craft and tank craft continues with an intimate look at the German Army's Stug III and Stug IV. Again, I suspect the people who will benefit most from this publication will be model makers, but it's fascinating stuff anyway.

 

John Grehan: Battle of Midway

 Published by Pen and Sword 24th September 2019

Japan s attack on Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian Islands on 7 December 1941, had severely damaged the United States Pacific Fleet but had not destroyed it, for the fleet s aircraft carrier force had been at sea when the Japanese struck. This meant that, despite the overwhelming success of Japanese military forces across the Pacific, US carrier-based aircraft could still attack Japanese targets. After the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May 1942, in which both sides had lost one carrier, the commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, calculated that the US had only two serviceable carriers left. If those remaining carriers could be lured into a battle with the Combined Fleet and destroyed, nothing could stop the Japanese achieving complete control of the South Pacific. It would take the United States many months, even with its massive industrial muscle, to rebuild its carried fleet if it was destroyed, by which time Japan would be able to secure the raw materials needed to keep its war machine functioning and to build all the bases it required across the Pacific, which would enable its aircraft to dominate the entire region. Aware of the sensitivity of the Americans towards Hawaii after the Battle of Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto believed that if he attacked there again, the US commander, Admiral Nimitz would be certain to commit all his strength to its defence. Yamamoto selected the furthest point of the Hawaiian Islands, the Naval Air Station on the Midway Atoll, for his attack, which was beyond the range of most US land-based aircraft. Yamamoto launched his attack on 4 June 1942. But the US had intercepted and deciphered Japanese signals and Nimitz, with three not two aircraft carriers, knew exactly Yamamoto s plans. Yamamoto had hoped to draw the US carriers into his trap but instead he sailed into an ambush. The four-day battle resulted in the loss of all four Japanese aircraft carriers, the US losing only one. The Japanese were never able to recover from these losses, and it was the Americans who were able to take control of the Pacific. The Battle of Midway, unquestionably, marked the turning point in the war against Japan.

There is a film about the Battle of Midway - I haven't ever watched it, I'm not a huge fan of war films, but this book told me things about Midway that I had no idea about. I had heard of Admiral Yamamoto, though, and he figures large in the Battle of Midway. Educational and entertaining account of one of the mopst iconic battles of the second world war.



CJohn Brophy & Eric Partridge: The Daily Telegraph Dictionary of Tommies' Songs and Slang 1914-1918

 Published by Pen and Sword 24th September 2019

During the First World War, British soldiers were renowned for their chirpy songs and plucky sayings. Indeed, nothing would lift the spirits of the often exhausted and weary troops more than a hearty singalong. These cheery, and at times ribald and satiric, songs and sayings have been collected together to give a fascinating insight into the life of the average Tommy in the Great War. The songs that feature in this collection include marching tunes, songs for billets and rude chants for when no commanding officer was present. Each song is accompanied by a short passage that traces the origins of the melody and accounts for lyrical alternatives. There is also a large glossary of soldiers slang words and phrases, revealing the Tommies vocabulary in all its bawdiness. The Daily Telegraph - Dictionary of Tommies Song and Slang provides an insight into the courage, gaiety and astringent cynicism with which men armed themselves against the horrors of trench warfare.

This splendid book is presented in the form of a dictionary, so it's easy finding a song you think you might know and being able, with the resulting to entry, to place its origins and conflict. Superb.


Guy Gibson: Enemy Coast Ahead

 Published by Pen and Sword 19th September 2019

A definitive new edition of a classic memoir, published in association with the RAF Museum, complete with more than 100 photographs and notes from leading historians.

Guy Gibson was the leader of the famous Dambusters raid and Enemy Coast Ahead is a vivid, honest account, widely regarded as one of the best books on World War II. It is also an insider's account that sets down in clear, honest detail the challenges that the RAF faced in the war against Germany s Luftwaffe.

Tragically, Gibson died in September 1944, when his Mosquito crashed near Steenbergen in the Netherlands. He was aged just 26. This new book has been published to mark the 75th anniversary of his death and includes an introduction by James Holland, a historian and broadcaster; notes by Dr Robert Owen, the Official Historian of the No. 617 Squadron Association and many images that have never been published before.

I first read Enemy Coast Ahead when I was a teenager, having just seen the film The Dambusters, and finding the whole character and story of Guy Gibson one of the most compelling and amazing stories of the second world war. Pen and Sword's revised, updated and beautiful new edition of Gibson's own story in his own words is guaranteed to move its readers just as I was moved and inspired back in the late 1950s.

 

Corelli Barnett: Leadership in War

 Published by Pen and Sword 11th June 2014

In this controversial study, Correlli Barnett examines the strengths and weaknesses of twenty wartime leaders in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He considers the extraordinary difficulties they faced, and analyses how they performed and what they achieved. Were they successful, or were they beaten down by the burden of their roles? His book focuses on men from very different backgrounds and from three continents in a range of modern conflicts from the American Civil War to the Second World War. They range from statesmen like Lincoln, Lloyd George, Hitler and Churchill to generals like Grant, Haig, Rommel, Zhukov and Eisenhower, and admirals like Yamamoto and Ramsay. These leaders demonstrated fascinating contrasts of personal character, styles of leadership and aptitude for command as they grappled with the daunting professional problems that confronted them. In this challenging study, first published as The Lords of War, Correlli Barnett yet again demolishes hallowed reputations and rehabilitates the unjustly scapegoated. His latest book confirms his reputation as a master of strategic history.

Barnett's book about wartime leaders whom we all know, makes for fascinating reading. They're not all as you might think.


Vivien Newman: Children At War 1914-1918

 Published by Pen and Sword 4th September 2019

For most British readers, the phrase children during the war conjures up images of the evacuees of the Second World War. Somehow, surprisingly, the children of the Great War have been largely and unjustifiably overlooked. However, this book takes readers to the heart of the Children s War 1914-1918. The age range covered, from birth to 17 years, as well as the richness of children s own writings and the breadth of English, French and German primary and secondary sources, allows readers to experience wartime childhood and adolescence from multiple, multi-national standpoints. These include: British infants in the nursery; German children at school; French and Belgian youngsters living with the enemy in their occupied homelands; Australian girls and boys knitting socks for General Birdwood, (Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Imperial Force); Girl Guides working for MI5; youthful Ukrainian/Canadians wrongfully interned; German children held as Prisoners of War in Siberia; teenage deckhands on the Lusitania, not to mention the rebellious underage Cossack girl who served throughout the war on the Eastern Front, as well as the youngest living recipient of the VC. At times humorous, at others terrifying, this book totally alters perceptions of what it was like to be young in the First World War. Readers will marvel at children s courage, ingenuity, patriotism and pacifism and wholeheartedly agree with the child who stated, What was done to us was wrong'.

This terrific book looks at the effect of WW1 on the children who were affected by it. All too often, books about war concentrate on the adults. Vivien's accounts of primary and secondary school children in England, France and Germany are measured and often heartbreaking. A fantastic read.

John Jordan & Philippe Caresse: French Armoured Cruisers 1887-1932

 Published by Pen and Sword 4th September 2019

Of all the threats faced by the Royal Navy during the first years of the twentieth century, the one which stood out was the risk to Britain s sea lines of communication posed by France's armoured cruisers. Fast, well-armed and well-protected, these ships could have evaded any attempted blockade of the French ports and, supported by a worldwide network of overseas bases, could potentially have caused havoc on the trade routes. Between 1898 and 1901 the French laid down thirteen ships, and completed nine in 1903-4 alone. This book has as its subject the French armoured cruisers built from the late 1880s until shortly before the outbreak of the Great War, beginning with the revolutionary Dupuy-de-Lôme, the world's first modern armoured cruiser, and ending with the impressive six-funnelled Edgar Quinet and Waldeck-Rousseau. The primary focus of the book is on the technical characteristics of the ships. Detailed and labelled drawings based on the official plans are provided by John Jordan, and each individual class of ship is illustrated by photographs from the extensive personal collection of Philippe Caresse. The technical section is followed by a history in two parts, covering the Great War (1914-18) and the postwar years, during which the surviving ships saw extensive deployment as station cruisers overseas and as training ships. This is the most comprehensive account published in English or in French, and is destined be the standard reference for many years to come.

The I'm not sure why French cruisers should have posed a threat to the Royal Navy, as I thought we were allies when these ships were being built, but the important thing about this book is the amazing detail to be seen in the plans that John Jordan has brought to the table, along with some amazing photographs. A massive, stunning book.

Phil Carradice: Following In The Footsteps of Henry Tudor

 Published by Pen and Sword 4th September 2019

The story of Henry Tudor's march to Bosworth and the throne of England began long before the fatal summer of 1485, with his birth in Pembroke Castle. The gigantic fortress where he spent his childhood years lay some 12 miles inland from the spot where Henry was supposed to have landed in Milford Haven when he came to challenge Richard III in August 1485. Henry's landing and progress to Bosworth Field were a gamble, but by 1485 the last of the Lancastrian princes had little option but to chance his arm'. He had worn out his welcome on the Continent and, despite his unpopularity in some quarters of English society, there was the real risk that Richard's reign might finally begin to create stability and financial success - Yorkist stability and success. A gamble, yes, but one that had to be taken if the House of Lancaster was to survive. In Following in the Footsteps of Henry Tudor, we hear of the many fascinating stories from Henry's march and the places he visited - a journey that took just over two weeks. It was a time of treachery and double dealing but it culminated with the establishment of the Tudor dynasty, the end of the Wars of the Roses and the beginnings of the modern world.

This series, the "following in the footsteps" series, is one of Pen and Sword's finest, and really, there is nothing better than following in the footsteps of the man who founded the Tudor dynasty and led to the end of the bitter civil war that divided England in the late 1480s. Superb detail, reads almost like a novel.

Annette Carson: Camel Pilot Supreme Captain D V Armstrong DFC

 Published by Pen and Sword 4th September 2019

In aviation’s pioneering days the best and bravest airmen pushed the boundaries of flight in all dimensions and attitudes. When aeroplanes went to war this exploratory art, now known as aerobatics, was called ‘stunting’ in breezy RFC slang. Initially forbidden as foolhardy, its importance for survival soon became paramount in the life and death mêlées of dogfighting.

But pilots still delighted in the joy and exuberance of aerobatting for its own sake, and they recognized a master of that very special skill in young D’Urban Victor Armstrong, whose displays were nothing short of electrifying. Fluid and dramatic, performed with flair at ultra-low level, his exhibitions left spectators shaking their heads in disbelief. Even a century later his feats – some illustrated here – continue to evoke astonishment in piloting circles.

Until this biography little was known about his wartime experiences, and even less about his South African background. His great value to the authorities lay in his superb handling of the Sopwith Camel, which upon its introduction had taken a heavy toll in fatal trainee accidents. While still on active service he was sent around the units providing vivid proof that, properly handled, the stubby little fighter delivered the key to combat success: unrivalled manoeuvrability. His resultant fame eclipsed his other distinguished role in pioneering night flying and night fighting, an equally vital skill he was also detailed to demonstrate around the squadrons.

In these pages you will find yourself in the cockpit of the F.1 Camel and become acquainted with its rotary engine. You will meet many leading names including Billy Bishop, Cecil Lewis, Norman Macmillan, Robert Smith Barry, and the harum-scarum Three Musketeers from War Birds. Armstrong takes his place alongside them as one of the legendary figures of the first great aerial war.


The story of Armstrong's exploits in his Sopwith Camel is reminiscent of the early, pioneering years of Sergeant Bigglesworth, otherwise known as "Biggles". These stories could be Biggles's early adventures, except they are real. This is Boys' Own Paper stuff, inspirational, thrilling, and amazing.

John Roberts: Battlecruiser Repulse

 Published by Pen and Sword 24th June 2019

The technical details of British warships were recorded in a set of plans produced by the builders on completion of every ship. Known as the as fitted general arrangements, these drawings represented the exact appearance and fitting of the ship as it entered service. Intended to provide a permanent reference for the Admiralty and the dockyards, these highly detailed plans were drawn with exquisite skill in multi-coloured inks and washes that represent the acme of the draughtsman s art. Today they form part of the incomparable collection of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich, which is using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality. This book is one of a series based entirely on these draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design. The subject of this volume was one of the last battlecruisers, elegant ships which combined a powerful armament with high speed, but much criticised for their light protection. Throughout their existence, they were controversial three were sunk at Jutland and Repulse herself was famously lost to Japanese air attack at the outset of the Pacific War. Nevertheless, the type was highly prized: Repulse and her sister Renown were the only capital ships given sufficient priority to be designed, built and completed during the course of the First World War; and substantial sums were spent on large-scale reconstruction during the 1930s. Both these phases of the ship s life are fully documented in two separate sets of plans, which allows this novel form of anatomy to cover the whole life of the ship.


The technical details of the Battlecruiser Repulse, which saw service in the Great War, are laid bare in this amazing book by the inimitable John Roberts.

John Laband: The Fall of Rorke's Drift

 Published by Pen and Sword 4th September 2019

It is January 1879 and the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom are at war. Lord Carnarvon, Secretary of State for the Colonies, who had successfully brought about federation in Canada in 1867, had believed a similar scheme would work in South Africa. But such plans are rejected by Boer leaders. Lord Chelmsford leads a British military expeditionary force to enter the Zulu Kingdom uninvited. A bloody battle ensues on 22 January 1879 at Isandlwana. The Zulus are the unexpected victors. After that brutal defeat, the British Army are at Rorke's Drift on the Buffalo River in Natal Province, South Africa. A few hundred British and colonial troops led by Lieutenants John Chard of the Royal Engineers and Gonville Bromhead face the might of the Zulu army of thousands led by Prince Dabulamanzi kaMpande (CORR). Against the odds the British are victorious and this defeat marks the end of the Zulu nation's dominance of the region. The Defence of Rorke's Drift would go down in history as an iconic British Empire Battle and inspired Victorian Britain. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to military personnel. But what if the Zulus had defeated the British at Rorke's Drift and invaded Natal? In the first ever alternate history of the Anglo-Zulu War, historian John Laband asks that question. With his vast knowledge of the Anglo-Zulu War he turns history on its head and offers a tantalising glimpse of a very different outcome weaving a compelling and never-before told story of what could have been.


I am always happy to read accounts of the defence of Rorle's Drift as Zulu remains one of my all-time favourite films. What struck me, in the case of John's new book, was the revelation that Gonwille Bromhead, played to perfection by Michael Caine in the film, died in the battle - I had always thought that he survived. So this terrific book goes to prove that you really do learn something new every day!

Carole O'Connor: Women's Suffrage in Scotland

 Published by Pen and Sword 26th June 2019

A lively exploration into the determined Scottish women of the predominantly Victorian and Edwardian periods. Their fight and determination for gender equality to achieve votes for women in a male dominated society. Discover some of the antics these women embarked on, and judge for yourself if they were too militant! What tragedies they were dealt, and the friendships that developed! Explore individual areas of Scotland's landscape and journey through the cities and towns, and observe the secrets and shame of how women were often treated, at home, in educational establishments, workplace and by the law. Learn why the women fought against the system through the years. They suffered immense hardship, but this was the beginning of courageous and strong Scottish women fighting for what they believed in, and onwards to suffrage. Accounts from individual families of Scottish suffragettes and suffragists with photographs from their own albums that shed light on how women were perceived by the family members, men, and the nation. Comments made by certain politicians of the time were often venomous! Uncover what methods of achieving suffrage these powerful Scottish women went through. Learn from family histories, of not just upper and middle class females defiant for the cause, but many working class women who stood proudly with them. Women's Suffrage in Scotland seeks to understand the rights and beliefs of the women of Scotland, and their role in the path to women's enfranchisement.


The vast majority of books about women's suffrage concentrate on the well-known names, the Pankhursts, for example, and it is left to Pen and Sword's peerless library of titles on the subject to finally come up with a book concentrating solely on women's suffrage in Scotland.

Gabriele Esposito: Armies of the Hellenistic States 323BC-AD30

The vast majority of books about women's suffrage concentrate on the well-known names, the Pankhursts, for example, and it is left to Pen and Sword's peerless library of titles on the subject to finally come up with a book concentrating solely on women's suffrage in Scotland.

Gabriele Esposito: Armies of the Hellenistic States 323BC-AD30

 Published by Pen and Sword 17th July 2019

This book provides a complete and detailed analysis of the organization and equipment employed by the armies of the Hellenistic States. After Alexander the Great's death in 323 BC, his immense Macedonian empire was divided between his ambitious generals, who in turn formed their own monarchies across Eastern Europe, Asia and North Africa. This work will follow the development of the Hellenistic military forces from the army bequeathed by Alexander the Great to the complex military machines that succumbed one by one in the wars against the expanding Romans. As decades and centuries progressed, Hellenistic warfare became always more sophisticated: the 'diadochi' (Alexander's successors) could field armies with thousands of men, chariots, elephants and siege machines; these came from all the territories of the former Macedonian Empire. The book will also show how Hellenistic forces were strongly influenced by Roman models during the last years of independence of their kingdoms. The states analysed are: Macedon, Seleucid Empire, Ptolemaic Egypt, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Armenia, Pergamon, Pontus, Cappadocia, Galatia, Bosporan Kingdom, Epirus, Sicily, Achaean League and Aetolian League.

The reformation of Alexander's forces after his death into strong, tightly disciplined fighting machines is covered to perfection in Gabriele's superb book. I often wonder where historians of ancient civilisation get their information from. This book reveals all.



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