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Our Book Reviews


In the course of our research, we have found several books useful so we've listed and reviewed them. Select a category to browse the book list, use the form to search for a specific topic, or select from our featured reviews.

If you have read a particularly good book, we would welcome your recommendations too - Send us your book reviews.

Featured reviews :

  • The Forgotten War against Napoleon

    Gareth Glover
    Initially I was confused. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't this. It didn't seem like a Gareth Glover, a writer I admire immensely. It is about conflicts around the Mediterranean which I knew of and were in no way forgotten. The chapters were short and pithy, with a wealth of footnotes. However once I got into the swing of the book, and it does swing along, I found I was greatly enjoying it. In effect it became a Gareth Glover. It is written in a most readable style with loads of well researched information. The book has 56 chapters, the shortest only one page long, 16 illustrations, all contemporary with the events, and 33 maps. For me the true value of this book is that it connects events which are most usually only studied in isolation. What the author has demonstrated is the inter-connection between seeming disparate events. The connection coming about because they are on or of the Mediterranean. When I finished this book I was sorry it wasn't longer. It is a tour de force and reminded me of areas which I now want to revisit and to read more about in greater detail. It is an excellent overview. The only thing wrong with it is the title.
    Pen & Sword Military. Pen & Sword \Books \Ltd., 2017
  • Man of War

    Anthony Sullivan
    Having very recently read about the development of the supply system for the Baltic fleet [see Transformation of British Naval Strategy review on this site] I developed an interest in the career of Admiral Saumarez. Quite fortuitously I found Anthony Sullivan's new book on the life of the man himself. The book covers the whole of his life and, as one would expect from the title, gives a lot of information about his naval career. The ships he served on, the ships he commanded, the squadrons and fleets he eventually led, as well as the actions he was in are all there. Saumarez did not fight in the battle of Trafalgar and, to the authors credit, that battle gets only a paragraph in passing. The author has done his research and does not need to pad out the narrative. The book is without illustrations but has a sufficient number of maps and battle plans to support the text. Saumarez was a remarkable fighter, a true naval hero, a family man and a man of his time who was not free of some minor blemishes this I know from reading this excellent book.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2017
  • The Transformation of British Naval Strategy

    James Davey
    This is a book aimed more at the specialist rather than the general browser. Having said that it is written in an easy flowing style which makes the subject matter easy to understand. The subject of the book, sub-titled 'seapower and supply in Northern Europe 1808 to 1812' is the logistical problem of keeping a substantial fleet supplied with all its needs far from any base. The story is one of the evolution and development of systems which brought together the different branches of the supply chain to become a very efficient 'machine'. The end user, Admiral Saumarez's fleet, contributed greatly, in terms of the feed back, to the vast improvements made. The text is supported by very few illustrations and maps but with a wealth of tables and graphs. A book not to missed by students of Napoleonic naval warfare. I warmly recommend a fascinatingly good read.
    The Boydell Press, 2012
  • The Global Seven Years War

    Daniel Baugh
    This book is no lightweight with 665 pages of really 'meaty' text and a further 81 pages of supporting notes and index. The content covers, in depth, the full nine years of the Seven Years War. The military, naval and the political aspects with their necessary interactions are well covered. The character, motivation and machinations of the leading figures are described as are the resultant effects. The book is without illustrations but has seventeen supporting maps. The narrative flows easily and logically and pages once started are difficult to put down because always there is something interesting coming next. The vast majority of the text is free from the author's opinions and comments which are reserved for the long final chapter. A war of four continents and seven oceans in one excellent readable book.
    Routledge, 2014
  • In the Peninsula with a French Hussar

    A J M De Rocca. Intoduction by Philip Haythornthw
    De Rocca's account was first published in English in 1815. This book is the unabridged presentation of that work with a new introduction by Philip Haythornthwaite and additional maps. De Rocca was not involved in any of the major battles in the Peninsula and that is the most valuable part of this book. It is a rich insight into all the other tasks performed by light cavalry in support of an army of occupation. Garrison duties, scouting, escorting and dispatch carrying all feature in the day to day tasks which De Rocca carried out. The underlying theme running through all his duties was finding enough to eat for himself and his horses. For the general reader I would recommend this book as a jolly good read maintaining interest from beginning to the end. For the military buff I can recommend this unique insight into the effects of the Spanish Guerrillas on the front-line fighting ability of the French as seen through the eyes of one who was there.
    Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books \ltd., 2017