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Books & DVD

A History of the World in 100 Weapons
Author: Chris McNab.
Publisher:  Osprey Publishing, tel. 01865 727022. www.ospreypublishing.com
ISBN: 9781472803467.
Price: £9.99.

With thousands of weapons to choose from this could not have been an easy compilation to put together. Nevertheless, the author, an expert on weapons, has managed to pull it off, even if some of his choices are doubtful. From a basic flint hand axe of the Stone Age through to highly technological weapons the list is a series of milestones in warfare. Some of the choices can be considered as weapon platforms rather than the weapons themselves, but items such as the flintlock musket, bayonet and machine guns are here. Some very nice illustrations and first-hand accounts lift the book. Each item has a short description and for students just getting involved with studying military history this is a nice introduction into a subject which is inexhaustible.  This is not one for the experienced weaponry historian.


A Sniper’s Conflict
Author: Monty B.
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books, tel. 01226 734222 www.pen-and-sword.co.uk
ISBN: 1783462205.
Price: £19.99.

The reader does not have to turn many pages before the first firefight and a few pages later the author is describing how he engaged individual targets in his role as a sniper. This is a book from the front line by a soldier who served in the front line of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a gutsy story told with some quite fine prose. He tells the reader about his thoughts before, during and after shooting insurgents in terms as though speaking direct. He explains his actions and his reasons for each movement such as wiping his eyes before shooting. These are episodes of the fighting in these war zones, which are never reported in the news. Sniping is a very personal role for soldiers because they see the effects of their actions and here the author takes the reader along as he recalls incidents such as shooting two insurgents within seconds.

Great War Tommy
Author: Peter Doyle.
Publisher: Haynes Publishing, tel. 01963 442030. www.haynes.co.uk
ISBN: 9780857332417.
Price: £21.99.

Armies are referred to as ‘war machines’ and so the sub-title of this work ‘Owners’ Workshop Manual’ is rather fitting. In this centenary year of the start of WW I this book is very welcome to collectors, re-enactors, modellers and war gamers. The publisher is well-known for its series of maintenance manuals for vehicles and this is also promoted as an ‘Owners’ Workshop Manual’. Every point of the fighting man is covered from recruiting, issuing uniforms, training and feeding. In other words, everything needed to keep the soldier operational. The information on the fitting and wearing of puttees should help re-enactors who are new to re-enacting this period. Original wartime images are interspersed with recreated images using re-enactors and training manuals make this a handy and informative one volume on the subject of the army every nation admired in WW I.

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Bayonne and Toulouse 1813-14.
Author: Nick Lipsocmbe.
Publisher: Osprey Publishing, tel. 01865 727022 www.ospreypublishing.com
ISBN: 9781472802774.
Price: £14.99.

Exactly 200 years ago Napoleon Bonapart was defeated and sent into exile on the island of Elba. He managed to escape and return for one last attempt to conquer Europe and this volume tells how he was sent there by the British under Wellington, and the Spanish and Portuguese. This is not just an account of the battles it is an illustrated guide to the battlefields. The illustrations taken by the author along with the detailed maps makes it easy for any student of the Napoleonic Wars to visit the sites and make sense of what happened at the locations. The text is thorough and explains manoeuvres and reactions. It was a hard-fought campaign over some inhospitable terrain and the author details all this including the distances involved.  This is a book for war gamers also who will appreciate the descriptions of tactics and deployment of forces.

Wilderness and Spotsylvania 1864
Author: Andy Nunezl.
Publisher: Osprey Publishing, tel. 01865 727022. www.ospreypublishing.com
ISBN: 9781472801470.
Price: £14.99.

The American Civil War is one of those conflicts which modellers, war gamers, battlefield tourists and re-enactors can never seem to get enough of. This latest title in the Campaign Series examines one of the toughest campaigns of that war and the author does an excellent job of taking the reader right to the heart of the fighting. A definitive list of order of battle for both sides will satisfy everybody interested in this campaign, which was fought by some of the war’s most distinguished commanders including George Armstrong Custer.

The author explains tactics, weapons, why manoeuvres were made and goes onto the battlefields. The maps, photographs and text will allow visitors to the sites to orientate themselves and work who was where and what happened.

AM General HUMVEE
Author: Pat Ware.
Publisher: Haynes Publishing, tel. 01963 442030 www.haynes.co.uk
ISBN: 9780857333742.
Price: £25.

Vehicle owners of a certain age will remember how the Haynes manuals were the very byword in home maintenance. Modern vehicle designs with their electronic systems means that owners can no longer service their vehicles over the weekend, but this volume goes back to basics and the original format for owners of the HUMVEE. This large vehicle is a workhorse of the American Armed Forces but some of the older examples have been retired and are now in private ownership and these turn out at events and form the centrepiece of displays. The full development background of the vehicle is covered and the operational roles to satisfy those who like history. Owners will enjoy comparing variants, maintenance and servicing details which lists the types of oils to be used for automotive parts. All in all a great reference manual for current owners and anyone thinking of acquiring a vehicle which has a thirst for fuel.

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