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By Robert Kershaw. 2008
'I thought Tank Men was a triumph ...it is a really fine piece of work' - Richard Holmes'Some of the…eye witness accounts Kershaw has collected for this comprehensive review of tank warfare have the power to chill the reader to the bone. This is warfare at the sharp end' --NOTTINGHAM EVENING POSTThe First World War saw the birth of an extraordinary fighting machine that has fascinated three generations: the tank. In Tank Men, ex-soldier and military historian Robert Kershaw brings to life the grime, the grease and the fury of a tank battle through the voices of ordinary men and women who lived and fought in those fearsome machines. Drawing on vivid, newly researched personal testimony from the crucial battles of the First and Second World Wars, this is military history at its very best.
By X Asne Seierstad. 2002
THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERFor more than twenty years Sultan Khan, a bookseller in Kabul, defied the authorities - be they communist…or Taliban - to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock in attics all over Kabul. But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and hatred of censorship, he is also a committed Muslim with strict views on family life. Two weeks after September 11th, award-winning journalist Åsne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to report on the conflict there and the year after she lived with an Afghan family for several months. As an outsider, Asne Seierstad is able to move between the private world of the women - including Khan's two wives - and the more public lives of the men. And so we learn of proposals and marriages, suppression and abuse of power, crime and punishment. The result is a gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear-eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history.'An intimate portrait of Afghani people quite unlike any other ... a compelling read' CHRISTINA LAMB, SUNDAY TIMES
By Dfc James Newton. 2007
'I couldn't see the tank. I couldn't see it... Someone was screaming over the radio. "Scream all you want, I still can't…see it," I said to my pilot. The next explosion was so close it lifted my chest armour off my body in the shock wave. The noise brought me back to my awful reality. I looked out of the sight to see the shattered cockpit glass. The next one would be it and we knew it.' Lieutenant Commander James Newton survived and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery. In a career that has seen him on operations over Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland and most recently Iraq, Newton is no stranger to being shot at. He has flown all the aircraft the Navy has and even ones it doesn't. Thrilling, fast-paced and an adrenaline-fuelled adventure, Armed Action is a fascinating insight into life in the air.
By Simon Scarrow. 2006
YOUNG BLOODS is the first gripping novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Wellington and Napoleon quartet. Perfect for fans of Robert…Harris.Arthur Wesley (the future Duke of Wellington) was born and bred to be a leader. With a firm belief that the nation must be led by a king, the red-coated British officer heads for battle against the French Republic, to restore the fallen monarchy.Napoleon Bonaparte joins the French military on the eve of the Revolution. He believes leadership is won by merit, not by noble birth. When anarchy explodes in Paris he's thrust into the revolutionary army poised to march against Britain.As two mighty Empires embark on a bloody duel, Wesley and Bonaparte prepare to face a sworn enemy, unaware that the fate of Europe will one day lie in their hands...
By Ian Rankin. 1995
The horror has just begun... A brilliant thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of A SONG FOR THE DARK TIMES.'No…one writes more gripping stories than Rankin' TLSIt begins with a phone call. Gordon Reeve's brother has been found dead in his car in San Diego. The car was locked from the inside, a gun was in his hand. In the US to identify the body Gordon realises that his brother has been murdered. What's more, it's soon obvious that his own life is in danger.Once back in Scotland he finds out his home has been bugged by professionals. But Reeve is a professional too. Ex-SAS, he was half of a two-man unit with someone he came to fear, then to hate. It looks like his nemesis is back...
By Nathaniel Fick. 2005
The most eloquent and personal story of a young man at war since Geoffrey Wellum's FIRST LIGHTUntil a winter evening…in 1998 Nathaniel was just another history student on a comfortable career trajectory of high school to college to white collar job. Then he went to a lecture by a Wall Street Journal reporter who had just published a book on the US Marines. It brought forth a latent desire to break free of the 'seat belt and safety goggle, safety-first' culture: to be a warrior. He passed the gruelling selection course and joined the Marine Corps on graduation. Posted to a Marine Regiment in the wake of 9/11, he took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, then led a platoon of their elite Recon Battalion during the invasion of Iraq.This is not a book about the Iraq invasion as such: it is an articulate and deeply thoughtful young man's account of what it means to fight in the frontline, to risk not just death or injury, but psychological harm. He reveals some of the awful dilemmas war can bring, horrible problems to which there is no 'right' answer, but a decision had to be made quickly -- by him alone. In combat you are just one bullet away from death -- or promotion. But this doesn't focus the mind: it makes it freeze up -- unless your training is so thorough that you overcome exhaustion and terror. 'Nate' took 65 men to war and came home with all 65. He proved himself an excellent officer and won promotion, but resigned in 2003 to write this book and attend Harvard Business School.
By Simon Scarrow. 2009
FIRE AND SWORD is the unputdownable third novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Wellington and Napoleon Quartet. A must read for…fans of Robert Harris.1804. Napoleon Bonaparte is Emperor of France, his ultimate aim: to rule Europe. After defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar, he wins a glorious victory against Austria at Austerlitz. He then deposes the Spanish king and places his own brother on the throne. But he is yet to triumph over his most hated enemy: Great Britain.Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington) throws himself into the British campaign in Europe. After glory in Portugal, he commands the army in a series of triumphant battles across Spain. For those living reluctantly under French rule, his victories suggest that Napoleon's progress is not inexorable: freedom can be restored...
By Bryn Hammond. 2008
The story of the first great tank battle, and the genesis of one of the most formidable weapons of the…twentieth century.Cambrai was the last - and most influential - battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. With many of the Allies on the brink of collapse, only Britain was still capable of holding the Germans at bay. Over time, many myths have grown up around what happened at Cambrai. The events of this iconic attack are now buried beneath accumulated legends and misrepresentations built up over almost a century. It is remembered as the world's first great tank battle, but it was the brilliant British innovations in artillery techniques that most shocked the enemy. Equally important were the new 'stormtroop' tactics the Germans pioneered.Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, first-hand accounts and official reports, Bryn Hammond's definitive account examines this military milestone, how the myths were created, and how they changed the face of warfare for ever.
By Simon Scarrow. 2007
THE GENERALS is the compelling second novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Wellington and Napoleon quartet. A must read for fans…of Bernard Cornwell.In the turbulent aftermath of the French Revolution Napoleon Bonaparte stands accused of treachery and corruption. His reputation is saved by his skill in leading his men to victory in Italy and Egypt. But then he must restore order in France and find peace or victory over her enemies: England - and Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington).Wellesley is leading a vast army in India, where British interests are under threat. The campaign will result in the creation of the Raj - the jewel in the British Empire's crown. Wellesley returns to England a hardened veteran and more determined than ever to end France's domination of Europe.Both Wellesley and Napoleon intend to win - whatever the cost. Who will ultimately succeed?
By Julian Spilsbury. 2007
An epic true story of treachery, revenge and courageThe Indian Mutiny is a real page-turner, an epic story with surprising…modern parallels. Fomer army officer-turned-TV scriptwriter, Julian Spilsbury is the ideal author to take us back to the desperate summer of 1857 when thousands of Indian soldiers mutinied. They murdered their officers, hunted down the women and children and burned and slaughtered their way to Delhi. The tiny British garrison at Lucknow held out against all odds; the one at Cawnpore surrendered only to be betrayed and massacred.Modern Indian accounts call this 'the first war of liberation', but as Julian Spilsbury reveals, 80 per cent of the so-called 'British' forces were from the sub-continent. Sikhs, Gurkhas and Afghans fought alongside small numbers of British soldiers. Together, they faced terrible odds and won. In the process they created a new army that would play a vital role in the Allied forces in both World Wars. Julian Spilsbury weaves the story together from some of the most vivid eyewitness accounts ever written. From the women and children hiding from blood-crazed mobs, to the epic battles that decided the campaign, to the grisly revenge exacted by the British forces, this is a gripping recreation of the greatest crisis of Empire.
By Richard Woodman. 2001
Extraordinary maritime heroes of the late 18th and early 19th centuries stride across these pages - some, like Warren, Pellew,…Cochrane and Collingwood, are still renowned; others are almost unknown today, yet their brilliant exploits deserve to be pulled from under the long shadow of the greatest naval figure of all, Horatio Nelson. The Royal Navy's struggle is set against the political backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars and the sea war with America.
By Blair Worden. 2009
A brilliant appraisal of the Civil War and its long-term consequences, by an acclaimed historian.The political upheaval of the mid-seventeenth…century has no parallel in English history. Other events have changed the occupancy and the powers of the throne, but the conflict of 1640-60 was more dramatic: the monarchy and the House of Lords were abolished, to be replaced by a republic and military rule.In this wonderfully readable account, Blair Worden explores the events of this period and their origins - the war between King and Parliament, the execution of Charles I, Cromwell's rule and the Restoration - while aiming to reveal something more elusive: the motivations of contemporaries on both sides and the concerns of later generations.
Robert Harvey brilliantly recreates the story of the greatest conflict that stretches from the first blaze of revolution in Paris…in 1789 to final victory on the muddy fields of Waterloo.On land and at sea, throughout the four corners of the continent, from the frozen plains surrounding Moscow and terror on the Caribbean seas, to the muddy low lands of Flanders and the becalmed waters of Trafalgar, The War of Wars tells the powerful story of the greatest conflict of the age.
By Jon E. Lewis. 2009
A remarkable series of over 200 eye-witness accounts taken from diaries, letters, speeches, interviews and memoirs of those who were…there: pilots, sailors, generals, infantrymen, war correspondents and leaders. These include Spitfire pilot Richard Hillary's account of bailing out of his plane in the Battle of Britain; a German sailor's view of HMS Royal Oak being torpedoed at Scapa Flow; insights into Rommel's ailing health from a lieutenant in the Afrika Korps; famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle's account of GI meals during Operation Torch; Anne Frank's recollection of the rounding up of Jews in Amsterdam; the last letters home from anonymous German soldiers in Stalingrad; the view from a Japanese cockpit over Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941; a German officer's memories of the airborne assault on Crete in May 1941; the firestorm following the bombing of Dresden in July 1943 in the words of a German woman; a lieutenant in the 1st Airborne Divsion's eyewitness account of the fighting in Arnhem; Martha Gellhorn on the aftermath of the Battle of the Bulge; a British tank officer crossing the German border on 28 February 1945; on the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea; an Allied intelligence officer being executed by the Japanese; the tunnels of Iwo Jima; and a kamikaze pilot's final letter.
By Derek Robinson. 1971
World War One pilots were the knights of the sky, and the press and public idolised them as gallant young…heroes. At just twenty-three, Major Stanley Woolley is the old man and commanding officer of Goshawk Squadron. He abhors any notion of chivalry in the clouds and is determined to obliterate the decent, gentlemanly outlook of his young, public school-educated pilots - for their own good. But as the war goes on he is forced to throw greener and greener pilots into the meat grinder. Goshawk Squadron finds its gallows humour and black camaraderie no defence against a Spandau bullet to the back of the head.
By Derek Robinson. 1987
Fresh from school in June 1916, Lieutenant Oliver Paxton's first solo flight is to lead a formation of biplanes across…the Channel to join Hornet Squadron in France. Five days later, he crash-lands at his destination, having lost his map, his ballast and every single plane in his charge. To his C.O. he's an idiot, to everyone else - especially the tormenting Australian who shares his billet - a pompous bastard. This is 1916, the year of the Somme, giving Paxton precious little time to grow from innocent to veteran.
By Derek Robinson. 1999
It's 1917, and Captain Stanley Woolley joins an R.F.C. squadron whose pilots are starting to fear the worst: their war…over the Western Front may go on for years. A pilot's life is usually short, so while it lasts it is celebrated strenuously. Distractions from the brutality of the air war include British nurses; eccentric Russian pilots; bureaucratic battles over the plum-jam ration; rat-hunting with Very pistols; and the C.O.'s patent, potent cocktail, known as 'Hornet's Sting'. But as the summer offensives boil up, none of these can offer any lasting comfort.
By Stephen McGinty. 2011
On 10 May 1941, Rudolf Hess, then the Deputy Führer, parachuted over Renfrewshire in Scotland on a mission to meet…with the Duke of Hamilton, ostensibly to broker a peace deal with the British government. After being held in the Tower of London, he was transferred to Mytchett Place near Aldershot on 20 May, under the codename of 'Z'. The house was fitted with microphones and sound recording equipment, guarded by a battalion of soldiers and codenamed 'Camp Z'.Churchill's instructions were that Hess should be strictly isolated, with every effort taken to get any information out of him that could help change the course of the Second World War. Stephen McGinty uses documentation, contemporaneous reports, diaries, letters and memos to piece together a riveting account of the claustrophobia, paranoia and high-stakes gamesmanship being played out in an English country house. CAMP Z is a 'locked room mystery' where the 'locked room' is a man's mind that no one can conclude, with any degree of confidence, is sane.
By Michael Asher. 2002
The true story of the most famous SAS operation in history.'Bravo Two Zero' was the code-name of the famous SAS…operation: a classic story of bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. BRAVO TWO ZERO by patrol commander 'Andy McNab' became an international bestseller, as did the book by 'Chris Ryan' (THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY). Both men became millionaires. Three members of the patrol were killed. One, veteran sergeant Vince Phillips, was blamed in both books for a succession of mistakes. As Michael Asher reveals, the stories in BRAVO TWO ZERO and THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY grew considerably in the telling. Their heroic tales of taking out tanks with their rocket launchers, mowing down hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, the silent stabbing of the occasional sentry, were never mentioned at their post-war debriefings... In an investigation literally in the footsteps of the patrol, Michael Asher tells the true story.
By Michael Asher. 2007
Desert explorer Michael Asher investigates the most disastrous exploration mission in the history of the SaharaIn December 1880 a French…expedition attempted to map a route for a railway that would stretch from their colony in Algeria right across the Sahara desert to reach their territories in West Africa. 'Paris to Timbuctoo in Six Days' was the slogan. It would do for the French colonies what the American railways were doing in the western states at the same time. No native opposition was expected. As one of the expedition's organizers said, 'A hundred uncivilized tribesmen armed with old-fashioned spears: what is that against the might of France?' Four months later, a handful of emaciated survivors staggered into a remote outpost on the edge of the desert. Although armed with modern rifles, the column had been lured to destruction by the self-styled 'lords of the desert', the Tuareg. At this, the highpoint of European colonialism in Africa, this story of treachery, massacre, torture and even cannibalism made headlines around the world. Attacked by the Tuareg in their remote heartland, the survivors had been pursued for weeks on end, driven into the waterless desert to die. The desperate lengths they resorted to shocked Victorian sensibilities. They do not make easy reading now. This grisly story, told by our greatest living desert explorer reveals what happened when the conceit of western colonialism met the equally arrogant Tuareg, who had dominated this remote region, and anyone trying to cross it, for a thousand years.