Pen & Sword Books

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Sniper on the Ypres Salient

Sniper on the Ypres Salient written by Sue Boase and published by

Pen & Sword Books - £22 - Hardback - Pages 224

Just after midnight on 22 April 1916 on the Western Front, a sergeant from the 15th

(1st London) Royal Welsh Fusiliers came sliding and stumbling along the dark, mud-filled

trench towards the four men, huddled together and soaked-through, in the shallow dugout.

He was clutching his postbag in which there were four parcels for one of them, William

McCrae, whose twentieth birthday fell on this day.

A hand-written account by William, my grandfather, was found in my mother’s papers, long after his death. This book describes a year of his time fighting in the First World War, from December 1915 to December 1916.

Two months after his birthday, he was marching towards the Somme, where he was to act as a runner during the key Welsh engagement in the Battle of Mametz Wood. Later, he went on to volunteer and train as a sniper. He continued in this role for over a year, becoming a lance corporal in the 38th Divisional Sniping Company while fighting on the Ypres Salient. His words emphasise the key role snipers played in the collecting of intelligence about the enemy, through close observation and careful reporting.

His account stops abruptly in mid-sentence, just at the point where he indicates he is about to reveal more to us about ‘a new, interesting part of the line to be manned by us Snipers’.

Piecing together clues from his sketches, maps and photos, and this book paints a picture of Williams’ time during the rest of the war. In 1917 he returned to England to train as a temporary officer in the 18th Officer Cadet Battalion at Prior Park, Bath. He came back to the Western Front as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment, where he was seconded to the 1/5 Lancashire Fusiliers until the end of the war. During this time, it is likely that his interest and experience as a sniper continued, with evidence that he may have taught at one of the Sniping Schools set up across France.

Sniper on the Ypres Salient is a very admirable, fascinating and decent book,

impressive that the author Sue Boase, granddaughter of William McCrae, who

started his story/WWI as a runner at The Somme, he would then go on to

become a sniper and this book follows a year in his life. Being a sniper he

would have been a well-trained, patient and observant person and this comes

out in the book as there is lots of detail and the book clearly shows how

observant he was as the great detail comes out as he has a lot of say and

needed too as his intelligence would help support future plans and attacks.

The book is written in little chunks like you would get in a diary, but the

information is always of interest, and you really do get an idea of what life

was like as a sniper in those conditions. Excellent work by Sue Boase, and a

thoroughly good read. I also loved the glossary at the back of the book along

with the huge links of websites in the sources section too.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Warships of the Soviet Fleet 1939-1945 Vol I Major Combatants

Warships of the Soviet Fleet 1939-1945 Vol I Major Combatants written by

Przemyslaw Budzbon , Jan Radziemski, Marek Twardowski and published

by Seaforth Publishing - £45.00 - Hardback - Pages 352

Seventy-five years after the end of the Second World War the details of Soviet ships, their activities and fates remain an enigma to the West. In wartime such information was classified and after a brief period of glasnost (‘openness’) the Russian state has again restricted access to historical archives. Therefore, the value – and originality – of this work is difficult to exaggerate. It sees the first publication of reliable data on both the seagoing fleets and riverine flotillas of the Soviet Navy, listing over 6200 vessels from battleships to river gunboats, and mercantile conversions as well as purpose-built warships. Divided into three volumes, this first covers major surface warships down to MTBs and armoured gunboats, as well as submarines.

For every class there is a design history analysing strategic, tactical and technical considerations, and individual ship detail includes construction yard, key building dates, commissioning, fleet designations, relocations and ultimate fate. Once a closely guarded secret, the wartime loss of every ship and boat (over 1000) is described. Furthermore, the confusion caused by frequent name changes is clarified by indexes that run to 16,000 items.

By following the ships through both their wartime and earlier history, the book reveals many aspects of Russian history that remain highly sensitive: clandestine co-operation with Weimar Germany and fascist Italy, the NKVD-enforced closure of Soviet borders, the ‘Gulag Fleet’, the faked Metallist sinking that excused the military occupation of Estonia, and the ill-conceived pact with Nazi Germany. Restrictions recently imposed on historical publications in Russia mean this book could certainly not have been published there – as proven by the fact that most of the authors' Russian collaborators preferred not to disclose their identities.

This book has been a really informative and comprehensive read, a lot of time has been taken to present great detail for the reader, like what had been said detail has not often been made available to the west for secretive reasons. For a start I should just say that for some reason I just love a book with a map on the inside cover and this book does, I don’t know why, maybe it reminds me of old history books of the past. 

The book starts off with a great chapter that emphasises Organisation, Ship Types, Fleets, Ship Constructors, Ship Building Programmes, Quality and Performance. This was all really good to read because they set the scene for what was to come about the various ships. The book then goes into the individual types of ships and classes such as Cruisers, Torpedo Boats, Submarines, Monitors and Gunboats. Each ship gets a little history, pictures, plans, diagrams, specifications and any outstanding details that make that ships stand out. This is a fascinating and detailed book that kept me hooked and there is a big realisation as to how big the Russian Navy was and how the Navy was greatly built in reaction to what was going on in WW2. I would highly recommend this book and a brilliant encyclopedic read. In fact, I want to give it 5 Stars.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Operation Hoss - The Deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz, May–July 1944

Operation Hoss - The Deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz,

May–July 1944 written by Ian Baxter and published by Pen & Sword

Books - £14.99 - Softcover - Pages 144

Operation Höss or Aktion Höss was the codename for the mass deportation of Hungarian Jews and their murder in the gas chambers of Birkenau extermination camp. Between 14 May and 9 July 1944, 420,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz from Hungary, or about 12,000 per day. On arrival some twenty-five percent were selected for forced labour while the remainder were immediately gassed. The name of this atrocity came from Rudolf Höss, who returned as the commandant of Auschwitz to increase the killing capacity and ensure the smooth running of the operation. The specially built railway line into Birkenau from Auschwitz made transports to the camp more efficient enabling the SS to increase the daily killing capacity. After the war, SS Adolf Eichmann, who had organised the deportations from Hungary, boasted that Operation Höss was an achievement never matched before or since.

This shocking book tells the story of this inhuman venture from its conception and planning, and though to the bitter, tragic end.

This book is insane as it shows the utter depravity of Nazi Germany attempting to destroy a huge number of Hungarian Jews at the german concentration camps of Auschwitz & Birkenau in a two-month period (420.000). What makes it even worse is the Germans wanted to concentrate on how to make the whole process quicker and more efficient. The pictures throughout the book not only show the people being lined up to be gassed but being separated into groups where those ‘lucky’ enough could be sectioned off to perform slave labour whilst the rest were killed. Whilst the book is well written, in quite a few cases there is no need for words, a picture tells the story, which I guess is the point of the book. Another great book for the series.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Cardinal Wolsey - For King & Country

Cardinal Wolsey - For King & Country written by Phil Roberts and published

by Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardback - Pages 208

The Wolseys of Suffolk date to Anglo-Saxon times. The earliest notice of a Wolsey as

an inhabitant of Ipswich is Thomas Wolsey’s father, Robert. He was a successful small

businessman and married Joan Daundy. Thomas was probably born in 1471 in an inn,

and was almost certainly baptised in St Mary at the Elms church, Ipswich.

Wolsey graduated from university and then his climb to power was extremely fast. He entered the royal household as the chaplain to King Henry VII. When Henry VIII ascended to the throne, Wolsey became his almoner, which gave him access to the king’s council. Henry was very impressed with Wolsey’s work, and Thomas gained many important clerical positions. In 1515, Wolsey became Lord Chancellor of England. Thomas Wolsey’s most famous peace treaty was signed between Henry VIII and Francis I of France at the glorious Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520.

Henry had not produced a male heir. A woman called Anne Boleyn came on the scene. Henry began to think that she could mother him a son. The king asked Wolsey to seek a divorce from his first wife. He tried his outmost, as always, but the Pope kept delaying the matter. Wolsey failed and fell out of favour with Henry. He was charged with treason and escorted to the Tower of London. On his way, Thomas became very frail and sadly, on 29 November 1530 he died at Leicester Abbey.

This book about Cardinal Wolsey was an interesting one in that it was a lot more balanced book about the Cardinal, a man who was quite an intelligent man who held big roles of power within the land. He is usually saddled with failing to get a divorce for Henry VIII, but he was quite an accomplished man. The book was very well written and nicely balanced, if you're a fan of the Tudor period, I would think you would enjoy this a lot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Hitler’s Father - Hidden Letters: Why the Son Became a Dictator

Hitler’s Father - Hidden Letters: Why the Son Became a Dictator written by

Roman Sandgruber and published by Frontline Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 272

The bundle of 31 letters, the pages of which had long yellowed with age, had lain

hidden in the attic where they were found for over a century. Only when the razor-

sharp script was examined further did historians discover just who had written them

– and that person, Alois, was Adolf Hitler’s father.

Born Alois Schicklgruber on 7 June 1837, the identity of his biological father still undisclosed, Alois eventually became a civil servant in the Austrian customs service. At around the age of 40, Alois changed his family name from Schicklgruber to Hitler – his infamous son being born some eleven years later.

The contents of the re-discovered letters have allowed the renowned historian and author Roman Sandgruber to reassess the image that we have of Alois, offering the world a completely new and authentic impression of the man. In Hitler’s Father, Sandgruber re-examines Alois’ personality and how he significantly shaped the young Adolf.

The letters also shed further light onto the everyday life of the Hitler family as whole, a story which is often characterized by myths, inventions and assumptions. They have given the author the opportunity to recount the childhood and youth of the future dictator, painting a dramatic picture of the ‘Führer’ growing up.

These letters also help answer the question that is so often asked: How could a child from an Upper Austrian province, seemingly a failure and self-taught, rise to a position of such power? Indeed, Adolf Hitler’s father and ‘the province’ seemingly lay heavily on him until his suicide in the Führerbunker in 1945. The author examines how the young Hitler’s lowly upbringing may have affected him in the years that followed – years which shaped the history of the whole world. 

I reviewed another book recently called Lucky Hitler’s Big Mistakes, a really good book that looks at the rise and fall of Hitler and how much of it was his own fault. This book has similar aims in that it wants to look at the background of Hitler and how he became the person he was by looking at how he grew up mainly through the guidance of his father, Alois Hitler. This is often a question asked in the circles of history buffs, trying to find out why Hitler became who he was, and in many ways, by looking at this father this can be seen and answers a few questions and dispels a few myths too. It was a fascinating and interesting read, or I certainly thought so, and I have my own opinions about this subject but then maybe I should write a book about it. This is certainly a really good book and if you are interested in finding out about what’s behind the mask, this book will help. The notes and bibliography at the back of this book are excellent, I didn’t realise so many books had been written on this subject previously.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Hitler’s Traitors Dissent, Espionage and the Hunt For Dissenters

Hitler’s Traitors Dissent, Espionage and the Hunt For Dissenters compiled by

Edward Harrison and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardback - Pages 248

This collection of vivid essays examines some of the most fascinating aspects of the German

resistance to Hitler. It includes the first translations into English of pioneering studies on the

role of a leading Nazi in the July Plot, the flight of Rudolf Hess to Britain and the vigorous

controversy over Hugh Trevor-Roper’s investigation of Hitler’s death. The book also explores

vociferous Catholic dissent in Franconia and the conspiracies against the Third Reich of the

revolutionary New Beginning movement. Through the study of important personalities and

dramatic events this book explores the possibilities and challenges faced by Germans in

attempts to frustrate and defy Hitler’s tyranny.

I would like to say that I enjoyed the 6 different essays compiled in this book, on Rudolph

Hess, Count Wolf Heinrich von Helldorf, the Monasteries and two reports about Hugh

Trevor Roper. Whilst I can see the first two fitting in well with the title of the book, I find the

essays about the monasteries and the two about Hugh Trevor Roper don’t really fit the

title well, it’s as if the book goes off on a slightly different tangent. But as I say they are all

perfectly good essays, maybe it’s me and I haven’t grasped this book properly.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Mysteries of the Norman Conquest

Mysteries of the Norman Conquest written by Robert Allred and published by

Frontline Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 248

Recent challenges to the traditional site of the Battle of Hastings have led to a surge of

interest in the events surrounding England’s most famous battle. This, in turn, has

increased speculation that the titanic struggle for the English crown in 1066 did not

take place on the slopes of what is today Battle Abbey, with a number of highly plausible

alternative locations being proposed. The time had clearly come to evaluate all these

suggestions, and Robert Allred decided to take on that task.

Taking nothing for granted, Robert hiked around the sites of the three battles of 1066 – Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings. Armed with medieval sources and much of the current literature, he set out to appraise the evidence and to draw his own unbiased conclusions.

Following in the footsteps of the Viking warriors of Harald Hardrada, the knights of William of Normandy and the Anglo-Saxon soldiers of King Harold, the reader is taken on a journey from Yorkshire to the South Coast and down through the ages to re-examine what has been written about that momentous year – the intrigues, preparations and manoeuvres – which culminated on 14 October 1066, on a bloody hill somewhere in Sussex.

Whether this will settle the debate over the site of the Battle of Hastings or prompt further investigations remains to be seen, but it will be a book which cannot be ignored and that the reader will be unable to put down!

This was an interesting book in which the author Robert Allred attempts to look at the Battle of Hastings and try to establish the correct battlefield site for this battle, in amongst all the various bits of medieval evidence. The author establishes the real histories and reasons such as the Anglo-Saxon background, the Norman Invasion and also looks at three key medieval battle sites at Fulford, Stamford Bridge and Hastings. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and enjoyed how it was broken up into specific sections throughout the book which made it easier to read and believe each argument. I must admit to agreeing mostly with the conclusion in the book, but would it settle all the arguments, well you just have to read it and see what you think.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Shipwrecks in 100 Objects

Shipwrecks in 100 Objects written by Simon Wills and published by

Frontline Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 224

The history of shipwrecks involves many shocking episodes: from men who saw shipmates eaten

by sharks, to castaways who ate each other. Learn about the cowardly captain who deserted his

passengers on a sinking ship, the obstinate ship-designer who took 480 men to their deaths, and

the first mate who wrecked his own ship for insurance money.

Historian and genealogist Dr Simon Wills is maritime adviser to BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? programme. In this fascinating book he uses objects associated with real incidents as touchstones for every tale. Our ancestors believed that sea monsters destroyed ships, but better-established causes include storms, war, pirates, human incompetence, fire and ice.

The pages of this book are packed full of tales of dramatic rescues and miraculous survivals, and as well as the stories of the innovations that have improved safety at sea. Meet the man shipwrecked three times within an hour, a coastguard still diving overboard to save lives at 79, and the lifeboat inventor who endured someone else taking credit for his work. Ships can have character too: refusing to sink despite overwhelming odds, or even returning to haunt us as ghost ships.

The dangerous life afloat stimulated pioneers to create the lifeboat service, offshore lighthouses, and lifejackets. Vessels lost at sea also inspired rewards for bravery, and artists and writers such as J.M.W. Turner, William Wordsworth, and Yann Martel the author of Life of Pi.

Featuring famous wrecks such as Mary Rose and Titanic, this book introduces other less well-known but equally remarkable events from our nautical heritage, some of which seem almost too extraordinary to be true.

Shipwrecks in 100 Objects is fast becoming one of my favourite book series, and the reason for this is that it shows how much you can learn about something just from small, seemingly inanimate objects or places. This is probably the 4th 100 Objects book that I have read, and this book is just as good as the others. They are all very interesting to read, the information is always insightful and intriguing, the authors always seem to do so much research and put plenty of detail into the book. This book covers a plethora of shipwrecks or problems at sea, ranging from wrecks through the weather, ‘monsters’, pirates and collisions with ships and the rocks. The objects are also wide-ranging and obscure too, such as paintings, medals, stained glass windows, tickets, photos and much more. I fully enjoyed this book and in quite a way it gets you hooked on the sea-faring life, if you are into life on the waves, you’ll love this book.

Lucky Hitler’s Big Mistakes

Lucky Hitler’s Big Mistakes written by Paul Ballard-Whyte and published by

Pen & Sword Books - £25 - Hardback - Pages 336

Adolf Hitler’s Great War military experiences in no way qualified him for supreme command. Yet by July 1940, under his personal leadership the Third Reich’s armed forces had defeated Poland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium and France. The invasion of Great Britain was a distinct reality following Dunkirk. Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania had become allies along with the acquiescent military powers of Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain. These achievements prompted Field Marshal Willem Keitel, the Wehrmacht’s Chief of Staff, to pronounce Hitler to be ‘the Greatest Commander of all time’.

Storm clouds were gathering, most notably the disastrous decision to tear up the treaty with the Soviet Union and launch Operation Barbarossa in 1941. As described in this meticulously researched and highly readable book, Hitler’s blind ideology, racist hatred and single-mindedness led him and his allies inexorably to devastating defeat. How far was it good luck that gave Hitler his sensational early political and military successes? Certainly fortune played a major role in his survival from many assassination attempts and sex scandals. The author concludes, from 1941 onwards, the Fuhrer’s downfall was entirely attributable to military misjudgements that he alone made.

Lucky Hitler’s Big Mistakes exposes the enigmatic Dictator for what he really was – incredibly lucky and militarily incompetent.

The subject of this book is a question that often dominates military history message boards, in how Hitler rose to power from such a lowly position. The author of this book Paul Ballard-Whyte spends the first half of this book looking at how Hitler got to his position through a number of events that would help him get to the top of his ladder, such as the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, The Reichstag Fire and the Night of the Long Knives to name a few. Then in the second half of the book, he then looks at when Hitler was in his ultimate position he then failed a good number of times that would see his quest fail, such as Failure to Invade Britain, North Africa and Declaring War on the US. All the points in the book are nicely argued leaving the reader to decide their thoughts. I really enjoyed this book mainly because it was very well written and researched and it’s a subject I have often looked at over the years. An excellent book, especially if you like WW2 history and how it occurred.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

In the Service of the Emperor - The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1931-1945

In the Service of the Emperor - The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1931-1945

written by Brig N S Nash CBE and published by Pen & Sword Books - £25 -

Hardback - Pages 344

The expansion of the Japanese Empire between 1931 until its defeat in 1945 is one of the most extraordinary yet shocking episodes in human history. Extraordinary in that a relatively non-industrialised island nation was prepared to go to war, concurrently, with China, the most populous country, Great Britain with its world-wide empire and the USA, the wealthiest and most powerful country on earth. Shocking, as those 'in the service of the Emperor’ practiced persistent and unrestrained brutality as they conquered and occupied swathes of South East Asia. But, as this superbly researched work reveals, there is no denying their fighting and logistical expertise.

The author examines the political, economic and strategic effects of the rapid Japanese expansion and explores the cult of deity that surrounded the Emperor. The contribution of the Allied forces and their leadership is given due attention.

When retribution duly came, it was focussed on the military leadership responsible for unspeakable atrocities on their military and civilian victims—the physical perpetrators remaining largely unpunished. Japan, today, has still not acknowledged its wartime guilt.

The result is an authoritative, balanced and highly readable account of a chapter of world history that must never be forgotten.

I would like to say before I start that Japanese history is certainly not my strong point with regard to knowledge. So I have to say I have learnt an awful lot from this book, so much so I have started rereading it, because it is so comprehensive and detailed in information, for me this has been a fascinating read. The book first looks at the politics and economics of a fast-growing Japanese nation, a country that was fast-growing in population and personality. The book also looks at having an emperor and being run by a military leader and the difference that has on a nation and its mindset.

I found this book very educational and I have learned a lot, there is a lot of information and detail written in an informed way, and I’m rereading it mainly to help get more used to the names, places and personalities involved in the book. The book contains much text, information, graphs and tables, along with a steady flow of informative pictures and there also seems to be a good bibliography at the back.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Eyewitness at Dieppe - The Only First-Hand Account of WWII's Most Disastrous Raid

Eyewitness at Dieppe - The Only First-Hand Account of WWII's Most Disastrous

Raid written by Ross Reyburn and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 -

Hardcover - Pages 192

In August 1942, Allied forces mounted an attack on the German-held port of Dieppe;
titled Operation Jubilee, it represented a rehearsal for invasion. The amphibious attack saw over 6,000 infantrymen, predominantly Canadian, put ashore, tasked with destroying German structures and gathering intelligence.

The doomed raid was an abject failure and became Canada’s worst military disaster.

Eyewitness at Dieppe is a long-overdue reissue of New Zealand-born writer Wallace Reyburn’s dramatic account of the raid. He was with the first soldiers clambering ashore, and aboard the last ship returning to England after six hours of carnage.

Awarded an OBE as the only war correspondent to witness the street fighting first-hand, Reyburn was fortunate not to be numbered among Dieppe’s dead, suffering just a minor wound inflicted by mortar shell fragments. His book, Rehearsal for Invasion was a wartime bestseller.

Accompanied by freelance journalist Ross Reyburn’s new foreword on his father’s account, this new edition tells us more about Wallace’s intriguing life and details the shortcomings of his father’s book, dictated by wartime censorship corrected in the post-war years through a withering condemnation of raid’s mastermind Lord Mountbatten.

Eyewitness to Dieppe is another very good book as it gives the first-hand opinions of someone who was there to experience the attack. The book is put together by Ross Reyburn, the son of journalist or war correspondent Wallace Reyburn, it’s put together using his written accounts at the time, his opinions about how things went and in quite a few parts he gives his take on certain events that happened. It is good to have accounts of what happened but it should be remembered that Wallace Reyburn wrote his accounts whilst in the thick of the action so his opinions are of what he experienced at the time, where we have since learned some of the events might have been slightly different when you look at all the information as a whole. Reyburn is quite rightly proud of the way the predominantly Canadian troops behaved and fought, but when you look at the action as a whole there were big mistakes made by those in charge, something Rayburn is not afraid to talk about in the book.

Ross Reyburn has done a good job of putting this book together and it’s nice to read an

account of someone on the ground, interesting to see how another side of a story can

differ from another. A very good book and I enjoyed this more personal account of an event.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Battle - Understanding Conflict from Hastings to Helmand

Battle - Understanding Conflict from Hastings to Helmand written by Graeme

Callister & Rachael Whitbread published by Pen & Sword Books - £25 -

Hardback - Pages 288

What are the critical factors that determine the outcome of battles? Which is more decisive in a

clash of arms: armies or the societies they represent? How important is the leadership of the

commanders, the terrain over which the armies fight, the weapons they use and the supplies

they depend on? And what about the rules of war and the strategic thinking and tactics of the

time? These are among the questions Graeme Callister and Rachael Whitbread seek to answer

as they demonstrate the breadth of factors that need to be taken into account to truly understand


Their book traces the evolution of warfare over time, exploring the changing influence of the social, political, technological and physical landscape on the field of battle itself. They examine how the motivation of the combatants and their methods of fighting have changed, and they illustrate their conclusions with vivid, carefully chosen examples from across a range of Western European military history, including the Norman Conquest, the Hundred Years War, the Wars of Religion, the Napoleonic Wars and the world wars, and beyond.

By exploring the wide range of interconnected factors that influence the results of battles, the authors broaden the study of this aspect of military history from a narrow focus on isolated episodes of conflict. Their original and thought-provoking writing will be fascinating reading for all students of warfare.

This is a very fascinating book indeed that looks at warfare and the reasons why we have

warfare from 1066 right up to modern-day warfare. Each chapter in this book looks are

various battles and explains one of the most prominent reasons for that battle or why it

was fought. For example, just from the first three chapters, cover Society, Grand Strategy

and Leadership and how these all played a major part in particular battles. We also have

chapters on Landscapes, Tactics and Logistics to name a few more. Some of the reasons

are explained and open up new aspects to various battles that some might not have

thought about before, but they also explain a good number of other factors. I must admit

that I really enjoyed this book and it made for a really fascinating read. It reminded me of

books on military history at university where the answers aren’t always clear to see on the

surface, certainly a book for those that like to think more deeply into the subject of military

history. I would like to see another similar book like this, looking at a wider number of

battles or maybe battles involving fighting in the air or on sea. An excellent book. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Imprisoning Mary Queen of Scots - The Men Who Kept the Stuart Queen

Imprisoning Mary Queen of Scots - The Men Who Kept the Stuart Queen written by

Mickey Mayhew and published by Pen & Sword Books - £20 - Hardback - Pages 224

Imprisoning Mary Queen of Scots covers the lives and careers of the men and women who

‘kept’ Mary Queen of Scots when she was a political prisoner in England, circa 1568/9-1587.

Mary’s troubled claim to the English throne - much to the consternation of her ‘dear cousin’

Elizabeth I - made her a mortal enemy of the aforementioned Virgin Queen and set them on

a collision course from which only one would walk away. Mary’s calamitous personal life,

encompassing assassinations, kidnaps and abdications, sent her careering into England

and right into the lap of Henry VIII’s shrewd but insecure daughter. Having no choice but

keep Mary under lock and key, Elizabeth trusted this onerous task to some of the most

capable - not to mention the richest - men and women in England; Sir Francis Knollys, Rafe

Sadler (of Wolf Hall fame), the Earl of Shrewsbury and his wife, Bess of Hardwick, and finally,

the puritanical nit-picker Sir Amyas Paulet. Until now, these nobles have been mere bit-

players in Mary’s story; now, their own lives, loves and fortunes are laid bare for all to see.

From Carlisle Castle to Fotheringay, these men and women all but bankrupted themselves in keeping the deposed Scots queen in the style to which she was accustomed, whilst fending off countless escape plots of which Mary herself was often the author. With the sort of twist that history excels at, it was in fact a honeytrap escape plot set up by Elizabeth’s ministers that finally saw Mary brought to the executioner’s block, but what of the lives of the gaolers who had until then acted as her guardian? This book explains how Shrewsbury and Bess saw their marriage wrecked by Mary’s legendary charms, and how Sir Amyas Paulet ended up making a guest appearance on ‘Most Haunted’, some several hundred years after his death. In that theme, the book also covers the appearances of these men and women on film and TV, in novels and also the various other Mary-related media that help keep simmering the legend of this most misunderstood of monarchs.

An excellent book looking at the various imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots who

needed to be kept safe/imprisoned securely in order to be able to execute her. This

would obviously take a lot of work and commitment especially if you were the family

entrusted with keeping her captive. This would have big effect on some people who

had to look after her, both financially and with regard to the relationships, the captors

already had. This book was full of wide range of stories all quite interesting and I felt

not really the usual we get in these types of history books. I really enjoy this author

Mickey Mayhew’s writing, and although a little different to his previous book House

of Tudor was still just as good. I enjoyed the profiles of all the main people in the

back of the book along with an excellent bibliography. A book, very well worth a read.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The N64 Encyclopedia - Every Game Released for the Nintendo 64

The N64 Encyclopedia - Every Game Released for the Nintendo 64 written by

Chris Scullion and published by White Owl Books - £30 - Hardback - Pages 256

The fourth book in Chris Scullion’s critically acclaimed series of video game encyclopedias,

The N64 Encyclopedia is dedicated to the Nintendo 64, one of the most well-loved games

consoles ever released. Although the Nintendo 64 didn’t sell as well as some of Nintendo’s

other systems, and although it struggled in the shadow of the bold newcomer that was the

Sony PlayStation, everyone who owned an N64 was in love with it and the four-player

multiplayer it provided as standard. Despite its relatively small library, the Nintendo 64 had

a healthy number of groundbreaking titles that would revolutionise the way we played video

games. The likes of Super Mario 64, GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64 and The Legend of

Zelda: Ocarina of Time remain iconic in the eyes of video game fans 25 years down the line.

This book naturally contains those games, but it also contains every other game released for

the system, no matter how obscure. It also covers every game released in Japan, including

those for the ill-fated Nintendo 64DD add-on which never left the country. With over 400

games covered, screenshots for every title and a light-hearted writing style designed to make

reading it a fun experience, the N64 Encyclopedia is the definitive guide to a truly

revolutionary gaming system.

I have to say that this book is called an N64 Encyclopedia and to be honest it has to be.

I remember my parents moaning at me as a teenager for spending too much time on

my games consoles, so I thought I knew quite a bit about games, particularly the N64.

But the author Chris Scullion has an immense and comprehensive knowledge here,

and what’s more, the book is also packed with many hints, tips and facts. This book

is a dream for any fan of the N64 and it seems so many games made for the console.

This book has so much information about the games and together it’s supported by

so many pictures, graphics and screenshots. It’s a great book for gaming fans, who

will love this.

The Battle of Reichswald - Rhineland - February 1945

The Battle of the Reichswald Rhineland - February 1945 written by Tim Saunders and published by Pen & Sword Books - £22 - Hardback - Pag...