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Book reviews for - Later 20th Century and Modern


  • The Cyprus Emergency

    Nick van der Bijl
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book covering, as it does, both the political and the military aspects of the Cyprus ‘troubles’ from 1955 to 1974. The narrative flows from event to event with little comment or opinion allowing the reader to understand the series of cause-and-effect which brought the island to its present state. There are three good maps and a set of photographs which well illustrate the text.
    I should here declare a deep personal interest as I served in Cyprus during the Emergency, 1958-61, and for a while was part of the security team at Government house. It is a slightly odd experience to look at a photograph in a ‘history’ book and to know that one was there standing in the next room. Also, to read about incidents in which one was involved including the death of a close comrade. The author perfectly captures the changes felt by the ‘boots on the ground’ when Hugh Foot became Governor and Major-General Kendrew was replaced by Major-General Darling as Director of Operations. Although I found that the book was a little uncomfortable in parts to read about intelligence and security failings, all accurately conveyed by the author, which we should have known at the time.
    According to my experience the book ‘rings true’ and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of our time and especially all those young National Servicemen who got their knees brown during the Cyprus Emergency.

    Pen and Sword Military, 2018
  • Fighting for the French Foreign Legion - Memoirs of a Scottish Legionnaire

    Lochrie, Alex
    There are quite a number of memoirs out there of men attracted by the legion, and I've read most of them. Luckily, this one ranks quite highly amongst those I've read. The author manages to join the legion at quite an advanced age - 38 - and so brings a different viewpoint to the training and life as an older man.
    His training and experience as a member of their special forces is usual for this kind of book - he serves in Tchad, Bosnia, Desert Storm, but he becomes a technical specialist in photographic techniques and brings a sensitivity to his writing that is sometimes lacking in others. It's a more thoughtful book, and should be a good addition to anyone's Legion library.

    Pen & Sword Military, 2013
  • Boeing B52 Stratofortress, Owners Workshop Manual

    Davies, Steve
    Another excellent Haynes manual of one of those iconic pieces of technology we wish we could own! Detailed sections on it's design and combat history (primarily covering Vietnam and Iraq), it's anatomy, systems, engines and maintenance schedules. Some really detailed and annotated diagrams and the usual crop of photos from all angles. It also has a blow-by-blow account of a training mission from the point of view of the pilot, along with an unusual viewpoint from an air-gunner.
    Haynes, Feb 2013
  • Lockheed SR-71 Owners Workshop Manual

    Davies, Steve & Crickmore, Paul
    An excellent book on one of the world's greatest aircraft! It follows in Haynes tradition of 'manual' style books on equipment we'd love to own with fascinating detail gained from people who were intimately involved with the Blackbird, or 'Habu' as it was known amongst those who flew it. As well as detail of its genesis, history and missions there is plenty of detail on equipment, engines and of particular interest to myself, what it was like to actually fly one.

    The book includes a full list of the fate of each aircraft and a glossary of terms used. Full of photographs, diagrams and detail but still very readable. Highly recommended.
    Haynes, 2012
  • Jungle Bashers - A British Infantry Battalion in the Malayan Emergency 1951-1954

    Bonner, Robert
    'For those wishing to explore the Malayan Emergency from the viewpoint of the infantryman at the sharp end, this work is an essential tool. It is highly recommended for the casual reader, veteran, student and any professional historian researching the Malayan Emergency.
    Fleur de Lys Publishers, 2003
  • Britain's Army in the Twentieth Century

    Carver, Field Marshal Lord.
    This book falls between the two stools of scholarly works and collections of anecdotes.
    Pan Books, 1999
  • The Royal Navy in Focus 1950 - 59

    Critchley, Mike Ed.
    One of the series 'The Royal Navy in Focus' showing photographs of almost every ship type active during the decade. A few lines on the history of each vessel is given with every picture.
    Maritime Books,
  • Hell in a Very Small Place

    Fall, Bernard B
    The definitive collected history of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu from the French perspective covering from the arrival in the valley during operation Castor through to the end of the garrison and after. Contains excellent detail, orders of batle, casualty figures, chronology and references as well as being grippingly readable. The author, the French historian/journalist Bernard Fall was killed in Vietnam on patrol with US marines as this book was published.
    Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1967
  • The Battle for the Falklands

    Hastings, Max and Jenkins, Simon
    Good overall history of the 1982 Falklands War, written by two journalists who were involved in the reporting of the war itself. Written very soon after the war, it may contain some that is propoganda.
    Book Club Assoc. London, 1983
  • The Arab-Israeli Wars

    Herzog, Chaim

    Greenhill, London, 2004
  • Dien Bien Phu, The Epic Battle America Forgot

    Simpson, Howard R

    Brassey's, 1994