We March Against England: Operation Sea Lion, 1940-41


Robert Forczyk - 2016
    Following the destruction of the RAF fighter forces, the sweeping of the channel of mines, and the wearing down of the Royal Naval defenders, two German army groups were set to storm the beaches of southern England. Despite near-constant British fears from August to October, the invasion never took place after first being postponed to spring 1941, before finally being abandoned entirely.Robert Forcyzk, author of Where the Iron Crosses Grow, looks beyond the traditional British account of Operation Sea lion, complete with plucky Home Guards and courageous Spitfire pilots, at the real scale of German ambition, plans and capabilities. He examines, in depth, how Operation Sea Lion fitted in with German air-sea actions around the British Isles as he shows exactly what stopped Hitler from invading Britain.

Endgame, 1945: The Missing Final Chapter of World War II


David A.T. Stafford - 2007
    While the war may have seemed all but over by Hitler's final birthday (April 20), Stafford's chronicle of the three months that followed tells a different, and much richer, story. ENDGAME 1945 highlights the gripping personal stories of nine men and women, ranging from soldiers to POWs to war correspondents, who witnessed firsthand the Allied struggle to finish the terrible game at last. Through their ground-level movements, Stafford traces the elaborate web of events that led to the war's real resolution: the deaths of Hitler and Mussolini, the liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau, and the Allies' race with the Red Army to establish a victors' foothold in Europe, to name a few. From Hitler's April decision never to surrender to the start of the Potsdam Conference, Stafford brings an unprecedented focus to the war's "final chapter." Narrative history at its most compelling, ENDGAME 1945 is the riveting story of three turbulent months that truly shaped the modern world.

Mr. Kipling's Army: All the Queen's Men


Byron Farwell - 1981
    The battles it fought are household words, but the idiosyncracies and eccentricities of its soldiers and the often appalling conditions under which they lived have gone largely unrecorded. Byron Farwell explores here the lives of officers and men, their foibles, gallantry, and diversions, their discipline and their rewards.

Sand & Steel: The D-Day Invasions and the Liberation of France


Peter Caddick-Adams - 2019
    Sand and Steel reveals precisely what lay in wait for the Allies. But the heart of the book is Caddick-Adams' narratives of the five beaches where the terrible drama played out--Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword, and the attempt by American, British, and Canadian soldiers to gain a foothold in Europe.The Allied invasion of Europe involved mind-boggling logistics, including orchestrating the largest flotilla of ships ever assembled. Its strategic and psychological demands stretched the Allies to their limits, testing the strengths of the bonds of Anglo-American leadership. Drawing on first-hand battlefield research, personal testimony and interviews, and a commanding grasp of all the archives and literature, Caddick-Adams's gripping book, published on the 75th anniversary of the events, does Operations Overlord and Neptune full justice.

Like Wolves on the Fold: The Defence of Rorke's Drift


Mike Snook - 2006
    In the morning, a modern British army was swept aside by the onset of a seemingly unstoppable Zulu host at Isandlwana. Nearby, at a remote border outpost on the Buffalo River, a single company of the 24th Regiment and a few dozen recuperating hospital patients were passing another hot, monotonous day. News of the disaster across the river came like a bolt from the blue. Retreat was not an option. It seemed certain that the Rorke's Drift detachment would share the terrible fate of their comrades. Following on from How Can Man Die Better, Colonel Snook brings the insights of a military professional to bear in this strikingly original account. It is an extraordinary tale a victory largely achieved by the sheer bloody-mindedness in adversity of the British infantryman, fighting at the remarkable odds of over thirty to one. The heroics of all eleven VC winners are recounted in detail, and we are offered new insights into how the Zulu attack unfolded and how 150 men achieved their improbable victory. The author describes the remainder of the war, from the recovery of the lost Queen's Colour of the 24th to the climactic charge of the 17th Lancers at Ulundi. We return to Isandlwana to consider culpability, and learn of the often tragic fates of many of the war's participants. Like Wolves is a remarkable work, and the author's unbridled respect for the fighting qualities of British soldier and his abiding affection for the Zulu people shines through.

The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front 1915 - 1919


Mark Thompson - 2008
    Mussolini fought in these trenches, as did most of his collaborators. But so did many of the greatest modernist writers in Italian and German - Ungaretti, Gadda, Musil.

Decision in Normandy


Carlo D'Este - 1983
    The battle of Normandy was the most complex and daring military operations in the history of modern warfare. Two years of intense, detailed planning reached its successful conclusion when the Allied forces took to the beaches on D-Day.

The Donkeys


Alan Clark - 1991
    In the three-and-a-half hours of the battle, they sustained 8,246 casualties. The Germans suffered no casualties at all. Why did the British Army fail so spectacularly? What can be said of the leadership of generals? And most importantly, could it have all been prevented? In The Donkeys, eminent military historian Alan Clark scrutinises the major battles of that fateful year and casts a steady and revealing light on those in High Command - French, Rawlinson, Watson and Haig among them - whose orders resulted in the virtual destruction of the old professional British Army. Clark paints a vivid and convincing picture of how brave soldiers, the lions, were essentially sent to their deaths by incompetent and indifferent officers – the donkeys. ‘An eloquent and painful book... Clark leaves the impression that vanity and stupidity were the main ingredients of the massacres of 1915. He writes searingly and unforgettably’ Evening Standard

Gallipoli


Peter Hart - 2011
    It had begun as a bold move led by the British to ultimately capture Constantinople, but this definitive new history explains that from the initial landings - which ended with so much blood in the sea it could be seen from aircraft overhead - to the desperate attacks of early summer and the battle of attrition that followed, it was a lunacy that was never going to succeed.Drawing on unpublished personal accounts by individuals at all levels and from all sides - not only from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, but unusually from Turkey and France too - Peter Hart combines his trademark eye for vivid personal stories with a strong narrative to bring a modern view of this military disaster to a popular audience.'The scene was tragically macabre: the image of desolation, the flames spared nothing. As for our young men, a few minutes ago, so alert, so self-confident, all now lying dead on the bare deck, blackened burned skeletons, twisted in all directions, no trace of any clothing, the fire having devoured all.' Vice Admiral P. E. Gu�prette recalls the damage to the French ship Suffen during a naval battle in 1915.

1914-1918: The History of the First World War


David Stevenson - 2004
    The war that followed had global repercussions, destroying four empires and costing millions of lives. Even the victorious countries were scarred for a generation, and we still today remain within the conflict's shadow.

Sacrifice on the Steppe: The Italian Alpine Corps in the Stalingrad Campaign, 1942-1943


Hope Hamilton - 2011
    But as history tells us, these flanks quickly caved in before the massive Soviet counter-offensive which commenced that November, dooming the Germans to their first catastrophe of the war. However, the historical record also makes clear that one allied unit held out to the very end, fighting to stem the tide—the Italian Alpine Corps.As a result of Mussolini’s disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany, by the fall of 1942, 227,000 soldiers of the Italian Eighth Army were deployed on a 270km front along the Don River to protect the left flank of German troops intent on capturing Stalingrad. Sixty thousand of these were alpini, elite Italian mountain troops. When the Don front collapsed under Soviet hammerblows, it was the Alpine Corps that continued to hold out until it was completely isolated, and which then tried to fight its way out through both Russian encirclement and “General Winter,” to rejoin the rest of the Axis front. Only one of the three alpine divisions was able to emerge from the Russian encirclement with survivors. In the all-sides battle across the snowy steppe, thousands were killed and wounded, and even more were captured. By the summer of 1946, 10,000 survivors returned to Italy from Russian POW camps. This tragic story is complex and unsettling, but most of all it is a human story. Mussolini sent thousands of poorly equipped soldiers to a country far from their homeland, on a mission to wage war with an unclear mandate against a people who were not their enemies. Raw courage and endurance blend with human suffering, desperation and altruism in the epic saga of this withdrawal from the Don lines, including the demise of thousands and survival of the few.Hope Hamilton, fluent in Italian and having spent many years in Italy, has drawn on many interviews with survivors, as well as massive research, in order to provide this first full English-language account of one of World War II’s legendary stands against great odds.

The Boer War


Thomas Pakenham - 1992
    History Bk Club.

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion


Charles Townshend - 2005
    Many of Dublin's inhabitants wanted to weaken or terminate London's rule but there remained a vast and conflicting range of visions of that future: far more immediate was the unfolding disaster of the First World War that had put 'home rule' issues on ice for the duration. The devastating events of that Easter changed everything. Both the rising itself and-even more significantly-the ferocious British response ended any sense at all that Dublin could be anything other than the capital of an independent country, as an entire nation turned away in revulsion from the British artillery and executions. As we approach the 90th anniversary of the rebellion it is time for a new account of what really happened over those fateful few days. What did the rebels actually hope to achieve? What did the British think they were doing? And how were the events really interpreted by ordinary people across Ireland? Vivid, authoritative and gripping, Easter 1916 is a major work.

Strange Victory: Hitler's Conquest of France


Ernest R. May - 2000
    Why did Hitler turn against France in the Spring of 1940 and not before? And why were his poor judgement and inadequate intelligence about the Allies nonetheless correct? Why didn't France take the offensive earlier, when it might have led to victory? What explains France's failure to detect and respond to Germany's attack plan?Skillfully weaving together decisions of the high commands with the confused responses from exhausted and ill-informed, or ill-advised, officers in the field, the distinguished diplomatic historian Ernest R. May offers many new insights into the tragic paradoxes of the battle for France.

The Thirty Years War


Samuel Rawson Gardiner - 1970
    In many ways, this war, and the subsequent peace of Westphalia, would set the stage for the balance of power in Europe until the First World War in 1914. Fully illustrated to capture both the majesty and the horror of The Thirty Years' War.