Into Battle with Napoleon 1812. The Journal of Jakob Walter
Jakob Walter. Edited & Annotated by Bob Carruthers
This is a re-presentation of the jounal which was first translated and published in America in 1938. Bob Carruthers has done a really good job in bringing this wonderful work up to date. His inspired selection and inclusion of the watercolours of Albrecht Adam, who witnessed many of the same events as Jakob Walter, makes the book even more enjoyable. That is if the brutal reporting of such a train of harrowing events can ever be enjoyed. The reader is left with an understanding of the life of a soldier in Russia in 1812 and thankfulness that Jakob kept a jounal. A must read. Pen & Sword Military, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2013
Richards, Sir Brook
A fascinating insight into small-boat operations between the British south coast and northern France. This volume covers Breton fishing boats as well as naval motor gun boats and the missions they ran to insert agents, collect/deliver intelligence and pick up down'ed aircrew smuggled to the coast by the resistance. Full of detailed references and anecdotes which begin to give some idea of how information was learned the hard way. Particularly relevant, as the author was himself involved. Pen & Sword Military, 2012
Boeing B52 Stratofortress, Owners Workshop Manual
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
With Napoleonís Guard in Russia - The Memoirs of Major Vionnet 1812
Louis Joseph Vionnet. Translated & Edited Jonathan
A book I finished reading wanting more of the same. I suspect desperate hunger, numbing cold and the struggle to keep his troops together caused Major Vionnet to make few notes from which these memoirs were constructed. Jonathan North has written an excellent introduction, especially the Peninsular War background to the regiment, and there is an appropriate selection of maps and illustrations to support the text. He has also used other personal accounts to broaden the perspective and add detail. My one minor complaint is that the many footnotes are gathered at the end of the book. If, like me, you always read footnotes, and these are most helpful, then having them on the relevant page is so much more convenient. This book is about detail having a broad overview of the Russian campaign, while not essential, is most useful.
With only a little imagination the reader will gain insights into the hell which engulfed and killed so many of Napoleonís troops in the retreat from Moscow. And crucially how some of the survivors survived.
Pen & Sword Military. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2012
Handbook to Roman Legionary Fortresses
Bishop, M C
Providing exactly what the title suggests, this is primarily a gazetteer of all currently known Roman Legion bases, each with well referenced details such as location, situation, size, orientation etc. as well as the units that were based there together with line drawings and photographs. The handbook also contains appendices of Legionary timelines and a clear list of fortresses listed in the Notitia Dignitatum.
The introductory section is short, but focussed carefully on the architecturally important details that pertain to Legion bases, and while well written, does assume a reasonable working knowledge of Roman military history. The bibliography is truly huge, and all in all this handbook should be considered an essential reference for a Roman military scholar. Pen & Sword, Barnsley., Jan 2013
Nez, Chester & Avila, Judith Schiess
A touching account of both the creation and use of the Navajo code used by the US Marines in the Pacific theatre from one of the original 29 code talkers recruited in 1942. It recounts Chester Nez's involvement in the creation and use of the Navajo code, unfathomable by anyone who wasn't a native speaker and considered impossible to learn, hence unbreakable by the Japanese.
But not only is this an account of his and his fellow Navajo specialists' traumatic war from Guadalcanal to Guam and Peleliu. It is also a moving account of life as a Native American child growing up in a harsh land in the 1920's and 30's, caught between two cultures. It deals sensitively with his post traumatic stress disorder on returning from the pacific and his tribal, community approach to dealing with it. Running throughout is a strong sense of faith in the Navajo 'Right Way' of living and of justified pride in the way the native American community contributed to the war effort.
A unique account, from one of the originals and highly recommended for anyone studying either the Pacific Theatre of operations or pre-war America. Berkley Caliber, New York, Oct 2012