Books (Page 2)

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Strange But True Military Facts


ISBN: 9781848844353
Pen & Sword Books, 2010

This book was great fun to put together. It contains 500 individual entries concerning the lesser known aspects of military history. A collection of the crazy, insane, bizarre, ridiculous, most bloody, inept, strangest, and hilarious military facts. These include the British general whose troops were massacred by the Ashanti in 1824 because, during the battle, he mistakenly supplied them with boxes full of biscuits instead of ammunition. Then there was the war between Modena and Bologna in 1352, a conflict caused by the theft of an old oak bucket. The fighting lasted for 12 years and cost thousands of lives. Crazy but true.

"Strange But True Military Facts by Steve Crawford, though its title may sound less than eccentric, actually represents a well arranged and illustrated informative collection of some of the most eccentric and peculiar facts from the human history of military conflicts.
Despite the gravity of the subject, the book makes a splendid afternoon reading, more entertaining than encyclopaedic: it is not just dry facts and figures, it is an amazing story of human character, the mistakes made through generations and the examples of outstanding courage and heroism.
But overall, the book's presentation and the author's well placed accents on various details make it into a good table book suitable for both private reading and discussions within a company of friends.
It will be equally enjoyed by the teenagers and the retired folks and is a definite must for those compiling intelligent and tricky quiz questions.
Over 500 stories and facts eventually bring the reader to a conclusion that there is no war without the world-old problems of miscommunication, misunderstanding, unjustified ambitions and disrespect for the fellow humans, lots of which root, regrettably, in the dark side of human eccentricity bordering with madness. But to study these bizarre examples of human behaviour today seems to be surprisingly timely, so that we would understand better the mistakes done before us and make sure we avoid them in the future, for the sake of us all.
It could be justly said that along with the entertaining value of the book, it also serves an important humanitarian purpose."
The Eccentric Club


"This is an amusing and remarkable compendium of little-known anecdotes from military history. Divided into themed chapters that cover commanders, actions on the battlefield, military blunders, the logistics of warfare, and the history of weaponry, this book tells the stories that are often overlooked. It also contains information boxes throughout that provide the reader with intriguing, thought-provoking and unfamiliar, but true, facts from the annals of warfare."

Classic Arms and Militaria

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Blood, Sweat and Steel: Frontline Accounts from the Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq, 1990–2010

ISBN 978-1847735133
New Holland Publishers Ltd, 2010

Distilled from hundreds of thousands of words, this book attempts to present a cross-section of experiences from service personnel during 20 years of conflict in the Gulf and Afghanistan. The politicians talk about short campaigns and surgical strikes, but for those who have to fight their wars the reality is very different, as this book makes clear. And when the politicians foul up, as they invariably do, it is always the men and women in uniform who pay the price. I've also included a chapter on the wounded, for the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is tens of thousands of injured young people, plus many more carrying psychological scars.

 'The interview excerpts record bravery and boredom with equal honesty and represent a true reflection of operational life which, when combined with the liberal use of military acronyms and in-jokes, will strike a chord with any who have served. For those who haven't, the title strives to encourage empathy and paints a candid picture of the attitude, worries and observations of the fighting man and woman ... making for a good personal library addition and a fine source of illustrative quotes and examples of life on the front line.'

Soldier Magazine, September 2010

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World War II: Stats and Facts

ISBN 978-1435117033
Fall River Press, 2009

This was a mammoth undertaking, and ultimately comprised 100,000 words. It contains thousands of figures, from casualty numbers in major battles to technical specifications of weapons, aircraft and ships to the manufacturing figures of all the combatant nations. The orders of battle include armies, corps and divisions for the Axis and Allied countries, plus ORBATs for air and sea units. At the end of it I felt as though I had taken part in the retreat from Moscow.

Heroic Voices of the Spanish Civil War: Memories from the International Brigades

ISBN 978-1847734693
New Holland Publishers Ltd, 2009

This was written to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It is compiled from interviews conducted in the 1960s with those British men and women who fought in the International Brigades. The sound archives are held in the Imperial War Museum in London, and it was a great privilege to hear their stories. Sadly they have all passed away now.

"Peter Darman's Heroic Voices of the Spanish Civil War is a similarly gripping and moving book. Once again, participants tell their stories in their own words. Based on original and previously unpublished interviews from the UK Imperial War Museum's sound archives and other first-hand accounts from surviving members, this is a fitting tribute to their heroism and self-sacrifice."

Books About Spain website

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Posters of World War II

ISBN 978-1435104389
Barnes & Noble 2008

This was an immensely enjoyable book to write. The large format allowed the 200 colour posters to be shown to full effect. It also allowed me to follow the different poster styles as they developed during the war. In the Soviet Union, for example, posters spouted communist dogma at the start of the German invasion in June 1941. This was quickly ditched as German armies drove towards Moscow, and Soviet posters started to make an appeal to Russian patriotism and the defence of Mother Russia. By the end of the war, when the Red Army was at the gates of Berlin, Soviet posters had reverted back to extolling the glories of communism.


"This superbly illustrated book features over 200 posters, beautifully reproduced in full colour. Each poster is accompanied by a detailed explanation and in the case of the Axis posters a translation of the text. 

Some of the posters the reader will be very familiar with, others will be new, but in all cases the creative talents of such names as Norman Rockwell in the US and in Britain Tom Eckersley and Cyril Kenneth Bird (Fougasse) will be instantly recognized.

This book is a high quality and wonderfully produced and researched book, the illustrations are beautifully reproduced. WW2 Connection recommend this book highly and it is a welcome addition to anyone's WW2 book shelf."

WW2 Connection

Prince Rupert of the Rhine: A Study in Generalship 1642–1646


ISBN 978-1858185644
Partizan Press 2008

This was my University of York masters thesis, which was submitted in 1987 and, I'm glad to say, passed. Prince Rupert was one of my boyhood heroes, so to spend two years studying him and his cavalry during the English Civil War was a great privilege. It took me a year of research at the British Library, Bodleian Library and Public Records Office, plus another year writing it up (mainly after work and at weekends), but the end result was well worth it. Three copies were produced, one of which resides in the University of York Library. Twenty years later it was published by Partizan Press, who hopefully have sold more than three copies!

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World War II Trivia Book

ISBN 978-0760793978
Barnes & Noble 2007

Where did the Japanese attack the U.S. mainland in 1942? Who said, "Never before have we had so little time to do so much."? The World War II Trivia Book has the answers. This was written as a new kind of reference source about the war, packed with questions and answers, quotations, and 'did you know?' boxes about strategy, battles, spies, weapons and commanders.

"Packed with details about history's most bloody conflict, the World War II Trivia Book is a great way to find out just how much you know about the war—or to add to your knowledge. The World War II Trivia Book follows the war from its causes to its aftermath, presenting unique insights into all the action. The book's entertaining combination of questions and answers, quotations, and fact boxes make it one of the liveliest reference sources you can find."

Barnes & Noble

Civil War Trivia Book

ISBN 978-0760793961
Barnes & Noble 2007

Not just a book containing 700 questions, this book also features ‘did you know?’ boxes and thought-provoking quotes throughout, the Civil War Trivia Book was written as a new way to find out about America’s most bloody conflict, for people to test their knowledge and learn new facts about the battles, weapons, and commanders of the ‘War Between Brothers’. Collating the questions took more time than I thought, but the result was well worth the effort.

"Test your smarts about Civil War spies, weapons, soldiers, and more!"

Scholastic “Arrow”, March 2009


The U.S. Marine Corps in World War II: The Stories Behind the Photos

ISBN 978-1597971317
Books Inc., 2007

World War II was the most photographed conflict ever, and produced some of the most memorable images. This book contains 60 photographs of the U.S. Marines in action between 1941 and 1945, and includes engagements such as Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Guam, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Each image is accompanied by a 200-word caption that identifies in detail its elements, including locations, weapons, vehicles, kit – even individual Leathernecks. The result is a fascinating analysis of how the Marines went about the business of waging war.

“The author’s research seems to be on the mark. More important, however, is his artful and sometimes shocking presentation of unforgettable photographs that Marines of all ages will appreciate."

Proceedings, October 2007

The U.S. Army in World War II: The Stories Behind the Photos

ISBN 978-1597971331
Potomac Books Inc., 2007

A companion volume to the US Marine Corp book, this title has the same format. This book follows the U.S. Army from North Africa in 1942 to Europe and the Pacific in 1945. Featuring units such as the 82nd Airborne Division, the Rangers and Patton’s Third Army, the book’s 60 images provide a full record of the U.S. Army’s conflict, with technical details on the weapons, clothing and vehicles.

“With wonderful photos and his detailed research, Crawford reminds us of the Army’s critical role in both major theaters of our most costly and deadly war.”

Proceedings, May 2008

The Eastern Front Day by Day

ISBN 978-1597970112
Potomac Books Inc., 2006

I have always been interested in the titanic struggle on the Eastern Front during World War II. This book is a chronological account of the conflict from the German invasion of the Soviet Union to the Red Army's conquest of Berlin in May 1945.

"This book is a useful and welcome guide to a complicated subject."

The Eastern Front is a succinct, profusely illustrated, month-by-month historical overview that is as informed and informative, as it is engaging and recommended for personal, academic, and community library Military History reference collections in general, and World War II Eastern Front supplemental reading lists in particular."

California Bookwatch, January 2007


Uniforms of World War II

ISBN 978-0785809395
Chartwell Books, 1998

This book is a collection of 250 colour uniform artworks, which were originally printed in the 1980s partwork "The Elite". Drawn by Malcolm MacGregor and Pierre Turner, they are superb examples of how World War II photographs can be turned into dramatic artworks.

“The scope of this book is impressive. There are very few uniforms of major or minor combatants that are not shown. The details are skimpy, but then, it's "Uniforms of WW2". The illustrations seemed to be copied from photographs and then beautifully colored. It is excellent value for the money. It's not an in depth study, or long on history. As it says on the cover, it's Uniforms of World War II.”

WWII Archives Foundation


Deadly Fighting Skills of the World

ISBN 0283063114
Sidgwick & Jackson,1998

This book covers ambushes, assassination, infiltration, night fighting, sabotage and booby traps, sniping, silent weapons, hand-to-hand combat and small-unit tactics. It was published in Britain and the United States, being described in the St Martin's Press catalogue thus: "the most in-depth study yet of how trained soldiers kill and wound, and a complete insight into how human beings can be turned into deadly fighting machines. All the above and much more is in this exceptionally interesting book, made more graphic by 100 diagrams and 80 photographs."

This was the last book I wrote for William Armstrong, the managing director of Sidgwick & Jackson, a fine gentleman who sadly passed away in 2006 and who is greatly missed.

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