Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle

The outbreak of war in 1914 saw large early successes for the German army on the Western Front, before counter-attacks pushed them back. When the Western Front stabilised, Germany had still made significant gains, including holding territory in France. The French were determined to remove all German soldiers from French soil and as quickly as possible. Attacks were launched in 1915, with an attack in September and October including a reluctant British Expeditionary Force at Loos. <!–more Continue reading my review of Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle–>

Loos 1915: The Unwanted Battle looks at before, during and after the battle. Before the battle focuses on why the British did not want the battle, whilst after looks at the impact it had on the British army. Corrigan writes in a clear style and sets out the facts, making it clear when he is offering his opinion. Prior to reading the book, I knew very little about the battle; I now have a greater knowledge of why, and how fiercely, the battle was fought.

Rating (out of 5): ****

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July Crisis

28th June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is assassinated in Sarajevo by Gustavo Princip. One month later, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Within days, Europe is at war. The bloodiest war to date, with an estimated nine million soldiers killed over the course of the four year conflict. But what happened in the month between the assassination and the outbreak of war? Read the rest of the review

#Tokyo45: The Final Days of World War II

The war in Europe ended in May, but it continues in the Pacific as Japan fights on. There doesn’t seem to be any hope of victory for Japan, but no surrender is forthcoming and America is gearing up to invade the Japanese mainland in what will undoubtedly be a bloody battle. The comes to a quick and sudden end with the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But what would the key decision makers have been thinking at the time?

That’s what #Tokyo45 looks to imagine. In the form of tweets. Decision makers on all sides are given imaginary Twitter accounts and the narrative of the end of the war is told through tweets on a daily basis. The start of each day contains a short overview of a key decision maker or location. It’s a great way of presenting all sides of the story leading up to the dropping of the bombs and the aftermath of them.

Rating (out of 5): *****

#Havana62: To the brink of nuclear war

October 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The world watches. Waits. The world is aware that it is days, possibly even only hours away from nuclear war. The only way of staying informed is through the newspapers and news reports on the television and radio. But what if the Cuban Missile Crisis had happened 50 years later? The story would dominate round the clock news; it would also be trending across social media. Enter #Havana62

#Havana62 imagines the Cuban Missile Crisis from fictional Twitter accounts from the protagonists, imagining their perspective on the situation as it develops. Accounts often tend to look at one perspective, or examine one side first and then the other; #Havana62 looks at both sides at the same time through the imaginary tweets as the crisis is examined day-by-day. There is also background to the crisis from earlier in the year and short profiles at the start of each day of either those involved or the weapons involved.

It’s a different and interesting take on the Cuban Missile Crisis and I thoroughly enjoyed and strongly recommend the book.

Rating (out of 5): *****

The Complete Dregs Of History

We’ve all heard of Henry VIII. And Elizabeth I. And William Shakespeare. And countless others who have made an impact on history. But what about the everyday person? Or someone who has had an impact for a strange reason? Enter ‘The complete dregs of history’

Numerous characters are introduced in chronological order, with a summary of what they did and why they are included. Fripley’s characters are all entertaining and the book was easy to read and enjoyable. The characters can be a bit hit and miss, but none are worth skipping. A book to return to and pick a character at random.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Viking Panzers: The German 5th SS Tank Regiment in the East in World War II

The book, as the title implies, follows the 5th SS Tank Regiment from 1942 until the end of the war. The book is made up of reports and diary entries from members of the regiment as well as maps and a narrative. The book can become hard to follow in places where it switches from one diary entry to another and it is not clear who it is from, but it offers an authoritative history of the regiment and flows from encounter to encounter seamlessly. Not a book that I would necessarily read again, but a different perspective to usual books about the war.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Air Force Blue

Air Force Blue examines the role played by the RAF during World War II. The state of the RAF prior to the outbreak of war is looked at and how the RAF was able to develop. Fighter Command and it’s role in preventing invasion along with Bomber Command and it’s role in attacking Germany are looked at. There is also a chapter on Coastal Command, who tend to get overlooked in favour of Fighter and Bomber Command.

The books is an excellent overview of how air power was key to victory in World War II and the role played by the RAF in achieving this. A very good book for anyone with an interest in World War II.