Posts in Books
Normandy '44 by James Holland

D-Day can tend to be remembered by the beaches, the bocage and the Tigers. In his new history of the Normandy campaign, James Holland looks at the myths of the campaign and reminds us that without the incredible logistics machine supporting the tip of the spear, the liberation would never have gotten very far inland at all.

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The Colour of Time by Dan Jones and Marina Amaral

In Marina Amaral and Dan Jones’ The Colour of Time, we have two historians bringing the colour back to our history, one which we have become so used to seeing in monochrome. The subtle and powerful marriage of the images and text brings an excitement to each turn of the page that makes this a very special book.

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The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Kate Mascarenhas’ sumptuous debut novel finds a woman in a locked room who has been shot to death. Taking a fractured narrative, a cast of strong, very interesting women, Mascarenhas weaves a a tale that is as much about the woman in the room as it is the women working their way towards the answer in the past, present and future.

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The Deadly Trade by Iain Ballantyne

The submarine is one of man’s greatest, and most deadly, inventions. In The Deadly Trade: The Complete History of Submarine Warfare from Archimedes to the Present, Iain Ballantyne takes us from the theory of the underwater warship, through Jules Vern to the U-Boot and today’s Intercontinental Ballistic Submarine. Where Ballantyne’s superior work excels is to look at the development of the submarine through the eyes of the men who took them to war and who, mostly, never came home.

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Nightfall Berlin by Jack Grimwood

Tom Fox returns to action in Jack Grimwood’s Nightfall Berlin. Having survived Moscow, Fox is sent to East Berlin to escort home a British defector who has express a desire to return home. For some reason, everyone is in agreement for this. There is a memoir. What the memoir contains could derail everything in the thawing environment of the mid-80’s. For Fox, nothing so simple as bringing an old man home is in his future.

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Death In Ten Minutes by Fern Riddell

The image of the Suffragette is one that has been honed for a century so that a very specific image is presented.  It is one of proper women, the ideal of the Englishwoman, fighting for her rights, in the right way.  This is not how it was and in her biography of Kitty Marion, Fern Riddell shows us that Mrs Banks had some far more interesting friends and how the Pankhursts made sure they were hidden in the shadows of history.

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The Last Battle by Peter Hart

The final few months of The Great War have rarely got the focus of those that proceeded them.  The final offensive that finally silenced the guns and ended the slaughter was one in great contrast to the static game of inches of the years before.  In The Last Battle, histoian Peter Hart superbly manages to show us the great scope of Foch's great offensive while putting us in the mud with the men tasked with marching to the "green fields beyond".

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Breakout at Stalingrad by Heinrich Gerlach

After 60 years languishing in the Russian State Military Archive, Heinrich Gerlach's novel of his experiences in Stalingrad is finally published.  Uncompromising and oppressive, Breakout at Stalingrad is a remarkable testament to the horror war and the affect on the men caught up in it.

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Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rex wants to be a good dog.  He lives for the moments when his master tells him he is a good dog.  Rex’s master gives Rex things to do.  Rex, because he is a good dog, does the tasks he is given.  In Adrian Tchaikovsky's novel, we view a rapidly changing world from the viewpoint of the cause of that change, a seven foot dog with guns on his back.

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The Earth Gazers by Christopher Potter

The race to go faster, further and higher has intoxicated man since before Icarus took to his wings.  In the 20th Century, man didn’t just take to the air, but slipped it’s confines for space.  A very select few (a total of 24 men) were able to gaze back and see our home in all it’s glory.  With The Earth Gazers, Christopher Potter looks how those men got up there and how what they felt was as important as what they saw.

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How to Build a Car by Adrian Newey

In motor Racing, Adrain Newey's name ranks among the greats.  He is not one for the cameras of a race weekend, but his autobiography is wonderfully engaging, funny and honest.  From building Lotus kit cars with his dad through to 10 World Championships with three teams, Newey's tale is fascinating.  He takes us through the highs and terrible lows of his life and career, framing it all against the cars we have watched going round in circles for all these years.  How to Build a Car is essential reading for any racing fan.

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Gnomon by Nick Harkaway

Nick Harkaway's latest novel crosses thousands of years and yet never leaves the mind of the victim at the centre of his tale.  With Gnomon, Harkaway looks at our world and the issues we face from oblique angles, in turn making us look at our own path from eyes we may not have considered or have even wanted too.  Gnomon is a masterful tale.

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America City by Chris Beckett

America City, Chris Beckett's first novel since leaving Eden, is a fantastic look at how the information we receive affects our decisions.  We believe we are smart enough to know what is going on, but are we?  In a wonderfully complex work of speculative fiction, Beckett's ambitious America City crafts a world as deep as Eden and yet as relatable as now.

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A Legacy of Spies by John le Carre

With A Legacy of Spies, John le Carre returns to the scene of the novel that put him on the map.  While the much publicised return of George Smiley is making the headlines, the story is set upon the shoulders, in my opinion, of one of his most interesting characters, Smiley’s right hand, Peter Guillam.

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The Women Who Flew For Hitler by Clare Mulley

Clare Mulley's new biography looks at two incredible, yet very different women who were pinoneering Test Pilots for the Third Reich.  In The Women Who Flew For Hitler, Mulley looks at what drove these women in a male dominated flying world and the very different directions they chose under a Nazi flag.

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The Plots Against Hitler by Danny Orbach

The men and women who resisted Hitler have been cast as heroes and villains of both the left and right.  The conspirators and their actions have been remembered in black and white, with the viewer choosing the colours with which to paint them.  In Danny Orbach’s new history of the resistance, The Plots Against Hitler, he very convincingly shows us that rather than pure saints or sinners, the complexity and contradictions of the conspirators makes them that most difficult of things to digest, human.

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Blackbird by James Hamilton-Paterson

The Blackbird series of aircraft, by the legendary Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson, is the subject of James Hamilton-Paterson's latest non-fiction venture into aviation.  Hamilton-Paterson tells a tale of Cold War paranoia and desperation that lead to an incredible aircraft that lived out beyond Mach 3 on the meter.  Blackbird is a worthy tribute to her designer, those brave Habu and the incredible craft they rode.

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The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy

The Dark Ages in Britain are a fertile period to mine.  The sources, few as they are, talk of kings and warlords, battles and death, and then arrive the men from the North.  It is the period of Beowulf and Arthur, of a Britain living in the decay of the Roman withdrawal and the arrival of a new God to fight the old.  Into this mix, Matthew Harffy has thrown a young warrior, Beobrand, into the turmoil of Northumbria to find his fame.

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