ARmy Rumour SErvice

Review: Manchester In The Great War By Joseph O’Neill

This book is one of several short publications on cities throughout the country concentrating on life for the folk left at home when their loved ones had answered the call and volunteered to fight for King and Country.

As we know there is a vast amount of books on the subject of the Great War and there has been a great number of programs on the TV this year acknowledging the centenary of the start of this tragic episode in our history. This book is different however. As the title illustrates its main objective is to describe life in Manchester during these dark times. Read more ›


Review : The Kaiser’s Mission to Kabul by Jules Stewart

This is a really strange tale of two German soldiers who tried to force British troops to commit to defend the Khyber pass area in World War I.

The mission was to ensure that the British get locked into defence of the Khyber Pass and its assets in India rather than to stir up an Islamist uprising, although the execution of the plan meant that militant Islamists were courted. It centred on two German officers, Von Hentig, and Von Neidermayer, dispatched by the Kaiser to promote disruption in Afghanistan. Read more ›


Review: Spitfire – The Inside Story by David Curnock

This is a difficult book to review as it does not fall into any of the main categories. I’ll start by describing the format. The book is envelope sized; the pages are about eight inches long by five deep and the book runs to just short of 100 pages. Read more ›


Review: Aspects of the Boer War by Malcolm Archibald

This is the Fourth and completion of the Selkirk Trilogy.  Malcolm Archibald has written  a three part story of one man’s  battles in the Boer War; the beauty is that the stories are partially based on a diary  of one of his wife’s relatives who served there. This book is not fiction it is sixteen chapters of  militarily , political and social history revolving around the two  actual Boer wars . Read more ›


Review: The Rise of the Seleukid Empire by John D Grainger

After the death of Alexander, his generals fought a bitter, multipolar war for control over the vast empire he had created in a few short years, stretching from Macedonia to India.

Among the successful Successors (the Diadochi, Alexander’s heirs) was Seleucus (the Roman usage), known in this book as Seleukos (the Greek usage). The latter, while less familiar, is probably the right name to use. Read more ›


Review: I Survived Didn’t I? By Joy M Cave

This is a simple memoir of someone who, as the title suggests, survived the Great War without being seriously injured or psychologically disturbed.

Read more ›


Review: Antigonus the One-Eyed by Jeff Champion

The years after the early death of the astonishing Alexander the Great were anarchic. With no clear successor in place and a huge territory, stretching from (in today’s terms) Albania to India, the brand-new Macedonian Empire was there for the taking, by whoever of Alexander’s trusted generals was strong enough. The Persians and Egyptians were broken and the Macedonians had moved in, imposing a layer of Hellenic civilization over the existing satrapies and founding new Greek-speaking cities throughout Iran and Central Asia.

Immediately after Alexander’s passing in Babylon, a vicious multipolar civil war broke out between the Diadochi – the Successors – and Antigonus One-Eye, one of Alexander’s senior generals, was quick to stake his claim to mastery of Asia – essentially, today’s Asia Minor – and the city states of Greece. Read more ›


Review: How to Move from Public Sector to Private Sector:By Graham Scott,

Survive and thrive, moving from Civil Service, Military, Local Government, Police or Healthcare into the private sector  

“Traditional employment will still be how most people pursue a career. That’s where most people are comfortable, so I don’t think it will change for the majority. The difference is that traditional employment can no longer be considered the “safe” option. For years entrepreneurs have been viewed as risk-takers, but personally I think it’s far riskier to depend on someone else for your well-being. Ironically, I view entrepreneurship as a much safer option.” (Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Nonconformity)

The above quotation gives you the flavour of this book. Buy it if you are facing a career change. This is a book for “men who have lived and learned”. It is aimed at people in the public sector who are thinking of starting a second career and who may be aged as much as the early fifties. If this is you, stay tuned. The author, Graham Scott, is definitely a private-sector person, who would probably not be seen dead in a public sector job, and this obviously informs his attitudes and advice. He has at different times worked for big PLCs and one-man bands; run his own creative agency for over a decade; integrated with government agencies; travelled extensively and worked with some very successful businessmen like Sir Rocco Forte and Ross Brawn. He has also worked with the public sector and has consulted public sector workers in several countries when compiling this book. Read more ›


Review: SPARTA AT WAR by Scott M Rusch

Most ARRSE members will be vaguely aware of the martial exploits of the Spartans, notably the heroic, last man defence of their king Leonidas and 300 Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae. If you want to find out more about Sparta’s military power then this could well be the book for you.  Rusch covers a broad sweep of history which covers the rise and fall of Sparta and their protagonists, mostly the city of Athens.

The first chapters deal with how Sparta was organised, and why its heavy infantry (Hoplites) were so effective.  The answer will be no surprise to any British soldier; committed training, excellent leadership and plenty of practice.  Rusch describes in detail how combat worked, with serried ranks of Hoplites closing shield to shield, and then pushing, shoving, stabbing and slicing their way to victory.  The Spartan superiority was that they were better drilled, and so were able to manoeuvre cohesively in this challenging environment while lesser armies could not. Read more ›


Review: Wasted Years, Wasted Lives. Volume II by Ken Wharton.

Once again Ken Wharton has lived up to expectations. He is a thoroughly modern historian with an encyclopediac knowledge of the period known as “the Troubles“.

Those of us who were there, who served on those mean streets, who saw our friends killed and injured owe a debt to Ken for his relentless and painstaking work in ensuring that this enormous undertaking is not forgotten, as politicians of all stripes would like it to be. This period in our history – which is woefully undervalued and largely ignored – will not be swept under the carpet just as long as there is Ken Wharton and others like him (although knowing Ken, I can say that there are few, if any, like him). Read more ›


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