‘The Royal Air Force Regiment’, which came into existence in the United Kingdom on 1st February 1942 following the signing of the Royal Warrant by King George VI, was the title conferred upon the newest Corps of the RAF. Its personnel were drawn from the old ‘Ground Defense Branch’ of the RAF and the intent, expressed in the Air Ministry memorandum of 5th February 1942, was to be more than just a formation of Aerodrome guards.
(Para 2 of Page 2 of this book) Read more ›
Stilwell and the Chindits The Allied Campaign in Northern Burma 1943-1944. Rare photographs from wartime archives . Read more ›
Forsyth is a master storyteller and his previous books such as Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File and many more have been contemporary thrillers, dealing with events that are relevant to the era. In this book he has continued this trend in that the story is about young men being radicalised to Islam, being brainwashed into committing acts of terrorism against the country in which they live. Some are immigrants and asylum seekers, others are second generation or indeed converts to Islam. The brainwashing has been done over the internet by a man known as The Preacher; he sends out sermons as video-casts which are placed in a closed area of the web to which people are invited rather than find by error. The sermons encourage and entice young men to rise up in Jihad by attacking a prominent member of their community in suicide attacks. Politicians and prominent businessmen in the USA, UK and other areas or the world are killed for no apparent reason but in each case forensic work finds the sermons on their computers. Read more ›
The wars of the Roses is usually remembered as being a series of battles between Yorkshire and Lancashire in order to decide who would rule England whereas it was actually the struggles between two branches of the House of Plantagenet which lasted for some forty years. Essentially between the north and the south, some of the bloodiest battles took place across England while the monarchy of the country was being established and Jack Holroyd has used this period in history, which includes the battle of Towton in 1461, to write the fictional tale of two boys who were involved at that time.
Read more ›
Quite a few new books about the Normandy campaign have issued in 2014, the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. This one is a bit different. Most of the books that I have read focus on the conduct of the various battles, describing the factors that influenced their outcome and debating about the relative merits of the armies and their commanders. Read more ›
Companions is the fifth novel in a series by Peter Darman about a Middle Eastern warrior king in Roman times. The previous four books (The Parthian, Parthian Dawn, Parthian Vengeance and Carrhae) had followed King Parcorus from life as a slave alongside Spartacus through to the end of his reign; this book returns to a point mid-way through his reign. This is great news as it appeared the last book might have taken the series to its natural conclusion – with this book, the possibility of plenty more now looks hopeful. As I have commented before, this series of Parthian Chronicles compares well to the Sharpe series, with many similarities especially the comfortable writing style that keeps the reader gripped and entertained. Read more ›
Roger Moorhouse has provided us with as comprehensive an account as currently possible of this fascinating subject, of which little is known to the general public in the West and in Britain in particular. His research has been impressive, as witnessed by the copious notes and the extensive bibliography provided at the back of the book. A better account could only be written if access had been granted to more primary archival sources – especially the former Soviet ones, but alas after a short period of “glasnost” when most of the former Soviet archives were available for independent research; they are now firmly shut again. (Too embarrassing and contradictory to Putin’s view of Russia perchance).
For many years during and after World War Two, the Nazi-Soviet Pact was played down by the British Government in the interests of “Realpolitik” (a policy which was encouraged by the attitude of much of British academia, which at the time had a generally left-wing tendency). At best the apologists for the Soviet aggression of 1939 conceded that the Soviets had expanded westwards only in the interest of self-defence against a future Nazi attack eastwards. Read more ›
A timely release in this centenary year about the life of one of the great war poets. Wilfred Owen was killed on 4 November 1914 on the banks of the Sambre-Oise canal in Northern France. “As the church bells in Shrewsbury pealed out news of the Armistice on the 11th, his parents received a telegram announcing his death. He was 25 years old.” Read more ›
This is the fifth instalment of the thus far excellent Vespasian series set in ancient Rome. The book opens with Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the protagonist) serving as a Legate in Britannia with the Legions. The Emperor Claudius, desperate to secure the support of the common people has come to Britannia to ‘conquer’ it, after much of the serious fighting has finished in the South of the Isle. By hijacking his top General’s (Aulus Plautius) victory, he can secure his legacy and succeed where his predecessor Caligula failed. Claudius’ manipulating three freedman, Narcissus, Pallas and Callistus are all vying for their masters’ favour, with Narcissus the chosen amongst them. They are the true power behind the Empire. Claudius is dull of mind, weak of body and considered a drooling fool by the Roman Senate, yet it is treasonous to say so openly. Conscious of the precarious and temporary position of their Emperor, Narcissus secured the love of the plebeians in Brittania’s conquest for his patron and solidified his masters’ wobbly throne. Read more ›
Ingrid and Kasper Hansen lived in Denmark with their two year old twin children but still liked to explore the landscape of northern Norway, the country of Ingrid’s birth. The chance of a few days of calm weather, according to the weather forecast, was enough for him to persuade his mother to look after their twins while he and Ingrid enjoyed themselves hiking in Finnmark. They certainly did not expect to find themselves being hunted by a gang of killers and when Kasper was finally cornered his only pleasure before dying was the knowledge that Ingrid had managed to get away much earlier because of the false trail he had laid. Read more ›