Historical Military Fiction

Discussion in 'Films, Music and All Things Artsy' started by Tartan_Terrier, Apr 22, 2007.

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  1. There are some excellent historical military fiction books around, amongst others Bernard Cornwell's excellent Sharpe series. I've read most of them and find them to be well researched and written with an eye for detail, as well as being action-packed.

    I've tried reading some others, some good some not so good.

    Allan Mallinson: not bad but a bit 'dry'

    Simon Scarrow (Eagle series): Excellent Roman adventures.

    George MacDonald Fraser (Flashman series): Fantastic books, a bit tongue in cheek, but a good laugh and with plenty of historical background information.

    Has anyone any recommendations (or warnings to steer clear) for further reading.

  2. Here are some you might find a good read

    Warriors for the working day-Peter Elstob-tells the story of a British tank regt in ww2 from recruitment to fighting in Europe to the end of the war.

    A trilogy by John Masters based on ww1 and follows several families through the war.
    1.Now,God be thanked.
    2.Heart of War.
    3.By the Green of Spring.
    You can get these onWeb Page Name
    I always click on all buying options to pick up some good 2nd hand bargains,all in very good condition for very few pennies!!
    Hope you find this usefull.
  3. My personal favorite series......... :D

    Attached Files:

  4. Good choice,bought hatjunior the bumper edition for Christmas,a firm fav read of his.
  5. I've read 'Warriors for the Working Day', a very good book indeed in my opinion. In a similar vein, how about 'The Killing Ground' by Elleston Trevor?

    I enjoyed 'Bugles and a Tiger' by John Masters so I can imagine his novels would be worth a read too. Are they still in print?
  6. For anyone has a hidden fish-head streak, I can definetly recommend the Patrick O'Brian novels. They can be slow in places but they're very period authentic. Though the naval terminology can be pretty hard going if you unfamiliar with it.
  7. if you liked simon scarrow's eagle series, try conn iggulden's emperor series. far superior, four books dramatising the life of julius caesar.
  8. If you want RN novels, then the original and best are undoubtably the 'Hornblower' series by CS Forrester.
  9. The Patrick O'Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels are, dare I say, First Rate!

    They really should be read in sequence as they are form one story.

    The First is "Master and Commander", followed by "Post Captain".
    There are 20 in all. He also wrote about 4-5 other unrelated naurical novels that are very good.

  10. Not superior, different. Scarrow is now producing a trilogy on the interplays of Wellington and Napoleon's careers...right romp, like the Eagle series but good for lying on the beach and chilling!

    Cornwell is top man in the historical fiction line at present IMHO. However Napier's Attila series looks good (I've read vol. 1 and I've got Vol 2 on my bedside table) as soon as I finish Red Ball Express. James McGee is good and Julian Rathbone too, if you like a bit of a twist ala McDonald Fraser.

    I'm a sucker for military historical fiction but all it takes is one tiny little error, like someone getting a Military Cross in 1903 and I'm huffing and puffing. Just like when medal ribbons are in the wrong order on the TV or a film...crusty by birth I fear!
  11. Most have been mentioned above, but GMF's MacAuslan books are also a good read and his autobiography is superb.

    Naval: Alexander Kent's Bolitho series is good, with Dudley Pope in fourth place (after O'Brien and Forester).

    Roman: the Falco series is cracking.

    General Adventure: if you need a switch-off-brain-and-relax while waiting for the Doris to get ready, you can't do better than Alistair Maclean.

    Air: does anyone else remember the Martin Caiden (Sp?) books about WW2 Pacific air war? It's been years but I remember enjoying them at the time. And some of the Mickey Spillanes.
  12. this.... :wink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charley's_War :wink:
  13. Alexander Baron's "From The City, From The Plough" (1948) - ISBN 0 583 12178 0 [paperback reissue, Triad/ Chatto, Bodley Head & Jonathan Cape Ltd/ Granada Publishing, 1979].
    Fictionalised account of a battalion of 43rd (Wessex) Div, & its experiences in Normandy, 1944 - outstanding, but don't know whether it's still in print. Definitely worth reading if you can get your hands on a copy.

    Bernard Cornwell's "Warlord Trilogy" re King Arthur, and the "Grail Quest" trilogy (Medieval archers etc) are quite good if you like Medieval stuff.

    Herman Wouk - "The Winds of War" (WW2), and "The Hope" and "The Glory" (Arab-Israeli). Not terribly well-written, long-winded in parts, but full of interesting insights/ unusual perspectives.

    Norman Mailer's "The Naked & The Dead": WW2 classic. Like Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey/ Maturin novels, this is quality literature. Superbly written.

    Larry Bond's "Cauldron" - interesting, if a little far-fetched at times.

    RF Delderfield's "The Avenue": 2 parts - "The Dreaming Suburb" & "The Avenue Goes To War" (cover England/ London, 1919-1947); very good re life on the "Home Front", impact of total war on civilian population etc.

    Gerald Seymour's "Harry's Game" (1975) - the "dirty war" in N Ireland. A must read - excellent, but grim. Crisply written.

    Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" (1974) - classic sci-fi, full of interesting ideas, and it's really about Vietnam.

    Good Vietnam novels include:

    J M Del Vecchio - "The 13th Valley" (1982) - exceptional.
    C Durden - "No Bugles, No Drums" (1976) - not bad, overdone in parts, but very graphic re ambushes etc.
    T O'Brien - "Going After Cacciato" (1975)- surreal - cleverly constructed "psychological journey" to the heart of the war.
    J Webb - "Fields Of Fire" (1978) - well written & heartfelt; impressive. BTW, James Webb is now a member of Congress (Democrat): served as Secretary for the Navy under Reagan (resigned over the issue of proposed cuts), and is an outspoken critic of Bush, famously once stating he'd like to punch him. When a midshipman at the US Naval Academy, he lost a close fought boxing match with a classmate, one Oli North.
  14. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    I was obliged to read his "Light Dragoons" for obvious reasons. Recently went into WHS with Wor Lass. She really really wanted to buy me a book. I looked at Mallinson's latest offering but decided against, picking up "Early One Morning" by Robert Ryan, who took the rather bare facts behind the true story of William Grover-Williams, inaugural winner of the Monaco GP and later SOE operative in France and wove them into a novel.

    It wasn't quite a war story, a spy story, a motor-racing story or a love story: fell between four stools. But it passed the hours.

    Not to mention appearances of the IRA and Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
  15. From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line by James Jones. Both are WW2 classics, impossible to put down.

    Primo Levi is famous for If This Is a Man and The Truce, but he also wrote a novel about partisans entitled If Not Now, When?

    Damned Good Show by Derek Robinson is a very good novel about WW2 Bomber Command in the early days.

    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

    Cross of Iron by Willi Heinrich.

    Das Boot by Lothar-Gunter Bucheim.

    The Polish Officer by Alan Furst - more spying than war, but quite good.