The Boys: Triumph Over Adversity
By Martin Gilbert
In August 1945, the first of 732 child survivors of the Holocaust reached Britain. First settled in the Lake District, they formed a tightly knit group of friends whose terrible shared experience is almost beyond imagining. This is their story, which begins in the lost communities of pre-World War II central Europe, moves through ghetto, concentration camp and death march, to liberation, survival, and finally, fifty years later, a deeply moving reunion. Martin Gilbert has brought together the recollections of this remarkable group of survivors. With magisterial narration, he tells their astonishing stories. The Boys bears witness to the human spirit, enduring the depths, and bearing hopefully the burden and challenge of survival.'Martin Gilbert is to be congratulated on producing a masterly and deeply moving tribute to those who had the courage and luck to survive' Literary Review
Blood and Fears
By Kevin Wilson
How America's bomber boys and girls in England won their war, and how their English allies responded to them.In this comprehensive history, Kevin Wilson allows the young men of the US 8th Air Force based in Britain during the Second World War to tell their stories of blood and heroism in their own words. He also reveals the lives of the Women's Army Corps and Red Cross girls who served in England with them. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Wilson brings to life the ebullient Americans' interactions with their British counterparts, and unveils surprising stories of humanity and heartbreak.Thanks to America's bomber boys and girls, life in Britain would never be the same again.
By Craig Nelson
On 7 December 1941, an armada of 354 Japanese warplanes supported by aircraft carriers, destroyers and midget submarines launched a surprise attack on the United States, killing 2,403 people and forcing America's entry into the Second World War. Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness follows the sailors, soldiers, pilots, diplomats, admirals, generals, emperor and president as they engineer, fight and react to this stunningly dramatic moment in world history.In vivid prose Craig Nelson maps the road to war, beginning in 1914 with a young Franklin D. Roosevelt, the man who would become president, attending the laying of the keel of the USS Arizona at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. He also traces Japan's leaders as they lurch into ultranationalist fascism, culminating in their insanely daring yet militarily brilliant scheme to terrify America with one of the boldest attacks ever waged.The result is a thrilling historical drama on the grandest scale. Nelson delivers all the terror, chaos, violence, tragedy and heroism of the attack in stunning detail, and offers surprising conclusions about the tragedy's unforeseen consequences that resonate even today.
By Steve Heaney, MC, Damien Lewis
For three decades one of the most secretive units in the British military has been a mystery force known as X Platoon.Officially there was no X Platoon. The forty men in its elite number were specially selected from across the Armed Forces, at which point they simply ceased to exist. X Platoon had no budget, no weaponry, no vehicles and no kit - apart from what its men could beg, borrow or steal from other military units.For the first time a highly decorated veteran of this specialised force - otherwise known as the Pathfinders - reveals its unique story. Steve Heaney became one of the youngest ever to pass Selection, the gruelling trial of elite forces, and was at the cutting edge of X Platoon operations - serving on anti-narcotics operations in the Central American jungles, on missions hunting war criminals in the Balkans, and being sent to spy on and wage war against the Russians.The first non-officer in the unit's history to be award the Military Cross, Steve Heaney reveals the extraordinary work undertaken by this secret band of brothers.
By Max Arthur
The 'Forgotten Voices' of the First World War speak for the final time.LAST POST is very consciously the last word from the handful of First World War survivors who were left alive in 2004. Now they have passed away, our final human connection with the First World War has been broken.Max Arthur, a skilled interviewer, took the very last chance we had to ask questions of those who were there. Now updated to include a new introduction by the author for the centenary of the First World War.
By Russell Miller
Masterly biography of the 'greatest commander of the 20th century'.Field Marshal Slim is less well known than other Second World War generals, but is now widely regarded as the best. To the men under his command he was 'Uncle Bill', probably the most respected and loved military leader since the Duke of Marlborough. Born into an impoverished family in Bristol in 1891 and brought up in the Black Country, he was commissioned as a temporary Second Lieutenant on the outbreak of the First World War. Twice seriously wounded, in Gallipoli and Mesopotamia, he was awarded the Military Cross in 1918. After the war he was unable to remain an officer in the class-ridden British Army without private means and transferred to the Indian Army, where he developed an enduring affection for the Ghurkhas and began writing short stories to supplement his income.Slim's career stalled between the wars, but during this time he developed the leadership techniques that would make him a national hero within a decade and which are still taught today at Sandhurst. Promotion came rapidly with the Second World War, and in March 1942 he was sent to Burma to take command of the British-Indian First Burma Corps, then in full flight from the advancing Japanese. Through the force of his leadership, Slim turned disorderly panic into a controlled military withdrawal across the border into India. Two years later, having raised and retrained the largest army ever assembled by Britain, Slim drove the enemy out of Burma and shattered the myth of Japanese invincibility which had hamstrung the Allied operations in the East for so long. Slim returned to Britain laden with awards and honours. He became a popular Governor-General of Australia in 1953, was raised to the peerage, and died in London in 1970.This important biography will be written with the full cooperation of the Slim family, and Russell Miller has had access to all their papers.
The War Behind the Wire
By John Lewis-Stempel
The last untold story of the First World War: the fortunes and fates of 170,000 British soldiers captured by the enemy.On capture, British officers and men were routinely told by the Germans 'For you the war is over'. Nothing could be further from the truth. British Prisoners of War merely exchanged one barbed-wire battleground for another.In the camps the war was eternal. There was the war against the German military, fought with everything from taunting humour to outright sabotage, with a literal spanner put in the works of the factories and salt mines prisoners were forced to slave in. British PoWs also fought a valiant war against the conditions in which they were mired. They battled starvation, disease, Prussian cruelties, boredom, and their own inner demons. And, of course, they escaped. Then escaped again. No less than 29 officers at Holzminden camp in 1918 burrowed their way out via a tunnel (dug with a chisel and trowel) in the Great Escape of the Great War. It was war with heart-breaking consequences; more than 12,000 PoWs died, many of them murdered, to buried in shallow unmarked graves.Using contemporary records - from prisoners' diaries to letters home to poetry - John Lewis-Stempel reveals the death, life and, above all, the glory of Britain's warriors behind the wire. For it was in the PoW camps, far from the blasted trenches, that the true spirit of the Tommy was exemplified.
Richard the Lionheart
By David Miller
The greatest general of medieval timesKing Richard I's personal bravery on the battlefield won him the name 'Lionheart' but as David Miller reveals, his battles and campaigns demonstrate a brilliant grasp of strategy and tactics. The 'Lionheart' was no mere medieval 'head banger' but a thoughtful military leader, the only Crusader commander who managed to get an army to Palestine without going bankrupt in the process.
By Michael Rose
The story of how George Washington beat the British out of America - and how Iraqi insurgents are now using the same tactics to push the Americans out of IraqIn 1775, George Washington took command of a ragbag army of American insurgents and took on the might of the British Army. Through a brilliant campaign of ambush and indirect attacks, he finally succeeded in defeating the greatest military power in the world, and won America its independence.Today it is the USA that is the world's dominant superpower. When they entered Iraq in 2003 they made the same mistakes that the British made over 200 years ago: they underestimated the popular hostility against them, and believed they could fight a widespread insurgence using troops trained for conventional warfare. They are beginning to learn, as the British did, that sheer military power is not enough.As a former Director of UK Special Forces and Commander of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia, Michael Rose is uniquely experienced in counter-insurgency warfare. In this hard-hitting book he explains the principles of guerrilla warfare as used in the American War of Independence, and shows how those same principles have been adopted by the insurgents in Iraq.
True Stories of the SAS
By Robin Hunter
The soldiers of the SAS are among the most ruthless and efficient in the world. Their daring and determination have made Britain's top-secret military unit one of the most feared and respected special forces in existence.True Stories of the SAS is a history of the deeds done by these lethal men as they faced danger with calm courage. From the parachute raids and jeep attacks of World War II to covert activity in the Gulf War, the SAS have fought in each major conflict of the last fifty years. Their every mission is a tale of inspired strategy and decisive action, from the fight for the German-held islands of the Aegean to the struggle against the Communists in the Malayan jungle and their spectacular success at the Iranian Embassy siege in London.These astonishing stories reveal the bravery, endurance and sheer military brilliance that have made the SAS truly a force to be reckoned with.
Hitler and the Holocaust
By Robert Wistrich
A superb short historical analysis of the Holocaust, by one of the world's leading authorities on the subjectRobert Wistrich begins by exploring the origins of anti-Semitism in Europe, and especially in Germany, to try to explain how millions of Jews came to be killed systematically by the Third Reich. In the process of relating these events, he provides new and incisive answers to a number of central questions concerning the Shoah that have emerged over recent years: who, inside and outside Nazi Germany, knew that Jews were being murdered; how responsibility for the genocide should be divided between Hitler himself and ordinary Germans; and how historians have tried to make sense of the Holocaust.The book concludes by considering the legacy of Nazi crimes since 1945: the Nuremburg trials, the impact of the Holocaust on Diaspora Jewry (particularly in Israel and America), and the rise of neo-Nazism and Holocaust-denial.
By William Fowler
The inside story of the most daring SAS rescue mission everIn September 2000 eleven British soldiers were captured by a notorious militia gang in Sierra Leone. The so-called 'West Side Boys' had subjected their part of the country to a long reign of terror, murdering, kidnapping and mutilating anyone who stood in their way.Now British soldiers were at their mercy. Surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, any resistance would have seen them all killed; yet their hopes of a quick exchange soon faded. They were assaulted and subjected to mock executions. Negotiations with the 'Revolutionary United Front' leaders and the 'West Side Boys' proved futile. Prime Minister Tony Blair ordered the armed forces to get the men back. The SAS and elements of the Parachute Regiment were rushed to West Africa and a naval squadron assembled offshore. The stage was set for the biggest British military operation on the continent for a generation - and their most daring rescue mission ever.