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.
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 it.The US 8th Air Force came of age in the England of 1944. With a fresh commander, it was ready to demonstrate its true power: from Big Week in February, targeting German aircraft production plants, to bringing the Luftwaffe to battle over Berlin, the combined USAAF-RAF round-the clock campaign of bottling up the German army in Normandy and the strategically vital oil offensive of the following autumn and winter. Day after day, the American bomber boys watched their comrades burn to death in blazing bombers, be thrown out of exploding aircraft without parachutes and sink with their crippled aircraft in the freezing North Sea. But by the following spring they had destroyed the Nazi fighter arm and seen Germany broken in two.In this comprehensive history, Kevin Wilson has allowed the youngsters of the 8th to tell their stories of blood and heroism in their own words. At the same time, he has opened up the lives of the Women's Army Corps and Red Cross girls who served in England with them and feared for the men in the skies, and he hasn't flinched from recounting the devastation of bombing or the testimony of shocked German civilians.Wilson has interviewed American veterans and trawled archives in both the United States and Britain to complete this final volume of his air-war series, adding to his critically acclaimed trilogy about the RAF and Commonwealth air forces' bomber offensive. Drawing on first-hand accounts from diaries, letters and his personal recordings, the author has brought to life the ebullient Americans' interaction with their British counterparts and the civilians who lived near the air bases, unveiling stories of humanity and heartbreak. Thanks to America's bomber boys and girls, life in Britain would never be the same again.
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 be 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.
The Second World War
By Antony Beevor
A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian.The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert.Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's THE SECOND WORLD WAR never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in this, the most terrible war in history.
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.
By David Blakeley
The explosive sequel to the bestselling PATHFINDER.For the first time ever an elite British operator tells the gruelling story of his selection into the Pathfinders - Britain's secret soldiers. Pathfinder selection is a brutal physical and psychological trial lasting many weeks. It rivals that of the SAS and takes place over the same spine-crushing terrain, in the rain-and-snow-lashed wastes of the Welsh mountains. For two decades no one has been able to relate the extraordinary trials of British elite forces selection - until now.Captain David Blakeley goes on from completing selection to serve with the Pathfinders in Afghanistan post 9/11, where he had a gun held to his head by Al Qaeda fighters. From there he deploys to Iraq, on a series of dramatic behind-enemy-lines missions - wherein he and his tiny elite patrol are outnumbered, outgunned and trapped. MAVERICK ONE is unique and extraordinary, chronicling the making of a warrior. It culminates in Blakeley fighting back to full recovery from horrific injuries suffered whilst on operations in Iraq, to go on to face SAS selection.
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.