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.
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.
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.
Backs to the Wall
By G.D. Mitchell
'In that hour was born in me a fear that lasted throughout the whole winter. It was the dread of dying in the mud, going down in that stinking morass and though dead being conscious throughout the ages. Waves of fear at times threatened to overwhelm me... a little weakness, a little slackening of control at times and I might have gone over the borderline.In the light of the sun, on firm ground, I could laugh at fate. But where the churned mud half hid and half revealed bodies, where dead hands reached out of the morass, seeming to implore aid - there I had to hold tight.'In this gripping account, George Deane Mitchell relives the horror and the humour of being an Australian soldier on the Western Front in World War I. Backs to the Wall by was originally published in 1937. This new edition - with commentary by Robert Macklin, author of Jacka VC - will allow a new generation of readers to fall under the spell of this forgotten Australian classic.
The Strength of a Nation
By Michael McKernan
This comprehensive history of Australia's often overlooked but important role in World War II, in which one million service members from a country with a population of seven million served, is based on the moving and emotional personal stories of soldiers who served on the front lines and of prominent politicians on the home front. Campaigns in which Australian soldiers played a significant role are discussed, including those in North Africa, the Middle East, New Guinea, and the Anzac Corps in Greece.
By Max Arthur
The 'Forgotten Voices' of the First World War speak for the final timeFORGOTTEN VOICES OF THE GREAT WAR was the surprise best-seller at Christmas 2002, selling over 60,000 copies in hardback alone. The formula was simple: Max Arthur interviewed some of the 30 surviving British soldiers from the First World War and combined their stories with other interviews in the Imperial War Museum and various private collections.LAST POST is very consciously the last word from the handful of survivors left alive in 2004. When they die, our final human connection with the First World War will be broken: after this book, we will have only recordings or diaries. We will never be able to ask a question of someone who was there.
Paths of Glory
By Anthony Clayton
World War I from the French point of view: the first ever account in EnglishAnthony Clayton is an acknowledged expert on the French military and his book is a major contribution to the study and understanding of the First World War. He reveals why and how the French army fought as it did. He profiles its senior commanders - Joffre, Petain, Nivelle and Foch - and analyses its major campaigns both on the Western Front and in the Near East and Africa. PATHS OF GLORY also considers in detail the officers, how they kept their trenches and how men from very different areas of France fought and died together. He scrutinises the make-up and performance of France's large colonial armies and investigates the mutinies of 1917. Ultimately, he reveals how the traumatic French experience of the 1914-18 war indelibly shaped a nation.