Mollo, Andrew. The Armed Forces of World War II: Uniforms, Insignia & Organization.

London: Little, Brown, 1981.

This large and lavishly illustrated volume is amazingly comprehensive. It’s just what the title says — a guide to uniforms and insignia (but not weapons or equipment, except incidentally), and to the Order of Battle of each of the nations that took part in the war, on both sides. It’s sort of the thing one would expect from Osprey, only much more so.

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Published in: on 31 August 2012 at 5:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Edington, Sarah. The Captain’s Table: Life and Dining on the Great Ocean Liners.

London: National Maritime Museum Publishing, 2005.

About a year ago, I read and very much enjoyed (and, of course, reviewed here) James Porterfield’s Dining by Rail (1993), a history (with many recipes) of the food served on America’s railroads. I had hoped this book would do something similar for dining at sea, but it’s something of a disappointment.

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Published in: on 29 August 2012 at 6:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dolan, Harry. Bad Things Happen.

NY: Putnam, 2009.

David Loogan is a rather nondescript man living quietly in Ann Arbor, near the University of Michigan. He lives in a short-term rental and seems to spend his time visiting gallery openings and going to films. He doesn’t appear to have a job. We learn early on that “Loogan” isn’t his real name, either (he’s a fan of noir mystery novels), and that he has a secret and mysterious past (and a distinct nervousness about parking garages), but the author lets all that simmer quietly in the background for much of the story.

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Published in: on 27 August 2012 at 5:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Miller, Douglas. The Landsknechts.

(Men-at-Arms series, 58) London: Osprey Publishing Co, 1976.

Even most students of military history might have to stop and think if they came across the German term in the title. It originally meant “servant of the land” but the spelling often was changed to Lanzknecht — “servant of the lance” — and what it refers to is the mercenary pikeman of the early 16th century, especially as employed by Emperors Maximilian I and Charles V against their enemies in central Europe.

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Published in: on 25 August 2012 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Bagnall, Nigel. The Punic Wars, 264-146 BC.

(Essential Histories series) London: Osprey Publishing, 2002.

The century of wars between Rome (then in its “adolescent” phase) and the great Phoenician mercantile empire based at Carthage is not a major area of study among today’s history students, but as an undergrad Classical History major (an academic strategic error I later corrected), I spent an entire semester sorting out what all happened, and why, and what the immediate and long-term results were. I sure wish I’d had this book.

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Katcher, Philip.The US Army, 1941-45.

(Men-at-Arms series, 70) London: Osprey Publishing, 1985.

The volumes in this series generally mix campaign history (and the context of a war as a whole) with commentary on weapons, uniforms, and equipment. And Katcher is a very experienced military historian who generally does exactly that.

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Published in: on 23 August 2012 at 7:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Winters, Ben. The Last Policeman.

Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2012.

Henry Palace has always wanted to be a police detective, and now he is one, after only sixteen months as a patrolman on the Concord, New Hampshire, police force. That’s an unusually rapid promotion, but everything is different these days. After all, Asteroid 2011GV1 is due to strike the Earth on October 3 and it’s already late March.

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Published in: on 21 August 2012 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Heath, Ian. Byzantine Armies, 886-1118.

(Men-at-Arms series, 89) London: Osprey Publishing, 1979.

Our view of the Eastern Roman Empire — ruled from Constantinople, ex-Byzantium, hence “Byzantine” — tends even today to have a distinct western bias. Even the word “Byzantine” carries the meaning of “ridiculously convoluted and probably underhanded.”

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Published in: on 19 August 2012 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Field, Ron. Forts of the American Frontier, 1820-91: Central and Northern Plains.

(Fortress series, 28) London: Osprey Publishing, 2005.

I’m an historian and archivist by training and I come from an army family, so it’s not surprising I have a long involvement with military history. And I’ve always made a point, when I travel, of trying to visit any nearby posts with an early history, especially those now managed as parks or historic sites.

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Published in: on 18 August 2012 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sekunda, Nicholas Victor. The Ancient Greeks.

(Elite series, 7) London: Osprey Publishing Co, 1986.

The coverage here is warfare in classical Greece from the Persian wars at the beginning of the 5th Century to the death of Alexander the Great, a period of roughly two centuries. The Greek situation changed dramatically during that time, both socially and politically, but the military arts really didn’t.

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Published in: on 17 August 2012 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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