Warfare & Defence Books

  • Unconquerable: The Invictus Spirit - Hardback - 9780008240080 - Boris Starling
    UNCV
    • £3.99
    • RRP £14.99
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    Following the success of the Invictus Games in Toronto, it's clear that sport can change lives and save lives.

    Created and spearheaded by Prince Harry, for whom this is a very personal cause, the Games are for current and former servicemen and women who have been wounded, injured or sick.

    This tournament is full of inspiring stories about people who have overcome the odds to compete in this momentous sporting event. Among those taking place are triple amputees, cancer survivors, multiple sclerosis patients and PTSD sufferers.

    This book focuses on the people who make the Invictus Games so special and tells their stories. You will be in awe of how they have managed to do so well after such devastating experiences. It's a tribute to the power of the human spirit.
  • Mapping the Second World War - Hardback - 9780007950027 - Peter Chasseaud
    MSWW
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £30.00
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    This informative book contains 150 maps that demonstrate how - and where - the Second World War was fought around the world.

    Published in association with the Imperial War Museums, it features everything from small-scale maps of country boundaries to large-scale maps of the key battles.

    Alongside the maps are photographs and expert commentary on the conflict that lasted from 1939-1945. There are also trench maps, maps from newspapers and key propaganda.
  • CHLL
    • £7.99
    • RRP £20.00
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    Leading Winston Churchill scholar Dr. Christopher Catherwood reveals what the former prime minister - a man often declared the greatest statesman to have ever lived - was like as a man in this painstakingly researched biography. It's packed with photographs and artefacts from the former PM's life.

    Drawing on archive interviews, artworks and personal notes for some of Churchill's most famous and inspiring wartime speeches, this book explores his hidden history in detail. From being homesick while at boarding school to his successes and failures (he disastrous Gallipoli campaign and his blind spot over India), it reveals him to be a powerful, colourful and remarkable character.

    This is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated in political history and those who have gained an interest in the politician after seeing John Lithgow in The Crown or Gary Oldman's Oscar-winning performance in The Darkest Hour.
  • SPIG
    (1)
    • £6.99
    • RRP £20.00
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    BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera reveals the story of MI14 and the Secret Pigeon Service during the Second World War for the first time in this compelling read.

    Using extensive original research and declassified documents, he reveals the inner workings of 'Columba' - an operation that saw 16,000 plucky homing pigeons dropped in an arc from Bourdeaux to Copenhagen in an effort to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation.

    The messages came flooding back from France, the Netherlands and Belgium - all written on tiny pieces of rice paper that has been tucked into canisters and tied to the legs of the birds - and these authentic missives ranged from the comic to the tragic and occasionally invaluable, giving the British Intelligence advance notice of German troop movements, weapons and more.

    Corera also looks at the people behind this mission, not many of whom were trained agents or experienced in spying. He focuses in particular on the Leopold Vindictive network, a small group of Belgian villagers - led by priest Joseph Raskin - who were always prepared to risk everything. This is a powerful and tragic tale of wartime espionage that looks at a quirky and quarrelsome band of spy masters and their unique operations.
  • Spitfire Stories - Hardback - 9781782438168 - Jacky Hyams
    SPST
    • £5.99
    • RRP £16.99
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    Published in association with Imperial War Museums, this book is packed with tales of courage, heartbreak and humour set against the Spitfire's extraordinary history.

    Based on documents, letters, stories, photographs and articles from the museum's archives, it also uses interviews with designers, engineers, mechanics, ground staff and pilots to explain how this magnificent flying machine helped Britain to victory.

    The most famous plane of World War II and a source of national pride, the Spitfire is one of the most iconic aviation images of all time. This book celebrates the achievements of the people in charge of these planes.
  • PSCH
    (1)
    • £8.99
    • RRP £25.00
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    The Battle of Passchendaele took place between July and November 1917 and is widely regarded as one of the worst battles of both World Wars.

    Fought by the Allies against the German Empire in a small corner of Belgium, it was a horrific event that ended with over 500,000 men killed, maimed, gassed or drowned - and many bodies were never found.

    This book marks the centenary of the event. Historian Nick Lloyd references previously unexamined German documents to explain how the offensive put the Allies nearer to a major turning point in the war than anyone has ever imagined...

    It's a fascinating and poignant read for anyone with an interest in military history, trench warfare or past wars.
  • The Cold War - Hardback - 9781785942594 - Bridget Kendall
    CDWR
    • £4.99
    • RRP £25.00
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    Accompanying the landmark BBC Radio 4 series, former BBC correspondent Bridget Kendall's The Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand how the tensions of the last century have shaped the modern world - and what it has been like to live through them.

    Combining meticulous historical research with personal testimonies from those who lived through the conflict, the series has presented a unique and unbiased history of the Cold War - one of the furthest reaching and longest lasting conflicts in modern history. This book provides even more insight and explains how the war, which lasted over half a century, spanned all over the globe from Greece to China and Hungary to Cuba and has shaped political relations to this day.

    This war also managed to draw new physical and ideological boundaries between East and West and affected all kinds of ordinary people. This captivating read offers a captivating and all-encompassing account of just how far this major historical event reached and its lasting impact.
  • World War Miscellanies Set - 2 Books - Collection - 9781849537117
    WWMS
    • £4.99
    • RRP £19.98
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    • Just £2.50 per book
    If you've ever wondered who fired the first British shot of the First World War, how low the Dambusters flew or just how many ships were sunk at Pearl Harbor, these two books will provide the answers.

    Compiled and written by Norman Ferguson, the miscellanies tell the stories of the battles, aircraft, weapons, soldiers, heroes and enemies of both world wars, while also presenting these tales in accessible, bite-sized chunks. Among the events covered in the First World War are the downing of the Red Baron and the first WWI soldier to receive the Victoria Cross...

    The book based around the Second World War tells the stories of the Battle of Britain, the Siege of Leningrad, the horrors of the Holocaust and the D-Day landings... Compelling throughout, the books also contain a startling number of facts and figures to dip into.
  • The Victoria Cross - Hardback - 9781843542698 - Gary Mead
    VICC
    • £2.99
    • RRP £25.00
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    A hugely controversial book from celebrated military historian Gary Mead, Victoria's Cross reveals what the author claims to be the 'squalid truth' about Britain's highest military honour.

    Providing an alternative history that is tainted by racism, misogyny and political expediency, the book reveals why only 1,356 people have received the Victoria Cross (the highest military honour) since its inception in 1856, despite many more being entitled to it.

    Giving a balanced view, Mead exposes the hypocrisy around awarding this honour and explores its role as a barometer for the ever-changing social and political climates over the past 150 years.
  • Imperial War Museum's History Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781471162497
    IWMH
    (1)
    • £2.99
    • RRP £24.97
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    • Just £1.00 per book
    Published in conjunction with the Imperial War Museum, this three-book collection brings together a fascinating and authoritative social history of the Second World War.

    A Prayer for Gallipoli covers the Great War from the point of view of a chaplain. Kenneth Best had no military training, so to fulfil his pastoral role, he had to get close to the front line and work with troops as they were under fire. As his empathy for the troops grew larger, he became more and more disgusted with their leaders. These diaries provide an insight into the horrific realities of trench warfare.

    The Secret History of the Blitz by Joshua Levine looks at the people that are not normally mentioned during accounts of the War - those spivs, outcasts and unsung heroes who were in the shadows; and D-Day to Victory features the diaries of a British tank commander as the war finally came to an end.

    All written using archive and primary sources, these are candid and compelling reads about the triumphs and tragedies of war.
  • SMIM
    • £7.99
    • RRP £20.00
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    Historian Nicholas Shakespeare reveals how Winston Churchill almost didn't become prime minister following the fall of Neville Chamberlain's government in May, 1940...

    Showing how easily events could have gone in a different direction, this biography explains how Churchill was to blame for a disastrous battle in Norway before then going on to rise to the most powerful post in the country just weeks later.

    Based on fascinating new research that delves deep into the backgrounds of all the key players in the government during World War II, this book offers a new perspective on Churchill's election and leadership (as well as the personal issues that appeared) while also covering the dramatic action that took place on the battlefield in Norway.
  • Boots on the Ground - Hardback - 9781781253809 - Richard Dannatt
    BOTG
    • £3.49
    • RRP £25.00
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    Richard Dannatt is the former head of the British army and in this vivid, extensive and fascinating read, he reveals the history of the military since the end of the Second World War.

    Richard served in the military for over 40 years and in an authoritative and personal style, he talks about how the British army has shaped - and been shaped by - world events from the Cold War to the Good Friday Agreement. He also offers his thoughts on everything from the decolonisation of India to the two invasions of Iraq.

    Britain has had 'boots on the ground' ever since the end of World War II and with the rise of terrorism and the current tensions in the Middle East, this shows no sign of changing anytime soon. This book reveals why the army is so important and how it has evolved and adapted through shifting security and defence policies. It is ideal for anyone with an interest in military history.
  • Maps of War - Hardback - 9781844863440 - Jeremy Black
    MPWR
    • £5.99
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £24.01Save 79.999999999999998863131622783839702606201171875%
    A very poignant and powerful book, Maps of War is a visual survey of how conflict was recorded and planned. It uses archive maps to reveal how warfare and documentation has changed through the centuries.

    Covering the history of military mapping, the book looks at beginning and what impact the invention of printing and introduction of gunpowder had. In the 17th century, military commanders and strategists started to document wars by way of illustration.

    In the 18th century, they started to use maps to chart progress. This chapter reflects the spread of European power and transoceanic conflict and focuses on the American war of Independence. The book then moves on to the 19th and 20th centuries, covering everything from the American Civil War to the World War, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars.
  • BBHDR
    • £8.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    This title looks at the Medium Mark A Whippet, one of the most successful British tanks of World War I and, when placed alongside existing titles covering the Mark I, Mark IV and Mark V, completes the New Vanguard series' coverage of the major British tanks of the war. The evolution of the Whippet is examined in detail, from design and development to mechanical details and crew duties, and information on the operational use of the vehicle is drawn from war diaries and battalion records. The Whippet was involved in several well-known incidents that will be presented in this volume, including the clash at Cachy on April 24, 1918, the actions of the 6th Battalion tank known as "Musical Box" on August 8, 1918, and Sewell's Victoria Cross-winning exploits with the 3rd Battalion on August 29, 1918. Mention will also be made of the Whippet's involvement with the Tank Corps' expedition to Russia. In addition to this examination of the Mark A Whippet is a study of the other Medium tanks up to the end of the war: the Medium B, Medium C, Medium D and the experimental American Studebaker tank.
  • BBHEY
    • £11.19
    • RRP £13.99
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    The MS.406 was an important aircraft not only because it was built in larger numbers than any other French fighter of the period, but also because it was the first modern fighter in the Armee de l'Air inventory. Although comparable to the British Hurricane and early models of the German Bf 109, it was outclassed when flown against the more powerful, and faster, Bf 109E. With little or no protection (no armour or self-sealing tanks), the MS.406 sustained heavy losses during the Battle of France. Too lightly armed, and fitted with unreliable weaponry, the French fighter struggled to down German bombers. It therefore comes as no surprise that only a dozen French pilots became fully fledged aces on the type during this period, despite the aircraft being present in significant numbers. However a score of pilots, who bagged their very first kills at the controls of the MS.406, fought on after the fall of France, flying Dewoitine D.520s, Spitfires and even Soviet Yak-3s to attain ace status against both Allied and Axis opponents.
  • BBHZI
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
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    Find out how a pilot was instructed in flying a Battle of Britain fighter, using the original Pilot's Notes for the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane, as well as Air Ministry flying notes on captured Messerschmitt Bf 109s. See how each compares, view their cockpits and learn how they fly. All three aircraft handled superbly, and the Pilot's Notes help give an idea of what it was like to fl y in a real Second World War fighter aircraft. The aircraft were designed and first flew within months of each other, and all served throughout the war. More than 300 pilots on the Eastern Front shot down over 100 Soviet aircraft, each using Messerschmitt Bf 109s, while British aces in the Spitfire and Hurricane included Douglas Bader, Roland Beaumont, Neville Duke and Richard Hillary.
  • BBLPT
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
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    The entry of the U.S. into World War II provided the Allies with the industrial might to finally take the war to German and Japanese forces across the world. Central to this was the focus of the American military industrial complex on the manufacture of tanks and armored fighting vehicles. Between 1939 and 1945, 88,140 tanks and 18,620 other armored vehicles were built, almost twice the number that Germany and Great Britain combined were able to supply. In this lavishly illustrated volume, armor expert Michael Green examines the dizzying array of machinery fielded by the U.S. Army, from the famed M4 Sherman, M3 Stuart, and M3 Lee through to the half-tracks, armored cars, self-propelled artillery, tank destroyers, armored recovery vehicles, and tracked landing vehicles which provided the armored fist that the Allies needed to break Axis resistance in Europe and the Pacific. Packed with historical and contemporary color photography, this encyclopedic new study details the design, development, and construction of these vehicles, their deployment in battle and the impact that they had on the outcome of the war.
  • BBLPV
    • £8.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    The sequel to French Tanks of World War II (1), this title focuses primarily on France's cavalry armored vehicles, including the light reconnaissance tanks such as the AMR and AMC families, the famous Somua S.35 cavalry tanks and the extensive array of armored half-track and armored cars used by the French cavalry. Specific attention is also paid to tanks considered important from a numerical standpoint such as the Hotchkiss H-35/H-39 series. Featuring specially commissioned profile artwork, photographs and illustrations, French Tanks of World War II (2) provides detailed insight into the background and design of these tank types and presents a brief, yet thorough assessment of their performance during the Battle of France.
  • BBLQA
    • £9.59
    • RRP £11.99
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    In the opening days of the Blitzkrieg campaign, few aircraft could invoke as much terror as the Junkers Ju 87. Nicknamed the "Stuka" (an abbreviation of Sturzkampfflugzeug - the German term for "dive-bomber"), the Ju 87 was perhaps the most feared tactical bomber of the ETO. With its fixed landing gear and inverted gull wings, the Stuka was the most recognizable aircraft of the Blitzkrieg era. With profile plates, close-up photographs and battlescene artwork, this book reveals the design and development history of the aircraft and how the inclusion of its dive-activated siren changed it from a reliable and sturdy dive bomber into a psychological weapon, spreading panic in ground units. Mike Guardia goes on to explain how the Stuka became easy prey for Allied aircraft and how its influence waned in the final years of the war.
  • BBLXY
    • £8.99
    • RRP £9.99
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    The development of the US Navy's dreadnought battleships was a pivotal part of America's evolution into a true world power. By the beginning of World War I, the United States possessed the world's third largest navy, with ten dreadnoughts in service and four more under construction. By the end of World War II, the US Navy was the undoubted global superpower, despite initial crippling losses to its battlefleet at Pearl Harbor. Richly illustrated with archive photographs as well as a full cutaway of the world's only surviving dreadnought, this comprehensive and detailed title covers the technical characteristics and combat record of the US dreadnoughts throughout their long careers.
  • BANPN
    • £16.00
    • RRP £20.00
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    The Fairey Battle is best known for being one of the worst aircraft ever to serve in the Royal Air Force. On operations, it suffered the highest loss rate of any plane in the RAF's history, and the missions flown by its brave crews became a byword for hopelessness and futility. Born out of muddled thinking, condemned before it even reached the squadrons, and abandoned after the briefest of operational careers, the plane seems to thoroughly deserve its reputation. But was the Battle so useless? Why did it suffer such terrible losses? Was there nothing that could have been done to prevent the disasters of 1940? A fresh look at the documents of the time suggest there was. They reveal a very different story of ignored recommendations and missed opportunities. It was the way the plane was used rather than fundamental flaws in the design that ensured its operational career was such a dismal failure. It might even be argued that, in the desperate days of the summer of 1940, the Fairey Battle was exactly what Britain needed.
  • BANPZ
    • £16.00
    • RRP £20.00
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    The Killing School brings readers inside the U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Scout/Sniper Course - the gruelling three-month training program that produces the world's deadliest snipers. As a SEAL sniper and combat veteran, Brandon Webb was tasked with revamping the U.S. Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Scout/Sniper School, incorporating the latest advances in technology to create an entirely new course that continues to test even the best warriors. In this revealing new book, Webb takes readers through every aspect of the elite training. Trainees learn to utilize every edge possible to make their shot count - studying crosswinds, barometric pressure, latitude, and even the rotation of the Earth to becoming ballistic experts. In addition to marksmanship, each SEAL's endurance, stealth, and mental and physical stamina are pushed to the breaking point. Webb also shows how this training plays out in combat, using real-life exploits of the world's top snipers, including Jason Delgado, who made some of the most remarkable kill shots in the Iraq War; Nicholas Irving, the U.S. Army Ranger credited with thirty-three kills in a single tour in Afghanistan; and Rob Furlong, who during Operation Anaconda delivered the then-longest kill shot in history. During Webb's sniper school tenure, the course graduated some of the deadliest snipers of this generation, including Marcus Luttrell (Lone Survivor), Adam Brown (Fearless), and Chris Kyle (American Sniper). The Killing School demonstrates how today's sniper is trained to function as an entire military operation rolled into a single individual - an army of one.
  • BATWV
    • £8.99
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    This book completes an authoritative two-part study on the Standard-type US battleships of World War II - ships that were designed to fight a different type of war than the one that unfolded. It gives precise technical details of the design history and features of the Tennessee, Colorado and the unfinished South Dakota and Lexington classes, whilst providing an operational history of the former two. Written by a leading expert on the US Navy in World War II and augmented by contemporary photographs and specially commissioned illustrations, this is the other half of the story of the US Standard-type battleships - from the terrible damage they sustained at Pearl Harbor to their support of the war-winning landings of the US Marine Corps and US Army.
  • AYXCA
    • £6.29
    • RRP £6.99
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    Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird is one of the most iconic and famous jets ever built. Assembled in secret at Lockheed's Skunkworks, the Blackbird's vital statistics remain phenomenal decades later. It holds the airspeed record for a manned jet aircraft, operated at an altitude other aircraft could barely touch and was a marvel of technical engineering. Drawing on declassified material, leading SR-71 expert Paul Crickmore reveals the history of the most fascinating of aircraft, accompanied by a range of fantastic illustrations, photographs and facts about the world's most secret spy plane.