This months new releases from prolific military publisher Pen & Sword books.
Spirits of the Somme edited by Bob Carruthers (Pen & Sword Military 2014, ISBN 9781473822757, 141pp, illustrated, £16.99)
This book accompanies a television series of the same name which as yet has not been broadcast and is part of a wider series of books called ‘Eyewitnesses from the Great War’. An introductory chapter by the author looks at the battle and then there are six accounts from men who took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Several of them are from well known authors such as Sir Philip Gibbs and Geoffrey Malins but the others are lesser known. They are highly readable and the book serves as an excellent companion on the Somme battlefields as well as a great read for some insight into those who took part in a battle that has become a by-word for the Great War. Available here.
Londoners On The Western Front: the 58th (2/1st London) Division in the Great War by David Martin (Pen & Sword Military 2014, ISBN 9781781591802, 214pp, illusrated, £19.99)
The 58th (2/1st London) Division is a forgotten London formation of the Great War. Histories were published of its sister divisions but never of the 58th despite the fact that it took part in some of the most important battles on the Western Front from 1917 and was also present in the defence of Villers-Bretonneux in April 1918, a vital turning point in the fortunes of the German offensive on the Somme in 1918. The book is very well researched from archive documents in the National Archives to battalion histories as well as personal accounts. There are some useful appendices and leads to further research. A really excellent divisional history and one the 58th has deserved for a long time. Recommended. Available here.
Images of War: The Russian Army in The First World War by Nik Cornish (Pen & Sword Military 2014, ISBN 9781848847521, 144pp, illustrated throughout, £14.99)
The announcement earlier this year that Russia will recognise the sacrifice of ordinary soldiers in the Great War as part of the centenary has put the often forgotten role of the Imperial Russian Army back into the headlines. Russia was Germany’s great fear before the conflict and there are few books in English. This excellent account from a well known expert on the subject brings together much useful and fascinating information as well as a host of photographs, many of them not seen before. A superb book on what is a little known subject but deserves to be – and this account fills a massive gap in our popular knowledge. Highly recommended. Available here.
The Courage Of Cowards by Karyn Burnham (Pen & Sword History 2014, ISBN 9781781592953, 134pp, illustrated, £16.99)
The Great War did not just take place on the battlefield and the events on the home front are sometimes overshadowed by the big battles. Not every man was a soldier either and for many military service was a matter of concious – and this new book looks at the untold stories of First World War concious objectors. It covers a wide range of subjects for the terrible treatment some of them received to those who served in the Non Combatant Corps and Friends Ambulance Units. It is a very readable and accessible book with some good first hand accounts from COs and for anyone who is unfamiliar with the subject it is a very good introduction. Available here.