Book review: Warfare in the Age of Crusades: Europe by Brian Todd Carey

Brian Todd Carey's Warfare in the Age of Crusades: Europe is a must-read for historians and Medieval Studies scholars seeking to deepen their understanding of the complex military landscape during the crusading period in Europe. This meticulously researched work adds a much-needed contribution to the literature by exploring the key campaigns, battles, and sieges that shaped this era, with a keen focus on the evolution of military technologies, tactics, and strategies. Carey's narrative is comprehensive, covering a wide range of geographical and political contexts. He delves into the Iberian crusades or Reconquista, which spanned from the eleventh century to the final surrender of the Emirate of Granada in 1492. The book also sheds light on the often-overlooked northern or Baltic crusades, detailing the involvement of the Holy Roman emperors, the popes, and the military capabilities of the Baltic peoples, as well as the roles played by the Scandinavians, Russians, and Mongols. One of…

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The Dawn of Guerrilla Warfare by Benjamin J. Swenson

The Dawn of Guerrilla Warfare: Why the Tactics of Insurgents against Napoleon Failed in the US Mexican War is a thoroughly researched tome that deftly explores the transformation of military strategy through the lens of two pivotal conflicts separated by mere decades. Benjamin J. Swenson anchors his analysis in the broader context of the Atlantic World and its evolving concepts of warfare, providing readers with an expansive view of military innovations and their historical consequences. Swenson begins by transporting us to 19th century Europe, where the Spanish insurgency’s novel use of guerrilla tactics played a critical role in debilitating Napoleon’s forces. These strategies challenged the conventional wisdom of the era's warfare and underscored the importance of asymmetric tactics. The book compellingly argues that this shift not only undermined one empire but also, more vitally, sowed the seeds for the strategy and conduct of future military campaigns. Transitioning to the North…

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Generals and Admirals of the Third Reich for Country or Fuehrer: Volume 1: A–G

Generals and Admirals of the Third Reich For Country or Fuehrer: Volume 1: A–G is a work of exceptional scholarship that stands as a testament to the exhaustive nature of historical research. Authored with academic rigor, this volume — the first in a triumvirate of works — sets out to provide an unprecedented biographic lexicon of the German military elite during the period of the Third Reich. The Introduction of the book is expertly crafted, seamlessly drawing readers into the complex and nuanced world of the Third Reich's military leadership. It provides a clear and compelling framework for the chapters that follow, setting the stage for an in-depth exploration of the subjects' lives and legacies. With precision and authority, the author articulates the historical context and the intricate challenges faced by these military figures, both on the battlefield and in their allegiance to the Fuehrer. This thoughtful groundwork enriches the reader's understanding and piques curiosity…

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Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812, Edited by Kathryn E. Holland Braund

“Tohopeka; Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812” consists of twelve essays by multiple authors chronicling the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the defeat of the Creek Indians that opened the Southeast to white settlement.  Topics include casualties and consequences from the Creek viewpoint and the description of the Red Sticks, the Creek warriors so named, probably because of the weapons they carried.  Like many Indian wars, the sides were not as clearly distinct as would be expected today. What started as a Creek Civil war over accommodation or resistance to white settlement saw Cherokee, the Creeks’ sometime ally, sometime enemy, fighting with the Americans.  A massacre of Americans at Fort Mims generated a cry for retribution that was answered by militia under the Command of General Andrew Jackson.  Jackson’s victory set dispersal of Indians to Florida and along the Trail of Tears in motion.  Later chapters of this book address Americans’ Unrelenting War on the Indians of the…

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American Midnight: The Great War, A Violent Peace and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis

The story of any war is broader than its tales of the battlefield.  “American Midnight” is the saga of an era, during and in the wake of the World War I in which popular sentiment and law focused on any deemed disloyal, un-American or different.  It was a time in which labor unrest and war combined to incite a perfect storm that swept away traditional American rights.  Underlying tensions were brought to the surface was American involvement in the World War I.  Led by a president, Woodrow Wilson, who saw dissent as treason, Americans united to purge disloyalty from the nation.  Guilt was established by association.  Membership in the Industrial Workers of the World, the “Wobblies” was sufficient to draw investigation, prosecution and imprisonment.  German names established disloyalty and subjected their holders to vigilante violence.  Unwillingness to purchase Liberty Bonds merited social ostracization and worse. In St. Louis, their purchase was offered as satisfaction for speeding…

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Asleep in the Deep; Nursing Sister Anna Stamers and the First World War By Dianne Kelly

Asleep in the Deep is the story of the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC), loosely told through the experience of Nursing Sister Anna Stamers of St. John, New Brunswick.  As Stamers left neither diary nor first person narratives, author Dianne Kelly was forced to rely on newspaper articles, military records or writings of others from which Stamers’ location and actions could be determined or inferred.  Two years after graduation from Saint John School of Nursing, Stamers was one of 50 CAMC nurses to sail from Montreal on June 4, 1915, arriving at Plymouth on June 13 after an uneventful crossing.   Beginning on July 2, 1915, Anna spent her first eight months at Moore Barracks near Folkestone, Kent;.  As more Canadian troops entered the lines in France, CAMC established two Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations (CCCS), Canadian Stationary Hospital (CSH) No. 1 and Canadian General Hospital (CGH) in France.  Anna was one of nine Canadian nursing sisters to arrive at CGH near Etaples, France…

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The Pirates’ Code: Laws and Life Aboard Ship by Rebecca Simon

During the Golden Age of Piracy, Pirates sailed into and out of the fog of war.  Though not fighting for prizes rather than God, King and country, they can be classified as irregular warriors.  Shifting between status of outlaw pirates and authorized privateers, the preyed on enemy shifting, or just shipping of weakened powers, for personal profit of course, aiding their national sponsors only incidentally.  Though not through the pirates’ choice, their suppression was often the task of national naval forces.  An instance of fluidity between privateers, who preyed on enemy shipping under cover of Letters of Marque issued by a belligerent, and pirates was associated with the War of Spanish Succession of the late Seventeenth Century.  The outbreak of war over the heir to the throne of Spain, led to an offer of a pardon to any pirate willing to fight for the Grand Alliance (England, Holland, Prussia and Austria).  Hundreds of pirates and thousands of sailors jumped at the chance,…

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The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel by Douglas Brunt

Wars may have specific starting dates, April 12, 1861 and September 1, 1939 to cite two, but the wheels on which they ride had been turning for some time.  “The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel” is history, biography and mystery of a life that spawned machinery that drove World War I and instruments of war and peace to our day.  Born in Paris in 1858, Diesel invented the engine which bears his name while working in Germany.  The mystery involves his disappearance while on a crossing of the English Channel in 1913. Diesel was active during an era in which inventors were searching for more efficient machines than steam engines that powered transportation and industry.  Some pursued petroleum fired internal combustion engines, while diesel worked on an alternative model that could run on a variety of fossil and organic fuels.  The book explains the process better than I could, so I refer you to it. Having perfected a working engine, Diesel became a wealthy man by selling licenses for his…

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Winning French Minds, Radio Propaganda in Occupied France 1940-42 by Denis Courtois

"Winning French Minds" by Denis Courtois offers a compelling exploration of a lesser-known facet of World War II—radio propaganda in occupied France during the critical years of 1940-1942. In this meticulously researched and thought-provoking work, Courtois sheds light on the strategic efforts employed by various entities (Allied, Axis and Vichy) to influence public opinion through the airwaves during arguably one of the tumultuous periods in world history, especially in occupied France. This is not the sort of book I normally read. I chose to review it because the subject is so different than most WWII books. It’s also something that, in my opinion, was pivotal in the overall Allied path to victory. Mr. Courtois covers three main areas: 1) British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) foreign-language service used by the Allies to sway the French civilian population, 2) Vichy Radiodiffusion Nationale used to sway French opinion to work for Fance and ignore that they were subjects of the…

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Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast by William Rawlings

Most books reviewed on War History Network are exclusively war orientated.  Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast reveals a facet of the America Civil War in its history and tourist guide to Georgia lighthouses.  Part One, which constitutes about half of the book, entitled Beacons of Hope, is a primer on lighthouse history.  Part Two is descriptions of five Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast.  A genius of lighthouse technology was Augustin Fresnel. A French physicist and engineer, Fresnel was recruited to advise the French Commission on des Phares on improving lighthouse visibility.  By 1821 Fresnel’s research led to a mockup design of his lens was ready to be demonstrated.  I am sure I am not the only WHN member who has seen Fresnel’s name in museums and peered into lantern rooms and wondered, “How can that small light beam out across miles of water?”  Now I have a better idea. By taking advantage of reflection and refraction produced by a convex lens and prisms of glass, light is…

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BOOK REVIEW ARCHIVES

The Dawn of Guerrilla Warfare by Benjamin J. Swenson

Generals and Admirals of the Third Reich for Country or Fuehrer: Volume 1: A–G

Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812, Edited by Kathryn E. Holland Braund

American Midnight: The Great War, A Violent Peace and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis

Asleep in the Deep; Nursing Sister Anna Stamers and the First World War By Dianne Kelly

The Pirates’ Code: Laws and Life Aboard Ship by Rebecca Simon

The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel by Douglas Brunt

Winning French Minds, Radio Propaganda in Occupied France 1940-42 by Denis Courtois

Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast by William Rawlings

Don't Give Up The Ship: Myths of the War of 1812 by Donald R. Hickey

The Philadelphia Campaign by Michael C. Harris

A Brutal Reckoning: Andrew Jackson, the Creek Indians, and the Epic War for the American South by Peter Cozzens

Lost Civil War: The Disappearing Legacy of America's Greatest Conflict by Laura DeMarco

A Soldier to the Last: Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler in Blue and Gray by Edward G. Longacre

Book Review: SOG Kontum: Top Secret Missions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, 1968–1969

The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History by Prof. Serhii Plokhy

Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War by Roger Lowenstein

Book Review: Morristown: The Darkest Winter of the Revolutionary War and the Plot to Kidnap George Washington

Book Review: The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson

Guerrilla Hunters In Civil War Missouri By James W. Erwin

14-18: Understanding The Great War By Stephane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker

Letters from the Front: 1898-1945 Edited by Michael E. Stevens

Appomattox: The Last Days of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia By Michael E. Haskew

War Along The Wabash by Steven P. Locke

Civil War on The Western Border: 1854-1865 by Jay Monahan

Uniting America: How FDR and Henry Stimson Brought Democrats and Republicans Together to Win World War II

Book review: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden

Book review: Devil Dogs: King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines: From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan

Book review: Nightstalkers: The Wright Project and the 868th Bomb Squadron in World War II

Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II - by Adam Makos

Book Review - Warbird Factory: North American Aviation in World War II by John M. Frederickson

Book Review - The Last Confederate General: John C. Vaughn and His East Tennessee Cavalry by Larry Gordon

Book review: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War by Mark Bowden

American Journalists In The Great War: Rewriting The Rules Of Reporting

 The Longest Winter by Alex Kershaw Da Capo Press, 2004

FAITH IN CONFLICT: THE IMPACT OF THE GREAT WAR ON THE FAITH OF THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN, by Stuart Bell, Reviewed by Jim Gallen

Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music by John Fogerty (Vietnam War-era veteran)

GENERAL JAN SMUTS AND HIS FIRST WORLD WAR IN AFRICA, 1914-1917

Lucky 666: The Impossible Mission

Curse of the Narrows by Laura M. MacDonald

The Fighters: Americans In Combat In Afghanistan and Iraq by C. J. Chivers

The Great Halifax Explosion

Future Peace: Technology, Aggression, And The Rush To War By Robert H.  Latiff

How Ike Led

Elie Wiesel’s Night: One Writer’s Voice from the Holocaust

Make Way For Liberty: Wisconsin African Americans In The Civil War

The Splendid And The Vile by Erik Larson

This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home

Wisconsin Women In The War Between The States

The Presidents' War by Chris DeRose, Lyons Press, 2014

A Very Fine Regiment: The 47th Foot during the American War of Independence, 1773-1783

Against all odds

The Bedford Boys: One American Town’s Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice

Tot de dood ons scheidt (Till death do us part)

The Betrayal of Anne Frank: A Cold Case Investigation

Book Review: Colditz: The Full Story

Book review: Burning the Reichstag: An Investigation into the Third Reich's Enduring Mystery

Book Review: Hitlerland: American Eyewitness to the Nazi Rise to Power

Book Review: The Americans on D-Day: A Photographic History of the Normandy Invasion