August Book Reviews - Part 2Subscribe to our RSS news feed

The second part of my August book reviews.

Despatches from the Front, The Battle for Burma 1943 – 1945 From Kohima & Imphal Through To Victory
Introduced and Compiled by John GREHAN and Martin MACE
Barnsley, Pen & Sword Military 2015
i – xii 291 pp  ISBN 978-1-78346-199-8 (hbk)

This book is one of a series published recently by the same compilers, to which I have become a convert.  I have found them increasingly useful for my research, and as a quick point of reference in respect of the campaigns they cover.  This one is particularly relevant to me, covering as it does the Army campaigns in Burma from November 1943 until August 1945.

The book comprises four despatches, two from General GIFFARD that cover the period from 16 November 1943 until 12 November 1944; one by Vice Admiral POWER covering the naval operations around Ramree Island in early 1945; and finally the despatch from Lieutenant General LESSE that covers 12 November 1944 until 15 August 1945.  Each despatch is reprinted in its original format, and as such, they contain a wealth of information, including some orders of battle and casualty figures.

Apart from a short introduction, the compliers have not added any comment to the main content of the book.  This does not detract from the purpose of the book, which remains true to the concept.  It is not the type of book to read from cover to cover, it is the type of book to dip in and out of.  It provides a consolidated resource for any student of the land war in Burma from November 1943 onwards, therefore, I recommend it to anyone interested in the Second World War in South-East Asia.

Despatches from the Front, The Battle for Norway 1940 – 1942
Introduced and Compiled by John GREHAN and Martin MACE
Barnsley, Pen & Sword Military 2015
i – xii 174 pp  ISBN 978-1-78346-2 322 (hbk)

This book is one of a series published recently by the same compilers, to which I have become a convert.  I have found them increasingly useful for my research, and as a quick point of reference in respect of the campaigns they cover.  This one also covers a campaign in which I have a particular interest, so is particularly relevant to me.

The book comprises six despatches, one by Lieutenant General MASSY that covers the two operations codenamed Maurice Force and Sickle Force in central Norway; the second covers the first and second naval battles of Narvik, in early April 1940.  The third despatch was written by Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl of Cork and Orrery, and has as two appendices, the dispatches those from Major General MACKESY and Lieutenant General AUCHINLECK, which cover the operations in Northern Norway around Narvik.  The last three were written by Admiral TOVEY, to detail the operations on Kirkenes, and the raids on the Lofoten Islands and Vaagso Island in 1941.  Each despatch is reprinted in its original format, and as such, they contain a wealth of information, including some orders of battle and casualty figures.

Apart from a short introduction, the compliers have not added any comment to the main content of the book.  This does not detract from the purpose of the book, which remains true to the concept.  It is not the type of book to read from cover to cover, it is the type of book to dip in and out of.  It provides a consolidated resource for any student of the war in Norway from April 1940 until December 1941, therefore, I recommend it to anyone interested in the Second World War in this area.

Sisters in Arms – The women who flew in World War II
Written by: Helena Page SCHRADER
Barnsley, Pen & Sword Aviation 2015 (reprint from 2006)
i – vi 298 pp  ISBN 978 1 47384 563 3 (pbk)

My personal view is that the role of women in the Second World War is under-represented in published form, so the reprint of this book is an important step in addressing this omission.  As the subtitle states, this book covers the women from the United States and the United Kingdom who were trained and then flew military aircraft across the world.

The author is the holder of a PhD in History, so as such be expected, the book is researched well, and provided with plenty of references.  However, the author is also a novelist, so the text has a flow about it, which makes it easy and enjoyable to read.  The book is divided into two parts, and comprises fourteen chapters, and a set of conclusions.  I found it fascinating as both a work on military history and social history.

The book contains several personal accounts, as well as some of the context into which these women came in order to learn to fly, and their achievements in terms of flying these aircraft on non-operational sorties.  There are some photographs included in the middle of the book that are relevant to the subject.  I enjoyed this book immensely, and highly recommend it.

Released September 11, 2015