Books - Other


1812: Napoleon in Moscow by Paul Britten Austin

Pegasus Archive review: This is the second part of an acclaimed trilogy accounting for Napoleon Bonaparte's ill-fated Russian campaign of 1812. It begins in the aftermath of the bloody, inconclusive Battle of Borodino and Napoleon's entry into Moscow, and it follows the gradual unravelling of his strategy due to the refusal of the Tsar to surrender, the onset of winter, and the return of the Russian army at Winkowo, setting in motion the withdrawal of the Grande Armée in what would become a decisive rout. Paul Britten Austin brilliantly describes events in his unique, almost drama-documentary style, drawing upon in excess of a hundred accounts from all quarters of Napoleon's forces. These have been edited and sewn together for the sake of a continuous narrative, but not particularly challenged in their factual accuracy or balance, and as such the book takes on the appearance of a series of contemporary despatches from the front. Price £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


A Century of Air Power: The Changing Face of Warfare 1912-2012 by Dr Dave Sloggett

Pegasus Archive review: This book is not a history of military aircraft throughout the century of their existence, for this would require much more than a single volume, but a very comprehensive exploration of how they have been put to use as new technologies have emerged and expanded their capabilities. It is a story which takes us from the primitive pre-First World War aircraft, where they were envisaged as no more than an aid to reconnaissance, to the supersonic, stealth, laser-guided technology of the modern era, where aircraft have undergone quite the transformation into the most advanced and devastating weapon in the conventional arsenal. Dr Sloggett has devoted individual chapters to their numerous roles, including reconnaissance, air to air combat, transport, naval aviation and ground attack, explaining the evolutionary process in each. Drawing upon a truly worldwide experience of aviation history, this is an eye-opening study of how a simple machine emerged from humble origins to dominate the battlefield. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


An Alternative History of Britain: The Hundred Years War by Timothy Venning

Pegasus Archive review: The Hundred Years War was a bloody, titanic struggle to decide the political future of France. It introduced the famous English warbow and early firearms to the continent, brought an end to any pretence of chivalry, witnessed the Black Death and the Peasants Revolt, as well as serving as a stage to many iconic personalities of the Medieval age; the Black Prince, Henry V and Joan of Arc to name but a few. Above all it had a profound influence on the futures of both England and France, creating distinct and enduring national identities from the earlier ambiguities. Although billed as an alternative history, this book presents a detailed historical study of many pivotal moments during the War, giving highly plausible alternatives to events which could so easily have taken a different direction. Firmly grounded within a historical framework, they present a fascinating insight into what might have been, and serve to remind us on what small events the course of history can be balanced. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Apollo 11: The Moon Landing in Real Time by Ian Passingham

Pegasus Archive review: A quite absorbing account of man's first steps on an alien world and the culmination of a programme which many consider to be humanity's greatest achievement. The story begins two weeks before the launch of Apollo 11, and covers the events of each day with a series of bulletins describing the progress of the mission, the numerous technical challenges involved, and the relentless training of the astronauts even at this late stage. Yet this was the time of the Cold War, Vietnam, and widespread social upheaval, and these stories reveal the considerable disquiet that so much could be spent on the endeavour when many in America were living in poverty, and they also follow Apollo 8 astronaut Frank Borman's tour of the USSR, who were themselves caught between trying to downplay a political defeat and saluting the American achievement, whilst quietly attempting to steal their thunder by returning a lunar probe with rock samples to Earth ahead of them. There are also humorous articles, including a request from the National Cheese Club of Australia to bring back a sample if it was discovered that the Moon truly was made of cheese, and the tongue-in-cheek consent to the mission given by a Chilean lawyer who, years earlier, had taken advantage of a legal principle whereby ownership of property could be claimed by anyone if it was not contested, and so became the owner of the Moon. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


The Armed Forces of the European Union 2012 - 2013 by Fred Marafono, Hamish Ross

This first edition of an entirely new publication for the first time provides comprehensive information on what is one of the world's largest military force groupings. The European Union's 25 member states have defence forces that include over 1.6 million personnel and inventories that include over 35,000 armoured vehicles, 2,000 combat aircraft, 60 submarines and over 140 major surface vessels. Chapters include important facts and figures related to European defence, detail concerning the European Union Military Committee and the European Defence Agency. Information is also included about European Union military roles, the Eurocorps and European Union Battlegroups. In addition, there is be detail regarding the force structure of the 25 member states and characteristics of the major land, sea and air equipment. Price £7.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Armies of the Late Roman Empire: AD 284 - 476 by Gabriele Esposito

Pegasus Archive review: In its final and turbulent 200 years, the armies of the Western Roman Empire underwent a radical change to adapt to the new threats posed by the large cavalry forces which were threatening the frontiers. This book describes the composition of the legions during the High Empire, and shows how their uniforms, weapons and tactics evolved with the changing times, as they moved away from the traditional clash of heavy infantry battles which had forged the empire. It is wonderfully decorated throughout with large, clear, colour photographs of re-enactors in the dress of a very broad range of predominantly heavy and light infantry troop types, each displaying different armour styles and weapons. It concludes with an Order of Battle of the Western and Eastern Empires, and provides illustrations of the veritable catalogue of shield emblems which were used by individual units. Without doubt this is an essential book for anyone involved in living history or modelling. Price £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Atrocities, Diamonds and Diplomacy by Peter Penfold

Pegasus Archive review: Peter Penfold served as the British High Commissioner in Sierra Leone from 1997 to 2000, during which time he gained the generous friendship of the president and people of this most embattled and impoverished country, and although he also won high praise for his efforts at home, he was subsequently reprimanded, if not made a scapegoat, by the "Arms for Africa" Enquiry. Having been so intimately involved at a diplomatic level, there can be few who are so well placed to describe the events of this time, from the various efforts to achieve a political solution to the most appalling atrocities carried out by the rebel forces. This is a rich and detailed account of Britain's involvement in a conflict which, rightly or wrongly, was ultimately to serve as a model for its military intervention in future disputes. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Beyond the Gates of Fire: New Perspectives on the Battle of Thermopylae by Christopher Matthew, Matthew Trundel

Pegasus Archive review: The Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most famous engagements in military history, where a small band of Greeks held their ground against the apparently insurmountable Persian hordes. Even though Goliath won this fight, the impression made on him by the Greek hoplite phalanx, and above all the famous three hundred Spartans who fought to the death, has echoed across the millenia as the ultimate display of sheer, bloody-minded defiance against a foreign aggressor; inspiring not just books and, most recently, the delightfully absurd film 300, but also aspects of numerous cultures from Rome onwards. This book provides a most rigorous examination of the battle, piecing together the most likely story from the various sources, and even going to the extent of establishing the exact topography of a battlefield where the terrain was of paramount importance. It also looks at the effect that it had on the surviving Greeks who went on to achieve a decisive victory over the Persians, and also the impact it had on those armies who found themselves faced with this notorious bottleneck from ancient to recent history. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Beyond the Legend: Bill Speakman V.C. by Derek Hunt and John Mulholland

Pegasus Archive review: Bill Speakman served in Korea with the 1st King's Own Scottish Borderers, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on United Hill in November 1951. Due to wilful misrepresentation by the media the event has gone down in history as the "Beer Bottle VC", as Speakman was reportedly drunk and resorted to throwing beer bottles at the attacking Chinese once he had run out of grenades. It is a splendid tale but utterly false, and this authorised biography employs a combination of official reports and interviews to discover what really happened, revealing that Speakman led repeated charges against the attacking Chinese, despite being wounded, showering their positions with grenades and causing such confusion that his embattled company was able to withdraw. Yet this is also the story of Speakman's life, from his childhood growing up in Altrincham to his subsequent military service, including a brief stint with the SAS in Malaya. It paints a fascinating portrait of a complex and controversial man who, despite his long and impressive record of service, continually found himself on the wrong side of military discipline, and like so many who had won the VC before him, struggled to settle into civilian life and resented the attention lavished on him for having simply done his job. Price: £14.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Birmingham Pals: 14th, 15th, 16th (Service) Battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment by Terry Carter

In the summer of 1914, our finest young men flocked to the colours in Northern towns and cities to answer Lord Kitchener's 'Call to Arms' in a spontaneous burst of enthusiasm and patriotism. The Call appealed to their sense of adventure and offered an escape from the humdrum life of office, factory and mill. The new recruits volunteered with brothers, cousins, friends and work mates. The newly-formed units became the focus of local civic pride and soon became known as the Pals. The City of Birmingham formed three such battalions with over 3,000 local volunteers. This book tells their story. Birmingham Pals is a story that covers the full range of human experience in war - the highest courage and bravery, the misery and tedium of trench life, the exhilaration, terror and slaughter involved in 'going over the top'. Above all, it is a story of interest to people of all backgrounds and ages, as a tale of comradeship, which, for many survivors, was to last a life time. Price: £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Blood and Iron: Letters from the Western Front edited by Jon Cooksey

Pegasus Archive review: Based upon the remarkable letters written from the trenches by Hugh Butterworth, a British officer who was killed during a diversionary attack on Bellewaarde Ridge in the Ypres Salient on the 25th September 1915. Blood & Iron traces Butterworth's life, from his pre-war days in New Zealand, where he was a schoolmaster and a talented cricketer, to his final hours taking part in the courageous but ultimately disastrous attack by the 9th Battalion The Rifle Brigade. Although it cannot be known how Butterworth met his fate, Jon Cooksey vividly reconstructs the events of that day and describes the savage and unforgiving carnage that unfolded as the Battalion succeeded in taking its objectives, only to be evicted from them by a series of fierce and relentless counter-attacks, suffering 90% casualties as they were driven back to their start point. All of Butterworth's letters are reprinted as an appendix, describing life on the front line in unfettered detail and occasionally with humour, but his final, intensely poignant despatches are the words of a man who is certain but seemingly at ease with the belief that he only has hours to live. Most highly recommended. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Britain's Glorious Aircraft Industry by J. Paul Hodgson

Pegasus Archive review: With the founding in 1908 of the world's first properly registered company for the design and production of aircraft, Britain's aviation industry rapidly expanded and went on to achieve many more firsts, pioneering new technologies and designs to create some of the finest aircraft in the world. The author has very considerable experience within the industry and so is excellently placed to tell the story of how it evolved, the breakthroughs it made, how it was shaped by international and domestic competition, technological advances, and political interest or lack thereof. It also examines the reasons behind the decline of the industry from its 1950's peak, as the companies amalgamated and Britain became increasingly reliant on international collaboration, as remains the case to this day. The book closes with a very large set of appendices which list every production and experimental aircraft produced by the industry with a brief outline of their basic characteristics. Price £15.59. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


The Centurion Tank by Brian Delf and Pat Ware

Pegasus Archive review: A comprehensive study of the Centurion tank, describing its development, performance, sales and service history with additional chapters covering its experimental variants, which ranged from the remarkable to the slightly strange. Designed during the Second World War to meet the alarming challenge set by the German Tiger and Panther tanks, the Centurion was not to enter service until the post-war period but immediately proved itself to be a very superior design and was hailed as one of the finest main battle tanks of its day. Such was the scope for modification which had been incorporated into the design that it was 20 years before it began to be replaced by the Chieftain, but even then its many variants continued to see active service in a wide range of roles in a number of very different climates and terrains, even making an appearance as late as the Gulf War of 1991. An impressive tribute to a superb vehicle. Price £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Cobra! The Attack Helicopter by Mike Verier

Pegasus Archive review: The Cobra is one of the most important helicopters ever to have flown and is well deserving of its description in the synopsis of this book as "the Spitfire of the helicopter world". It entered service during Vietnam as the world's first gunship, yet this early appearance has done nothing to impede its longevity because, quite remarkably, it remains in front line service to this day and shows no signs of being retired. Its classic design, ease of handling, superior speed, respectable payload capacity, and an apparently endless scope for being modified and upgraded, as its innumerable variants attest, have all contributed to this unmatched legacy. This superbly presented book contains a very broad range of mostly colour photographs, and describes the evolution of the Cobra from its design concept to the present day, with chapters describing its active service, experimental and civil variants, overseas models, and the views of those who flew it. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses by David Santiuste

Indisputably the most effective general of the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV died in his bed, undefeated in battle. Yet Edward has not achieved the martial reputation of other warrior kings such as Henry V - perhaps because he fought his battles against his own people. It has also been suggested that he lacked the personal discipline expected of a truly great commander. But as David Santiuste shows in this perceptive and highly readable new study, Edward was a formidable military leader whose strengths and subtlety have not been fully recognized. On the battlefield he was an audacious soldier, fighting like a lion to defend his rights, although he also possessed a cool head that allowed him to withdraw when the odds were against him. His court was a centre of chivalry, but he did not seek military glory for its own sake. For Edward, warfare was always a means to an end - indeed he often preferred to forgive his enemies rather than destroy them. And yet, in 1461 and 1471, he waged two brutal and relentless campaigns, crushing all the opposition in his path. David Santiuste's reassessment of Edward's military role, and of the Wars of the Roses in which he played such a vital part, gives a fascinating insight into Edward the man and into the politics and the fighting. Based on contemporary sources and the latest scholarly research, Edward IV and the Wars of the Roses brings to life an extraordinary period of English history. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


English Electric Canberra by Bruce Barrymore Halfpenny

Pegasus Archive review: The Canberra may not have a name which is as widely known as classic aircraft such as the Spitfire, Lancaster and Vulcan, yet in terms of the length of its service it outshines them all. It was a pioneer of the jet age, having completed its maiden flight in 1949 and becoming the RAF's first jet bomber. The swift advance of technology inevitably resulted in the Canberra losing its role as Britain's medium and nuclear bomber of choice to the new and impressive V-Force aircraft, yet it remained useful in a variety of other roles, and it is nothing short of extraordinary that an aircraft of such age remained in service with the RAF until it was finally retired in 2006. This book is a wonderfully researched tribute to this remarkable achievement, with a plethora of excellent photographs and chapters devoted to the design of the airframe, its engines, all of the Canberra's many variants, a brief summary of each RAF squadron in which it served, and descriptions of its extensive service overseas. Essential reading for any aviation enthusiast. Price £13.50. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


The English Electric Lightning by Martin W. Bowman

Pegasus Archive review: The Lightning was the first RAF aircraft capable of achieving supersonic speeds in level flight, and was designed at a time when Britain was approaching its peak in jet technology and routinely produced aircraft which were the envy of every air force. Famed for its extremely fast, vertical climb after take-off, it served as the RAF's primary interceptor for over 20 years, and though never called upon to engage a target for real, it regularly shadowed Russian bombers at the height of the Cold War. The appendix lists the specifications of each of its 13 variants, and large photographs of these are to be found throughout the book, with detailed captions explaining the scenes. Naturally these show the Lightning during flight, take-off, air-refuelling, and maintenance, but also include examples of its service with the Royal Saudi Air Force, and the aftermath of its not uncommon crashes. The book concludes with some sad photographs of Lightnings awaiting the scrap yard, but also of some which are still flying in private hands. Price £12.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Fabulous Flying Boats: A History of the World's Passenger Flying Boats by Leslie Dawson

Pegasus Archive review: This splendid book documents the rise of passenger-carrying seaplanes as a fast alternative to ocean-going cruise liners, telling the stories of the wonderfully eccentric early pioneers, not just of seaplanes but of aviation itself, describing their heyday in the 1930's and briefly touching upon the role of aircraft such as the famous Catalina during the Second World War, before the inevitable decline in the jet age as long-range, land-based aircraft came to dominate. This is not simply a history of the numerous aircraft which emerged, but the industries which generated them and above all the passengers which flew in them, giving a vivid sense of the experience from departure to arrival. Impeccably researched and a glorious tribute to a bygone era. Price £20.00. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


From SAS to Blood Diamond Wars by Fred Marafono, Hamish Ross

From SAS To Blood Diamond Wars is the story of an outstanding warrior, even by SAS standards. On the point of being demobbed from the SAS, Fred Marafono was recruited by David Stirling for his private security company. After Stirling's death, Fred found himself in the midst of Sierra Leone's Blood Diamond wars, and formed an unbreakable bonding with the country's champion of democracy, Chief Hinga Norman, whose leadership and tragic death are integral to the story. Fred was recruited by Simon Mann for the finest of all private military companies in Africa, Executive Outcomes. Fewer than two hundred of them defeated the rebels in their strongholds. Through political weakness, Executive Outcomes were made to leave the country, and chaos ensued. Committed men like Hinga Norman and British High Commissioner Peter Penfold saw that, in the absence of military commitment from the west, only highly professional former soldiers could spearhead the fight to restore democracy. Three of these veterans kept a vital air bridge open. Fred's final action was supporting the SAS in their brilliant hostage release, Operation Barras. Peter Penfold sums it all up in the book's foreword, writing of the, "confidence, trust and admiration I have for this remarkable man." Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Handbook to Roman Legionary Fortresses by M.C. Bishop

Pegasus Archive review: An impressive guide to all of the known Roman legionary fortresses which have been uncovered across the former Empire. The introduction outlines the blueprint of a typical fort, which is appropriate to all as a very similar layout was applied, with notes explaining the construction of their walls and defensive ditches, as well as the roads and numerous military buildings contained within; from barrack rooms to workshops. The main section of the book profiles all of the known forts, detailing their size, geographical location, lists of dates for the various phases of construction and the units which were known to have been in occupation, together with a basic overhead plan for most, and lists of the publications which discuss the archeology found therein. A very useful book which sets a broad subject into context and will be invaluable to anyone researching the field. Price £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Hugh Hambleton, Spy by Leo Heaps

Synopsis: A gripping true story of espionage and betrayal through the height of the Cold War. Perfect for readers of Ben MacIntyre, Andrew Lownie and David E. Hoffman. Professor, friend, Soviet spy; who was the real Hugh Hambleton? He was a well-respected economist who had studied and worked at some of the most prestigious universities in the world, as well as NATO and the Canadian International Development Agency. Yet, in December 1982, he was charged by a British court of spying for the KGB and sentenced to ten years in jail. Over the course of thirty years Hambleton had deceived his friends and colleagues as he passed photographs of thousands of classified items to the Soviet Union. The sheer volume, variety and sensitivity of much of the material he sent would give experienced Soviet intelligence officers a comprehensive picture of NATO, the West and all its weaknesses and strengths for years to come. Why had Hambleton done this? And how had he been recruited by the KGB to betray his country? As a childhood friend, Leo Heaps knew Hugh Hambleton long before he became entangled in espionage. Drawing from court transcripts, interviews with key players, and exclusive discussions with Hugh Hambleton in prison, Leo Heaps uncovers the double-life of his former friend, from his first contact with Soviet agents to his trial and incarceration. Hugh Hambleton, Spy is a remarkable book that exposes the story of how a lonely economist became one of the most wanted spies of the Cold War, pursued by Mossad, MI5 and the CIA. Copies may be purchased from Amazon


In Cold War Skies: NATO and Soviet Air Power, 1949-89 by Michael Napier

Pegasus Archive review: A beautifully presented history of Cold War aviation, crammed with large and in many cases colour photographs, documenting the rivalry between East and West for technological supremacy from 1949 to 1989. The period coincided with the dawn of the jet age, and the first aircraft covered are those post-war models which represented the peak of propeller-driven technology before the jet came to dominate, heralding an era of magnificent designs and experimentation. Napier sets this development in context with each chapter chronicling a new decade, describing the political situation in each along with the shifts in military thinking and their effect on the aircraft produced. Including accounts from those who flew them, all of the major models are profiled for both sides as well as neutral countries. The book closes with an order of battle for every ten years, listing the locations and aircraft used by each squadron. Copies may be purchased from Amazon.


In The Teeth of the Wind: Memoirs of the Royal Navy Air Service in the First World War by Squadron Leader C. P. O. Bartlett DSC

Pegasus Archive review: Philip Bartlett was assigned to No.5 Squadron of the fledgling Royal Navy Air Service in September 1916, and flew no less than 101 bomber sorties before being rested on medical grounds in April 1918. The Squadron attacked ports and maritime targets by day and night, but was increasingly called upon to support the Army, first with Haig's 1917 offensive which ground to a halt in the mud of Passchendaele, and later assisting in the struggle to contain the great German offensive of March 1918. Continually exposed to the hazards of enemy fighters, flak, and not least the mechanical reliability of his own aircraft, it is a wonder that he survived. This book faithfully reproduces the almost day-by-day diary which he kept during this time, providing not only a richly detailed account of one man's war and the sorties that he flew, but it also gives a considerable insight into the daily life and inner workings of a typical RNAS squadron. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Isandlwana: How the Zuluz Humbled the British Empire by Adrian Greaves

The legendary slaughter of so large a part of Lord Chelmsford's mighty imperial British Army at Isandlwana by the Zulu impies of King Cetshwayo in 1879 was a cataclysmic event. While revenge was eventually taken, the profound nature of the defeat has never been forgotten. It is hardly surprising that it has been so well documented. Yet Dr Adrian Greaves, who has devoted a large part of his life to the study and spread of knowledge of the Anglo Zulu War, brings to this, his latest work, a level of detail and insight that has not been achieved before. In re-constructing the dramatic and fateful events of 22 January 1879, the Author draws on recently discovered letters, diaries and papers of survivors and other contemporaries such as Captain Harford of the 99th Regiment, Lieutenant Henry Curling of the Royal Artillery, August Hammar and young British nurse Janet Wells. These, coupled with the author’s detailed knowledge of the ground, give the reader the most accurate picture yet of this cataclysmic battle that so shamed the British establishment. For example, we learn for the first time of the complex Zulu decoy, the dishonourable attempt to blame Colonel Durnford for the defeat, and of evidence of another 'fugitives' trail'. The identities of the escorts for Lieutenants Coghill and Melvill, both awarded VCs for trying to save the Colours, are revealed. Isandlwana - How the Zulus Humbled the British Empire is a brilliant and fresh account of this most famous battle which will fascinate experts and laymen alike. Price: £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Log of the Centurion by Leo Heaps

Synopsis: In 1740, George Anson and his fleet set off to harass Spanish commerce in the Pacific and attack towns on the coasts of Chile and Peru. Four years later, over half the men had died and of the seven ships which left Portsmouth only the Centurion had completed its objective of attacking Spanish possessions around the globe. Although this journey came at the cost of numerous lives and ships, the Centurion had succeeded in capturing the biggest prize of all time, the Acapulco galleon. Captain Philip Saumarez kept a daily record of the voyage around the world in his four log books, which along with a wealth of letters and documents give brilliant insight into life aboard these ships. Leo Heaps has compiled and edited these manuscripts to provide a complete chronicle of the expedition which saw men decimated by scurvy, mutinies among marooned sailors, ships battered by mountainous waves around Cape Horn and eventual glory in the capture of the gold-laden Nuestra Señora de la Covadonga. Log of the Centurion is a unique account of a daring maritime expedition across the high seas of the globe in the mid-eighteenth century. Copies may be purchased from Amazon


More Foul Deeds & Suspicious Deaths in Birmingham by Nick Billingham

Pegasus Archive review: A gripping exploration of the darker sides of Birmingham and the Black Country in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, as seen through 27 notorious murders which were carried out between 1817 and 1948, almost all of which culminated in the death penalty, with the final case marking the last execution carried out at Winson Green Prison. Each are described in sometimes as little as five pages, yet despite these seemingly narrow constraints, Nick Billingham vividly sets the scene and carefully describes all the known facts about each case. Helped along by eyewitness accounts, newspaper reports and photographs, this is not just a fascinating study of crime in the Birmingham area, but the circumstantial detail also provides an insight into typical daily life during these times, and so is useful in a wider social history context. Price: £12.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Operation Morning Light by Leo Heaps

Synopsis: On 24th January 1978, a Soviet spy satellite broke up upon re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. Debris was scattered across thousands of miles of northern Canada, yet what was more worrying was that the satellite contained one hundred pounds of enriched uranium, contaminating the Canadian wilderness. Why had this satellite, designed for long-term orbit, come crashing to earth? Should we be asking more questions about the large number of radioactive satellites that still circle the earth? Two days after Cosmos 954 had broken up Leo Heaps decided to make his way to the Northwest Territories to find out just how widespread the contamination was and to witness Operation Morning Light, the largest search for nuclear debris ever undertaken. Heaps interviewed defence ministers, scientists, politicians, military men and local inhabitants to build up a picture of how this event unfolded; how the Soviet Union had lost control of its satellite and how panic had gripped America as the satellite stuttered over Maine, Las Vegas and Miami. As the clean-up operation began Heaps witnessed the American NEST (Nuclear Emergency Search Team) and Canadian NAST (Nuclear Accident Support Team) going into action with planes and helicopters to search for radioactive debris that was spread over hundreds of miles. Operation Morning Light is a brilliant exposé on the damage that humankind can do to the earth in its quest for knowledge and exploration. It investigates how North America was polluted by a nuclear-powered Soviet satellite at the height of the Cold War. Copies may be purchased from Amazon


Operation Unthinkable: The Third World War by Jonathan Walker

Pegasus Archive review: Devised by the British in April 1945 to wage a short-term aggressive war to free Eastern Europe from the Russian grip, Operation Unthinkable is surely one of the most appropriate codenames in military history. At a time when the world still regarded Russia as its gallant ally, and Britain alone was faced with dire shortages of manpower, war weariness and a shattered economy; each on their own highly unpromising factors when contemplating a war of such magnitude, it is hard to imagine how the operation could ever have been sensibly embarked upon. Using a wide range of primary sources, Jonathan Walker extensively explores the political climate of the time and shows how Churchill once again assumed the mantle of a lone voice cautioning against yet another tyrant. He also examines the immense logistical difficulties of an attack into a vast country dominated by challenging terrain, a hostile climate, and not least an army which had resisted the Wehrmacht at the height of its power and had made considerable strides in the years since. In 1945, Operation Unthinkable was militarily dubious and politically impossible, yet within a year the world finally awoke to the Soviet threat, and this became the first of many plans which would dominate military thinking throughout the Cold War. Price: £16.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Midget Ninja & Tactical Laxatives by Philip Sidnell

Pegasus Archive review: An irreverent look at some unusual stories and extremely odd tactics which have been employed in war from ancient times to the modern era. They range from the brilliant, albeit unusual, to the tragically misguided and the plain surreal. Included is the proposal to bomb Japanese cities using bats laden with incendiary devices, a plot to assassinate senior German officers using a juggler whose skittles were packed with explosives, the use of an enormous man-made iceberg as a floating airfield, and an attempt to commit suicide through poison by a man who had devoted much of his life to building up an immunity to poisons. This excellent book will certainly make an entertaining gift for anyone who has an interest in military history and a dry sense of humour. Price: £7.19. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


The Roman Invasion of Britain: Archaeology Versus History by Birgitta Hoffmann

Pegasus Archive review: This book examines pivotal moments in the course of Roman Britain, largely focusing on Caesar's invasions and then the conquest of 43 AD culminating in Boudica's revolt, but it also looks at the rise of Severus, the decline of Roman rule, and the altogether obscure matter of what happened in between these events. It is notoriously difficult to form a satisfactory picture from the written evidence, as they are often secondary sources written years after the event, and even primary sources such as Caesar have clearly twisted the truth in a shameless display of political spin. It is curious how this unsatisfactory picture of events is still repeated verbatim to this day, and so books such as this one remain of great importance as they are concerned with established facts and not the semi-fiction which has been handed down to us. Birgitta Hoffmann contrasts this accepted history with the archeological evidence and reveals a number of quite different and altogether murkier possibilities. It is not the final truth of course, but it certainly edges us closer towards it. Price: £15.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Some of the People all the Time by Alastair Mackay

Alastair Mackie was formerly an Air Commodore and H-bomber pilot, twice decorated in war and twice again in peace. He left his RAF career early because he disagreed with British and NATO defence policy - in particular with what he describes as "Britain's idiotic nuclear so-called deterrent". On leaving the RAF he studied law and then became Under Treasurer at the Middle Temple... He is currently a Vice-President of CND and a volunteer mental hospital visitor. A self-styled battler Briton, Mackie tells with combative gusto the story of the extraordinary array of characters he came across, running the gamut from monarch and presidents by way of peers, paedophiles, clerics, peddlers of tobacco, booze and much else, as well as politicians and other villains. No holds barred or expletives deleted. Aviators and other ex-service people will enjoy the account of 47 aircraft types, 5,000 hours and 26 years of flying including 70 odd bombing raids, as well as airborne operations in Normandy and at Arnhem and the Rhine. Order from Book Guild Publishing, Pavilion View, 19 New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1UF or, prices £20.00 in pp (UK), £21.50 (Europe) or £24.50 elsewhere overseas. Or from Vine House Distributors Ltd, Mullany Business Park, Deanland Road, Golden Cross, BN27 3RT, 01825 873133. Also available from good bookshops from 30th November 2006, or on the internet from Amazon.


Somme Success: The Royal Flying Corps and the Battle of the Somme 1916 by Peter Hart

Pegasus Archive review: The Battle of the Somme has become synonymous with catastrophe and senseless slaughter, with the initial assault resulting in the heaviest loss of life ever suffered by the British Army in a single day. Yet in the air, there existed an entirely different state of affairs. With the increasing importance of aerial reconnaissance and strategic bombing, the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 were charged with wresting air supremacy over the Somme in the wake of the Fokker scourge. Many of the great aces of the War were involved; Max Immelmann, Oswald Boelcke, Albert Ball and Manfred von Richthofen, and this book, assisted by innumerable first-hand accounts, charts the progress and ultimately the success of the British air offensive on a month by month basis, giving a rich insight into this most prestigious and pioneering form of warfare. It also follows the technological race to develop superior aircraft; the decisive factor in the strides made by the Royal Flying Corps and also the German counter-attack towards the end of the year, in which new machines and better tactics saw a steady reversal in British fortunes. Price: £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Tracing Your Prisoner of War Ancestors: The First World War by Sarah Paterson

Pegasus Archive review: An excellent introduction to a subject that has received precious little attention in the context of both the First World War and the experiences of prisoners of war from other conflicts. Sarah Paterson outlines the general conditions of camps, not only under German and Turkish control, but also those in neutral countries and, by contrast, the experience of German prisoners of war and internees in the British Isles. Typical experiences of officers, other ranks and civilians are described, and the extensive appendices list camps, recommended reading, and links to those archives and museums which hold information on prisoners of war. Highly recommended for anyone wishing to research the subject. Price: £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


The Viking Wars of Alfred the Great by Paul Hill

Pegasus Archive review: Any history of England in the Dark Ages is doomed to struggle with a lack of source material, but Paul Hill, resisting the popular temptation to plug the gaps with semi-plausible fantasy, takes the surviving documents and presents a remarkably comprehensive narrative of the military achievements of Alfred the Great. Beginning with a description of 9th Century England and the first Danish attempts at colonisation, there follows a quite absorbing account of the emergence of Alfred and his initial efforts to protect Wessex from an intelligent and relentless foe. Following the great Saxon victory at Edington in 878, the book then chronicles the establishment of Alfred's system of fortified "burhs" across the land, a tremendous feat of engineering which not only protected Wessex from conquest during Alfred's lifetime, but also provided a solid platform from which his equally brilliant successors would advance to reclaim the northern realms, eventually unifying the English peoples under a single king. This is a superb account of a man whose contribution to the political, legal and military legacy of England cannot be understated. Price £19.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


War in Ancient Greece by Bob Carruthers

Pegasus Archive review: Herodotus may hold the distinction of being the father of history, but it was Thucydides who established its vital components of thorough research and impartial assessment. He served as an Athenian general in the Peloponnesian War; the epic struggle with Sparta for dominance of Greece in the 5th Century BC, and having immediately resolved to become its historian he wrote this most complete and remarkably balanced account of events. With neither side able to deal a decisive blow through direct confrontation, the war escalated into a series of major and minor skirmishes all across the Greek world, with new tactics emerging to break the deadlock, and numerous brilliant and occasionally notorious personalities coming to the fore; Pericles, Lysander and Alcibiades to name but a few. The war lasted for 27 years, leaving a broken Athens and a Sparta which would never recover from its exertions. Thucydides' account is littered throughout with tales of heroism, deceit, cunning, folly, hardship and glory; a classic to rival even the Iliad. Price £11.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Warfare in the Ancient World by Brian Todd Carey

Pegasus Archive review: An interesting study of the development of military organisation and strategy across several millennia, from Bronze Age Mesopotamia to the last days of Rome. The twenty one highlighted battles serve to describe the gradual evolution in the composition and arrangement of these forces, tracing the introduction of new weapons and tactics which enabled one power to dominate, and those which were in turn developed by their opponents to overcome them. Beginning with the Sumerian civilisation, Brian Todd Carey deciphers the few glimpses that we have of the methods of waging war in the Ancient East, exploring the introduction of new technologies, such as cavalry and chariots, before moving to the era of the Greek hoplite phalanx, perfected under Alexander the Great as the first properly organised force of combined-arms. The main part of the narrative is concerned with the Roman Army and the various compositions which it employed from its rise to its fall, and it is when discussing Greece and Rome that far more detailed sources can be drawn upon to give a very real sense of how these armies worked. Full of useful insights for anyone with an interest in ancient warfare. Price £10.39. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or


Yorkshire Disasters by Vivien Teasdale

Pegasus Archive review: This book describes 21 major disasters which occurred around the Yorkshire area, mostly during the 19th Century, but several are as late as the Second World War, and one ventures back almost a millennium to the most infamous of them all; the Harrying of the North by William the Conqueror. A very broad range of incidents are covered; including industrial fires, building collapses, mining accidents, shipping tragedies, rail disasters, flooding and war. Most are described in up to ten pages, using a mixture of the author's narrative, photographs, eye witness reports, details from inquests and lists of those killed. These combine to give a concise and fascinating account of these dreadful events, but they are also rich in the social history of Yorkshire, and provide a glimpse into the daily lives of our ancestors. Price £10.99. Copies may be purchased from Amazon or