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Section 7

Book Review By Michael D Booker (June 2006)

The Final Analysis

Author: Dr Andrew Norman

Publisher: Spellmount Publishers
Tempus Publishing
The Mill
Brimscombe Port
Gloucestershire GL5 2QQ

ISBN: 1 86227 314 6

UK Price: £20.00

There is no doubt that the name of Adolf Hitler will go down in world history and be remembered for centuries to come, as he was the man who can be held personally responsible for the deaths of more than 30 million people between 1939 and 1945.

Of course the majority of military historians will already be aware of Hitler’s service in the German army during the Great War, when he was twice wounded and also decorated and just about every adult alive today knows of his subsequent rise to power when he sought world domination. We are fully aware too of the events that were to follow his army service, together with his racial and political intentions, as they were always very clear from the start. However whilst many will be correct in thinking his actions can be attributed to mental illness, few will actually know of his genealogical and psychological make up, that can now be firmly attributed to previously un-diagnosed genetic disorders.

The excellent ground breaking volume has been written after a great deal of unique research by a British physician who was intrigued by the reasons behind why Hitler behaved as he did. His findings are most revealing and shed a whole new light on this man, who he is now sure, not only suffered from Schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, but also carried the rare GRM3 gene!

Did you know that Hitler’s parents were first cousins and had to seek special dispensation from the Pope to marry? This is just one of the many fascinating facts included in a volume which is sure to provide you with hours of excellent reading and be an invaluable source of reference for the future.

Book Review By Michael D Booker (June 2006)

HOME FRONT 1914-1918
How Britain Survived The Great War

Author: Ian Beckett
Publisher: The National Archives


ISBN: 1 903365 813

Published in July 2006

UK Price: £19.99

Anyone asked to make a few comments with regards to the Great War, will normally think of soldiers in battledress, trench warfare, thousands of casualties and the suffering that followed, few however will remark on the conditions at home, where the there was hardly a family in the land who was not involved or effected in one way or another with the “war effort”. Although British troops had already gone overseas to fight for King (or Queen) and Country for centuries, the Great War is considered to have been the first time that there was such a massive impact on British life in general.

As Fathers, sons and brothers together with friends and work colleagues fought side by side on foreign fields, those left behind worked harder than ever before to grow crops, produce the machinery of war and ammunition and whilst suffering from the loss of loved ones, had to contend with aerial bombardment and rationing. There was a vast influx of foreign refugees and as women were now expected to play an increasing part too, their lives and the female role in society was to change for ever.

I am sure that this, Ian Beckett’s latest book will be an invaluable source of reference for family history researchers, military, social and local historians together with the casual reader too. It includes a wealth of information together with many excellent previously unpublished photographs, original letters and fascinating personal testimonies from the vast collection at the National Archives therefore making it excellent and compelling reading.

My wife’s comment when she saw this publication of “I will be reading this myself”, speaks volumes – I feel sure this will be a very popular book with the ladies too!

Book Review By Michael D Booker (June 2006)


Author: Roy Fullick & Geoffrey Powell

Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Pen & Sword Books Limited
47 Church Street
South Yorkshire S70 2AS

ISBN: 184415340 1

Published in 2006

UK Price: £12.99

Military confrontation from October to December 1956 following the nationalization of the Suez Canal by President Nasser of Egypt. In an attempt to reassert international control of the canal, Israel launched an attack, after which British and French troops landed. Widespread international censure forced the withdrawal of the British and French. The crisis resulted in the resignation of British prime minister Anthony Eden.

At just over 100 miles long , the Suez Canal is the longest canal in the world without locks. Construction on this vast waterway commenced in 1859 and the canal was finally inaugurated in 1869. Due to its unique geographical position, it now became the shortest trade route between Europe and Asia and as well as saving ships the long journey time around the Cape of Good Hope, it also reduced fuel consumption and ship operating costs. Despite its initial opposition to the project, Britain became the major shareholder and therefore guaranteed the neutrality of the canal.

To cut a long story short, after Britain and the United States withdrew their pledges of financial support to help Egypt build the Aswan High Dam, Egyptian President Nasser nationalized the Canal in July 1956 and set up the Egyptian Canal Authority, therefore replacing the existing privately owned company. British oil and Embassy officials were expelled from the country too. In October that year, Israel launched initial attacks on Egyptian territory, after which, on the 5th and 6th November British & French troops actually invaded the Port Said area with the aim of re-taking the Suez Canal.

These actions brought about wide-spread international condemnation and forced a wedge between NATO allies. Large fleets of American and Russian warships were in the Mediterranean and one spark could have caused a major incident. American put financial pressure on Britain forcing her to withdraw, which in turn angered the French. Britain and France did however withdraw and this resulted in British Prime Minister Eden being humiliated and resigning and Anglo French influence on world affairs declining.

This excellent volume, printed in this very handy and affordable format for the first time, is fully updated and illustrated with excellent maps and photographs. It provides the reader with a good all-round, yet well detailed summary of the political, diplomatic and military aspects of the ill fated campaign, therefore making it an invaluable reference work for military historians and researchers alike. Anyone who served in this campaign will want to read it too, as it will help them understand the broader reasons as to why they were there.

Book Review By Michael D Booker (July 2006)

The Full Story of the Second World War’s Most Remarkable Mass Escape

Author: Tim Carroll

ISBN: 1 84018 904 5

Publisher: Mainstream Publishing

Price: £7.99

There can be hardly anyone in Britain who has not seen or at least heard of the film The Great Escape – the thrilling WW2 film (which must be at least 30 years old now), where the highlight in my opinion was when Steve McQueen raced off on his motorbike and tried to jump the barbed wire border fence and head for freedom into neutral Switzerland.

Many may fail to realise that this Hollywood epic was actually based on the true story of an amazing attempt to break out of Herman Goring’s Stalag Luft lll – a supposedly “escape proof” WW2 Prisoner of War camp situated around 100 miles South East of Berlin . In fact, out of the 1000 allied aircrew housed in this now notorious camp, 200 attempted the escape on the 15th March 1944. Initially 76 actually managed to get away, however all accept 3 (who eventually made it back to Britain) were recaptured after causing a great deal of havoc behind enemy lines. As we now sadly know, 50 of the escapers were taken into a field and shot by the Gestapo and the remainder returned to captivity.

This excellent book based on the experiences of ex internees and includes actual accounts of events described by the seven remaining survivors who escaped that wartime evening . It is a fitting tribute to each and every man in the camp at that time, as it took a vast amount of team effort in one form or another to plan and organise the escape itself, plus the behind the scene activities which involved not only digging the tunnel, but making civilian clothes and producing fake documents etc., as well as the cover up activities to mask the tunnelling operation.

I feel sure that this volume will be of great interest to a wide range of military historians , the family history researcher and also the casual reader who has seen the film – they will find it a fascinating read!

Book Review By Michael D Booker (June 2006)


Author: Robert Hutchinson

Publisher: Wiedenfield & Nicholson

ISBN: 0297846892

First Published in June 2006

UK Price: £25.00

Christopher Duffy is an acknowledged expert on the Austrian and German army between the 1800’s and 1945 and therefore readers can be sure that the content of this useful volume will be accurate, as it will be based on firm facts, a great deal of extensive research and a wealth of experience. It is sure to be an invaluable addition to any military historian’s or battlefield guide’s library and will be ideal for future reference especially when wanting to add a new and different perspective when leading Great War battlefield tours.

Anyone who has heard of the Battle of the Somme is aware that it was one of the key battles of the Great War and also learnt of the horrific waste of human life – especially on that fateful 1st July day, when no less than 58,000 British troops became casualties or were killed in action. This fact alone has left a lasting legacy of an image of British incompetency and brave “Tommies” being sent to their certain deaths by blundering generals, therefore branding the initial attack and following sequence of events a disaster.

Just as the title implies, this volume deals with the battle from the German perspective and will provide the reader with a very different view of the thought processes all those years ago. Contrary to modern British belief, the Germans did not believe the British troops were useless, in fact as the author’s research now reveals, they had a great and growing respect for the professionalism, performance and mentality of their enemy – especially as they were mostly volunteers.

The German view of the British and events at the time has only just come to light and therefore the contents of this volume will make fascinating reading. The author has drawn on previously inaccessible and obscure archive documents that include unpublished memoirs and records of interrogation with British prisoners-of-war, who at the time of their capture still believed Britain would win the war, thereby by fuelling concerns in German minds that they would be defeated!

Book Review By Michael D Booker (July 2006)



Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Pen & Sword Books Limited
47 Church Street
South Yorkshire S70 2AS

ISBN: 184415 3991

UK Price: £19.99

Yes, I agree that books containing recollections of events by veterans of campaigns fought many decades ago seem to be flowing from various publishers at a fair old rate these days, however rather than being critical of this, I for one am grateful for them as they normally bring to our homes a vast amount of fairly accurate first hand information that we, the average man in the street, have never had access to previously.

I have luckily been able to travel on battlefield tours, read many books and attend lectures led, written or given by experts, who certainly know their subject having often spent years of research, wading through reams of papers and official documents and read many books themselves, however despite this extensive study, they cannot provide the same unique eye witness accounts and insight into events at that time as these brave men now have.

Thankfully, this particular very important volume was written as the result of a visit to the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon some thirty years ago. Prompted by what they had seen, the authors decided to interview veterans of the Royal Flying Corp s and fledgling RAF. These brave pioneers of aviation - and there were still quite a few still living at that time, certainly had tales to tell. They were without a doubt heroes, as they had often taken to the air in the most vulnerable of aircraft, flying in all weathers, without the modern aids we have today and more often than not, they were barely more than teenagers too.

In this splendid volume, they tell their own unique and very special stories. The tales of dare devil dog-fights from pilots and recollections of hardships and extreme conditions from ground-crew will fascinate a multitude of readers from the most experienced military historian and family history researcher to the casual reader.

This fascinating book with over 40 photographs of aircraft, covers part of our heritage that many previous generations would have rather have forgotten about, however by writing it, the authors have in my humble opinion provided a lasting tribute to the memory of these men and a source of reference for our future.

It is a must buy for any Great War enthusiast!

Last updated 25 December, 2013

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