Phil Smith is one of the Commissioning Editors here at Osprey, and is responsible for a number of our series, including Raid, New Vanguard, the military Duels (in other words any of the Duels that are not about aircraft), Field of Glory and our upcoming Force on Force. As well as that, Phil is often called upon to help put together the slightly different jobs. He assembled the art and information that was used in the Men-At-Arms Celebration. He worked on the huge Armies of the Napoleonic Wars, and chose the artwork and cleared all the rights for our three postcard sets, Battle, Soldier and Dogfight.
Phil might have bad taste in music...and films, but his taste in Osprey books is spot on. In fact, when I asked him what his favourite Osprey book was he went out and picked one of the books that I was thinking about choosing:
"As regular readers of our blog will know, I was a huge Osprey fan before I ever started working here, and spent many hours reading every Men-at-Arms title I could find. I\'ve always had a rather scattergun approach to military history, being interested in a wide variety of topics rather than focusing on a few.
That, for me, is one of the joys of the Osprey catalogue - Men-at-Arms especially - the ability to dip in and out of history as the mood takes me. One day I may be reading up on the Northwest Frontier, the next it might be the forces of the Venetian Empire. However, for all the choice I have in my military history reading, there are a few old favourites to which I return time and again.
Of these, none is more often revisited than Men-at-Arms 279: The Border Reivers. Written by Keith Durham, and illustrated by Angus McBride, it is quite simply my perfect Osprey. In its 48 pages, I was first introduced to the Border Country of the 16th and 17th centuries, with its feuding clans, lawless raiders and bold folk heroes. Since then, I have gone on to read many other studies on the Reivers, several either written or kindly supplied by Keith, who I have been very pleased to get to know in the time I have been at Osprey, and I have three of the McBride plates from the book on my wall at home.
For all my wandering when it comes to military history, I always return to the Borders for which I have developed an inexplicable affinity. I\'m from Derby, not the Debateable Land, and have no connection to the region at all. On paper, there is absolutely no reason for me to love the history of the Border Reivers as much as I do - I can only blame (thank!) Keith and Angus for producing the title that inspired me 15 years ago."