Are you looking for a great gift this Christmas? Ranging from a gorgeously illustrated gift book on the medieval knight to a thrilling graphic novel telling the story of D-Day, these books are a perfect read for the more general history fan, and make ideal gifts. Even better, these 10 fascinating titles are less than £20!
Sister’s in Arms: Female warriors from antiquity to the new millennium by Julie Wheelwright
Sisters in Arms charts the evolution of women in combat, from the Scythian warriors who inspired the Amazonian myth, to the passing soldiers and sailors of the eighteenth century, and on to the re-emergence of women as official members of the armed forces in the twentieth century. Author Julie Wheelwright traces our fascination with these forgotten heroines, using their own words to bring their experiences vividly to life. She examines their contemporary legacy and the current role of women in the armed forces, while calling into question the enduring relationship between masculinity and combat.
Be PARA Fit: The 4-Week Formula for Elite Physical Fitness by Sam McGrath
Give the fitness fanatic in your life the gift of a powerful new programme. Former commander of the legendary PARAs' P Company selection process, Major Sam McGrath, uses tried and tested Paratrooper principles to maximize potential and achieve transformational results.
Rome – City in Terror: The Nazi Occupation 1943–44 by Victor Failmezger
In September 1943, following wave upon wave of Allied bombing, Italy announced an armistice with the Allies. Shortly afterwards, the German army disarmed Italian forces and, despite military and partisan resistance, quickly overran Rome. Rome – City in Terror tells the compelling story of the nine-month-long German occupation of the city that followed, and the disparate army of partisans, displaced aristocrats, Vatican priests, Allied POWs and ordinary citizens who battled for liberation.
The Devil's Bridge: The German Victory at Arnhem, 1944 by Anthony Tucker-Jones
On 17 September 1944, the Allies launched Operation Market Garden, which was intended to outflank the German Westwall and ‘bounce’ the Rhine at Arnhem, from where the Allies could strike into the Ruhr, Nazi Germany's industrial heartland. Such a move could have ended the war.
However, Market Garden and the battle for Arnhem were a disaster for the Allies. The ragtag collection of German Army, Luftwaffe and Waffen-SS units in Holland overcame all obstacles, combined into ad hoc battle groups and crushed their opponents. This new book explores the operation from the perspective of the Germans as renowned historian Anthony Tucker-Jones examines how they were able to mobilise so swiftly and effectively in the face of the Allied airborne and armoured onslaught.
Blazing Star, Setting Sun: The Guadalcanal-Solomons Campaign November 1942–March 1943 by Jeffrey Cox
By the end of February 1944, thanks to hard-fought and costly American victories in the first and second naval battles of Guadalcanal, the battle of Empress Augusta Bay, and the battle of Cape St George, the Japanese would no longer hold the materiel or skilled manpower advantage. From this point on, although the war was still a long way from being won, the American star was unquestionably on the ascendant, slowly, but surely, edging Japanese imperialism towards its sunset.
From popular Pacific Theatre expert Jeffrey R. Cox comes this insightful new history of the critical Guadalcanal and Solomons campaign, combining detailed research with a novelist's flair for the dramatic to reveal exactly how, despite missteps and misfortunes, the tide of war finally turned.
In Good Faith: A History of the Vietnam War Volume 1: 1945–65 by Sergio Miller
Drawing on the cutting-edge research and top secret material, unavailable to the authors of the classic Vietnam histories, In Good Faith tells the story from the Japanese surrender in 1945 through America's involvement in the French Indochina War and the initial advisory missions that followed. Examining in depth both the events and the key figures of the conflict, this is a definitive new history of American engagement in Vietnam.
Lawrence of Arabia on War: The Campaign in the Desert 1916–18 by Robert Johnson
Lawrence of Arabia is one of the most iconic figures of the First World War, seen by many as a heroic and romantic guerrilla leader in a period of savage and deeply impersonal industrial warfare. While Lawrence himself has been the subject of many biographies, and an award-winning film, the context of his war in the desert, and his ideas on war itself, are less well known. Lawrence of Arabia on War is a study of those ideas, and of his campaign of irregular warfare which has informed tactical theory and decision-making down to the present day.
I Will Run Wild: The Pacific War from Pearl Harbor to Midway by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
I Will Run Wild draws on extensive first-hand accounts and fascinating new analysis to tell the story of Americans, British, Dutch, Australians and New Zealanders taken by surprise from Pearl Harbor to Singapore that first Sunday of December 1941, who went on to fight with what they had at hand against a stronger and better-prepared foe, and in so doing built the basis for a reversal of fortune and an eventual victory.
D-Day: Storming Fortress Europe by Jack Chambers and Erik Hendrix [graphic novel]
The Normandy landings are brought alive in this electrifying graphic novel that tells the story of that Longest Day through the eyes of the men who were there. Discover an epic struggle as the Allies sought to overwhelm the German defenders by land, sea and air, who in turn battled desperately to drive the invasion back into the sea. From the earliest airborne assault through the struggle on the beaches and the desperate effort to establish a bridgehead inland, D-Day reveals the full story of the day that changed the course of World War II.
The Medieval Knight by Christopher Gravett
The ‘knight in shining armour’ has become a staple figure in popular culture, and images of exciting battlefields, bustling feast halls and courtly tournaments have been creatively interpreted many times in film and fiction. But what was the medieval knight truly like? This beautifully illustrated gift book describes how knights evolved over three centuries of English and European history, their lives in peacetime and on campaign, their weapons, armour and clothing, and their renowned code of chivalry.
Need more ideas? Check out our previous blog posts for more inspiration!