Today on the blog, Commissioning Editor, Tom Milner continues our Osprey Team's Top Picks for Christmas with three of his favourite titles on 19th Century Warfare


Starting in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars and ending just over a decade away from World War I, the 19th century saw monumental changes to how wars were fought. Railways, rifles, steam and armour. Call it the Rise of the Machines.

 RAID 22: Decatur’s Bold and Daring Act

Who doesn’t like a bit of swashbuckling? The burning of USS Philadelphia in Tripoli during the Barbary Wars is a great story which Mark Lardas tells with aplomb, and Steve Noon‘s paintings and Donato Spedaliere’s evocative reconstructions of Tripoli harbour that night bring the drama to life.

ESS 74: The Second War of Italian Unification 1859–61

My favourite Essential Histories are those that look at not-so-well-known conflicts. The 1859–61 Italian War of Unification give you revolutions, great-power rivalry, amies manoeuvring by railway, and Giuseppe Garibaldi. The contemporary illustrations are superb, and Frederick Schneid does an excellent job of distilling a complex war into a very readable book.

NVG 239: Nile River Gunboats

There can’t be many machines of war that are so strongly evocative of a place and time. Initially the gunboats on the Nile were hastily-armed steamers, and later they became more and more purpose-built little warships. Angus Konstam explains how the gunboats themselves evolved, the challenges of operating on the Nile, and gives a mini-campaign history of their place in the river war, from the defence of Khartoum in 1884 to the conquest of the Sudan 14 years later.