The final instalment of 2022's Big Reveal is here! Today we're taking you through all the paperbacks that will be released in 2023.
By Don Hollway
The Last Viking reads like the sagas on which it is based. It's Beowulf on steroids, laced with purple prose...This book is great fun. - Gerard DeGroot, The Times
Harald Sigurdsson burst into history as a teenaged youth in a Viking battle from which he escaped with little more than his life and a thirst for vengeance. But from these humble origins, he became one of Norway’s most legendary kings. The Last Viking is a fast-moving narrative account of the life of King Harald Hardrada, as he journeyed across the medieval world, from the frozen wastelands of the North to the glittering towers of Byzantium and the passions of the Holy Land, until his warrior death on the battlefield in England.
Combining Norse sagas, Byzantine accounts, Anglo-Saxon chronicles, and even King Harald’s own verse and prose into a single, compelling story, Don Hollway vividly depicts the violence and spectacle of the late Viking era and delves into the dramatic events that brought an end to almost three centuries of Norse conquest and expansion.
The Bronze Lie: Shattering the Myth of Spartan Warrior Supremacy
By Myke Cole
Covering Sparta’s full classical history, The Bronze Lie examines the myth of Spartan warrior supremacy.
The last stand at Thermopylae made the Spartans legends in their own time, famous for their toughness, stoicism and martial prowess – but was this reputation earned?
The Spartan hoplite enjoys unquestioned currency as history’s greatest fighting man. Spartans were known for their refusal to surrender in the face of impossible odds, even when it meant certain death. But was this simply the success of a propaganda machine?
Covering Sparta’s full classical history from the foundation of the city-state through to its final overthrow by Rome in the 1st century BC, The Bronze Lie examines the myth of Spartan warrior supremacy and paints a very different picture of Spartan warfare – one punctuated by frequent and heavy losses.
Author Myke Cole looks at the major battles, with a special focus on previously under-publicized Spartan reverses that have been left largely unexamined. He reveals why Spartan society became dedicated to militarism, and examines the men who lived under its brutal rule. The result is a refreshingly honest and accurate account of Spartan warfare.
A War of Empires: Japan, India, Burma & Britain: 1941–45
By Robert Lyman
SHORTLISTED FOR THE RUSI DUKE OF WELLINGTON MEDAL FOR MILITARY HISTORY 2022
'This is a superb book.' - James Holland
In 1941 and 1942 the British and Indian Armies were brutally defeated and Japan reigned supreme in its newly conquered territories throughout Asia. But change was coming. New commanders were appointed, significant training together with restructuring took place, and new tactics were developed. A War of Empires by acclaimed historian Robert Lyman expertly records these coordinated efforts and describes how a new volunteer Indian Army, rising from the ashes of defeat, would ferociously fight to turn the tide of war.
But victory did not come immediately. It wasn’t until March 1944, when the Japanese staged their famed ‘March on Delhi’, that the years of rebuilding paid off and, after bitter fighting, the Japanese were finally defeated at Kohima and Imphal. This was followed by a series of extraordinary victories culminating in Mandalay in May 1945 and the collapse of all Japanese forces in Burma. Until now, the Indian Army’s contribution has been consistently forgotten and ignored by many Western historians but Robert Lyman proves how vital this hard-fought campaign was in securing Allied victory in the east. Detailing the defeat of Japanese militarism, he recounts how the map of the region was ultimately redrawn, guaranteeing the rise of an independent India free from the shackles of empire.
Churchill, Master and Commander: Winston Churchill at War 1895–1945
By Anthony Tucker-Jones
'Masterful research, impeccable detail, with a beautifully flowing narrative of which Churchill himself would have been proud.' - Professor Peter Caddick-Adams
From his earliest days Winston Churchill was an extreme risk taker and he carried this into adulthood. Today he is widely hailed as Britain’s greatest wartime leader and politician. Deep down though, he was foremost a warlord. Just like his ally Stalin, and his arch enemies Hitler and Mussolini, Churchill could not help himself and insisted on personally directing the strategic conduct of World War II. For better or worse he insisted on being political master and military commander. Again like his wartime contemporaries, he had a habit of not heeding the advice of his generals. The results of this were disasters in Norway, North Africa, Greece and Crete during 1940–41. His fruitless Dodecanese campaign in 1943 also ended in defeat. Churchill’s pig-headedness over supporting the Italian campaign in defiance of the Riviera landings culminated in him threatening to resign and bring down the British Government. Yet on occasions he got it just right: his refusal to surrender in 1940, the British miracle at Dunkirk and victory in the Battle of Britain, showed that he was a much-needed decisive leader. Nor did he shy away from difficult decisions, such as the destruction of the French Fleet to prevent it falling into German hands and his subsequent war against Vichy France.
In this fascinating new book, acclaimed historian Anthony Tucker-Jones explores the record of Winston Churchill as a military commander, assessing how the military experiences of his formative years shaped him for the difficult military decisions he took in office. This book assesses his choices in the some of the most controversial and high-profile campaigns of World War II, and how in high office his decision making was both right and wrong.
Immortal Valor: The Black Medal of Honor Winners of World War II
By Robert Child
The remarkable story of seven African-American soldiers and their extraordinary acts of bravery who were denied the Medal of Honor for more than 50 years due to their race.
In 1945, when Congress began reviewing the record of the most conspicuous acts of courage by American soldiers during World War II, they recommended awarding the Medal of Honor to 432 recipients. Despite the fact that more than one million African-Americans served, not a single black soldier received the Medal of Honor. The omission remained on the record for over four decades.
But recent historical investigations have brought to light some of the extraordinary acts of valor performed by black soldiers during the war. Men like Vernon Baker, who single-handedly eliminated three enemy machine guns, an observation post, and a German dugout. Or Sergeant Reuben Rivers, who spearheaded his tank unit’s advance against fierce German resistance for three days despite being grievously wounded. Meanwhile Lieutenant Charles Thomas led his platoon to capture a strategically vital village on the Siegfried Line in 1944 despite losing half his men and suffering a number of wounds himself.
Ultimately, in 1993 a US Army commission determined that seven men, including Baker, Rivers and Thomas, had been denied the Army’s highest award simply due to racial discrimination. In 1997, more than 50 years after the war, President Clinton finally awarded the Medal of Honor to these seven heroes, sadly all but one of them posthumously.
These are their stories.
When the SHooting Stopped: August 1945
By Barrett Tillman
“Highly recommended as a sobering but enlightening account.” Richard B. Frank, author of Downfall: The End of the Japanese Empire
In the 44 months between December 1941 and August 1945, the Pacific Theater absorbed the attention of the American nation and military longer than any other. Despite the Allied grand strategy of “Germany first,” after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. especially was committed to confronting Tokyo as a matter of urgent priority.
But from Oahu to Tokyo was a long, sanguinary slog, averaging an advance of just three miles per day. The U.S. human toll paid on that road reached some 108,000 battle deaths, more than one-third the U.S. wartime total. But by the summer of 1945 on both the American homefront and on the frontline there was hope. The stunning announcements of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 seemed sure to force Tokyo to concede defeat after the Allies’ surrender demand from Potsdam, Germany, in July. What few understood was the vast gap in the cultural ethos of East and West at that time. In fact, most of the Japanese cabinet refused to surrender and vicious dogfights were still waged in the skies above Japan.
This fascinating new history tells the dramatic story of the final weeks of the war with Japan, detailing the last brutal battles on air, land and sea with evocative first-hand accounts from pilots and sailors caught up in these extraordinary events. Barrett Tillman then expertly details the first weeks of a tenuous peace and the drawing of battle lines heralding the beginning of the Cold War as Soviet forces concluded their invasion of Manchuria. When the Shooting Stopped retells these dramatic events, drawing on accounts from all sides to relive the days when the war finally ended and the world was forever changed.
The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club: Naval Aviation in the Vietnam War
By Thomas McKelvey Cleaver
The 'Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club' was the tongue-in-cheek nickname of the US Seventh Fleet that was stationed off the coast of Vietnam. Now available in paperback, this book tells the full story of the US Naval air campaign in the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1975.
On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox became embroiled in the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident that led directly to America’s increased involvement in the Vietnam War. Supporting the Maddox that day were four F-8E Crusaders from the USS Ticonderoga, and this was the very start of the US Navy’s commitment to the air war over Vietnam.
The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club is titled after the nickname for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet which was stationed off the coast of Vietnam, and it tells the full story of the US Navy’s war in the air. It details all the operations from the USS Maddox onwards through to the eventual withdrawal of the fleet following the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975.
The Seventh Fleet’s Task Force 77, which at points during the war had as many as six carriers on station at any one time with 70–100 aircraft on each, provided vital air support for combat troops on the ground, while at the same time taking part in the major operations against North Vietnam itself such as Rolling Thunder, Linebacker I and II. All of these operations took place in a hostile environment of flak, missiles and MiGs.
The story is told through the dramatic first-hand accounts of those that took part in the fighting, with many of the interviews carried out by the author himself. The Vietnamese perspective is also given, with the author having had access to the official Vietnamese account of the war in the air. The author also has a personal interest in the story, as at the age of 20 he served with the US Seventh Fleet off the coast of Vietnam and was personally involved in the dramatic history of The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club.