The relaunched Essential Histories series features updates from the authors, new images throughout, and a reinvigorated design. Written by subject experts, each title provides an introduction to a major conflict or theatre of war, including the origins, politics, fighting and repercussions. They are fully illustrated with photographs and specially commissioned colour maps.

This year we have some great topics on the list, from the Ancient World to modern Russia. I’m really looking forward to seeing all of these titles in print again, but my highlight for the Big Reveal is Carl Benn’s title on the War of 1812, which he has completely revised for the new edition, drawing on the research and advances in scholarship in the two decades since original publication in 2002 to provide a fascinating overview of the ‘Forgotten War’ of 1812 and its significance in US history.

Please see below for full descriptions of our upcoming titles.


Russia’s Wars in Chechnya: 1994–2009
By Mark Galeotti

Written by a leading expert on modern Russia, this is an illustrated introduction to the bitter campaigns in Chechnya.

In this new edition of his popular 2014 work, Mark Galeotti traces the progress of the wars in Chechnya, from the initial Russian advance through to urban battles such as Grozny, and the prolonged guerrilla warfare in the mountainous regions. Bringing the book up to date, including a revised introduction and new content on the Kadyrovtsy’s role in Russia’s other conflicts, Galeotti assesses how the wars have torn apart the fabric of Chechen society and their impact on Russia itself.

Featuring full-colour maps and over 50 new images, and drawing upon a wide range of sources, this succinct account explains the origins, history and consequences of Russia's wars in Chechnya, shedding new light on the history – and prospects – of the troubled region.


The War of 1812
By Carl Benn

In this fully illustrated introduction, acclaimed historian Carl Benn examines the War of 1812 and its significance in US history.

The war of 1812–1815 was a bloody confrontation that tore through the American frontier, the British colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, and parts of the Atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico. The conflict saw British, American, and First Nations forces clash, and in the process, shape the future of North American history. Carl Benn explains what led to America's decision to take up arms against Great Britain and assesses the three terrible years of fighting that followed on land and sea, where battles such as Lake Erie and Lake Champlain launched American naval traditions.

This new edition has been updated throughout to draw on the research and advances in scholarship in the two decades since original publication in 2002. Benn examines how this has not only impacted basic assumptions of force size and battle dates in some cases, but has also drawn attention to subjects that had previously been overlooked. Fully illustrated in colour with specially commissioned maps and over 50 new images, this book provides an accessible overview of the War of 1812.


The Soviet-Afghan War: 1979–89
By Gregory Fremont-Barnes

A fully illustrated overview of the USSR’s bloody conflict in Afghanistan and its long legacy.

The Soviet invasion of its neighbour Afghanistan in December 1979 sparked a nine-year conflict until Soviet forces withdrew in 1988–89, dooming the communist Afghanistan government to defeat at the hands of the Mujahideen, the Afghan popular resistance backed by the USA and other powers. Gregory Fremont-Barnes reveals how the Soviet invasion had enormous implications on the global stage; it prompted the US Senate to refuse to ratify the hard-won SALT II arms-limitation treaty, and the USA and 64 other countries boycotted the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics. For Afghanistan, the invasion served to prolong the interminable civil war that pitted central government against the regions and faction against faction.

Updated and revised for the new edition, with full-colour maps and new images throughout, this succinct account explains the origins, events and consequences of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, shedding new light on the more recent history – and prospects – of that troubled country.


Caesar's Gallic Wars: 58–50 BC
By Kate Gilliver

This is a detailed overview of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, one of the most important conflicts of the ancient world.

Julius Caesar was one of the most ambitious and successful politicians of the late Roman Republic and his short but bloody conquest of the Celtic tribes led to the establishment of the Roman province of Gaul (modern France). Caesar's commentaries on his Gallic Wars provide us with the most detailed surviving eye-witness account of a campaign from antiquity. In this book, Kate Gilliver makes use of this account and other surviving evidence to consider the importance of the Gallic Wars in the context of the collapse of the Roman Republic and its slide toward civil war.
Updated and revised for the new edition, with full-colour maps and new images throughout, this is an accessible introduction to Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars.