The Global Seven Years War by Daniel A. Baugh (2011)

(This long book is part of the Routledge ‘Modern Wars in Perspective’ series. Since some of the wars date back to 1460 you have to query the definition of ‘modern’.) Although an American, the author, Daniel A. Baugh, is a distinguished historian of the British Royal Navy from the Restoration to the mid-Victorian era. In […]

The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw 1939–45 by Władysław Szpilman

Władysław Szpilman was born to Jewish parents in 1911 in Warsaw. When Nazi Germany invaded Poland 28 years later, in August 1939, Szpilman was already an accomplished classical pianist who worked giving live recitals on Warsaw Radio, as well as writing his own compositions. This memoir was written immediately after the war, in 1945, and […]

War Fever by J.G. Ballard (1990)

This is Ballard’s last collection of short stories, some very short indeed. War Fever The Secret History of World War 3 Dream Cargoes The Object of the Attack Love in a Colder Climate The Largest Theme Park in the World Answers to a Questionnaire The Air Disaster Report on an Unidentified Space Station The Man Who […]

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Award 2019

This is an exhibition of the 55 or so portrait photos which were shortlisted for this year’s Taylor Wessing photographic portrait exhibition. The organisers received 3,700 photographic portraits from 1,611 photographers in seventy countries around the world, whittled it down to these 55, and then, a month ago, the first, second and third prize winners […]

The Last Years of Austria-Hungary edited by Mark Cornwall (1989)

Volume 27 of the Exeter Studies in History series, The Last Years of Austria-Hungary, consists of seven essays. Of the half dozen books I’ve read on the subject it is one of the most out of date, having been published in 1990. According to Amazon there is a new, updated edition but, like most academic […]

The Hundred Years War by Desmond Seward (1978)

There is full many a man that crieth “Werre! Werre!” That wot full litel what werre amounteth. (Geoffrey Chaucer, captured in France on campaign with Edward III in 1359 and ransomed – with a contribution of £16 from the king) The hundred years war lasted more than a hundred years The Hundred Years War did […]

The Art of Persuasion: Wartime Posters by Abram Games @ the National Army Museum

Maximum meaning, minimum means This is a cracking exhibition, beautifully designed and laid out, packed with information about not only the artist (wartime poster designer Abram Games), and including a hundred or so dazzling examples of his ground-breaking graphic designs, but also providing a fascinating insight into the social history of the wartime years and […]

Seven Clues to the Origin of Life by A.G. Cairns-Smith (1985)

The topic of the origin of life on the Earth is a branch of mineralogy. (p.99) How did life begin? To be more precise, how did the inorganic chemicals formed in the early years of planet earth, on the molten rocks or in the salty sea or in the methane atmosphere, transform into ‘life’ – […]

Nature’s Numbers by Ian Stewart (1995)

Stewart is a mathematician and prolific author, having written over 40 books on all aspects of maths, as well as publishing several guides to the maths used in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, authoring half a dozen textbooks for students, and co-authoring a couple of science fiction novels. He writes in a marvellously clear style but, […]

The Audit of War by Correlli Barnett (1986)

‘The time and energy and thought which we are all giving to the Brave New World is wildly disproportionate to what is being given to the Cruel New World.’ (British economist J.M. Keynes, quoted page 40) The full title of this book is The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great […]