Churchill's Wizards: The British Genius for Deception 1914-1945 - Nicholas Rankin

Churchill's Wizards - Nicholas RankinDuring peacetime, the British generally like to think of themselves as being the bastions of fair play – anything else just wouldn’t be cricket! Isn’t it strange therefore how things change when a state of war exists? There is little doubt that warfare has changed over the last century – I would say “evolved” but at the end of the day it’s still the same thing. The techniques of misdirection and the deception of your enemy have developed at a similar pace to that of the technology of blowing your opponent into small pieces. Nicholas Rankin’s book provides us with a fascinating insight into some of the most ingenious – and bizarre – solutions that the British came up with in the first half of the 20th century in order to prevent the other side from knowing what they were up to. With a career spanning both World Wars, Winston Churchill lay behind the drive to deceive, and Rankine separates the techniques and characters involved (some of whom were involved in both conflicts) into two separate parts of the book.

Read more...

Cold War Radio - Richard H Cummings

Cold War Radio - Richard H CummingsIn a world where digital communication is king, where you can get the latest news on your mobile phone, it’s easy to forget the fact that for many years the humble radio was the only method in which many people received information on world affairs. The assumption – which still rings true today – was that if you can control communication, you can control the population. This of course was no more true than in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War – state controlled media would broadcast only the information the state wanted you to see or hear, and more often than not this would be a straightforward propaganda exercise directed against the West.

Read more...

Decision Most Deadly - Mark Turnbull

Decision Most Deadly - Mark TurnbullI have a confession to make. My knowledge of the English Civil War is thin to say the least. I did wonder therefore whether I was in a suitable position therefore to judge fairly Mark Turnbull's Decision Most Deadly, as it is that very period that the book concerns itself with. It is also self-published, and that usually makes me a little nervous! I do however love a good story, and this is a piece of historical fiction, so why not?

Read more...

Hellfire - Ed Macy

Hellfire - Ed MacyThe Apache Helicopter is without doubt one of the most technologically advanced and versatile pieces of military hardware that the British Army has at its disposal. It is also one of the most deadly. Armed to the teeth with 30mm high explosive dual purpose rounds, Canadian Rocket Vehicle 7's (rockets), the controversial "Flechettes" (five inch tungsten darts fired form a rocket travelling above mach 3.3), high explosive incendiary semi-armour piercing rockets and the terrifyingly named "Hellfire" missile; you really wouldn't want to find yourself on the wrong side of its "longbow" radar system. The first true attack helicopter, the Apache is built to kill the enemy with pin-point accuracy from a position of safety - although as Ed Macy demonstrates with great efficacy this is not always the case!

Read more...