Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes: The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel OBE

Bicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes: The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel OBEBicycles, Bloomers and Great War Rationing Recipes: The Life and Times of Dorothy Peel OBE by Vicky Straker
ISBN: 1473828589
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 5, 2016
Genres: Cultural, Social
Pages: 280

Dorothy Peel was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1918 by the Ministry of Food to recognize her creation of wartime recipes for householders. Peel’s great granddaughter wrote this book after finding Granny Dot’s cookery book on an attic shelf. Straker assembled more than 150 pages of recipes supported by color photographs and a table of measurement conversions. There is also a table that shows the compulsory ration amounts that helped cooks prepare pre-war recipes using the 1918 authorized quantities.

By 1917, Peel had a reputation for her domestic and culinary writing. The Ministry of Food contacted her to help in their task of insuring successful allocation and use of rations during the war. Using her contacts she insured nutritional content was maintained in her recipes during the rationing.

Peel wrote: “I did think that it was worthwhile to try to do what I was given a chance to do, to find … that those who do make the most mistakes! Still, if one is frightened of failing one is not likely to succeed.”

Reviewed by Anne Merritt

All Quiet on the Home Front: An Oral History of Life in Britain During The First World War

All Quiet on the Home Front: An Oral History of Life in Britain During The First World WarAll Quiet on the Home Front: An Oral History of Life in Britain During the First World War by Richard Van Emden, Steve Humphries
ISBN: 1473891949
Published by Pen & Sword Books on July 10, 2017
Genres: Cultural, Social

This reviewer has read a number of histories of the home fronts of Britain, the U.S., and France, and this oral history is by far the most fascinating. Authors van Emden and Humphries conducted about a hundred interviews from the late 1990s until the early 2000s with people who had grown up in Britain during the war. This rich trove of experience forms the core of the book, but the authors supplemented it with letters, diaries, and earlier recorded interviews. The chapters are a harmonious blend of distinct topics and a chronological approach. The oral histories bring alive such diverse topics as the shelling of East Coast cities by the German Navy, hunger and poverty, the poor treatment of people of German descent, the Zeppelin and airplane raids on Britain, the care of the wounded, the experiences of munitions workers, etc. The chapter “It is my painful duty…”, where the interviewees recount how they were notified of the deaths of their fathers or older brothers, is absolutely heart-wrenching to read.

This is a story about the home front from the perspective of children and teenagers, and a story primarily told by women. This reviewer did not find either of these demographic situations to be a weakness of this book. These oral histories are powerful enough to stand on their own, in addition to the fact that the interviewees often also recounted their parents’ perspectives on these events. If you’re going to buy only one book on the British home front, it should be this one.

Reviewed by Steve Suddaby, past president of WW1HA who In the 1990s interviewed about 40 people who had lived through the Zeppelin raids on Hull, England.

The Somme: The Epic Battle in the Soldiers’ own Words and Photographs

The Somme: The Epic Battle in the Soldiers’ own Words and PhotographsThe Somme: The Epic Battle in the Soldiers' Own Words and Photographs by Richard Van Emden
ISBN: 1473885175
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 5, 2016
Genres: Battles & Campaigns
Pages: 355

This is a wonderful book, filled with new or rarely-before-seen sepia-tinted photographs, many from the soldiers’ own private collections. These images are linked to appropriate text such as these observations on the first day by Rifleman Giles Eyre of the 2nd Kings Rifle Corps:

“We are now scrambling over what must have been the British front line trenches, a maze of humps and hillocks, half-filled-in ditches, mounds of faded and burst sandbags, barbed wire clumps sticking out here and there, shell holes, smashed trench boards and a litter of rusty tins, pieces of equipment, broken rifles and goodness knows what else.” Eyre continues: “We strike out into what was once no-man’s-land, … Here all the casualties have not been gathered in yet, and horrible-looking bundles of khaki, once men, still lie in shell holes.”

Van Emden is not trying to write a study of the Somme campaign, but he does form some opinions: “Before the Somme, there was still public optimism that the war could be won with one great masterstroke … idealism did perish on the Somme.”

Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

The 1916 Battle of the Somme: Reconsidered

The 1916 Battle of the Somme: ReconsideredThe 1916 Battle of the Somme Reconsidered by Peter H. Liddle
ISBN: 178340051X
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 5, 2016
Genres: Battles & Campaigns

Twenty-four years prior to the release of this book, historian Peter Liddle’s “classic” The Soldier’s War, 1914-1918 introduced readers to the four-and-a-half month Battle of the Somme. Here “Liddle reconsiders the battle in the light of recent scholarship” although without using even one German source or citing even one German unit in the index.

His narrative of “one of the most significant and controversial episodes in British military history” is “based on the graphic and revealing first-hand testimony of [British] soldiers….” An analogy might be to read the description of a football game (American or British) that presents only one side’s actions, decisions, and feelings.

Liddle’s end chapter “Verdict” claims “that in 1916-17 terms, a British victory was won on the Somme,” and “that the resolve of the soldier of the [BEF] had not been broken by the experience….” Compared to Passchendaele a year later, the Somme could be considered a wildly successful operation.

The book has a very nice British order-of-battle for the beginning of the battle on 1 July 1916, as well as its 12 phases through 18 November.

Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

Walking the Western Front: The Somme 1916, The First of July

Walking the Western Front: The Somme 1916, The First of JulyWalking the Western Front: The Somme in Pictures by Ed Skelding
ISBN: 1781592020
Published by Pen & Sword Books on September 19, 2016
Genres: Battlefield Guide
Pages: 208

This book is a companion to the BBC DVD series Walking the Western Front. It includes 150 prints in color and black and white taken during multiple filming trips to the Somme. Historical photos taken 100 years ago are accompanied by shots in the exact same spot today. Many of the modern photos are beautiful, in sharp contrast to the carnage and destruction that occurred in these locations. The captions and narrative accompanying the images is well written and includes interesting historical stories.

Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

Ancestor’s Footsteps: The Somme 1916

Ancestor’s Footsteps: The Somme 1916Ancestor S Footsteps: The Somme 1916 by Andrew Rawson
ISBN: 1473864208
Published by Pen & Sword Books on July 31, 2016
Genres: Battlefield Guide

The publisher explains that the purpose of this book is to answer “questions asked by visitors to the Somme; where did my ancestor fight?” It uses battle accounts with modern notations on historical trench maps, intended to help the reader locate individual units. The index has an impressive list of military units, but it may not be easy for someone standing on the battlefield today to locate where their ancestor’s unit actually would have been 100 years ago looking at these historical b&w maps.

Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

A Visitor’s Guide – The First Day of the Somme: Gommecourt to Maricourt

A Visitor’s Guide – The First Day of the Somme: Gommecourt to MaricourtThe First Day of the Somme: Gommecourt to Maricourt, 1 July 1916 by Jon Cooksey, Jerry Murland
ISBN: 147382799X
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 5, 2016
Genres: Battlefield Guide

This guidebook uses a different approach from the previous one above that covers Ypres, and it is much less effective and rather old fashioned. There are no color maps or color photos and the book is not as well organized. For example, the modern map of Serre shows twelve numbered locations, but these appear over the next 28 pages and are not easy to follow. There are many historical photos, including several of the soldiers who fought there with brief descriptions of what these men did.

Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI

Zeppelins Over the Midlands

Zeppelins Over the MidlandsZeppelins Over the Midlands: The Air Raids of 31st January 1916 by Mick Powis
ISBN: 1473834198
Published by Pen & Sword Books on April 14, 2017
Genres: Aviation
Pages: 224

The author’s approach is to make the single massive nine-airship raid of 31 January 1916 the center of a broader history by following the crews, their airships, and the targeted cities and towns through the war and beyond. The author’s grandmother and mother narrowly survived this raid, prompting Powis to devote years of research to this book. His appendix listing those killed is probably the first time that all their names have been published in one place.

Mick Powis’s meticulous work and unique insights are impressive to a reviewer who has studied the Zeppelin raids for almost 25 years. For example, his study of the pattern of bomb strikes shows conclusively that Zeppelins did hover to drop their bombs if weather and a lack of antiaircraft guns allowed it. He created maps from multiple sources that showed the path of each of the nine Zeppelins, often correcting errors in Britain’s official history, The War in the Air. Unfortunately, the maps as printed almost require a magnifying glass to read the town names, a minor annoyance in an otherwise excellent book.

Reviewed by Steve Suddaby, past president of WW1HA

Aubers Ridge (Battleground Europe)

Aubers Ridge (Battleground Europe)Aubers Ridge (Battleground Europe) by Edward Hancock, Nigel Cave
ISBN: 1844150933
Published by Pen & Sword Books on September 1st 2005
Genres: Military
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: New addition to the Battlefield Europe series edited by Nigel Cave. Analyses the action of May 9, 1915 when battalions of the First and Seventh Divisions and the Indian Army Corps attacked in support of an ultimately unsuccessful French drive against Vimy Ridge .

German Army on the Somme, 1914-1916

German Army on the Somme, 1914-1916German Army on the Somme, 1914-1916 by Jack Sheldon
ISBN: 1844152693
Published by Pen & Sword Books on October 1st 2005
Genres: Germany, Military
Pages: 432

Len's Summary: Unusual in that the author draws on German sources and tells the story of the Somme battles from that point of view.

Fire Power: The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945

Fire Power: The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945Fire Power: The British Army Weapons & Theories of War 1904-1945 by Shelford Bidwell, Dominick Graham
ISBN: 1844152162
Published by Pen & Sword Books on March 1st 2005
Genres: Weapons, Artillery, Military, Great Britain
Pages: 327

Len's Summary: Development of the artillery arm in two world wars.

Battles on the Tigris: The Mesopotamian Campaign in the First World War

Battles on the Tigris: The Mesopotamian Campaign in the First World WarBattles on the Tigris: The Mesopotamian Campaign in the First World War by Ron Wilcox
ISBN: 1844154300
Published by Pen & Sword Books on July 1st 2006
Genres: Middle East, Military
Pages: 245

Len's Summary: A new history of a campaign with modest aims, and often inept political and military execution.

Battle of Britain 1917: The First Heavy Bomber Raids on England

Battle of Britain 1917: The First Heavy Bomber Raids on EnglandBattle of Britain 1917 - The First Heavy Bomber Raids on England by Jonathan Sutherland
ISBN: 9781844153459
Published by Pen & Sword Books on June 19th 2006
Genres: Aviation, Great Britain
Pages: 224

Len's Summary: A useful summary without maps of Gotha and Giant bomber raids on the UK.

Voices in Flight: Conversations with Air Veterans of the Great War

Voices in Flight: Conversations with Air Veterans of the Great WarVoices in Flight: Conversations with Air Veterans of the Great War by Anna Malinovska, Muriel Joslyn
ISBN: 1844153991
Published by Pen & Sword Books on September 1st 2006
Genres: Aviation, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 228

Len's Summary: Memoirs of and interviews with WWI pilots.

Recollections of the Great War in the Air

Recollections of the Great War in the AirRecollections of the Great War in the Air by James R. McConnell, Bob Carruthers
ISBN: 1781580790
Published by Pen & Sword Books on March 1st 2012
Genres: Aviation, Military, Personal Memoirs
Pages: 98

Len's Summary: Reprint of a 1917 memoir by a Lafayette Escadrille pilot.

Pioneers of Aerial Combat: Air Battles of the First World War

Pioneers of Aerial Combat: Air Battles of the First World WarPioneers of Aerial Combat: Air Battles of the First World War by Michael Foley
ISBN: 9781781592724
Published by Pen & Sword Books on July 16th 2013
Genres: Military, Aviation
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: The title is misleading in that this book summarizes the development of British aviation before and during WWI.

The Retreat from Mons 1914: North: Casteau to Le CateauThe Western Front by Car, by Bike and on Foot

The Retreat from Mons 1914: North: Casteau to Le CateauThe Western Front by Car, by Bike and on FootThe Retreat from Mons 1914: North: Casteau to Le CateauThe Western Front by Car, by Bike and on Foot by Jon Cooksey
ISBN: 1783030380
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 19th 2014
Genres: Military
Pages: 160

Ypres 1914: Langemarck: Early Battles 1914

Ypres 1914: Langemarck: Early Battles 1914Ypres 1914: Langemarck: Early Battles 1914 by Jack Sheldon, Nigel Cave
ISBN: 1781591997
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 19th 2014
Genres: Military
Pages: 208

Len's Summary: The last major battle of 1914 involved British and British Indian Army units. One of a new series by these two authors on the opening BEF battles of the war available from Pen & Sword.

The Kaiser’s Pirates: Hunting Germany’s Raiding Cruisers, 1914-1915

The Kaiser’s Pirates: Hunting Germany’s Raiding Cruisers, 1914-1915The Kaiser's Pirates: Hunting Germany's Raiding Cruisers, 1914-1915 by Nick Hewitt
ISBN: 1848847734
Published by Pen & Sword Books on November 19th 2013
Genres: Military, Naval
Pages: 256

Len's Summary: German commerce raiders cost the Royal Navy much time and effort during the early months of the war before they were swept from the seas. Worth reading.

Visiting the Somme and Ypres Battlefields Made Easy: A Helpful Guide Book for Groups and Individuals

Visiting the Somme and Ypres Battlefields Made Easy: A Helpful Guide Book for Groups and IndividualsVisiting the Somme and Ypres Battlefields Made Easy: A Helpful Guide Book for Groups and Individuals by Gareth Hughes
ISBN: 9781473821392
Published by Pen & Sword Books on September 11th 2014
Genres: Military, Travel
Pages: 160

Gallipoli and the Dardanelles 1915-1916: Despatches from the Front

Gallipoli and the Dardanelles 1915-1916: Despatches from the FrontGallipoli and the Dardanelles 1915-1916: Despatches from the Front by John Grehan, Martin Mace
ISBN: 1781593442
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 19th 2014
Genres: Military, Turkey & Ottoman Empire
Pages: 192

Len's Summary: Primary sources.

The Battle Book of Ypres: A Reference to Military Operations in the Ypres Salient, 1914-18

The Battle Book of Ypres: A Reference to Military Operations in the Ypres Salient, 1914-18The Battle Book of Ypres: A Reference to Military Operations in the Ypres Salient, 1914-18 by Beatrix Brice
ISBN: 9781473821231
Published by Pen & Sword Books on September 22nd 2014
Genres: Military, Reference
Pages: 273

Len's Summary: Includes a chronological account and an alphabetical reference to each wood, town or hamlet. First published in 1927.

That Quiet Earth: A First World War Tale

That Quiet Earth: A First World War TaleThat Quiet Earth: A First World War Tale by Bruce Fellows
ISBN: 9781783831807
Published by Pen & Sword Books on May 31st 2014
Genres: Aviation, Fiction
Pages: 196

Len's Summary: pages, ISBN 978 1 7838 3189 7, £16.99 HB. Two nineteen-year-old RAF pilots fight high over the Western Front.

The Suffragette Bombers: Britain’s Forgotten Terrorists

The Suffragette Bombers: Britain’s Forgotten TerroristsThe Suffragette Bombers: Britain's Forgotten Terrorists by Simon Webb
ISBN: 9781783400645
Published by Pen & Sword Books on July 2nd 2014
Genres: Military, Social Science, Women, Women's Studies
Pages: 188

Len's Summary: When Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated British politicians and the public were distracted by the violent suffragette movement and the combustible Irish Home Rule Bill.

Escaping from the Kaiser: The Dramatic Experiences of a Tommy POW

Escaping from the Kaiser: The Dramatic Experiences of a Tommy POWEscaping from the Kaiser: The Dramatic Experiences of a Tommy POW by H. W. Tustin
ISBN: 9781473821941
Published by Pen & Sword Books on November 30th 2014
Genres: Military
Pages: 226

Len's Summary: Private Tustin was captured at Ypres in April 1915.

The Kaiser’s Captive: In the Claws of the German Eagle

The Kaiser’s Captive: In the Claws of the German EagleThe Kaiser's Captive: In the Claws of the German Eagle by Albert Rhys Williams
ISBN: 9781783463084
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 30th 2014
Genres: Germany, Military
Pages: 144

Len's Summary: American journalist captured in 1914 on suspicion of being a spy.

Retreat and Rearguard – Somme 1918: The Fifth Army Retreat

Retreat and Rearguard – Somme 1918: The Fifth Army RetreatRetreat and Rearguard - Somme 1918: The Fifth Army Retreat by Jerry Murland
ISBN: 9781781592670
Published by Pen & Sword Books on July 9th 2014
Genres: Military
Pages: 208

Len's Summary: The March 1918 Kaiserschlacht destroys Sir Hubert Gough’s army.

Walking into Hell 1st July 1916: Memoirs of the First Day of the Somme

Walking into Hell 1st July 1916: Memoirs of the First Day of the SommeWalking into Hell 1st July 1916: Memoirs of the First Day of the Somme by Edward G.D. Liveing, Geoffrey Malins
ISBN: 1783463147
Published by Pen & Sword Books on October 19th 2014
Genres: Military
Pages: 128

Len's Summary: This anthology examines the blackest day of the British Army from two contrasting view points. Malins filmed the battle for the British War Office..

With the Kaiser’s Army in 1914: A Neutral Observer in Belgium & France

With the Kaiser’s Army in 1914: A Neutral Observer in Belgium & FranceWith the Kaiser's Army in 1914: A Neutral Observer in Belgium & France by Sven Hedin
ISBN: 9781783463183
Published by Pen & Sword Books on May 25th 2014
Genres: Military
Pages: 517

Len's Summary: A Swedish professor tours the front with a German escort in September and October 1914.

Marshal Joffre: The Triumphs, Failures and Controversies of France’s Commander-in-Chief in the Great War

Marshal Joffre: The Triumphs, Failures and Controversies of France’s Commander-in-Chief in the Great WarMarshal Joffre: The Triumphs, Failures and Controversies of France's Commander-in-Chief in the Great War by André Bourachot
ISBN: 1783461659
Published by Pen & Sword Books on August 19th 2014
Genres: France, Military
Pages: 240

The Retreat from Mons 1914: South: The Western Front by Car, by Bike and on Foot

The Retreat from Mons 1914: South: The Western Front by Car, by Bike and on FootThe Retreat from Mons 1914: South: The Western Front by Car, by Bike and on Foot by Jon Cooksey, Jerry Murland
ISBN: 9781473823365
Published by Pen & Sword Books on October 31st 2014
Genres: Belgium, Military
Pages: 288

Len's Summary: Traces the path of the BEF in the early days of war.

Visiting the Great War Battlefields: Commemorating the Great War 100 Years On

Visiting the Great War Battlefields: Commemorating the Great War 100 Years OnVisiting the Great War Battlefields: Commemorating the Great War 100 Years On ISBN: 1473828422
Published by Pen & Sword Books on January 19th 2015
Genres: Travel
Pages: 120

Len's Summary: Contributions from several well-known battlefield guides such as Toni & Valmai Holt, John Cooksey, Nigel Reed and Niger Cave.