Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
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Marcus
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Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Marcus » 19 Aug 2009 18:57

The idea of this sticky is to collect recommendations on good books dealing with the United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45 during the 1919-1945 period.

Please post the title, author and a short (or long) explanation as to why you feel that particular title deserves to be included.

/Marcus


If you buy through the below links you not only get the books you want but you also support the forum while shopping!
* AHF Bookstore
* Amazon.com (UK, Germany)

Please check out this thread to see if the title has already been recommended:- http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 4&t=188855

ljadw
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by ljadw » 19 Aug 2009 19:48

English history 1914-1945 by A.Taylor :a must,will not become obsoleted

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Andy H
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Andy H » 20 Aug 2009 20:40

Ashley Jacksons seminal work 'The British Empire and the Second World War (2006)

Regards

Andy H

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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by ljadw » 20 Aug 2009 20:55

The Appeasers:Martin Gilbert and Richard Gott The Rise and the Fall of the British Empire :Lawrence James The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy :David Cannadine

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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by ljadw » 20 Aug 2009 21:25

R.F. Holland:Britain and the Commonweath Alliance 1918-1939 K.Jeffrey:The British Army and the crisis of Empire W.R.Louis:The British Empire in the East W.R.Louis:Imperialism at Bay 1941-1945 :The USA and the decolonisation of the British Empire

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The_Enigma
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by The_Enigma » 26 Aug 2009 14:13

There is always the History of the Second World War series. 100+ volumes covering practically everything about the UK, chunks of Empire and Her Majesties Armed Forces etc during the Second World War period.

I own the Middle East and Med series, along with the Victory in the West series. I highlt recommend the former and the latter is ok if a bit ambigious and wrong in places.

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Attrition
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Attrition » 25 Jan 2010 16:52

The Official Histories that I've read for the Great War are surprisingly good. 1916 II, 1917 I and RAF II and III so far, 1917 II and 1918 I next.

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Peter H
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Peter H » 12 May 2010 08:04

Australian Battalion Commanders in the Second World War Garth Pratten 2009

An excellent book.Covers the relatively young(and sometimes older)men who commanded Battalions in WW2.Nicknames are also included. e.g. Heathcote 'Tack' Hammer. :wink:
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Gungnir » 27 May 2010 19:41

And We Shall Shock Them: The British Army in the Second World War
David Fraser

-Impressive, most impressive. I stumbled upon this book by accident (procrastinating at work and typed in "british" "army" "wwii" into Amazon... ended up on page 25 and there it was) but a remarkable read.
The author discusses the tragedies and triumphs, defeats and victories of the British Army from 1939-1945 in Europe, North Africa, Mediterranean, and Burma. He focused on the British Army not the RN, RAF, etc. and only mentioned Empire/Commonwealth contributions if it pertained to the campaign/battle or part of a larger British Command (ie Eight Army and Fourteenth Army). Using either pure British units or Empire/Commonwealth units and formations with British Command
Does not whitewash or attempt to make excuses for the defeats/failures but states the reasons (ie early defeats against Germans in Europe and Japanese in Burma/Pacific). At the same time does not give exaggerated or over praises the victories and triumphs.
Also gives credit to enemy forces and their successes and abilities (strategic, tactical, leadership, training, etc.) while either criticizing or praising British forces.
Learned A LOT about the British Army in the various theatres

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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by philjd » 22 Jul 2010 23:26

Some I've benefited from:-

The Fall of Singapore, Frank Owen, fairly short but sufficient to give a decent understanding of the both prewar preparation and the fighting leading to its loss.
The Desert Generals, Correli Barnett, the story of the desert war, a good read and history, but do be aware that the purpose of writing the book was to prove that Monty should not have gained all the glory for El Alemain and its aftermath.
A Bridge Too Far, Cornelius Ryan, the story of Market Garden.
British Foreign Policy 1919-1939, Paul W Doerr, nice study.
Wings of the Dawning (the battle for the indian ocean 1939-1945), Arthur Banks, superb read, although much more anecdotal in detail, but a fascinating study of a much neglected region of the war.

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Attrition
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Attrition » 31 Mar 2011 12:51

http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=11979

David French. Military Identities: The Regimental System, the British Army, and the British People c. 1870-2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Reviewed by John Ferris (University of Calgary, Canada)
Published on H-Albion (July, 2006)

Regimental Rhetoric

David French ranks high among military historians in Britain, and beyond. His previous books have examined British grand strategy in the First World War, and the command and doctrine of its army in the second. His present work examines what usually is regarded as a (or the) central component of that army, the regimental system. French assesses the role of the British regiment from the reforms of 1870-81, to the evolution of the "post-modern regimental system" between 1945-70, although he also refers to contemporary events. Military Identities is one of the strongest studies in the social history of any army, or in British military history as a whole. It is informed by standard influences in social history, including cultural anthropology; Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish (1977); Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities(1983); and ideas about the Victorian invention of tradition, proving that military history can engage politically correct topics in more than a one-night stand. Military Identities rests on extraordinary research, and unparalleled knowledge of the breadth and depth of the topic. It analyses this material through a series of linked thematic chapters, each pursued, more or less, in a chronological fashion. These themes include training, recruitment, barrack life, officers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs), deviance and discipline, "the construction of the idea of the Regiment," the army and the people, the regiment at war, and others. These narratives provide elegant architecture for a structure built on bricks of telling details and wry anecdotes, drawn from a ninety-year period. Ctd....

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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by TristaniaCorp. » 19 May 2011 18:27

'The British Soldier From D-Day To VE-Day Volume 2 Organisation Armament Tanks and Vehicles'.
By Jean Bouchery

Gives vast amounts of info on the 21st Army group in Europe, going through the OOB of all the divisions.
It contains generic division and sub-unit equipment and vehicle load out. E.g. what each man in a normal rifle section had, what was in a (and the different types of) artillery regiments within a division etc.
Also contains many weapon (from knives to MG's) and vehicle (from bicycle to SPG's) and equipment as well as vehicle symbols,markings and camouflage.

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Andy H
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Andy H » 18 Jun 2011 14:37

A fairly new publication is Professor David Egerton 'Britains War Machine (Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second Wolrd War).

Sadly this isn't the Tooze of Britains economy and one is surely needed, but rather a good attempt at shining a light on some long held beliefs and facts concerning Britain in WW2. I haven't yet read all the book and there are some areAs that I have read that seem to be 'reaching' in terms of what there supposed or not supposed to show. Anyway its early days and I'll add more when I finally finish it.

Regards

Andy H

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Attrition
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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by Attrition » 18 Jun 2011 14:59

Andy H wrote:A fairly new publication is Professor David Egerton 'Britains War Machine (Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second Wolrd War).

Sadly this isn't the Tooze of Britain's economy and one is surely needed, but rather a good attempt at shining a light on some long held beliefs and facts concerning Britain in WW2. I haven't yet read all the book and there are some areas that I have read that seem to be 'reaching' in terms of what there supposed or not supposed to show. Anyway its early days and I'll add more when I finally finish it.

Regards

Andy H
I thought that it was rather good too. Cry Havoc: The Arms Race and the Second World War, 1931-41: The Global Arms Race 1931-41 by Joe Maiolo is in similar vein.

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Re: Recommended reading on the British Empire 1919-1945

Post by amcl » 18 Jun 2011 15:22

Andy H wrote:A fairly new publication is Professor David Egerton 'Britains War Machine (Weapons, Resources and Experts in the Second Wolrd War).
I've read most of Edgerton's books, but not that one yet. 'England and the Aeroplane' seemed to me to be the best. 'Warfare State' covers much the same subject, but in more breadth. I didn't think that the extra length made it a better book. Unlike the first two, 'Shock of the Old' is only tangentially connected to the subject of the thread. I liked it, but I know others who didn't rate it all.

Further on the subject of technology, anyone who has read Guy Hartcup's (IMO excellent) 'War of Invention' on technology in WW1 may be tempted to pick up 'The Challenge of War', his book on WW2 technology. I was disappointed by it. 'The Silent Revolution', on Cold War technology, was an improvement, but still falls far short of 'War of Invention'.

So, here's hoping your final report on 'Britain's War Machine' is positive.

Cheers,

Angus McLellan

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