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Selected Military Bibliographies

Bibliographies are a valuable aid to the book collector or researcher in knowing what is available in their subject area. The best are those that contain critical comment, such as Perkins and Falls, some are little more than check lists but are better than nothing in the absence of other reference material. We have listed here, with our own comments, some of the bibliographies available to the military reader. Those most frequently referred to in our book descriptions are indicated by an asterisk.

War Books: A Critical Guide by Cyril Falls, published by Peter Davies in 1930 (reprinted by Greenhill Books, 1989).*
A much admired critical bibliography of the First World War by a military historian who saw service on the Western Front with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. His judgments are generally very sound and his turns of phrase quaintly charming. He awarded stars to books that he considered particularly well-written, to a maximum of three ("for a book of superlative merit").

The Revolt in India 1857-58: An Annotated Bibliography of English Language Materials by Janice M. Ladendorf, published by Interdocumentation Co., Zug, in 1966.* Remains the only serious bibliography of the Indian Mutiny and contains some useful guidance, although it does contain some errors or misinterpretations.

Regiments and Corps of the British Empire and Commonwealth 1758-1993: A Critical Bibliography of their Published Histories compiled and published by Roger Perkins, 1994.* Outstanding bibliography of the regiments of the British Empire including the old Indian Army, South, East and West Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and so on. Roger Perkins enlisted the help of a significant number of expert correspondents and the result is a tour-de-force. Each book has a physical description and full bibliographical details as well as useful comments on the contents and research value.

South African War Books compiled by R.G. Hackett and published by Peter de Lotz, 1994.* A fine record of works on the Boer War 1899-1902 published up to 1920. Contains several hundred superb colour or black and white illustrations, each with full bibliographical notes and a short comment on the subject matter, together with a check list of all pertinent works known to the compiler, i.e. just about everything anyone is likely to encounter.

The First World War and British Military History edited by Brian Bond and published by Clarendon Press, Oxford in 1991. Not strictly bibliography but a superlative collection of papers on the historiography of the War by distinguished contributors, covering a whole gamut of ground to explain how the modern perception of it has been reached; how the 'Historical Foundations' were laid by Liddell Hart, Edmonds & their contemporaries; how, in 'The Battle of the Memoirs' politicians & generals slogged it out in war & after; how the long dispute between Kitchener & French was carried on long after both were dead; how Haig's reputation has fared & much more of inestimable value for an understanding of the war and informed appreciation of the published works.

A Bibliography of Regimental Histories of the British Army compiled by Arthur S. White, ISO, MM, late Librarian of the War Office. Published by the Society for Army Historical Research in conjunction with The Army Museums Ogilby Trust in 1965. Fairly comprehensive listing with bibliographical details but no critical comment. A very useful source and the only printed bibliography of British Army regiments [but see link to the AMOT website – below].

English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography by Catherine W. Reilly, published by St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978. Includes anthologies and works by individual poets in alphabetical order, with an index of titles. Useful listings with notes on military service of the poets.

British Army Divisions in the Great War 1914-1918: A Check List compiled and published by Robin Spaight, 1978. Remains the only 1914-18 divisional bibliography; a useful source also containing the background and services of each divison.

The Sandler Collection: An annotated bibliography of books relating to the military history of the French Revolution and Empire in the library of John Sandler edited by Victor Sutcliffe and published by Ken Trotman Ltd., Cambridge, in 1996. Over 3500 works in this immense private collection. A useful check list with full bibliographical detail and extensive indices.

A Subject Bibliography of the First World War/A Subject Bibliography of the Second World War both by A.G.S. Enser, published by Andre Deutsch in 1979 and 1977 respectively (revised editions have subsequently appeared). Strictly limited in value as subtitles are frequently overlooked, there is no critical comment and bibliographical details are limited to pagination, publisher and publication date with no mention of illustrations or maps. Furthermore, the research was based on library lists rather than examination of the individual books, so the bibliographic record is sometimes confused and American editions, for instance, may be cited with British pagination. There are some glorious howlers, too, such as Alan Clark’s diatribe against the Western Front generals, The Donkeys, being listed in the Animals category. Both volumes still have some value as they contain extensive lists broken down into subject areas that are, sometimes, reliable. Caveat lector!

British Armoured Formations 1939 – 1945: A Bibliography by John A Smith, published by TankFactory. Devoted to British armoured units of WWII this impressive bibliography is a welcome addition to the reference shelf. It includes not only standard histories but also private regimental publications, veterans’ memoirs and biographies plus a summary of each unit's journals/newspapers/etc.; a colour illustration section shows some of the rarer titles. Each publication has a Notes section providing useful commentary on the content, including the presence of rolls of honour, awards lists, extent of relevant WWII content, availability, etc. Of notable use are the appendices: a quick reference chart of all the regiments and the theatres in which they served; a list of regiments which operated Funnies; and a list of the cavalry regiments chronologically recording their changes of title. Essential reading for anyone wishing to fully understand the breadth of publications available to the collector or researcher interested in British armour.

 

 

 



 

 



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