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
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
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.