The top five pre-1914 military history books for Christmas 2016

ChristmasHere, our ‘Century of the Soldier‘ series Commissioning Editor Charles Singleton shares his personal pick of the best pre-1914 books to add to your Christmas wishlist: 

Once again, I’ve been given the difficult task of choosing my top five books from this year’s releases from Helion. Although I say difficult, it is in fact a joy to go over the past year’s publications and pontificate a little about some of them…

much-embarrassedMuch Embarrassed. Civil War, Intelligence and the Gettysburg Campaign by George Donne

In the springtime of this year, I gathered the terms to create the index for Much Embarrassed, which meant reading through the text. The book concentrates on how the intelligence services of the opposing forces worked and how they sought to discover the enemy’s intentions and numbers. I must say how much of an impression this book made upon me. Our modern perception of pre-20th century military professionalism and civil wars as being antiquated and lacking is very much challenged in Much Embarrassed; it demonstrates how 19th century armies acquired intelligence of their enemies and used it to their advantage.

New Approaches to the Military History of the English Civil War. Proceedings of the First new-approachesHelion and Company ‘Century of the Soldier’ Conference edited by Ismini Pells

This book is the ‘compilation’ of papers that were given at a conference I organised in 2015. Part of the concept behind the ‘Century of the Soldier’ book series is to offer a holistic approach to the subject (being pike and shot warfare 1618-1721), with publications, conferences, blogs and partnership-work. We will be holding our next conference in 2018. I can highly recommend coming along – great sandwiches!



The Arte Militaire. The Application of 17th Century Military Manuals to Conflict Archaeology by Warwick Louth

My enduring memory of The Arte Militaire was giving the author, Warwick, a phone call to say we would be very interested in publishing his work, only to find out it was his MA graduation day as well! I enjoyed working with Warwick on this book. Not only is it a highly visual piece, it also covers one of my great interests – military professionalism and development in the 17thcentury. By using the latest research in landscape archaeology and military history, The Arte Militaire sets out to give us a new and better understanding of the nature of conflict in the early modern period.

Lobositz to Leuthen: Horace St Paul and the Seven Years War 1756-1757 translated by Neil lobositzCogswell.

Lobositz to Leuthen sees the launch of a new book series at Helion, ‘From Reason to Revolution’. Where ‘Century of the Soldier’ finishes in 1721, the new series carries on to 1815. This first book is very much a historical equivalent to the classic Barry Lyndon. The author of the diary, St Paul, was an English officer who served with the Austrian army through the Seven Years War. His attention to detail is what makes this work an essential addition to any library on the conflict.

no_armour_but_courageNo Armour but Courage. Colonel Sir George Lisle, 1615-1648 by Serena Jones

A publication I am especially proud of. Serena Jones is a researcher and writer of great skill and talent. When not writing for Helion (she’s just signed a contract for her next book) Serena has her own publishing business, Tyger’s Head Books. The subject of her first book for Helion is Sir George Lisle – a Royalist infantry officer who was arguably a great innovator of military practice and doctrine during the 1640s. This is the definitive work on his life.

This entry was posted in Books, General and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *