The best books on the British Army 📚

Browse the best books on the British Army as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Redcoats

Redcoats

By Stephen Brumwell

Why this book?

The Seven Year’s War was much more than a few famous names and a few celebrated battles. For any who want to get into the nitty-gritty of ordinary soldiers’ lives during the Seven Years’ War—on the British side—I recommend this book. It examines the experiences of the 'redcoats' between 1755 and 1763. Brumwell wrote it for a more academic readership than Paths of Glory, but it is still very readable. It explores the British Army's distinctive society and has lots to say about the ordinary soldiers who are usually written about with vague generalities. In this study, one reads…

From the list:

The best books on the Seven Years’ War in North America

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Book cover of The Defence of Duffer's Drift

The Defence of Duffer's Drift

By Ernest Dunlop Swinton

Why this book?

Swinton was a British Army Royal Engineer who developed the battle tank. He writes an insightful and often humorous account of the young Subaltern, Lieutenant Backsight-Forethought, who during a series of fitful dreams, repeatedly gets everyone under his command killed. Ultimately, (through multiple failed lives lived) he learns enough about small-unit infantry fighting tactics to successfully defend the fictional Duffer’s Drift during the Boer War. Although Captain (later Major General) Swinton published it as a fictional tale, his aim was to teach tactical lessons and to generate discussion and debate among Subalterns.

From the list:

The best books on military tactical thinking

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Book cover of Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

Monty's Men: The British Army and the Liberation of Europe

By John Buckley

Why this book?

Already a published expert on air power, armour, and the Normandy campaign, Buckley went on to produce a well-considered and ably researched evaluation of the British army in 1944-5, one that rescued it from the deeply-flawed criticism by Max Hastings of its relative effectiveness.

From the list:

The best and most recent books on WW2 in Europe

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Book cover of Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front

Tommy: The British Soldier on the Western Front

By Richard Holmes

Why this book?

What was war like for the average British soldier – ‘Tommy’ - taken from civilian life and sent into the inferno of battle? This magisterial study is the best book about British soldiers and their wartime experiences. It explores reasons for enlistment, training, tactics, life in the trenches, and experience of battle. Although vast in scope, it never loses sight of the human side of war. This book presents presents a nuanced, fascinating, and touching study of the common soldier.

From the list:

The best books on the British Army in World War I

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Book cover of Morale: A Study of Men and Courage

Morale: A Study of Men and Courage

By John Christopher Malcolm Baynes

Why this book?

What enabled soldiers to maintain their morale in the inferno of the Western Front? This unique book explores the question by studying the soldiers of the elite 2nd Scottish Rifles at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915. It presents a fascinating micro-history of how a British battalion functioned in peace and in war. What type of men served in an elite unit? Where had they come from? What rules did they follow? Where did their loyalties lie? How did they maintain their spirit in the face of dreadful conditions and severe casualties? This book answers these questions and…

From the list:

The best books on the British Army in World War I

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Book cover of Winston's War

Winston's War

By Sir Max Hastings

Why this book?

Churchill is perhaps best remembered for his bulldog premiership during the Second World War. Max Hasting’s excellent study graphically portrays the enormous political and strategic stresses and strains endured by Churchill. Coalition warfare was one of vigorously competing interests and Hastings shows how Churchill achieved a quite remarkable juggling act.

From the list:

The best books on Winston Churchill and which book to start with

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