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In December of 1943, as Nazi forces sprawled around the world and the future of civilization hung in the balance, a group of highly trained U.S. and Canadian soldiers from humble backgrounds was asked to do the impossible: capture a crucial Nazi stronghold perched atop stunningly steep cliffs. The men were a rough-and-ready group, assembled from towns nested in North America's most unforgiving terrain, where many of them had struggled through the Great Depression relying on canny survival skills and the fearlessness of youth. Brought together by the promise to take part in the military's most elite missions, they formed a unique brotherhood tested first by the crucible of state-of-the-art training-including skiing, rock climbing, and parachuting-and then tragically by the vicious fighting they would face.
The early battle in the Italian theatre for the strategic fort cost the heroic U.S.-Canadian commando unit-their first special forces unit ever assembled-enormous casualties. Yet the victory put them in position to continue their drive into Italy, setting the stage for the Allies' resurgence toward victory in WWII. The unit, with its vast range of capabilities and mission-specific exercises, became a model for the "Green Berets" and other special forces groups that would go on to accomplish America's most challenging undertakings behind enemy lines.
Knitting first-hand accounts seamlessly into the narrative-drawing on interviews with surviving members and their families; the memoirs, letters, and diaries of Forcemen; and declassified documents in the American, Canadian, British, and German archives -- The Force tells a story that is as deeply personal as it is inspiring.
With Allied forces sweeping across Europe and into Germany in the spring of 1945, one enormous challenge threatened to derail America's audacious drive to win the world back from the Nazis: Japan, the empire that had extended its reach southward across the Pacific and was renowned for the fanaticism and brutality of its fighters, who refused to surrender, even when faced with insurmountable odds. Taking down Japan would require an unrelenting attack to break its national spirit, and launching such an attack on the island empire meant building an operations base just off its shores on the island of Okinawa.
The amphibious operation to capture Okinawa was the largest of the Pacific War and the greatest air-land-sea battle in history, mobilizing 183,000 troops from Seattle, Leyte in the Philippines, and ports around the world. The campaign lasted for 83 blood-soaked days, as the fighting plumbed depths of savagery. One veteran, struggling to make sense of what he had witnessed, referred to the fighting as the "crucible of Hell." Okinawan civilians died in the tens of thousands: some were mistaken for soldiers by American troops; but as the US Marines spearheading the invasion drove further onto the island and Japanese defeat seemed inevitable, many more civilians took their own lives, some even murdering their own families. In just under three months, the world had changed irrevocably: President Franklin D. Roosevelt died; the war in Europe ended; America's appetite for an invasion of Japan had waned, spurring President Truman to use other means -- ultimately atomic bombs -- to end the war; and more than 250,000 servicemen and civilians on or near the island of Okinawa had lost their lives.
Drawing on archival research in the US, Japan, and the UK, and the original accounts of those who survived, Crucible of Hell tells the vivid, heart-rending story of the battle that changed not just the course of WWII, but the course of war, forever.
On June 27, 1976, an Air France flight from Tel Aviv to Paris was hijacked by a group of Arab and German terrorists who demanded the release of 53 terrorists. The plane was forced to divert to Entebbe, in Uganda -- ruled by the murderous despot Idi Amin, who had no interest in intervening.
Days later, Israeli commandos disguised as Ugandan soldiers assaulted the airport terminal, killed all the terrorists, and rescued all the hostages but three who were killed in the crossfire. The assault force suffered just one fatality: its commander, Yoni Netanyahu (brother of Israel's Prime Minister.) Three of the country's greatest leaders -- Ehud Barak, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin -- planned and pulled off one of the most astonishing military operations in history.
'David is extremely good at interweaving the different stands of his narrative. He has an eye for the apt quotation and the telling anecdoate… He is a historian of enormous promise who might one day become the Hibbert of the next generation.' Amanda Foreman, Sunday Times
A wonderful portrait of George IV and his time - the first in 25 years.
Described by the Duke of Wellington as 'the most extraordinary compound of talent, wit, buffoonery, obstinacy and good feeling that I ever saw in one character in my life', George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, later George IV, was a highly controversial figure. He courted both Whigs and Tories in his attempts to establish the Regency during the 'madness' of his father, George III. Scandalous liaisons with prostitutes and duchesses, and his 'secret' marriage to the Catholic Mrs Fitzherbert, tested his duty - to nation and to family. Yet his support for overseas campaigns against Napoleon, culminating in such historic victories as Trafalgar and Waterloo, consolidated Britain's status as the pre-eminent world power amid the great social and economic upheavals of the Industrial Revolution.
Drawing on a wealth of original accounts of life in Georgian Britain, Saul David has created a masterly portrait - of a flamboyant, opportunistic and influential figure, and of a nation in a time of great change.
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically-acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstone's Military History Book of the Year) and Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire.
Saul David also writes acclaimed historical fiction. Zulu Hart, the first in the George Hart series, was a bestseller in 2009, followed by Hart of Empire in 2010.
An experienced broadcaster, Saul David has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.
Praise for Saul's books:
'I do not think there is a better one-volume account of this rogue prince. The author knows his stuff, weaves his way deftly through the politicking of the era without making it boring, and splendidly brings to life the endless amours of the man with a long succession of mistresses.' Roy Strong, Country Life
'Lively and lucid… David has insight, scholarly understanding and flashes of wit worthy of the Regency satirists themselves.' Jenny Uglow, TLS
'Filled with swashbuckling derring-do, the reek of blood and gunpowder, combined with shrewd analysis of power, war and psychology' Simon Sebag Montefiore
'Those wishing to immerse themselves in this golden age of British military success will relish David's fine piece of history' Sunday Times
'A first-rate historian, now a masterly story-teller' Bernard Cornwell
'David is a popular historian with a rare talent . . . An unashamed crowd-pleaser with a compelling, sexy hero who could give Cornwell's Sharpe a run for his money.' The Times
The 7th Earl of Cardigan will forever be remembered as the man who led the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava in 1854.
A fatal event for so many of his men, it was to rejuvenate Cardigan's life. Hitherto his career had been dogged by public scandal and professional disgrace: a failed marriage to a divorcee, two court appearances for adultery, two courts martial, numerous duels (earning him the sobriquet 'The Homicidal Earl'), a state of trial for intent to murder, dismissed from the command of a crack cavalry regiment, blackballed forty-six times by the leading military club, hissed at in theatres, questions asked about his conduct in Parliament.
All were conveniently forgotten in the wake of his valour at Balaclava. But was Lord Cardigan a hero? Or was the fierce criticism of his conduct in the Crimea by fellow officers - that he ill-treated horses and men and, even worse, saved his own skin at Balaclava - justified, and in keeping with his reprehensible past?
Cast against the colourful of a country in the throws of social, political and economic revolution, Lord Cardigan stands as a man both of and outside his times.
Celebrated for his bravery and damned for his incorrigible and scandalous behaviour, even today he seems at once fascinating yet reprehensible, appealing yet repellent.
Saul David's All The King's Men is a thrilling history of the British Redcoat from the English Civil War to Waterloo.
Between 1660 and 1815 British supremacy on foreign soil was near total. Central to this success was the humble redcoat soldier who showed heroism in battle and stoicism in peace, despite appalling treatment. This is their story: of brutal discipline and inedible food, of loyalty and low pay, of barracks and battlefield - of victory, defeat, life and death.
Praise for All The King's Men:
'An extraordinary story, packed with drama, incident and great characters...All The King's Men is all you could hope for...Quite an achievement', Patrick Bishop, Country Life
'A heady mixture of heroism, incompetence, devilish tactics and plain good luck', Sunday Times
'Filled with swashbuckling derring-do, the reek of blood and gunpowder, combined with shrewd analysis of power, war and psychology', Simon Sebag Montefiore
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically acclaimed books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857, Zulu and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire. He recently presented 'Bullets, Boots and Bandages' for BBC 4 and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.
'A first-rate historian.' Bernard Cornwell.
In 1857 the Indian troops of the Bengal Army rose against their colonial masters.
They were quickly joined by tens of thousands of discontented civilians in what was to become the bloodiest insurrection in the history of the British Empire.
But what were the real causes of the Indian Mutiny?
Historians have usually explained it as part of a general protest against British rule in India.
But in this ground-breaking study, the leading military historian Saul David identifies the specific complaints of the soldiers as the real cause of the revolt.
All armies have grievances relating to conditions of service, particularly pay, career prospects and relations with officers. What set a colonial force like the Bengal Army apart is that it was a volunteer mercenary force officered by men of a different race and religion.
Its loyalty to its paymasters, therefore, was entirely dependent on the incentives for service outweighing the disincentives - and by 1857 that was no longer the case.
'The Devil's Wind: The Bengal Army and the Outbreak Of The Indian Mutiny' is the dramatic story of one of the most violent episodes in the history of the British Empire.
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically acclaimed history books, including 'The Indian Mutiny: 1857' (short-listed for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), 'Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales', 'Making of the Regency', 'Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879' (a Waterstones Military History Book of the Year) and 'Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire'. He has also written two best-selling historical novels set in the wars of the late 19th Century, 'Zulu Hart' and 'Hart of Empire'. An experienced broadcaster, he has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.
His books have been widely praised.
'A first-rate historian, now a masterly story-teller' (Bernard Cornwell on ZULU HART )
'Incisive and acute . . . thorough and occasionally revelatory, [David] always finds a telling phrase, an eye-catching detail or a human story' (Sunday Times on Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire).
'Gems like this are too rare. I was hooked in ten pages.' Conn Iggulden
GEORGE HART just wants to serve his Queen and honour his family. It's not that simple.
He doesn't know his father, only that he's a pillar of the Establishment. His beloved mother is half Irish, half Zulu.
In a Victorian society rife with racism and prejudice, George's dark skin spells trouble to his regimental commander.
But George has soldiering in his blood - the only question is what he's really fighting for: ancestry or Empire. In the heat of battle he must decide . . .
Saul David's 100 DAYS TO VICTORY is a totally original, utterly engaging account of the Great War - the first book to tell the story of the 'war to end all wars' through the events of one hundred key days between 1914 and 1918.
100 DAYS TO VICTORY is a 360 degree portrait of a global conflict that stretched east from the shores of Britain to the marshes of Iraq, and south from the forests of Russia to the bush of German South East Africa. Throughout his gripping narrative we hear the voices of men and women both eminent and ordinary, some who were spectators on the Home Front, others - including Saul David's own family - who were deeply embroiled in epic battles that changed the world forever.
100 DAYS TO VICTORY is the work of a great historian and supreme story teller. Most importantly, it is also an enthralling tribute to a generation whose sacrifice should never be forgotten.
'A detailed account... David is right to stress that the mutiny stemmed from the men's reluctance to fight amongst strangers rather than their reluctance to fight at all, and that many of the mutineers preserved a dignified and soldierly attitude throughout the proceedings.' Richard Holmes, TLS
In late September 1943, almost 200 veterans of General Montgomery’s Eighth Army were arrested for refusing repeated orders to join units of the US Fifth Army at the Salerno beachhead in southern Italy. Within six weeks, all but one had been found guilty of mutiny, their sentences ranging from five years’ penal servitude to death.
Fifty years on, Saul David became the first military historian to gain access to the court martial papers – normally restricted for 75 years. In addition to crucial defence documents and the testimony of eye-witnesses, these papers have enabled Saul David to expose:
How poorly-equipped Eighth Army veterans, some still recovering from wounds and illness, were needlessly sent as reinforcements to Salerno when Fifth Army men were available.
How transit camp authorities deliberately deceived the reinforcements as to their destination.
How the defence team at the trial was forced, by lack of time, lack of witnesses and the hostility of the court, to offer a case based on no evidence and doomed to fail.
How, after the humane intervention of the adjutant-general and the suspension of the sentences, insensitive staff officers and victimization in their new units caused many mutineers to desert.
How, as a result of their convictions, the former war heroes were stripped of their campaign and gallantry medals and branded as cowards.
Concluding that the men were victims of a terrible injustice, Mutiny at Salerno provides a compelling case for a free pardon.
It is a book that no one interested in World War Two will want to miss.
'Mutiny' has been critically acclaimed:
'An important book' (Military Illustrated)
'Mr David has added considerably to the knowledge of the Salerno mutiny. This book should be read by anyone with an interest in the episode.' (Prof. Peter Rowe,RUSI Journal)
'A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting book and the author makes his case well' (Journal of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst)
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (short-listed for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Prince of Pleasure: The Prince of Wales and the Making of the Regency, Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstones Military History Book of the Year) and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire.He has also written two best-selling historical novels set in the wars of the late 19th Century, Zulu Hart and Hart of Empire. An experienced broadcaster, he has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.
On 12 June 1940, more than a week after the last British troops had been evacuated from Dunkirk, the 51st (Highland) Division was forced to surrender to General Erwin Rommel's 7th Panzer Division at St Valery-en-Caux. More than 10,000 members of the Division were driven into five years of captivity in prison camps.
Drawing upon over 100 personal interviews with survivors of the battle, upon unit war diaries, personal letters and journals, as well as official documents and reports, the author traces the story of the Highland Division from its arrival in France, through the excitement of patrol operations in front of the Maginot Line and its magnificent defensive battles on the Somme and the Bresle, to the final, desperate stand in the little Norman seaport of St Valery.
Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically-acclaimed history books, including 'The Indian Mutiny: 1857' (shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), 'Zulu: The Heroism' and 'Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879' (a Waterstone's Military History Book of the Year) and 'Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire'.
An experienced broadcaster, Saul David has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio.