Matthias Strohn (ed.), The Battle of the Somme (Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2016). With the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme looming large on the horizon, it is unsurprising that we will see a number of publications produced about the battle. Some will regurgitate the same old trope about ‘lions led by donkeys’; however, this volume, edited by Matthias Strohn, appears to offer a more balanced view. Strohn has brought together a team of experts to explore various aspects of the Somme. There are several positive concerning the team Strohn has brought together that make the book valuable. First, the contributions are international in character. The authors come from Britain, Germany, France, Austria and US, which give some different perspectives. Second, the subjects are not just left to the usual tale of Britain and the Empire, but includes contributions on the French and Germans as well as placing the Battle in its global context. Finally, it good to see several younger historians, notably Stuart Mitchell, and Jonathan Krause, contribute to the volume. A full review of this book will appear shortly.
John A. Lynn, Battle: A History of Combat and Culture, Revised and Updated Edition (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2008 ). This is the revised and updated edition of Lynn’s classic work on war and culture. The key update is an epilogue perspective on terrorism and its impact on the culture of war. Also, particularly valuable is Lynn’s appendix on the cultural model that is used to inform the chapters in the book. This should be interesting for anyone concerned in the discussion over culture and war.
Eric Grounds, The Quiet Australian: The Story of Teddy Hudleston, the RAF’s Troubleshooter for 20 Years (Cirencester: Mereo Books, 2015). Edmund Hudleston, an Australian, joined the RAF as a Cadet at the RAF College at Cranwell in 1927 and retired as an Air Chief Marshal in 1967. His final command was as de-facto Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe after the French had left the NATO command set-up in 1966. He had a varied career including command of No. 84 Group in North-West Europe. This is a fascinating biography; however, my primary concern is the lack of notes in the book, though the bibliography highlight the sources used. Nevertheless, the book provides a useful insight into the RAF from the inter-war period through to the Cold War.