Military History

Terry Deary

Terry Deary is a children's author now living in County Durham, England. A former actor, theatre-director and drama teacher, Deary says he began writing when he was 29. Most famously, he is the author of the Horrible Histories series of books which is popular among children for their disgusting details, gory information and humorous pictures and among adults for getting children interested in history. Books in the series have been widely translated into other languages and imitated.

Note from Gary: Terry has cheated and given his top three OneBooks but who am I to argue?

The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe by Charles Nicholl


Historical detective work at its best. Not only does Nicholl recreate the Elizabethan underworld in all its chilling seediness, he investigates the murder with the pace and technique of a mystery novelist. In the end he doesn't quite convince me, but his book should be compulsory reading for all writers of popular history.

In Search of the Trojan War by Michael Wood


In children's non-fiction books it's not enough to inform the readers; first you have to engage them. Michael Wood is above all an engaging writer as well as an erudite historian. Whatever he writes about he brings to life. A rare talent.


They Called it Paschendale by Lyn Macdonald

PasschendaeleBooks like this transcend ordinary literature and provide a service to humanity. Macdonald has collected the testimonies of the men who fought in the first world war and tells the story from their point of view. It's humanity in the raw and it's not all bleak.


  • Find out more about Terry here.
  • You can read about the excellently researched Horrible Histories here.
  • More about The Reckoning here.
  • More about the author of Trojan War here.
  • Read a discussion about Lyn Macdonald here.
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Face of Battle by John Keegan

Gary Smailes is a Military Historian and Writer. He studied for a Masters Degree in Military History at Liverpool University and specialises in British Military History. He has published two children's books and has eight other books due for publication later this year.
You can read Gary's blog here.

The book...
Face_of_battleIn many ways Military History has had a bad press in the past. It has been dominated by battle narratives, an obsession with the decisive battle and frankly poor writing. John Keegan's Face of Battle is none of these things. It was first published in 1976 and represents a new kind of Military History. Keegan looks in detail at three battles - Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme. However, rather than concentrating on the overall strategic concepts he looks instead at the experiences of the individual solider at the "point of maximum danger". Keegan's book marked a turning point in the way Military History was viewed and opened the door to a more modern interpretation of conflict that examines aspects beyond the traditional approach of looking at commanders and the role of grand strategy.

The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme
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