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Annual Booklist 2016-2017 : Michael Crumplin, FRCS, FINS

Author of Men of Steel: Surgery in the Napoleonic Wars (Quiller, 2007); The Bloody Fields of Waterloo: Medical Support at Wellington’s Greatest Battle (Ken Trotman, 2013).


Richard Holmes, Redcoat (Harper Collins, 2001). What a marvellous flavour of the British Amy and its soldiers this account gives us. Colourfully written and illustrated, it is full of anecdotes and gives such an excellent account of our fighting men serving at home and abroad, their habits, their drill and their foibles, faults, sufferings and achievements.

Lieutenant General Sir Neil Cantlie, A History of the Army Medical Department (2 Vols: Churchill Livingstone, 1974). A timeless and very useful reference comprising a couple of volumes. This is, perhaps the main extant source of data constructed about the Army Medical Department - ie the medical cadre in force before the formation of the RAMC in 1898 - facts and opinions collated make these two books a useful and readable source .

Carola Oman, Sir John Moore (Hodder and Stoughton, 1953). Of many accounts of this great soldier’s life, I have enjoyed this the most. With a colourful style of writing, Oman seriously brings to life the adventures, challenges and achievements of this officer who was so often handed a rather poisoned chalice. There are some interesting references and illustrations.

B.H. Liddell Hart (ed.), The Diary of William Wheeler (First published in 1951 - reprinted by the Windrush Press 1993). Refreshingly important is any diary account of a soldier’s life. We gain important insights into Wheeler’s adventures, contemporary warfare. His life, despite its risks and harshness also the varying behaviour of officers and comrades, was clearly one that he loved.

Michael Du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield, Dr James Barry (Oneworld Publications, 2016). Long overdue we now have an extensively researched account of the life of this amazing woman. It’s rather poignant story full of struggles, personal battles and incredible achievements, not least how Barry kept her secret so well. The authors have joined their talents to please the public, the historian and the academic. The research has been meticulous.

I would like to have a definitive tome written about the buildings and engineering projects for the British Army - 1759-1815 - constructed in Britain for defence of the realm. These would be, for example barracks, depots, hospitals, roads, canals, defensive works (e.g. Martello towers), powder factories, shot towers and foundries. An interesting addition would be details of the military victualing yards (e.g. St Catherine's docks) and their outputs.

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