If Putin comes, the Poles are waiting - a report from Nato's new frontline

Nato’s beefed-up military exercises are impressive – and ominous


What Britain will lose if Scotland goes

If Scotland votes for independence, Britain will be left weaker than anyone yet realises


The one good thing we're leaving in Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s new, British-led military academy may prove our most lasting legacy

A patrol of allied forces in Northern Burma in 1944. Image: Getty

Griff Rhys Jones: Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army

Burma, My Father and the Forgotten Army, with Griff Rhys Jones, is on BBC2 at 9pm on Sunday, 7th July.…

The enemy within

The most telling figure in Carey Schofield’s book on the Pakistan army is Faisal Alavi, a major general who was murdered in November 2008.

Patience v. panache

The square jaw and steely gaze are deceptive.


At war with the Greeks

America’s love of the ancient republics has had military consequences in the present

Bearing the brunt

Ostensibly this small book is a jolly and true story (illustrated with some charming black-and-white snapshots) about the military experiences of Wojtek (pronounced Voycheck), the bear who, bought as a cub by Polish soldiers in Persia, earned name, rank and number as the mascot of the 22nd Company of the Artillery Supply Command, 2nd Polish Corps.


Mud, blood and jungle rot

The Matterhorn, at 14,679 feet in the Alps, is said to be very difficult to climb.


Might and wrong

‘Was all this the realisation of our war aims?’, Malcolm Muggeridge asked as he surveyed the desolation of Berlin in May 1945.


Aces high

Seventy years after the RAF repelled the Luftwaffe, the Battle of Britain continues to have a powerful resonance.


The map turns red

Norman Stone forsook the chair of modern history at Oxford university for Ankara after realising that the ‘conversation at high tables would generally have made the exchanges in the bus- stop in the rain outside seem exhilarating’.


Progress at a price

I was sitting recently with a former US marine by one of the huge open windows on the top floor of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon.


Triumph of the will

Alistair Urquhart describes himself as ‘a lucky man as well as an angry man’.


Annals of war

‘I was not an enthusiast about getting US forces and going into Iraq,’ Dick Cheney said in 1997, looking back on the First Gulf War.


The stuff of legend

This book could have been a classic.


A dangerous fellow

Do we need another huge life of Arthur Koestler? He wrote a great deal about himself, including three autobiographical works: Spanish Testament (1937), describing his experience as a death-row prisoner of General Franco, Arrow in the Blue (1952) and The Invisible Writing (1954).


A society celebrating itself

The years between the middle of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century, argues Holger Hoock, ‘saw Britain evolve from a substantial international power yet relative artistic backwater into a global naval, commercial and imperial superpower as well as a leading cultural power in Europe.


Macabre success story

Ben Macintyre has taken a well-known story of wartime deception, embellished it, and shown that it was even more ingenious and even more risky than we had all supposed.


Elder, but no better

William Pitt the Elder, Earl of Chatham was hailed by Victorian schoolboys as the man who made England great.

Poisonous relations

‘The Axis powers and France,’ declared Marshall Pétain and Hitler at Montoire in October 1940, ‘have a common interest in the defeat of England as soon as possible.’ Why this should have been so is one of the many interesting questions to which this book offers no satisfactory answer.

Sideshow on the lake

During the night of 9 February 1916, two men were sitting on opposing shores of Lake Tanganyika.

When words were scarce

Most of us are brought up not badly, but wrongly.

Model of resilience

At a time when the British Army is going through something of a crisis — plucked from the frying pan of Iraq only to be plunged into the fire of Afghanistan, with inadequate equipment, a lack of clear objectives, mounting casualties and dwindling public support — it might not appear to be the best moment to publish a history of the Second Service’s achievements since the days of Cromwell.