Militaria books are valued additions to the bookshelf

This trio of new books explore the relics, military badges and uniforms of World War I and World War II.
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The Anglo-Boer War in 100 Objects

The Anglo Boer War in 100 Objects

The Anglo Boer War in 100 Objects

The Anglo-Boer War in 100 Objects, compiled by the War Museum of the Boer Republics in South Africa (Frontline Books, an imprint of Pen & Sword, 2017) is a compact but power-packed glimpse of seldom-seen artifacts. Tokkie Pretorius, director of the War Museum of the Boer Republics, in the foreword says this book presents 100 main artifacts from the Museum’s collections, in addition to 216 secondary objects. In a nutshell, this book “was compiled only to present an overview of salient wartime objects but also to serve as a valuable source of information for local and international collectors, alike.”

The War Museum of the Boer Republics is the world’s only museum dedicated to the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), which is also known as the South African War. The Anglo-Boer War in 100 Objects is, as promised in the foreword, a synopsis told through the 100 objects selected from the Museum’s holdings.

This book is clearly written, beautifully designed, produced with high quality materials.

The Anglo-Boer War in 100 Objects, hardcover with dustjacket, 6½” x 9½”, 264 pp., $42.95, www.frontline-books.com.

US Marine Corps Women's Reserve

U.S. Marine Corps: Women's Reserve

U.S. Marine Corps: Women's Reserve

US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve: ‘They Are Marines’: Uniforms and Equipment in World War II by Jim Moran, is relevant to military historians and anyone interested in women’s studies. It is a comprehensive guide to the uniforms and equipment of the U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (USMCWR) in World War II. In addition to information about the uniforms, accessories (including handbags and gloves) and headwear, also included are chapters about the training women underwent for the Marine Corps Reserve, jobs and job assignments, administration and policies, specialist units and decorations, Hawaii duty, and demobilization after World War II.

A robust selection of complementary information is included in the appendices, including (but not limited to) quartermaster photographs, buttons, and uniform regulations.

Generally speaking, we don’t often hear of women’s military service during World War II. It’s refreshing to read about this (until now) under-addressed subject. The author explains, “much of the detailed information on the Women’s Reserve in World War II was provided from the 1968 Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps” and “from detailed reports “supplied by Nancy Wilt of the Women Marines Association.” (Wilt served in the Marines from 1970-1982.)

This book has been written with the full support of the U.S. Marine Corps Histories Division, the Women Marine Association and surviving WR veterans. Military historians and anyone interested in women’s studies should find U.S. Marine Corps Women’s Reserve: ‘They Are Marines’: Uniforms and Equipment in World War II of interest and helpful in their educational pursuits.

US Marine Corps Women’s Reserve “They Are Marines”: Uniforms and Equpment in World War II, Frontline Books, www.frontline-books.com, 2018, hardcover w/dustjacket, 6½” x 9½”, 208 pp., $44.95.

Badges of Kitchener's Army

The Badges of Kitchener's Army

The Badges of Kitchener's Army

Badges of Kitchener’s Army is based on thirty years of research in many museums across Britain (including regimental museums), archives and collections. It is an exhaustive study of the development of the battalion, brigade and divisional signs of the thirty divisions raised by Field Marshal Horatio Kitchner.

The author explains that while the divisional signs are well known, there has been little authoritative work on the signs worn by the infantry battalions. This book fills the void. The Badges of Kitchener’s Army - Infantry illustrates the unique cap and shoulder titles used, as well as cloth signs worn to provide easy recognition in the trenches. Each service battalion, of each regiment has a listing, which provides a brief history of the unit and detailed information on the badges worn.

The book is profusely illustrated and contains information such as why a shape or color was chosen, when it was adopted, what size it was, whether it was worn on a helmet, what color the helmet was and even what colors were used on horse transport. (The majority of this rich and detailed information has never been published before.) What helps make the information accurate and authoritative is that much of it comes from an archive created at the time and from personal correspondence with hundreds of veterans in the 1980s, many of whom still had their badges and often had razor-sharp recollections about wearing them. The book will also provide some comments from these veterans.

Author David Bilton is a retired teacher; he spends his time with family, works as a university lecturer and researches the Great War. He has authored many books about the British Army, the Home Front and the German Army. His interest in the Great War was ignited by his grandfather’s refusal to talk about his experiences in Gallipoli and on the Western Front.

The Badges of Kitchener’s Army - Infantry, by David Bilton, Pen & Sword, 2018, hardcover w/dustjacket, 6½” x 9½”, 352 pp., www.pen-and-sword.co.uk, $60. 

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