Good source for ancients books in London?

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76mm
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Good source for ancients books in London?

Post by 76mm » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:36 am

I'm stuck in London for a few days on business and was wondering if anyone can recommend a bookstore with a good selection of books on ancient military matters? Not really interested in the osprey type book as much as more thorough histories, and already have most of the ancient authors so am looking for more recent scholarship. I live in Moscow, so it is hard/expensive to order through sources such as Amazon, etc.

Simlarly, any recommendations for good book? Currently reading THE WARS OF ALEXANDER'S SUCCESSORS by Bennet and Roberts, which is very good BTW, although if focuses more on politics and general military compaigns rather than tactical level descriptions...

I was here last week as well, and the bookstores I went to around Picadilly had surprisingly weak selections.

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Post by pcaravel » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:47 am

Since you asked for tactical level descriptions, I highly recommend "The Western Way of War" and "Wars of the Ancient Greeks" by Victor Davis Hanson.
These books are focused on the warfare of Greeks, until the years of Alexander the Great. The writer also offers descriptions of the battle experience from a warrior's perspective,.

If you're interested about Roman warfare, you should check out "The Complete Roman Army" by Adrian Goldsworthy. Great read, tons of useful information.

Also, I recommend "Warfare in the Classical World" by John Gibson Warry, as a general reference book about the whole era.

By the way, I just found on the Internet that there is a second volume of the book you're currently reading with the title
"THE WARS OF ALEXANDER'S SUCCESSORS 323-281 BC: volume 2: Battles and Tactics". There must be the tactical descriptions you are looking for.

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Post by 76mm » Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:49 am

thanks for the suggestions, and particularly thanks for the second volume, will definitely looks for that!

[EDIT] Slitherine, any chance we can set up a sticked "reading list" thread? Most of these titles are hardly best-sellers and may be difficult to find and/or evaluate without input from other readers.

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Post by petergarnett » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:08 am

Goto Foyles bookshop (Charing Cross Road) - the military section is on one of the upper floors. For second hand books try around Shaftsbury Avenue.

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Post by arsan » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:19 am

+1 to Foyles!
When i was in London last time, a couple years ago, i found his history section full of interesting things. When i got back home my suitcase was quite heavier! :wink:
About ancient wars books recommendation, i like a lot this Peter Connolly Greece and Rome at war
http://www.amazon.com/Greece-Rome-War-P ... 336&sr=8-3

Great (and deep) text and lots of nice graphics, and battle maps.

I got it from Amazon some years go, don't know if its still availible.
Cheers

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Post by 76mm » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:52 pm

Just back from Foyles. Very impressive bookstore. Picked up several books, including the second volume referenced above, WARHORSE by Phillip Sidnell (re ancient cavalry), CAVALRY OPERATIONS IN THE ANCIENT GREEK WORLD by Robert Gaebel (re cavalry operations...) and THE SPARTACUS WAR by Barry Strauss (re guess what...).

Will let you know if these books are any good.

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Post by andersm73 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:52 pm

My reading tastes are fairly diverse, the below I've managed to finish so they must be fairly readable :-)

Classical
The Histories - Herodotus
The History of the Peloponnesian War - Thucydides
History of My Times - Xenophon

Historical
Persian Fire - Tom Holland
Rubicon - Tom Holland
Xenophons Retreat - Robin Waterfield
The Peloponnesian War - Donald Kagan
The Fall of the Roman Empire - Peter Heather
Genghis Khan Life Death and Resurrection - John Man (also wrote Kublai Khan but haven't read it as yet)
The Wars of Alexanders Successor's vol 1 - can't locate the book for the author...

Fiction
The Gates of Rome, The Death of Kings, The Field of swords and The God's of War - Conn Iggulden
Wolf of the Plains, Lords of the Bow and Bones of the Hills - Conn Iggulden

Heroic Fantasy
Lion of Macedon and The Dark Prince - David Gemmel
Lord of the Silver Bow, Shield of Thunder and Fall of Kings - David Gemmel

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Post by Morbio » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:23 pm

Fully supports the Fiction and Heroic Fantasy choices of andersm73. Awesome stories!

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Post by Gunjin » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:31 pm

If you see your self as a bit of a grognard with regard to ancient warfare then I would recomend you concider "History of the Art of War" parts 1&2 by Hans Delbrook. Origanally written in German but has been translated into english. Lots of infomation on ancient battles and tactics and weapons used.
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Post by Hoplite1963 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 4:04 pm

Although you will probably have to get it second hand on the web “Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars, 359 to 146 BC by Duncan Head, published by the Wargames Research Group (WRG) in 1982 is an absolute must for details on the armies covered both in “Rise Of Rome” and the forthcoming “Immortal Fire”. WRG also did a two volume series on “The Armies of the Middle Ages” both by Ian Heath which came out in 1982 and 1984 respectively. Volume 1 covers the time period of “Storm Of Arrows” while Volume 2 is a good match up for “Eternal Empire” when that comes out.

For my money probably their best book was “Armies of the Ancient Near East 3,000BC to 539 BC, by Nigel Stillman and Nigel Tallis, which came out in 1984 which is sill the best single book source for the “Swifter Than Eagles” period. Best to grab this one wile you can as its difficult to get hold of. If Osprey was to buy the rights to republish these books and tie up their release with the various FOG expansion packs they would make and absolute mint “hint hint”.

If you cannot get your hands on the WRG books then you might want to pick up “Lost Battles” by Philip Sabin, published by Hambledon Continuum Books in 2007. This covers Ancient battles from the battle of Marathon in 490BC to the Battle of Pharsalus in 48BC.

The great strength of the book is that it looks at the battles in question (and it covers 35 of them) specifically form the perspective of how to refight them as wargames scenarios as a means an analysing what was actually going on.

In addition to the works mentioned by others I would also recommend “Warhorse, cavalry in ancient warfare” by Philip Sidnell, also published by Hambledon Continuum Books in 2006. which covers cavalry from the time period of “Immortal Fire” down to 1066 and the battle of Hastings. You should be able to get both of these books in Foyles.

I also agree very much with you about wanting a way to use the forum to share information on good books to support the series. A suspect that I am non alone in this forum in having been buying books on this subject for more decades than I would care to admit (I started visiting the military books department in Foyles in the 1970’s) and it would be good to share views on what’s worth tracking down.

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Post by petergarnett » Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:33 pm

For older books the Cambridge Ancient History is pretty good but not the latest editions which are excellant for archaeology but not as good as the earlier ones on narrative history. The volume on the Punic Wars is excellant but needs also to be read with someone like Goldsworthy or Lazenby.
If you can find it Hodgkin's 8 volumes on the Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire is a challenging read (the folio society reprinted it).
Michael Grant's books on Roman history are still good.
Some of the WRG Armies & Enemies books are still available - try 'The Keep' (supplier) who I think jointly own the copyright.

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Post by IainMcNeil » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:58 pm

If someone wants to maintain a list I'm happy to have it but probably best in the general discussions forum. Ideally with the top post containing an updated list of books as if the thread becomes popular it will soon be unmanageable to navigate.

76mm
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Post by 76mm » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:04 pm

I'd be willing to maintain it, or at least help maintain it. How do we do that?

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