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New from Tattered Flag Press for 2015

Tattered Flag Press is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication this year of two important new historical books.

Friends  Enemies jacket

Firstly, Hugh Rethman’s eminent and detailed study of the Natal campaign in the South African War of 1899-1902. For Friends and Enemies, the author spent many years gathering information from archives and private collections in both South Africa and Britain to assemble one of the most detailed examinations of this major aspect of the Boer War, which included the infamous siege of Ladysmith. Rethman, who was born in Natal and whose great grandfather commanded the Border Mounted Rifles, shows how at the start of the conflict Britain’s generals were faced with unprecedented difficulties: as a result of these challenges, some learnt quickly – others were slower and yet others still, perhaps through pride and stubbornness, refused to alter their ways and thus their men paid with their lives. Britain was to lose nearly 9,000 men killed in action, more than 13,000 to disease and a further 75,000 wounded and sick. This deeply researched study, for the first time records the experiences of the inhabitants of Natal – soldier and civilian, men, women and children, black and white. The book is the result of years of intensive study undertaken in archives in both South Africa and Britain. It will appeal to the general reader as well as being an important and scholarly resource to students of nineteenth and twentieth century conflict.

Friends and Enemies: The Natal Campaign in the South African War 1899-1902 by Hugh Rethman  

ISBN: 978-0-9576892-3-7 

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We shall also be publishing an illuminating and scholarly new study by Dr. C

MI5 coverhris Northcott on the earliest days of the British intelligence organisation, MI5. MI5 at War 1909-1 918: How MI5 Foiled the Spies of the Kaiser in the First World War provides a revealing assessment of MI5 during perhaps its most challenging years. Using hitherto neglected documents from official archives, Dr Northcott, a specialist and teacher in Intelligence and Security Studies, examines how MI5 foiled the spies of the Kaiser during the First World War, paying particular attention to the preventive measures the organisation instituted to ‘frustrate’ German espionage and how its investigations to ‘cure’ the threat of espionage were conducted. MI5 began as a one-man affair in 1909, tasked with the limited remit of ascertaining the extent of German espionage in Britain amidst an uncertain future. By the armistice and fuelled by what became known as ‘spy mania’, MI5’s role had expanded considerably and it had begun to develop into an established security intelligence agency, with hundreds of personnel spread over six branches covering the investigation of espionage, records, ports and travellers, and alien workers at home and overseas.

MI5 at War 1909-1918: How MI5 foiled the Spies of the Kaiser in the First World War by Chris Northcott

ISBN: 978-0-9576892-8-2

We will be posting updates here on when the books will be published, but also keep an eye out on our Facebook page.



Box of Sand Cover A Box of Sand 

The Italo-Ottoman War 1911-1912

Charles Stephenson

ISBN: 978-0-9576892-2-0

An analysis of a conflict that, in so many ways, raised the curtain on the Great War. In September 1911, Italy declared war on the once mighty, transcontinental Ottoman Empire – but it was an Empire in decline. The ambitious Italy decided to add to her growing African empire by attacking Ottoman-ruled Tripoli (Libya). The Italian action began the rapid fall of the Ottoman Empire, which would end with its disintegration at the end of the First World War. The day after Ottoman Turkey made peace with Italy in October 1912, the Balkan League attacked in the First Balkan War.

As acclaimed historian Charles Stephenson portrays in this ground-breaking study, if there is an exemplar of the futility of war, this is it. Apart from the loss of life and the huge cost to Italy, the main outcome was to halve the Libyan population through emigration, famine and casualties.  A Box of Sand will be of great interest to students of military history and those with an interest in the history of North Africa and the development of technology in war.    Read more 


Over Empires  Oceans cover 1Over Empires and Oceans

Pioneers, Aviators and Adventurers

Forging the International Air Routes 1918-1939

Robert Bluffield

ISBN: 978-0-954 3115-6-8

This is a story of pioneers, intrepid aviators, adventurers, tycoons, innovators, flamboyant entrepreneurs, some well known, others forgotten, who risked fortunes and reputations to follow their dreams of reaching and ruling the skies over empires, continents and oceans. Robert Bluffield’s highly researched and detailed account tells dramatic stories of bewildering adversity, corruption, underhanded deals and dwindling resources; tenacious individuals who braved the elements using primitive, entirely unsuitable equipment to establish earth-shrinking aerial services that criss-crossed the great oceans and the globe’s most inhospitable territories. These are the stories of the pioneers who had a far-reaching impact on the way the modern world would travel. 

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Lawrence coverLawrence - Warrior and Scholar

Bruce Leigh

ISBN: 978-0-9543115-7-5

 More than one hundred books have been written about T.E. Lawrence, exploring the man and his deeds. However, to date, nobody has gone in search of the mind of the man himself – of his formation and his deep beliefs. Nobody has asked the question, What, really, is the source of the extraordinary power of this man? – not only in terms of his incontestable qualities of leadership, but also in regard to the sheer range of his activities and accomplishments. Archaeologist, writer, guerilla warfare theorist and practitioner, diplomat, soldier and airman, Lawrence also possessed an unusual ability to cross boundaries of class, race, culture, and religion.

Bruce Leigh’s Lawrence – Warrior and Scholar is a quest. Drawing upon what Lawrence and those who knew him wrote, and did, and said, this book delves into Lawrence’s personal philosophy and practices, and his close relationship to the world of classical scholarship and chivalry, emphasising that Lawrence’s views were not abstractions only, but intimately tied to his actions and deeds.   Read more  



 Spacesuit cover for web


Read the reviews  " ...  this book is a real gem ..."  

E-book NOW AVAILABLE!  A visual delight - don't miss it!


Tattered Flag Press is delighted to announce that Spacesuit has won a 2012 American Astronautical Society  Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award:

"... The innovative, problem-solving adventure of making and perfecting a life-protecting suit will engage, inspire, and inform readers from advanced middle school through adults, regardless of their foreknowledge on the subject. Spacesuit, the book and the object itself, is an inspiring microcosm of astronautical history and engineering."    Space Times: The Magazine of the American Astronautical Society

This book follows the remarkable history of the spacesuit through science fiction and fact.

With an absorbing blend of drama and detail, Brett Gooden explains how this seemingly impossible dream gradually evolved into the complex suits of today and how the quest continues for the ‘Mars and Beyond’ suits of tomorrow.

Read more.


 Vowell jacketLiberty or Death!

The Life and Campaigns of Richard L. Vowell

British Legionnaire and Commander – Hero and Patriot of the Americas

Maria Páez Victor

ISBN: 978-0-9543115-8-2

E -book now AVAILABLE! (ISBN: 978-0-9543115-9-9 )

See photographs from the book's launches in London and Toronto on our News page

"Maria Paez Victor has put in the hard yards chasing Vowell's story across continents, to great avail, and the reader of the book's final chapters is rewarded with an astounding tale ..."  Matthew Brown, Bolivarian Times

"The book traces his adventures across the continent of South America and eventually to Australia. Throughout I felt like I was walking along beside him, seeing and feeling the people, the country, the cities and the politics of his time. Throughout the complex trail that the author takes us along, I gained much greater understanding and appreciation for the enormous sacrifices made in the name of liberty, the results of which we enjoy today ... and largely unconsciously. This book is a most enjoyable read for those who enjoy great adventures and for those interested in South American history and politics."  Amazon reader review

"I have to say how much I enjoyed this book ... I had no idea what sacrifices the Venezuelan patriots made for their country and what part the British played. This book vividly describes the challenges, sufferings and triumphs of the oppressed peoples and their "ragtag" army who eventually defeated their rulers. The description of the trek across the Andes by Bolivar and his men sent shivers up my spine..." Amazon reader review

"Maria Páez Victor explores Vowell’s discoveries, his choices, and many historic moments in a delightful book, a fascinating read about an exciting period of history. I highly recommend it." Amazon reader review

See the full reviews here

This is, firstly, the story of Richard Longfield Vowell, an audacious and intrepid young English adventurer who abandoned his studies at Oxford in 1817 to fight against the Spanish Empire that had ruled Latin America for 300 years. It is also the story of the little known British Legion, formed of English and Irish volunteers, which became an integral part of Simón Bolívar’s Patriot Army. The British Legion played a crucial role in training the patriot forces to face Spanish troops battle-hardened in the Peninsular Wars.

 Crossing the Andes with Bolívar:  Such as have never felt the sensation of extreme thirst, cannot possibly form an idea of the welcome refreshment the first long draught of water affords, although the tepid fluid in these pools would disgust any person who was not really and painfully thirsty. It is, in general, of a greenish colour, swarming with insects, and frequently containing the bodies of horses, and other animals, that have just had strength sufficient to reach the water and die….

This important first biography of Vowell is based on extensive research undertaken in three continents. It uncovers information previously unknown about Vowell’s exciting life and daring exploits – from his birth in a genteel English country town, to his campaigns in the far-off Americas, and to his period in the harsh landscape of Australia, where he confronted another empire and was subsequently and unjustly imprisoned on a remote Pacific island. This absorbing account sheds light on a lost but fascinating episode of British endeavour and valour and its contribution to the shaping of the modern Americas.    

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Stalins Claws coverStalin's Claws
From the Purges to the Winter War

Red Army operations before Barbarossa 1937-1941

E.R. Hooton     

ISBN: 978-0-9543115-5-1

Also available as an e-book (ISBN: 978-0-9543115-9-9)

"... This book makes an original and insightful contribution to our understanding of the political and social context of the Red Army during the Second World War. It should be read by anyone with an interest in the Soviet regime or the Red Army during this period." Military History Monthly (read the full review here)

Read more about the book

Read interview with the author here

In this ground-breaking and important study, military historian E.R. Hooton tells the absorbing story of the bloody tidal wave which swept away the majority of the Soviet armed forces' most experienced officers in the 1930s. As the military leadership was cut to pieces, so the Red Army was deployed in operations at the extremities of Stalin’s empire. Using a range of specialist sources, Hooton tells the full story of the battles and campaigns mounted against the Japanese at Khalkin Gol, the disastrous Winter War with Finland of 1939-1940 as well as the invasion of Rumania’s eastern province of Bessarabia in June 1940 which ultimately would provoke ‘Barbarossa’ in 1941. Following detailed research, the author provides a vivid and important insight into the operations conducted by the Red Army from 1937 to 1941 and makes some surprising conclusions about the impact of the Purges.

 OPS NEW jacketA Major New Study of Bomber Command

'OPS' : Victory at all Costs: On operations over Hitler's Reich with the crews of Bomber Command - Their War, Their Words

Andrew R.B. Simpson

ISBN: 978-0-9555977-6-3

Also available as an e-book (ISBN 978-0-9555977-9-4)

Read interview with the author here

... authentic, moving ... well written and engaging ...' Amazon reader review

... Very comprehensive. I would recommend this book to those with an interest in the deeds of Bomber Command in WW2. Amazon reader review

'Warfare' online magazine says of Ops' :

... 'Ops' is also a labour of love; running as a thread through the unfolding narrative are the experiences of Laurie Simpson, the author's father ... The story ... develops along a chronological line, covering training, life on squadron, ops, escape and evasion and life as a POW; each liberably ‘salted’ with personal accounts to make a very readable book... ...  I, for one, am satisfied and the book will be on my 'go to' shelf.'

'Classic Wings' says of 'Ops' :  

This year a Bomber Command Memorial was opened by the Queen in London in what was a long overdue tribute to the loss of some 55,000 aircrew of the service during the Second World War. With much controversy post war about the effectiveness and necessity of the RAF's bombing strategy, the fact that the crews were 'doing their job' has been lost in the fog. If anyone has ever doubted that this memorial is fitting they should read this outstanding work ... this book offers a unique and extraordinary insight into arguably the most stressful operations of the last war, where men faced the probability of death without flinching from their duty.'

'Military History Monthly' says of 'Ops' :

Andrew Simpson's 'Ops' bears all the hallmarks of becoming the definitive work on bomber operations during WWII.

Read the full review here.

'Waterstones' says of 'Ops' : 

...Hence this outstanding book, ‘Ops’. There are no wizard prangs here. This is the bomber offensive at its most authentic, vivid and compelling. Aircrew are drummed out for LMF - ‘lack of moral fibre’. They drink, they swear. Their hands tremble so much they can barely write. Elsan toilets fling their disgusting contents all over the aircraft when it dives. Former POWs talk candidly about the grasses and moles, their own people, who hung around the camps trying to make them talk...

 ...To go out night after night, knowing with bleak mathematical certainty that the odds of survival diminished every time, knowing that all it took was too much ice on the wing, or a moment’s drowsiness by the rear gunner, or a slip of the navigator’s pencil taking you over a flak belt, or a Luftwaffe ace creeping invisibly beneath you with his ‘schragemusik’, his upwards-pointing guns, to send your aircraft plummeting from the sky – to do all this, knowing all that, required fortitude on a scale we in the 21st century can barely conceive....

 ...Richard Dimbleby put it best: ‘I only wish there were some way of telling people in Britain what all these men are doing for them’. Seventy years later, Andrew R.B. Simpson has found a way. His book is among the most impressive on this subject I have yet read; it matches in print what the Bomber Command Memorial achieves in bronze and stone...

Read the full review here.

See Peter Davies's feature in ‘The Times’ of Saturday 15 September 2012. Read the article .

'Ops' has also been nominated as 'Book of the Month' by 'Britain at War' magazine.  Read the review by John Grehan here.




For Kaiser and Hitler

ISBN: 978-0-9555977-4-9

(also available as an e-book - ISBN 978-0-9555977-7-0)

'... Having been involved with the growth of German military aviation in both its earliest days and then again during its renaissance in the 1930s and then demise in 1945, he has much to say. He does not mince his words and thus provides a truly fascinating story with some very critical comments of both German and Allied organisations. Told from the inside, this story brings to light many of the problems faced by the German people and forces between 1914 and 1945 .... This is an unusual personal window into events between 1908 and 1952. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and cannot recommend it enough. To my mind, this is the book of the year.'  Cross & Cockade International. Read the full review here.

'A far cry from any other book of its kind... This rare memoir is unique in the sense that very few books that surface today concerning the war attempt to "set the record straight", but this factual narrative does just that... A great, factual and interesting read.'Warfare Magazine

A fascinating insight into the problems which the Luftwaffe faced, both in Russia and in Italy. For anyone interested in the evolution of German air power, it is essential reading.    Read more


rocket-cover Hitler's Rocket Soldiers

ISBN: 978-0-9555977-5-6

(also available as an e-book - ISBN 978-0-9555977-8-7 )

' This fascinating and historically significant book fills a void ... The amount and quality of information in 'Hitler's Rocket Soldiers' is remarkable ... ' Hitler's Rocket Soldiers' is one of the most fascinating, best-produced and interesting books I've read in many years. I enthusiastically give it my highest recommendation…’  Terry Sunday, Digital Space Art

'Truly an invaluable contribution to the operational history of the V2 rocket...'  'Warfare' Magazine

'We V2 soldiers fulfilled our tasks with the knowledge that every firing meant innocent people lost their lives..'    Read more




Spacesuit cover for web

Spacesuit - A History through Fact and Fiction

Brett A. Gooden

ISBN: 978-0-9543115-4-4

(also available as an e-book - ISBN: 978-0-9576892-0-6)

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See book review from 'Spaceflight' magazine   "... Copiously illustrated throughout, this book is a real gem ..."

Read interview with the author here

THE FASCINATING, EXTRAORDINARY AND OFTEN BIZARRE STORY of the Spacesuit through science fiction and fact. Man has dreamed of flying into space and walking on other planets for hundreds of years but gradually it became clear that to leave the earth’s atmosphere and gravity, our frail bodies would need protection from many dangers. In the period between the World Wars, daring pilots, competing with each other, ventured higher and higher into the thinner atmosphere.They challenged the physiologists and engineers to provide them with special suits to achieve this goal. At the same time, cheap pulp fiction magazines pumped out colourful adventures of humans in space. Their eye-catching cover illustrations became the archetypical feature of these ‘pulps’ and allowed artists to give vent to their wildest fantasy. Nevertheless, their inventive dreams for spacesuits fed back to the scientific community. Fiction influenced fact. Complemented by astonishing and detailed illustrations, this book unlocks the seemingly impenetrable secrets of how th e spacesuit was made into a practical and essential device. How simple everyday items such as the car tyre, the caterpillar and the concertina provided critical clues that eventually brought the spacesuit to reality. With an absorbing blend of drama and detail, the author explains how the seemingly impossible dream gradually evolved into the complex suits of today and how the quest continues for the ‘Mars and Beyond’ suits of tomorrow.


'For Kaiser and Hitler', 'Hitler's Rocket Soldiers',  'Ops', 'Stalin's Claws', 'Spacesuit' and 'Liberty or Death!' are available globally as e-books from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Overdrive, Sony & Google and other international e-tailers


The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or ruin. ipg


Hence, it is a subject of inquiry which can, on no account, be neglected.'  Sun Tzu : The Art Of War

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