tiistai 3. maaliskuuta 2015

Review: The History Book Man

This time no miniatures, but more "light" reading in the form of the excellent uniform and unit guides from W.J. Rawkins or "The History Book Man". I stumbled across his site when Loki from Loki's Great Hall mentioned his work a while back. As the books focus on more obscure nations that are a bit harder to find information on I decided to give it a try.

I bought myself a book about the Swedish Napoleonic army for future use in commissioning a small 1808 force of these as well as books on Swiss and Polish troops in French service. All the books have originally been published sometime in the late 70s and early 80s and are long out of print, but with the coming of modernish technology they have been re-edited, new colour images have been added and are now delivered in on DVD's.

A single DVD retails for 4 pounds, which is quite a bargain in my opinion. Inside the DVD you find a PDF, so nothing fancy or interactive. I'd personally have preferred just a downloadable PDF to save the waiting time of a DVD. There is the small cottage industry feel to these as the DVD's actually came with a blank face and a printed sticker that you need to attach yourself. To be honest it's not really a problem to get these on a DVD, but still saving on the postage would be nice and maybe the world would have a tiny bit less of useless stuff.

Having read through most of the book regarding the army of Sweden during 1802-1814 and glanced through the other two, they do come across as very thoroughly researched. The unique Swedish indelningsverk method of maintaining a largish army in a small country is explained thoroughly and all the uniform changes and peculiarities are explained both in writing and with pictures. This is definately a subject that is hard to find information on as there is little to none of it even in Swedish so I must applaud Mr. Rawkins for his research into the subject. Certainly helped me out a lot. The other books are of similar quality, though longer as those armies had far more combat experience and I would expect research material to be far easier to find.

For the price these are quite unbeatable as background material. They won't go into extremely obscure details, but will definately provide more than enough for your average wargamer and will be a good starting point for the more fanatical persona. Most of the titles are about the small German states so if you are planning those I'd definately recommend taking a look. The website states that they are planning to release 3 new or re-edited books this year, so it will be interesting to see what new nationalities will be covered.

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