Anyone who knows us well knows that books are a passion we share, so much so that when you enter our house you're greeted by two packed book cases, not to mention the others scattered around the house.

However, we tend to read very different kinds of literature. Whilst we both enjoy contemporary fiction and a little classic fiction, my personal preference leans towards non-fiction, in particular history and autobiography.

So this year I have read at least 20 non-fiction books so far, the year hasn't finished just yet, and I'm pretty sure there are at least two books missing from this pic, but for the life of me I can't think what they are.

Anyway, here are a few random thoughts on some of what I've read so far this year...

Anthony Beevor's Battle For Spain was a fascinating read. The Spanish Civil War was a period I knew almost nothing about, so it was great to read such a well researched non-partisan (pun intended) book on the subject.

I also fell in love with John Nichol and Damien Lewis.
I was drawn to Nichol simply because I love the Spitfire and wanted to read a decent history of the plane. Having read that book I simply had to read more and once I realised John Nichol was one of the RAF's downed pilots in Desert Storm I actively sought out a copy of Tornado Down. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favour and get a copy.

As for Damien Lewis, I wasn't sure about him when I first saw one of his books in the local bookshop, I wondered how the actor (Homeland) could possibly have much to say about the SAS. As it turns out the actor and the author are two VERY different people! Lewis's books on the SAS are superb and well worth a read. If ever a book was un-put-downable, Lewis's books are it.

I've had Rules Of Engagement on my shelves for a few years and never got round to reading it until this September. Oh my word, what a read! A soldier who is articulate, intelligent and cares passionately for his men. Sadly, the book is a terrible indictment on the British Army and the polar opposite of Tornado Down in which the RAF come out looking very good.

Forgotten Bastards Of The Eastern Front was another leftfield read. A brilliant book about a little known part of WWII in which the USAAF were based on Soviet soil for a few years. This was such a good read, if a little harrowing at times.

Perhaps the most unexpected read was Stalin's Daughter. Svetlana Alliluyeva's story is mesmerizing and a damning exposé of her father and his rule over the Soviet Union.

Malcolm Gladwell's The Bomber Mafia was entertaining and made sense in the light of Tornado by John Nichol.

But I have to say each book here was fantastic, each for very different reasons but fantastic nevertheless.

From top to bottom, left to right...
The Battle For Spain - Anthony Beevor
Forgotten Bastards Of The Eastern Front - Serhi Plokhy
Tornado Down - John Peters & John Nichol
The Bomber Mafia - Malcolm Gladwell
Tornado - John Nichol
Rules Of Engagement - Tim Collins
SAS Band Of Brothers - Damian Lewis
SAS Zero Six Bravo - Damian Lewis
SAS Ghost Patrol - Damian Lewis
SAS Nazi Hunters - Damian Lewis
Spitfire - John Nichol
Lancaster - John Nichol
The Most Beautiful Walk In The World - John Baxter
Revolutionaries - Eric Hobsbawn
Ark Royal - Mike Rossiter
 Forgotten Voices Of The Great War - Max Arthur (Editor)
The Elite - Ranulph Fiennes
Long Shot - Azad Cudi
Stalin's Daughter - Rosemary Sullivan
My Time - Bradley Wiggins


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