Book Reviews

Book Reviews

We thought you might welcome reviews of some history books we have found interesting.

Please let us know if there are any you would like to recommend – whether it be local, national, regional or world, from ancient to modern.  Please send to:

The Walls have Ears: The Greatest Intelligence Operation of World Word II, Helen Fry, Yale University Press, ISBN: 978-0300254853 (2019) – an astonishing story of wartime espionage at Trent Park, Middlesex

Lost and Found – Journey to a Forgotten Railway, David Grindley, Slowcoach Publishing, ISBN: 978-0956412812 (2016) – an exploration of the lost Bishop’s Stortford to Braintree Railway.

Hertford in 50 Buildings, Paul Rabbits & Peter Jeffree, Amberley Publishing ISBN: 978-1398103788 (2023) – a fascinating exploration of Hertford, well illustrated with colour photos.  Who would have guessed Hertford had so many –  a challenge for Stortford?

Winters in the World: A Journey Through the Anglo-Saxon Year, Eleanor Parker, Reaction Books, ISBN: 978-1789147735 (2023) – How the pagan Anglo-Saxon natural year was adapted to spread Christianity; lyrical, translations Old English poetry.

The Viking Great Army and the Making of England, Dawn Hadly & Julian Richards, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0500296622 (2021) – Fascinating read about the Vikings and how their army moved around England – the role of detectorists in finding their camps.

The Anglo-Saxon World, Nicholas Higham & Martin Ryan, Yale University Press, ISBN: 978-0300216134  (2013) – Compendious and well-illustrated about the Anglo-Saxons – well written.

Digging up Britain: A New  History in Ten Extraordinary Discoveries, Mike Pitts, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0500296127 (2019) – Descriptions of key English archaeological sites (including Stone Henge) – well written and a great overview of historical events 400,000 BC to AD 1000.

Castle in Context: Power, Symbolism and Landscape, 1066 to 1500, Robert Liddiard,  Windgather Press, ISBN: 978-0954557522 (2005) – New views on the purposes of castles from the Norman era, what they were designed to do and the power they projected.

The Medieval Castle in England and Wales: A Social and Political History, N J G Pounds, Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 978-0521383493 (1991) – Good overview with a lot of interesting detail, how they were built, maps, sketches, data.

The Road, Christopher Hadley William Collins, ISBN: 978-0008356729 (2024) – A fascinating study of a local Roman road leading from Braughing to Great Chesterford.

Brewers in Hertfordshire – A historical gazetteer, Dr Allan Whitaker, University of Hertfordshire Press, ISBN: 978-0954218973 (2006) – Brewing and its associated activities have been important industries in Hertfordshire for centuries. After an introduction to the brewing process and an overview about the development of the industry in the county, the gazetteer section visits each significant town in Hertfordshire, detailing the brewers who worked there and what remains to be seen today.

Rivers Nursery of Sawbridgeworth: The art of practical pomology, Elizabeth Waugh, Rivers Nursery Site and Orchard Group, ISBN: 978-1904851325 (2009)