Friday, 30 December 2016

Open Again!

Just a quick post to let you know that we're back from our Christmas holiday and are now open for business.  I hope you all had a good holiday - especially if you received a present of a book from us!

I should be adding new stock tomorrow (anyone fancy reading about the Royal Marines in the Napoleonic Wars?), so keep an eye on FaceBook for updates.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas 2016

Just a head's-up that Diplomatist Books will close for Christmas on 19 December for about a week (it depends...)

We hope you all enjoy the holidays (of whichever flavour you celebrate)!

Edwin, Sarah and the Dogges

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

New Wargaming Stock

We taken the opportunity of a recent restock to expand our range of titles published by the History of Wargames Project.  

These include studies of wargaming in the C19th and early C20th; classic texts by authors such as Donald Fetherstone, Phil Dunn and Stuart Asquith; and professional wargaming during the Cold War.

For more details of these and other titles, see our Modelling and Wargaming section.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

We are pleased to announce that, for the third year running, Diplomatist Books is a sponsor of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

The Challenge is an event around the painting of wargaming figures, open to people of all skills and levels of productivity.  It's a friendly competition in that the 'challenge' is to meet a target you set yourself and the fellow painters are invariably supportive (despite some banter between old-timers!).   There is no adversarial judging - indeed this year's theme is fellowship and camaraderie.

Nevertheless, prizes are given by popular vote, at the discretion of the organisers and for various bonus rounds.  We will be offering a £15.00 voucher as one of those prizes.

Read more about the challenge and how to join here.

For those of you of a wargaming bent, stick around as I'll be announcing some interesting new stock here tomorrow!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Who Is The Mystery Man On the New Fiver?


This morning I received the first of the new £5.00 notes - and a jolly good design it is too!

Now, in case anyone asks you the question at the top of this post, I thought it worthwhile pointing out that we have a whole section devoted to books about and by Churchill.  As a bonus, the majority of them can be bought with change from said fiver!

Sadly the volumes of his collected wartime speeches which have proved so popular have almost all gone now (snap them up while they're still here!) - but we always have our eye out for new titles to add to the list.  The ones below were added earlier this week (as those of you who follow us on Facebook will already know).



Thursday, 1 September 2016

If HG Wells Had Been a Child in the '70s...

New in (just in time for me to take to the Hereward Wargames Show) the newly published wargames ruleset Little Cold Wars.  It will shortly be added to our Wargaming Section, but I don't think I can do better than copying the following from the publisher's page:-
Little Cold Wars: Wargaming the Cold War Using Toy Soldiers by Tim Gow and Bertrand Plastique.  Edited by John Curry.  £12.95.
Possibly the sort of wargame H.G Wells might have developed if he had been a child in the 1970s.  But perhaps not. 
Written by Tim Gow and Bertrand Plastique, the book recreates battles from the era of the Cold War. 
Based on the original ideas of H.G. Wells, this book brings the original toy soldier rules up to date to recreate wars from the time of the Cold War onto the wargamer’s table top or preferably, his lawn. 
The rules grasp the essentials of Cold War combat; movement, close assault, direct fire, artillery and air support. They also include additional rules to cover the complexities of engineering, smoke and the wider air battle. They do so in a style reminiscent of Little Wars, just with tanks and aircraft. 
The book includes a full points system as well as sample army lists from Britain to Yugoslavia. 
For those seeking greater complexity, there are optional rules to cover special forces, large battles, night fighting and hidden movement. 
There are also five sample scenarios to help the new Cold War warrior get started. 
These rules are straightforward, but comprehensive toy soldier rules that allow the wargamer to experience the battles, actual and potential, from those days.  

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

15% Discount on Hereward Show Pre-Orders

On Sunday 4 September Diplomatist Books will be having at stall at the Hereward Wargames Show to be held in Peterborough.

It would be nice if some of you were able to come along and say hello!

We will be bringing along a mix of military history and some other stuff (I don't know why, but my gut tells me this might be a chance to sell graphic novels).  However, as this is the first wargames show that we've attended as a dealer we may get the mix wrong.  Therefore we are offering customers a 15% discount on pre-orders for collection on the day.

There are several good reasons for participating in this offer

  • 15% off!
  • no postage to pay
  • it ensures we don't leave the book you want at home
  • many of our books in stock are single copies - it ensures someone else doesn't buy it first!

If you want to order for collection in Peterborough, e-mail us with the details of your order at

Monday, 15 August 2016

Bon Anniversaire!

"What, no cake?!"

Today is of course Napoleon's 247th birthday.  I'm not going to attempt to write about the many books about the emperor - merely point you our selection of titles on the Napoleonic Wars here.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Something a Little Different

Sometimes in our travels looking for books to sell, I can resist picking up board games or RPG items.  We don't normally sell these on-line, but with our latest purchase I've decided to try out eBay.

It's an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Fighting Wheel gaming aid.  These were published here in the UK in 1981, but didn't take off - probably because they look fiendishly complicated.  Accordingly, only a run of 1000 of the Number 1 Wheel (Fighters, Paladins, Rangers and Bards) was produced.

The eBay listing is here.  There is no buy-it-now option on it.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Revolutionary Reading

To those of you who celebrate it - Happy Independence Day!

If the celebrations have prompted you to find out a little more about the Revolution/War of Independence, you can find some useful reading in our section on C18th Military History.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Good News for Overseas Buyers

Always been put off buying books from us because we're based in the UK?  Well there's good news for you.  The value of the pound has fallen significantly since the result of the Europe Referendum was announced this morning.  Now's the time to buy!

Didn't know we sold overseas?  If you want it (and will pay the postage), we'll send it anywhere!

Our overseas sales to date

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Waterloo Day

Well it's the 201st Anniversary of the Battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars.  How to celebrate?  Why not buy one of the many books on the war (including some produced for the 200th Anniversary, but were too dear at the time!).

Quick, before they sell out!

"By God, Sir, I've lost my leg!"
"By God, Sir, sit down and read a good book!"

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Father's Day

Look how well these two bond over a book
in this completely unposed  photo

Father's Day as we celebrate it here in the UK is coming up.  Are you a father?  Have you a father?  Do you know a father?  All excellent reasons to buy a book!

Books make excellent gifts!

No sure what the Old Boy wants?  Buy him a credit and let him spend enjoyable hours looking through our stock for himself.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Hereward Wargames Show

We are glad to announce that we have taken a stall at the Hereward Wargames Show which will be held at The Cresset, Peterborough on Sunday 4 September 2016.

We hope to have the chance to meet existing customers, as well  and many, many new ones  If you're attending, do come across and say hello.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Sir John Keegan (1934-2012)

Sir John Keegan (left)

John Keegan has been described as the twentieth century's pre-eminent military historians with "a rare ability to describe warfare from the standpoint of the frontline soldier" (1)  and as "an original thinker who opened up an entirely new historiographical vista and spawned many imitators" (2).

John Desmond Patrick Keegan was born in Clapham, south London on 15 May 1934, the son of Irish immigrants.  His father had served in the Royal Artillery in the First World War, but by the time of John's birth was a school inspector.  Accordingly, when the Second World War broke out in 1939 the family moved to Somerset where Keegan senior had charge of some 300 evacuee children.  The joint experience of living in the country and during wartime had a big effect on John - particularly the huge build-up of troops in preparation for the Normandy landings (experiences he was to recall in the prologue to his Six Armies in Normandy).  It probably also influenced his strong support of Anglo-American alliances - in 1994 he was the only non-American among the historians invited to brief President Clinton in advance of the 50th Anniversary of D-Day.

John was taught at Taunton College before returning to London to the Jesuit-run Wimbledon College, where his education was interrupted at the age of 13 by a tubercular hip which meant that he spent the winter of 1947 in TB ward (alongside many ex-servicemen) exposed to the open air.  A bone graft left him with a frozen hip, giving him a permanent limp and leaving him unfit for National Service.  He attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1957.  He then toured the Civil War battlefields of the United States before accepting a job as a political analyst in the American embassy

In 1960 he was appointed a senior lecturer in military history at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he was to stay for 26 years.  This was a time of great change both in the teaching of military history (his subject and department were re-titled 'war studies' during his time at Sandhurst) and in the education of future officers.  Nevertheless, Keegan found Sandhurst a congenial place and earned the respect and liking of many of his students - useful contacts for him as they rose in seniority and he moved into journalism.

Less easy was the relationship with his colleagues, which became even more troubled on the publication in 1975 of his first major book, The Face of Battle.  In this book he took three battles - Agincourt (1415), Waterloo (1815) and the Somme (1916) and used them to address questions such as "What is it like to be in battle?".  He expressed a loathing for 'anecdotal history', 'the inanimate landscape of documents', and what he called rhetorical 'battle pieces' that had dominated Western historiography since Caesar.   Thus "instead of adopting a commander’s perspective, seeing every conflict as an impersonal flow of causation, currents and tendencies in the way favoured by contemporary historians, Keegan concentrated on the experience of the common soldier". (3)  

The instant success of the book, and calls on him to do external work did little to enamour Keegan to his colleagues - especially his head of department, the Napoleonic historian David G Chandler, who saw such barbs as addressed against himself.  Matters came to a head when Keegan returned from a visiting professorship at Princeton to find that Chandler had put him before a disciplinary panel.  Journalism came to his rescue.

Keegan had already written for the press, notably during the Falklands War (under the pseudonym 'Patrick Desmond' to preserve Sandhurst's blushes),  When his friend the war correspondent Max Hastings became editor of the Daily Telegraph in 1986, Keegan asked for a job and was appointed defence correspondent (later defence editor until his retirement in 2009).  This enabled him both to continue his own writing (his duties apparently didn't extend beyond Wednesdays), but also gave him the ability to further foster the contacts he had built up over the years.

Keegan was the author of more than twenty books. though he perhaps never again reached the heights he had scaled with The Face of Battle: his ODNB biographer states that some of the later works were carelessly put together and "he competed with himself, with [that] one incomparable book, by which he would always be remembered, but which most historians could not write one half as good if they laboured for six professional lifetimes."   Some criticised his easy dismissal of von Clausewitz and others his reluctance to consider the fruits of historical revisionism.

Keegan was appointed OBE for services to journalism in the Gulf War; he was knighted in 2000.   He served on such bodies as the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

In the words of the ODNB:
Keegan's legacy was uneven but his achievement indisputable. He was an original thinker who opened up an entirely new historiographical vista and spawned many imitators.  He was the author of arguably one of the two most important books on military history written in the second half of the twentieth century. (4)

1. Dan van der Vat, Guardian obit, 5 Aug 2012.
2. Brian Holden Reid, 'Keegan, Sir  John Desmond Patrick  (1934-2012)', ODNB.
3. The Face of Battle, cited in ODNB entry.
4.  ODNB.  The other book was Michael Howard's The Franco-Prussian War.

So which of Kegan's books do we have in stock?

It of course depends on when you read this, but if I've done the search and link right you should be able to find out here.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Celebrating the Jet Age

'The Wonder Jet' (1950) Central Office of Information film 
for the Ministry of Supply.  Crown Copyright.

Earlier this evening my sister, whose much more in touch with things aviation that I, informed me of something that had escaped my notice: that 15 May 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the first flight of a British jet-powered aircraft.  Immediately my mind turned to the many books on the history of aviation I have for sale and I resolved to make a blog entry to mark the event.*

* It's called slipstreaming.

The turbojet was the brainchild of Sir Frank Whittle who was working on the idea from the late 1920s.  However, unlike his German counterpart Hans von Ohain, Whittle was unable to garner much government interest or support.  Thus, although Whittle filed a patent in 1930 it wasn't until March 1938 that funding was received from the Air Ministry and on 15 May 1941 that a Gloster E 28/39 (one of two built) became the first British jet-powered plane - some 18 months after the Heinkel He 178, powered by von Ohain's design.

Whittle's story is often told an example of the tendency of British innovation to be stifled by first indifference, and then interference, by government.  After his initial funding problems, the acceptance of Air Ministry funding by Power Jets Ltd meant that the company had to abide by secrecy regulations that limited its activities.  The nature of aircraft production during the war meant that development of the turboject was taken out of Power Jets' hands and farmed out to over companies - notably Rolls-Royce - and even worse, shared with Americans and Soviet allies.  Whittle had accepted the need for this as necessary to the war effort.  He even suggested that jet development be nationalised.  In the event, the Minister of Aircraft Production decided to nationalise Jet Powers Ltd only, valuing the company at a mere £100,00.  In 1944 Whittle received £10,000 for his shares and a CBE - with a further award of £100,000 from the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors and advancement to KBE in 1948.

And the books?

You can see our list of aviation books here.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Just a Snapshot....

Right click and open in new tab to enlarge

I'm trying a new wholesaler.  Here's my first order from them.  What do you think?

They'll be on the website in the next few days (unless you buy them first!)

Monday, 18 April 2016

Books Make Great Gifts - Or Prizes!

Do you know someone who wants 'something' but you don't know what?  Can that person read?  Why not give them a credit with Diplomatist Books?

Just drop us a line (using the "Contact Us" tab) and we can sort out the details for you.  It's entirely up to you what amount you want to make it out for.  We'll even throw in a card telling your recipient what you've done!
Congratulations go to recent winners of such credits - Michael Awdrey who benefited from our sponsorship of the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge; and the yet-unannounced winner of a very generous £30.00 credit from Tasmin the Wargaming Girl's 4th Blogiversary and 500K Hits Giveaway 
But if you want to choose a book, feel free to get in touch and discuss your needs.  We can send the book out on your behalf (anonymously if you prefer).  Ideal if you're overseas and your recipient is in the UK!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Be An Early Bird

Just a reminder to everyone that I put details of our new stock up on our FaceBook page (35 titles so far this month), so sign up to it if you want to be among the first to know what's come in.  If you want to be very first, give me you Wants' List and I'll advise you of titles before I tell the rest of the world!

FaceBook being FaceBook signing up as a follower isn't always enough to get regular updates - throw in the occasional comment ("That's a great book!  I recommend it to all my friends!") or Like something so that the Algorithm Pixies know you want them.

And I hope 2016 is prove a good year to you so far...