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The definitive story of the British army from one of the UK's bestselling historical novelists.

From the English Civil War to today's War on Terror: in this sweeping account of nearly 500 years of military history, former soldier Allan Mallinson looks at how the Army’s dramatic past has made it one of the most effective fighting forces in the world today.

He shows us the people and events that have shaped the army we know today: how Marlborough’s momentous victory at Blenheim is linked to Wellington’s at Waterloo; how the desperate fight at Rorke’s Drift in 1879 underpinned the heroism of the airborne forces in Arnhem in 1944; and why Montgomery’s momentous victory at El Alamein mattered long after the Second World War was over.

This is the story of hard-won military experience. From the Army’s birth at the battle of Edgehill in 1642 to our current conflict in Afghanistan, this is history at its most relevant - and most dramatic.


Fascinating...clear and concise...important. It is hard to see this book being bettered in the near future.

Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph

Lucid, absorbing.


Precise and profound.


A compelling history of the British Army.

Emmanuelle Smith

Mallinson is surely right to stress the one enduring quality of the British Army: 'operational resilience'


This is no mere paperback edition of Mallinson's acclaimed 2009 hardback. He presents a revised and updated version that no self-respecting defense commentator can risk being without.


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    May 15, 2011


    752 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    September 1, 2010

    Transworld Digital

    752 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Also by Allan Mallinson

Fight to the Finish
The Passage to India
Too Important for the Generals
Words of Command
1914: Fight the Good Fight
On His Majesty's Service
Man Of War
Company Of Spears
An Act Of Courage
Rumours Of War
The Sabre's Edge
A Call To Arms
A Regimental Affair
The Nizam's Daughters
A Close Run Thing


The Better Angels Of Our Nature
The Art of War: Popular Penguins
Parliament: The Biography (Volume II - Reform)
Escape from Baghdad
My Life, Our Times
Six Minutes in May
Queer City
Mansions of Misery
Mapping the Past
A Walk in the Park
The Long Weekend
A Stain in the Blood
Alter Egos
David Astor
The Pie At Night
Charles: The Heart of a King
The Great War