Magazines and Journals.
Had a small crop of magazines and Journals recently all of them interesting and informative in their differing fields and while all 3 had fine historical content, only 1 had anything directly to do with wargaming, which in the event was no bad thing.
Indeed these days I rarely see any of the 3 glossies- even when I advertise in Miniature Wargames the 'voucher copy' is an e-copy via Pocketmags which isn't ideal, bearing in mind my eyesight problems. Even having said that, said glossies rarely have anything in them to engage my interest these days beyond the reviews. Many of the articles seem irredeemably lightweight or about yet another 'game' with 'innovative mechanisms' and quite possibly more sodding Zombies (Gawd 'elp us) which I am never likely to be interested in as it was some time since I was 12.
No longer my idea of 'fun' , if indeed it ever was. No I prefer- and mostly have preferred (barring some occasional light relief) something with a little more depth rather than more of the same old same old.
So on to the three publications under my spotlight for this episode
First BBC History magazine. This is a monthly that my wife bought me a subscription for a couple of Crimbos ago and yes I have kept on taking it because it ALWAYS has something of interest within its pages. This time the cover says it best but there is also a fascinating article on the English Republic as well as numerous reviews. Now I don't always agree with the sometimes desperately politically correct attitude of some of the writers BUT the articles make you think which is rather the point. Another plus point is simply that much - though as you can see not all- of the writing has no military content. This often gives a little depth and context to what we do by showing that @there are more things in heaven and earth' that there are on the wargames table.
Now something which is very definitely military history is issue 400 of the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research. I have collected back issues of this journal for several years (it began in the 1920s) and joined the Society a few years ago for the Journal and the occasional special publications. Articles are always scholarly and frequently fascinating whatever period of the British army and its campaigns they cover. Samples from issue no 400 include the West African regiment 1898-1928- some interesting stuff for Colonial gamers here. There are also transcripts of the Letters of Lt-Gen Sir Henry Pringle - during the Peninsular War. Pringle was not one of the best known of Wellington's generals so it is nice to see him featured here. Other articles in this issue include and examination of one of Lady Butler's lesser known works - together with a good quality colour reproduction- and and examination of the comparative treatment of Russian and British veterans in the 18th and 19th centuries which while interesting of itself was a bit esoteric even for me. The book reviews are also of use - indeed a review here has decided me against buying a book - on the 16th century English campaigns in Ireland as the reviewer gave the book such a going over that I quite lost interest.
Finally Arquebusier - the Journal of the Pike and Shot society will be well known to more than a few of you. and is the only one of the 3 journals under consideration that has direct wargames content. this issue - volume 37 no 5 has plenty of interest - my particlar favourite being a list of the English army in Ireland in 1629 but also and examination of the Duke of York and Albany's regiment of foot in Charles II's army. Direct wargame content in the form of a review of a set of rules called 'For King and Parliament which is a card driven system using a squared terrain which the reviewer rather gushes over.- he is obviously a fan. Other gushing reviewsare present but also anotherwhich put me off buyng a book I was interested in so it all works out in the end so to speak.
I'd recommend all three of these magazines and journals for various content- depending upon your precise interests- thogh my personal favourite this time would be the Society for Army Historical research- though Arquebusier runs it a reasonable second.
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