An essential study - John Hellis - 10/05/2012
Using a vast amount or primary material from the National Archive and the Somerset Records office, the authors have put together a great study, no, not great, an essential study to own if you are at all interested in the defence of the British Isles during WW2. What makes this book so different is that it mainly deals with the strategy of defence rather that the tactical defence usually found in local histories. This is the thing that makes this such an important book for everyone. The strategy for Somerset gives a clear insight to government thinking regarding the whole of Britain. There are chapters covering all the important area including naval, anti-invasion, coastal artillery and air defence. There is no gazetteer as the authors probably saw no need as all the Somerset sites are covered in the Somerset Sites and Monuments Records. 112 pages filled with hundreds of references, colour and monochrome pictures and many excellent maps and plans. Not only a fascinating read but so much data that you will be returning to its pages again and again.
A terrific book - Bob Marmion - 10/05/2012
Using a mixture of historical, archaeological and other source material, the authors have done an excellent job in bringing together under the one volume, a comprehensive history of the World War 2 defences around Somerset and the Bristol Channel. The depth of research and the authors expertise and appreciation of the overall defence structure clearly shows through. I was particularly impressed with the careful analysis of the various parts of the WW2 defence network as this allows the reader to get a clear picture of how the land, sea and air defences operated and the challenges facing each. The major components of the defence network are studied in detail with chapters addressing naval activities, anti-invasion defences, coast artillery, air defence and a host of other military uses of the Somerset coast. Each chapter contains numerous examples of surviving defences sites such as the Taunton Stop Line and a discussion on their use and value. I am involved in a similar study of WW2 defences and this book has provided a very hand comparison with the Victorian (Australia) defence network. The book is well written in a clear, informative style; it is supported by numerous contemporary and modern day photos and maps, along with plenty of data. Overall, it is a terrific book which fills an important gap in our understanding of a key part of Britain s WW 2 defences.