For the Love of the Army
Have you ever wondered?
o How 'Tommy' came to be the nickname of the British soldier?
o Which British war leader was shot at by guerrillas in Cuba on his twenty-first birthday?
o Which intelligence officer turned the tide of World War One in the Middle East after being initially rejected by the Army for being too small?
From the heroes, special forces and famous campaigns and battles that make up the British Army's impressive history, through to the remarkable people who serve in her ranks today, this fact-packed book celebrates the achievements and ongoing importance of the UK's land force. Exploring its ground, air support and amphibious capabilities, it also tracks the development of the skills, weaponry and equipment that have been necessary to keep the Army battle-ready and able to face the challenges of the day.
For the Love of the Navy
Have you ever wanted to know?
o How the Navy and Marines came to be 'Royal'?
o How Samuel Pepys helped professionalise the Navy while at the same time penning his famous diary?
o What the origins of everyday expressions like 'toeing the line', 'showing your true colours' and 'piping-hot food' are?
Marvel at the magnificent vessels that have always been the backbone of the force, from the Tudor warship Mary Rose to the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warship ever built for the Royal Navy. Pay homage to the acclaimed naval heroes and the impressive battles that make up its illustrious history, from the Battle of Gravelines which saw off the Spanish Armada to the two world wars of the twentieth century and beyond, via the sea battles of the Napoleonic Wars. And learn about the remarkable people who serve in the Navy's ranks today as its beating heart, in roles as widespread as conflict-prevention, counternarcotics, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief, ensuring that the Senior Service will retain its reputation for excellence for generations to come.
‘The Navy has been at the heart of world history for a lot longer than my years of service and in this book Ray Hamilton encapsulates many of the events, ships and people that have made it such a fascinating and esteemed institution. The book highlights the major developments that took the Navy from the age of sail through steam and on into the capabilities of today's fleet. In addition, the changing face of shipboard life has not been neglected.’
From the foreword by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, GCB, DL, First Sea Lord 2006–09
A Short History of Britain in Infographics
The history of Britain as you've never seen it before. Take a whistle-stop journey through time to discover the remarkable people, places, artefacts and events that make up the story of Britain through the ages. Discover the stomach-churning scope of Henry VIII's voluminous diet, learn about the engineering excellence behind the Supermarine Spitfire and brush up on your knowledge of iconic British TV and radio programmes. These and many more fascinating facts are presented in this beautifully designed infographic guide to the best bits of Blighty!
‘From Boudicca to Brexit in 300 illustrations. Rather than being a dry reference book, this guide is told with playful aplomb by Ray Hamilton and illustrated with modern, minimalist artwork. It is a smart, stylish coffee book that is packed with enough British trivia to win a pub quiz championship – and that's a fact.’
From All About History magazine
Knowledge: Stuff You Ought to Know
You can never know too much stuff. For example:
o Today, the people on earth take more photos in two minutes than they did in the whole of the nineteenth century.
o When the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre museum in Paris in 1911, one of the suspects was Pablo Picasso.
o You Only Live Once is Katie Price's fourth autobiography.
This outrageously informative book is packed full of enough mind-blowing trivia to ensure you’re never short of a jaw-dropping conversation starter – or stopper – again.
‘Not just packed with knowledge about everything from history, geography and wildlife to celebrity culture, sport, science and space travel, but also very funny (especially the 'Things That Do Your Head In' chapter.’
M25 – A Circular Tour of the London Orbital
Have you ever wanted to know?0
o Which junction to take for Gibraltar?
o How to save £35,040 a year on Dartford Crossing tolls?
o How many assassins were buried within the concrete of the M25?
o Why it’s important that North Ockendon declares itself independent from Greater London at the earliest opportunity?
This indispensable biography of a road profiles the 117 miles of Britain’s most infamous motorway, from its controversial origins to its present-day status as backdrop to the lives and commutes of millions. Told with Ray Hamilton’s trademark powers of observation and off-the-wall humour, it is an eye-opening account of the stuff you didn’t know about the M25 – including the action, sightseeing or nature-loving fun you can have coming off at any junction – and a very different view of the stuff you did know.
‘Fortunately, Hamilton charts not only the timeline and challenges of building an orbital route around London, but also the quirks and lighter moments in the motorway's history, as well as a junction-by-junction guide to the surprising splendour that is but a flash of the indicator and a twirl of the steering wheel away from the monotony of a traffic jam. One reason, perhaps, for keeping this book in the car's glovebox and within reach at all times.’
Excerpt from The Sunday Times
Le Tour de France – The Greatest Race in Cycling History
The Tour de France is one of the most prestigious and physically challenging sporting events in the world and is the jewel in professional cycling’s crown. This book is packed with the Tour’s most memorable moments, with curious facts, amazing anecdotes and intriguing statistics from over a century of unforgettable racing. Easy to digest, it gives clear insights into the many things that are going at any one time during the race.
‘Fun history and a good overview of what Le Tour is all about. I found myself laughing and reminiscing about moments I experienced live that he recounts in the book.’
Zach Dutson, USA, on Goodreads
‘This book was very funny and had lots of interesting facts about cycling’s greatest race and some of its riders. If you have an interest in the sport then I definitely recommend this book.’
Nick Moloney, Wexford, Ireland, on Goodreads
‘This stylish hardback tome is jam-packed with everything you need to know. It is perfect for the coffee table as it’s full of bite-sized chunks of information, making it easy to dip in and out of. For the geeks amongst us, there’s information about not only the bikes used, but also the groupsets, wheels and tyres.’
Tredz cycle store
Military Quotations – Stirring Words of War and Peace
From Churchill to Sitting Bull, from Agincourt to the Khyber Pass, history is rich in rousing rhetoric, inspiring quotations and heroic speeches from the most celebrated military leasers, writers and observers. Whether applauding great victories or standing firm against the horrors and injustices of war, the quotations and stories of this collection will take the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the many unique experiences of military history.
‘This book should be compulsory reading for politicians and military men the world over, and it is the perfect gift for anyone interested in mankind’s perpetual struggle with military conflict and its consequences.’
Good Book Guide
Trains – A Miscellany (now updated and republished as 'For the Love of Trains')
Whether you pine for the romantic age of the steam engine, thrill at the speed of today’s superfast trains, dream of travelling on the world’s great long-distance rail journeys or yearn to take the ‘Toy Train’ to Darjeeling, this book offers a fantastic whistle-stop tour of train travel. With foreword by Mark Smith, The Man in Seat 61.
‘The perfect accompaniment for any journey, full of juicy anecdotes, funny quotes and quirky history.’
Tom Chesshyre, Sunday Times Travel
‘Ray Hamilton takes you on a breathtaking canter across this whole intriguing subject, sketching the highlights (and sometimes lowlights) of railways and train travel across 150 years of operation and dozens of countries worldwide, from famous trains and iconic stations to historical anecdotes and classic railway quotes. It’s a journey in itself – an ideal read the next time you settle into a comfortable window seat, hear the brakes gently hiss off, and listen for that clickety-clack to start…’
From the foreword written by Mark Smith, The Man in Seat 61
The Joy of Cycling (now updated and republished as 'Ride – A Fact-packed Tour Through the World of Cycling')
Cycling is awash with interesting characters and anecdotes, like the young cyclist called Bradley Wiggins who once pretended to be vegetarian to get on the Linda McCartney Racing Team. Packed with fascinating facts, handy hints and captivating stories and quotes from the world of bikes, this book is perfect for anyone who knows the incomparable joy of cycling.
Note: all my books can be ordered from the usual online and High Street retailers.