Pat Ware gave me a start in this business and it does seem a trifle odd reviewing his books. The sleeve notes don’t admit to him being present in Lincoln when the Mk 1 Tank made her debut, nor was he making the coffee in Karl Probst’s design office at American Bantam when he was refining his jeep ideas. But Pat has been around a good while and is, to me, a bit like the Bob Harris of the military vehicle world. He might not thank me for the analogy even if he’s got the t-shirt.
Here we are with a book which probably formed an orderly queue to get off Pat’s production line. This is a typically solid history of the glorious Sherman, a tank I love to see on the go and always find time to photograph. Seeing one rumble round the dustbowl we called the War & Peace Revival last summer was a great moment, even though the pesky stuff knackered my Nikon. In fact I have strong memories of Shermans strutting their stuff at Beltring which rank as top moments in my military photography career. Some of the snaps are actually worth looking at.
Is there any point in me discussing the tank in detail? I think not. It is as familiar in our mouths as a household word – to paraphrase the Bard, like a hardy perennial that keeps coming back. You’ll see them soon in the Brad Pitt Fury movie and doubtless the love affair will be refreshed for genuine lovers and superficial media alike. You cannot go wrong with a Sherman. I’m spitting at the moment because of a mate of mine with no interest in tanks spent a few hours mooching round the Israeli armoured museum at Latrun and he snapped a bushel of the things in all shapes and forms. They’ve even got one up on a tower. I got a Merkava 4 fridge magnet out of it, so I can’t complain, can I?
The book comes with another set of illustrations by the very handy Brian Delf. He can draw! The photos are all good fun and whether they genuinely live up to the series strap line Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives is something you can choose to be hissy about if you can be arsed. This book works for me. It even has some snaps by Simon Thomson, whoever he is; and I’ll just have to let Pat off for that one!
The book has a cover price of £16.99 in your British pounds or $24.95 in Yankee dollars. So in this topsy-turvy ever so slightly scary week that might equate to a million roubles for all I know. I’m sure you’ll find it cheaper on the tinterweb. The point I’ve laboured many times is you get a lot for your money and what can be wrong with that?
Review by Mark Barnes for War History Online
Images of War SPECIAL
By Pat Ware
Illustrations by Brian Delf
Published by Pen & Sword Military
ISBN: 978 1 78159 029 4