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Osprey Publishing is an Oxford-based publishing company specializing in
history. Predominantly an illustrated publisher, many of their
books contain full-colour artwork plates, maps and photographs, and
the company produces over a dozen ongoing series, each focusing on
a specific aspect of the history of warfare. Osprey has published
over 1,500 books. They are best known for their
Men-at-Arms series, running to over 400 titles, with each
book dedicated to a specific historical army or military unit.
In the 1960s, Brooke Bond Tea Company began including a series
of military aircraft cards with packages of their tea. The cards
proved popular, and the artist, Dick Ward, proposed the idea of
publishing illustrated books about military aircraft. The idea was
approved and a small subsidiary company called Osprey was formed.
The company’s first book, North American P-51D Mustang in
USAAF-USAF Service, was published in 1969. Soon after, Ward proposed trying the same
idea with famous military units, and in 1971 the first
Men-at-Arms title appeared.
Over the next 20 years, Osprey grew steadily, adding new titles
and new series to their ever-growing catalogue. Although Osprey has
produced books of all types, the main focus remains on military
history. Generally there is a bias towards the history of the
English-speaking world, with a particular focus on the military
history of Britain (of the 185 titles produced in the Campaign
series, as many as half relate to the military history of Britain,
mostly English or British military victories). Osprey Publishing
now has over 30 employees and publishes an average of 10-12 books a
- Osprey’s flagship series, Men-at-Arms examines the
history, uniforms and equipment of specific military groups. The
series contains over 400 titles and covers military organizations
throughout history. Each book is 48 pages, and contains 8 pages of
- Originally devised to give more thorough coverage to elite
fighting units, this series has expanded to include books on other
topics such as tactics, military commanders and siege warfare. Each
book is 64 pages, with 8-12 pages of colour plates.
- The latest series focuses on small unit, special operations and
counterterrorist operations, often in a victory-or-death situation.
The series describes the background and history behind each
operation, assesses the initial assault strategy, evaluates the
raid's implementation and analyzes the operation's success or
- This series focuses on the individual warrior of a specific
period or culture, examining his experiences on the battlefield as
well as his training, fighting methods and day to day living.
- Battle Orders
- This is a series of army-level guides, filled with force
organization charts, weapons listings, and discussions of command,
deployment and tactics. Each book is 96 pages.
- Another long-running series with nearly 200 titles,
Campaign focuses on the more famous battles and campaigns
of history. Each book has 96 pages, with bird's-eye–view maps
illustrating troop movements over battlefields and two or three
double-page battle scene paintings.
- Essential Histories
- Historical overviews which cover the origins, politics,
fighting and repercussions of one major war or theatre of war, from
both military and civilian perspectives.
- Essential Histories Specials
- consists of multi-volume editions that combine previously
published Essential Histories single volumes.
Osprey Publishing has also published a number of standalone
titles on individual topics of military history (since 2001).
- The US Army in World War II (2001)
- Into the Reich: Battles on Germany’s Western Frontier 1944–1945
- Warriors & Warlords: The Art of Angus McBride (2002)
- Soldiers of the Revolutionary War (2002)
- The German Army in World War II (2002)
- Duel of the Ironclads: USS Monitor and CSS Virginia at Hampton
Roads 1862 (2003)
- GI: The US Infantryman in World War II (2003)
- Samurai: The World of the Warrior (2003)
- Shadow Warriors: A History of the US Army Rangers
- The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima
- The Trafalgar Companion
- Warriors of Medieval Japan
- Struggle for a Vast Future: The American Civil War
- Besieged: Siege Warfare in the Ancient World
- Lords of Battle: The World of the Celtic Warrior
- The Normans: Warrior Knights and their Castles
- The Samurai and the Sacred
- The Fall of Constantinople: The Ottoman Conquest of
- Empires Collide: The French and Indian War 1754–1763
- Scourge of the Seas: Buccaneers, Pirates & Privateers
- War on the Western Front: In the Trenches of World War I
- Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land : The Vietnam War
- Soldiers of the Dragon: Chinese Armies 1500 BC - 1840 AD
- Chivalry and Command: 500 years of Horse Guards
- The Enemy Within: A History of Espionage
- The Vikings: Voyagers of Discovery and Plunder (2008)
- by Keith Durham, Mark Harrison and Magnus Magnusson
- Knight: Noble Warrior of England 1200–1600 (2008), ISBN
- by Christopher Gravett
- SAS Heroes: Remarkable Soldiers, Extraordinary Men (2008), ISBN
- by Pete Scholey and Frederick Forsyth
- Who Dares Wins: Special Forces Heroes of the SAS (2008), ISBN
- by Pete Scholey and Frederick Forsyth
- Counterinsurgency in Modern Warfare (2008), ISBN 9781846032813.
- by Daniel Marston and Carter Malkasian
- From Rocks to Rockets: Arms and Armies through the Ages (2008),
- Fighting Talk: The military origins of everyday words and
phrases (2008), ISBN 9781846034558.
- by Graeme Donald
- Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of
everyday words and phrases (2008), ISBN 9781846033001.
- by Graeme Donald
- SEALs: The US Navy’s Elite Fighting Force (2008), ISBN
- by Mir Bahmanyar and Chris Osman
- Osprey Men-At-Arms: A Celebration (2008), ISBN 9781846034374.
- by Martin Windrow, a special edition of artwork from the
- Crusader Castles in the Holy Land: An Illustrated History of
the Crusader Fortifications of the Middle East and Mediterranean
(2008), ISBN 9781846033490
- by David Nicolle
- Buffalo Soldiers: African American Troops in the US forces
1866–1945 (2008), ISBN 9781846033438
- by Ron Field and Alexander Bielakowski
- The Battlefields of the First World War (Revised): The Unseen
Panoramas of the Western Front (2009), ISBN 9781845298845.
- by Peter Barton and Peter Doyle
- Sniper: A History of the US Marksman (2009), ISBN 9781846034954
- by Martin Pegler, author of Out of Nowhere: A History of
the Military Sniper
Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War (2009), ISBN
- Written by Kaveh Farrokh and first published in 2007,
Shadows in the Desert deals with the military
history of Persia, covering the three major empires of Persia before Islam (Achaemenids, Parthians, and Sassanids), with a
supportive foreword by Richard Nelson Frye, the Harvard
University Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies. The work was
positively received by some reviewers. Higham, writing in
Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, argued that it
provided balance to the stories about Persia written by "Greek and
Roman observers and historians".
Similarly, a one-paragraph review in the magazine The Middle
East described it as offering a "comprehensive history of
while the Library Bookwatch described it as "one of the
most authoritative histories of the Persian empires to see recent
print". On the
negative side, Jona Lendering in Bryn Mawr Classical
Review argued that the book was "exceptionally bad",
criticizing both its coverage of the field and the author's use of
A response to Lendering's review was given also in the Bryn
Mawr Classical Review which responds to nine points of
and stated in conclusion that: Lendering's review of Shadows in
the Desert: Ancient Persia at War is characterized by the
presentation of erroneous information, the arbitrary selection and
rejection of information, and ignorance of much of the scholarship
in the field of Iranian studies.. A longer response to
Lendering in the magazine Rozaneh points to "mistakes"
made by Lendering in his review including the structure of the
Achaemenid Navy and the existence of the site of Gotarzes II.)
Shadows in the Desert received a 2008 "Persian Golden Lioness
Award" as the "Best History" in the literature category,
and was selected as being among the top three History books of 2008
by the Independent Book Publishers Association of the United
- Overlord: The D-Day Landings (2009), ISBN 9781846034244
- by Ken Ford Steven J Zaloga Stephen Badsey, on Operation
Overlord of 6 June 1944.
- Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250–1877 (2009),
- by Stephen Turnbull, treating the history of Japanese castle
Series dedicated to aviation:
- Aircraft of the Aces
- This series presents the history of the men and machines that
have achieved Ace status (five aerial kills) since the rise of the
aeroplane for military use in World War I.
- Combat Aircraft
- Similar to Aircraft of the Aces, but with a focus on
specific types of aircraft instead of the pilots, covering topics
from the birth of military aviation right up to the US “Stealth”
fighters and bombers of today.
- Aviation Elite Units
- The newest series in Osprey’s Aviation list, these books
present in-depth studies of specific aircraft combat units, often
giving day by day accounts of their victories and defeats.
- General Aviation
- Red Eagles
- F-15 Eagle Engaged
- Lockheed Blackbird
- Aircraft of the Aces
- Spitfire Flying Legend
- Vietnam Choppers
- The Osprey Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft
- B-52 Stratofortress
- Lockheed SR 71
Equipment and technology
- A now defunct series about military units, equipment, and
weaponry, almost all from World War II.
- New Vanguard
- A series about the machines and equipment of war, from ancient
siege weapons, through pirate ships, to modern main battle tanks.
The series includes cutaway artwork, showing the internal workings
of the machines.
- One of Osprey’s newer series, Fortress documents the
structures that different cultures have built for the purpose of
war and defence. Includes cutaway artwork and colour illustrations
mixed in with the text.
- The Duel series addresses "machine-on-machine action" Each
title follows the design and development of the opposing weapon
systems in wartime.
Modelling and popular
- Osprey Modelling
- Osprey’s series of “how-to” modelling guides. Each book focuses
on a specific topic, such as a type of tank, and takes the reader
through a series of projects, starting at the beginner level and
advancing through to expert level modelling.
- Modelling Manuals
- Books in the Osprey Modelling Manuals series provide detailed
guidelines to build specific models of tank or aircraft.
- Modelling Masterclass
- Books in Osprey’s Modelling Masterclass series focus on a
single period or genre of model making.
- Field of Glory
- Field of Glory is a new historical miniature wargaming rules system for
anyone interested in recreating battles on their tabletop.
- Graphic History
- This series translates battles into comic book form.
- ^ Higham, R. (February 2008). "Shadows in
the Desert: Ancient Persia at War". Current Reviews for
Academic Libraries 45 (6):
- ^ Rhodes, Fred (May 2007). "Shadows in the
Desert Ancient Persia at War". Middle East (378):
"The Military Shelf".
Library Bookwatch 2 (7). July 2007. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/lbw/jul_07.htm. Retrieved December 22,
- ^ Lendering, Jona (September 2008). "Kaveh Farrokh, Shadows in the
Desert. Ancient Persia at War.". Bryn Mawr Classical
Review. http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2008/2008-09-62.html. Retrieved December 2,
- ^ Professor Valeri
Vashakidze (Member of Georgian Academy of Sciences, Ex Minister of
the Georgian State Refugees and Accommodation), Dr. David (Giorgi)
Tcheishvili (Georgia State University, Republic of Georgia),
Professor George Gulordava (Dadiani Museum Academy), Professor
Tariel Jikia (Cheriomushki College, Russia), Dr. David Khoupenia
(University of Zugdidi), Professor Niko Kachareva (Georgian State
University), Dr. Imre Bartfai (University of Budapest, Hungary).
"Collaborative Response to Lendering on Kaveh Farrokh, Shadows in
the Desert. Ancient Persia at War.", Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
February 02, 2009 Accessed: February 04, 2009,
"Let’s Abandon the Distorions of Achaemenid Studies", Rozaneh
Magazine, Fall, 2008. 
BBC Persian: November 05,
- ^ "Awardees of 2008".
WAALM Awards. http://waalmawards.com/page2.html. Retrieved December 5,
Independent Book Publishers Association, Benjamin Franklin Award
Winners and Finalists 2008, , Accessed
Non-affiliated related websites:
Osprey also supports a number of websites on various topics in