“First to Fight” by R. Moorhouse nominated to the British Army Military Book of the Year!

February 8, 2020

The British Army Military Book of the Year (#BAMBY20) competition is an annual prize given for the book adjudged to be the best book on a military subject, broadly-defined, published in the last year. The competition has been running since 2008.

This year the organisers asked the soldiers and wider social media audience for suggestions for the Long-List. 

On February 5th the thirteen books have been selected and announced. We are so proud that the book „First to Fight: The Polish War 1939“ (Polish title: „Polska 1939. Pierwsi przeciwko Hitlerowi“) by Roger Moorhouse has been nominated.

First to Fight is the first history of the Polish war for almost half a century. Drawing on letters, memoirs and diaries by generals and politicians, soldiers and civilians from all sides, British historian Roger Moorhouse’s dramatic account of the military events is entwined with a tragic human story of courage and suffering, and a dark tale of diplomatic betrayal.

The Polish campaign is the forgotten story of the Second World War. Poland was the first to fight the German aggressor in 1939. When the Red Army invaded from the east – as agreed in the pact Hitler had concluded with Stalin – the country’s fate was sealed. Polish forces put up a spirited defence, in the expectation that they would be assisted by their British and French allies. That assistance never came.

Roger Moorhouse’s book had its UK premiere at the Polish Embassy in London on September 5th 2019. During the evening he said to the British Poles portal: “I hope that the book will change opinions about the Polish campaign and fill a huge gap in the literature where the real agonies and bravery of the Poles were ignored.”

Book launch at the Polish Embassy in London, September 5th 2019. Roger Moorhouse’s talk about his book “First to Fight”

At the event, the author gave a talk about the book. It was followed by a panel discussion on the significance of the September Campaign featuring renowned Second World War experts: Professor Richard Overy of the University of Exeter, Director Wojciech Kozłowski from the Pilecki Institute, Editor-in-chief  Paul Lay from History Today and the author himself.

Book launch at the Polish Embassy in London, September 5th 2019. From left: Wojciech Kozłowski, Richard Overy, Paul Lay and Richard Moorhouse

You can read more about the book here.

The Long-List for the British Army Military Book of the Year is as follows:

Elliott Ackerman – Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning. (Penguin).

Peter Caddick-Adams – Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day. (Random House).

Justin Fantauzzo – The Experience and Memory of the First World War in the Middle East and Macedonia. (CUP).

Jonathan Fennell – Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War. (CUP).

James Holland – Normandy ’44: D-Day and the Battle for France. (Bantam).

Matthew Hughes – Britain’s Pacification of Palestine: The British Army, the Colonial State, and the Arab Revolt 1936-39. (CUP).

Anthony King – Command: The Twenty-First Century General. (CUP).

Yasha Levine – Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet. (Icon).

Simon J. Moody – Imagining Nuclear War in the British Army 1945-89. (OUP).

Roger Moorhouse – First to Fight: The Polish War 1939. (Random House).

Cian O’Driscoll – Victory: The Triumph and Tragedy of Just War. (OUP).

Malcolm Pill – Montgomery: Friends Within, Foes Without: Relationships In and Around 21st Army Group. (Uniform).

Andrew Watson – The Fortress: The Great Siege of PrzemyOsl. (Penguin).

You can follow the timeline to find out what will happen next:

28 February 2020 – Short-list announced and judging commences.

8 September 2020 – Judging complete.

5 October 2020 – Winner of #BAMBY20 announced.

8 December 2020 – #BAMBY20 Prize-giving.

We keep our fingers crossed for Roger! Best of luck!

Maria Byczynski

Pictures: British Poles

You can order your own copy of the book in English here and in Polish tutaj.




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