Hey Osprey Publishing, there are other tablets other than iPads

As many of you will know, I get annoyed with magazines that I subscribe to and that insist on locking me into one technical eco-system or other. Osprey publishing has joined that group.

They have recently been promoting their World War II Military History Magazine. This magazine looks good, slick and in the quality we come to expect from Osprey. They have even offered a free PDF download so one can have a look at the magazine. The magazine itself contains one complete e-book from the Osprey range and near as I can work out, subscribing gives you complete access to all the back issues.

To be fair to Osprey, they publish their eBooks in PDF and ePub format.

Which now begs the question … why, of why, is the magazine only avaiable through the iTunes store. It is advertised as

available for iPad and iPhone, and subscriptions can be purchased for just £2.99 per month or £7.99 per quarter. Each issue is a real gem, so why not give it a try and unlock a world of fabulous material on the Second World War.

OK, earlier in their advertisement they note that each

issue includes a full Osprey series eBook, and is packed full of fascinating extra material from our archives and authors

Hey Osprey – there are other tablets out there other than iPads. In fact, iPads account for 39% of the total international tablet market. Android tablets account for 61% currently! So what possesses a company to cut off 2/3rds of its potential market?

Why don’t you make all issues of the magazine downloadable PDFs so folks can move it from one platform to another, in the same way I can move my Osprey eBooks? You can still offer it through iTunes (and as a PDF, through Play Store as well as the Windows 8 Marketplace. Why cut off  67% of your potential market?

Plataea 479 BC – Part 2

plataea
I finally finished reading this and I am glad I did. Already, as a result of the first quick look, Anthony and I had decided to expand our little ancient Greek project to include the Persian invasion. I thought I had a good understanding of the politics, military systems and battlegrounds of this conflict but Shepherd’s book has me reaching for other reference works as I reassess my understanding of this conflict of systems.

The coverage of the forces, commanders and opposing plans sets the stage for the conflicts to come. A good interpretation of Herodotus along with a review of other sources and secondary works makes this book one of the few that actually covers the battle of Plataea.

The illustrations of Peter Dennis are very evocative and help bring the text further to life. I particularly like “the Most Glorious Victory Ever Known” illustration on pages 70-71 and want my Greeks and Persians to look like that.

The battle maps really help to understand the flow of the battle and Shepherd’s interpretation of it. It is also quite nice to have an Osprey where the supporting photos are generally all colour and not taken in the 1950s – modern photos of the supporting materials.

Well done William, this is a wonderful addition to the Osprey range and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with an interest in ancient history generally and the Greek and Persian Wars in particular.

the details of the book:

Campaign 239.

Author: William Shepherd

Illustrator: Peter Dennis

Plataea 479BC

The Contents are:

  1. Origins of the campaign
  2. Chronology
  3. Opposing commanders
  4. Opposing forces
  5. Opposing plans
  6. The campaign to Plataea and Mycale
  7. Plataea
  8. Mycale
  9. After the battles
  10. The battlefields today
  11. Further reading and bibliography
  12. Index

It was released as a paperback; January 2012; 96 pages; ISBN: 9781849085540

Plataea 479 BC

plataea“What’ll we do for our next period?” asked Anthony.

“Dunno”, says I. “I have a hankering for something 30 Years War ish, or Napoleonic, or maybe even Malburian or the American War of Independence.”

“Yeah”, says Anthony, “or maybe Saxons versus Vikings, after all, Napoleonics is just like American Civil War wargaming with more uniforms and squares.”

“Greeks” he then said! “Let’s do Greeks or Romans. The Peloponnesian War, that’s what we should do.”

“OK” says Thomo thinking to himself “we are doing American Civil War at the moment which has two sides very similar, Greeks versus Greeks, much the same. I wonder if we can call the Isthmus of Corinth the Mason-Dixon line?”

So, I needed to start to think about Greeks. Would it have been the Spartans or the evil Empire (Athens). I wanted reference works and one or two good planning sessions. Out came the electronic version of Thucydides, something to read again on the Kindle on the flight back to Australia.

Just before leaving Singapore for Australia, I noticed that Osprey had just released Campaign 239, Plataea 479 BC, written by William Shepherd and illustrated by Peter Dennis. William had been good enough in December 2010 to send me a copy of Salamis 480 BC – the Naval Campaign That Saved Greece for review. Apart from being stimulated by that read, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read in any case.

So, I think I should get a copy of Plataea I thought to myself. Whilst it is not a Greek versus Greek affair as such, it was perhaps the catalyst that gave rise to the actions that resulted in Athens becoming an empire and as such, facilitating the start of the Peloponnesian Wars. I thought, then, that I would order Shepherd’s Plataea but it was time to travel back to Australia so never got around to it.

What a lovely surprise then when a parcel arrived in the post today – a review copy of Plataea provided by William (thank you sir).

Plataea itself was one of the largest land battles in the Ancient World with around 100,000 Greeks taking on a larger number eastern forces, members of the Persian Empire and including some more Greeks. The battle lasted over several days and at the end the Persian threat to Greece was at an end. The Athenians in particular used this campaign as an excuse to take the struggle to Asia Minor and ultimately led to the development of the Athenian Empire.

Herodotus is the main source for the battle and campaign. Whilst perhaps not as accurate as Thucydides later, Herodotus is credited with being the father of history and he tells a fine story

Shepherd has a very clear writing style and is easy to read. Peter Dennis’s illustrations really bring this battle alive and it has certainly provided a great inspiration to me for the next great wargames project in Singapore … but more of that later. I am really looking forward to reading this book and as I have an 8-hour flight to Singapore coming up in 10 days time, I know what I will be reading on the plane.

Once I have read it, I’ll provide a more in depth review of the book and publish that here as well.

In the meantime, here are the details of the book:

Campaign 239.

Author: William Shepherd

Illustrator: Peter Dennis

Plataea 479BC

The Contents are:

  1. Origins of the campaign
  2. Chronology
  3. Opposing commanders
  4. Opposing forces
  5. Opposing plans
  6. The campaign to Plataea and Mycale
  7. Plataea
  8. Mycale
  9. After the battles
  10. The battlefields today
  11. Further reading and bibliography
  12. Index

It is released as a paperback; January 2012; 96 pages; ISBN: 9781849085540