I've got to say that Kindle is a godsend! I have the app on my iPad, and it allows me to acquire and read books wherever I am. That half hour commute to the office by train has become a great opportunity to catch up on my reading or look up references.
But occasionally there's still the odd occasion where there's nothing better than having a nice hardback to flick through. Which brings me on to the latest addition to my personal reference library. Volumes 1-3 of David Barizlay's four volume work The British Army in Ulster. A lucky eBay find at just £16.99 for the three!
Heavily illustrated throughout with b/w photographs, each volume follows a set format; a diary of selected events during the years covered within the volume, an overview of IRA armaments, and then separate sections on British Army weapons, services and corps.
The volumes represent a decent enough introduction to the challenges the British Army faced during Operation Banner but lack any depth in regards to the changing threat and how the security services adapted to it. For instance, there's really nothing about the development of Land Rover protection kits and impact on the vehicles themselves. You'll find Craftsmen of the Army: The Story of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Volume II 1969-1992 by JM Keenan and DJ Sutton to have a lot more information of interest about the vehicles and mechanical aspects of their role, not only about Northern Ireland but also in BAOR and Operation Corporate too.
The data on IRA armaments is very interesting from a Winter of '79 perspective, especially the number and types of firearms and support weapons available to the insurgency, but this information is largely repeated almost paragraph for paragraph within each volume. To sum up, great value for less than £20 for the set but the information is dated so I'd urge you to look out for cheap (under £10 a volume) deals, and certainly not worth some of the exhorbitant prices that even the single volumes can fetch on their own.