Martini Henry, For Queen and Empire Book Review

For all of us who have watched Zulu, there are few firearms as iconic as the Martini Henry. The story of the Martini Henry is a complex one and until now there has been a lot of rumour and folklore about the rifle, but precious little fact. This has all changed following the publication of Neil Aspinshaw’s new book covering the history of the Martini Henry, ‘The Martini Henry, For Queen and Empire.’

The author has gone back to first principles and searched the archives for primary sources, allowing him to weave a detailed story of the trials, procurement, modifications and use of the rifle. The rifle was produced in numerous variations, as both rifle and carbine and in a variety of calibres and the convoluted history is told in an engaging and logical way. The book is written in a snappy and readable fashion and it makes it a pleasure to read, unlike many firearms books that are a little dry.

The book is illustrated throughout with both period photographs and newly taken photographs of surviving rifles and accessories. The book also covers the equally complicated history of the bayonets that were used with the rifles and carbines together with other accessories and the various ammunition and loadings used in the rifle.

One interesting element is that the book  also covers some elements not usually seen in a firearms boook such as the manufacturing process and a complete failed rifle calibre that almost came into service. All this adds up to what must count as the most comprehensive book on this Victorian icon yet published. Highly recommended.

The book is priced at £49.95 plus postage and is available by emailing the author neilaspinshaw@sky.com.

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