James Holland is a writer and historian. In April 2003, he published his first work of history, Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-43 (Orion), which became a Sunday Times top ten bestseller. In January 2004, his first novel, The Burning Blue, set to a backdrop of the Battle of Britain, was published by William Heinemann. In May 2005, his second work of history, Together We Stand: North Africa 1942-1943 - Turning the Tide in the West, was published. His second novel, A Pair of Silver Wings, was published in March 2006.
His latest history is Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-45, which was released in March 2008.
Future projects include a new history of the Battle of Britain, which will be the first account to tell the events of the summer of 1940 from both sides, and a series of novels, set during the Second World War and featuring infantryman, Jack Tanner. The first four books of this series will be set in Norway in April 1940, France in June May and June 1940, Crete in May 1941, and North Africa in May-June 1942.
1. What are you doing at the moment?
I\'m doing research at the moment. First, for my next non-fiction, which is a new history of the Battle of Britain, and second, for the next Jack Tanner, which will centre about the counter-attack at Arras in May 1940 and the retreat to Dunkirk.
2. When did you get hooked on history and why?
I\'ve always loved history - my older brother, Tom, was always obsessed with history and I think I tagged along with his interests when I was a boy. Then I studied history at university, although never any twentieth century; in fact, the Restoration was always my biggest interest then.
3. If you were any warrior from history who would you be?
Roland \'Bee\' Beamont - one of the greatest fighter pilots and flew (and pioneered) a staggering number of aircraft.
4. What is your favourite war film?
The Dawn Patrol, starring Errol Flynn.
5. Why do you think Military History is important?
Because it tells us so much about who we are today.
6. What is your favourite quote from history/historical quote?
England expects every man to do his duty.
7. If you could fly any plane or drive any tank from history, which would it be?
A Spitfire Mk IX - without any question whatsoever.
8. Best military cock-up in history?
Singapore must rank quite highly.
9. Who is your military hero?
Nelson & Field Marshal Alexander
10. If you could pit two armies from history against each other, which two would you pick, and why?
Julius Caesar\'s Romans and Alexander\'s Greeks - because they were two fine armies and although separated by three hundred years were not so differently armed.
11. Elephants or horses?
Discuss the pros and cons… Horses for their greater manoeuvrability. Elephants are obviously pretty solid, but difficult for making good your escape if things were getting dicey...
12. Favourite Michael Caine quote?
\'The engine\'s overheating and so am I. Either we stand down or blow up. Now which do you wnat?\'
13. What is your favourite war comic?
14. Spartan or Roman?
Roman - they knew how to enjoy themselves.
15. What is your favourite Osprey book?
Denmark and Norway 1940 - invaluable when I was writing The Odin Mission.