Gavin Mortimer

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Gavin Mortimer

Biography

The First Eagles: The Fearless American Aces Who Flew with the RAF in World War I

"A compelling new book about the U.S. pilots who refused to be grounded when the battleground was first extended into the skies."
Booktrib, December 2014

"A stirring account of honor and sacrifice that does not downplay the horrors of the war in the air… Mortimer's book is a fine tribute to those Americans who for too long have remained largely in the shadows of better known WWI air aces"
Deseret News, October 2014

"Mortimer brings his subjects to life by drawing from squadron diaries and from the American pilots’ letters and journals."
Air & Space, Smithsonian, October 2014

"This magnificent book is by far the best thing done on World War aviation in decades."
Walter J. Boyne, USAF (ret.), author/historian and former director, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum

"In a crowded field of scholarship about the World War I flyers of many nations, The First Eagles presents a fresh approach to the airmen who volunteered for causes they considered just and worthy of risking their lives for." - Doran Cart, senior curator, National World War Museum


The Illustrated History of the SBS in WW2

"After 70 years in the shadows, the courage of the men of the SBS is finally being recognised thanks to a remarkable new book. Author Gavin Mortimer spent more than a decade interviewing veterans, scrutinising SBS archives and poring over recently declassified documents to write The SBS in World War 2."
Daily Mirror, October 19, 2013

"With unparalleled access to SBS's archive, Mortimer draws on private papers to produce the definitive account of the SBS's extraordinary exploits in WWII."
Sunday Telegraph, Oct 2013

"Amazing...lifts the lid on their daring WW2 exploits."
The Sun, October 12, 2013

"For the first time, the dramatic and daring story of Britain's most secretive Special Forces unit is told in a new book by Gavin Mortimer, award-winning writer and historian."
Daily Telegraph, Sep 26, 2013


The History of Cricket in 100 Objects

“Gavin Mortimer tells an intriguing story about how cricket developed from a medieval village game to a huge global business. Along the way we meet stoic Yorkshiremen, American money-men and elegant Indians, all happy to explain the arcana of wicket and willow. You don't have to be a regular at Lord's to enjoy Mortimer's well-chosen anecdotes.”
The Guardian, June 28 2013 [selected as one of its 50 Best Books of the Summer]


THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL IN 100 OBJECTS

"A quirky and unique take on football told through its defining objects."
The Northern Echo, December 2012

"Mortimer provides a richly original account of the game's past, present and future without letting the quirkiness of the format get in the way of the interesting facts he expertly uncovers."
The Morning Star, November 2012

"Written with wit, warmth and an incredible amount of research"
Four Four Two, November 2012

"Beautiful...it tells the story of our national game through the often obscure things that have shaped it"
The Sun, October 2012


THE SAS IN WORLD WAR TWO

“[This] gripping first-hand account of the raid is one of many previously unpublished resources that Mortimer’s book draws on.”
The Times, December 2011

“An amazing account of the elite regiment’s early actions.”
Daily Mail, December 2011

“A riveting book on the early years of Britain's elite special forces. Stirling, known as the Phantom Major, could have no better biographer than Mortimer nor could the SAS legend be so well depicted.”
The Oxford Times, December 2011

“Gavin Mortimer’s stirring new history reveals the bravery of city butcher who joined the SAS.”
Nottingham Evening Post, December 2011

“With so much sensational literature being produced nowadays about Special Forces, it is good to find a book about the history of the Special Air Service during World War 2, which is well researched and wonderfully illustrated.”
The Historical Association, January 2012

“Gavin Mortimer appears to be one of the foremost experts and historians on the early SAS and its activities and his expertise certainly shows here. The book is informative, well-ordered, insightful, and by turns humorous and serious.”
British Army Rumour Service (www.ARRSE.co.uk), January 2012

“The key to oral history is proper research around a subject's memories, and this Mortimer has wisely done, and thoroughly so, producing a highly authoritative but also absorbing account….this is a fascinating and hugely enjoyable book. It should prove an important starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about the early years of this legendary regiment.”
James Holland, BBC History Magazine, January 2012


DOUBLE DEATH

“A vibrant depiction of espionage in the first years of the Civil War. It captures the improvisation and tense risks of spying...a must-have for the Civil War shelf”
Booklist, July 2010

“Mortimer does an excellent job portraying Lewis’s exciting life, using both newspaper accounts and primary research.”
Sacremento Book Review, November 2010

“Mortimer writes a compelling true story of Civil War espionage. Mortimer's recounting of the writing, loss and recovery of Lewis' manuscript is in itself a revealing description of historical sleuthing and perseverance.”
Civil War Librarian, August 2010

“Mortimer provides a very interesting read.”
New York Journal of Books, July 2010

“Parts of the book read like a spy thriller written by Mark Twain.”
Publishers Weekly, July 2010


Chasing Icarus

“A wonderful story not just for aficionados ...believe me, this book is the perfect airplane companion.”
The Cleveland Dealer, June 2009

“This is a 'wonderful, absorbing story'...and its cast of daredevils, society beauties, gasping crowds and bigger-than-life crowd pleasers is as engaging today as it was for newspaper readers at the time.”
Dallas Morning News, May 2009

“The front-page celebrities of the moment, these aeronauts excited popular interest that Mortimer, capitalizing on archives and contemporary gazettes, restores excellently... For fans of death-defying early aviation, Mortimer's history is great fun”
Booklist, May 2009

“The author excels in depicting both the pilots and the New York City society swells attracted to aerobatic thrills...his evocative final chapter outlines the advances in aviation and its cost in lives. A singular contribution to early aviation history”
Library Journal May 2009

“Mortimer expertly interweaves the three stories, vivifying each event with a riveting combination of historical detail and novelistic suspense. He does especially fine work in rendering Hawley and Post’s ordeal after their balloon went down...enjoyable, accessible technological history, further enlivened by colorful character sketches of some of the most interesting figures in the early days of flying”
Kirkus Reviews April 2009

“Gavin Mortimer's Chasing Icarus brings us up close and personal with those daring young men and their flying machines...[his] narrative is dramatic, fast-paced, and entertaining [and] he skillfully describes the events.”
Barnes & Noble Review, August 2009


The Great Swim

“Mortimer's book, narrated with pacy enthusiasm and highlighted by the achievements of four largely forgotten heroines, is a fascinating and irresistible slice of sporting history.”
The Daily Mail, May 2008

“Mortimer’s deft, uncomplicated prose emerges as the perfect vessel for the story…his thorough research provides a cultural context as striking as his narrative”
The Times Literary Supplement, June 2008

“Mortimer has done a marvellous job in telling the story of a sporting phenomenon that gripped newspaper audiences on either side of the Atlantic during the summer of 1926...the effect makes for a thoroughly compelling read.”
The Birmingham Post, June 2008

“Mortimer's story of the grit of these women cracks along like a Channel tide...his descriptions of the caprice of the ribbon of water that defeated so many are compelling, but the tenacity of these women is this book's heart. The Great Swim admirably resuscitates the achievements of Ederle, Cannon, Barrett and Gade, all gunning for glory in that extraordinary summer of '26.” The Daily Telegraph, May 17, 2008

“Engrossing book…The Great Swim follows four American women who competed that summer to become the first female to cross the treacherous strait. Mortimer's descriptions of their attempts are gripping”
Entertainment Weekly, February 23 2008

“Mortimer tells this story with a verve that pulls the reader in like a high tide”
Washington Post, March 23 2008

“In his re-creation of Ederle's crossing you can't help but feel cold, wet and exhausted.”
Seattle Times, March 30 2008

“Mortimer has done Ederle—and sports history in general—a huge service in this wonderfully written book....”
Publishers Weekly, December 2007

“An engaging, entertaining read....a stirring portrait of courage and endurance, but also a bittersweet tale of the vagaries of fame and fortune.”
Kirkus Reviews, January 2008

“The book can be read as the story of a sporting competition or as an exploration of our timeless fascination with celebrity. Either way, it’s an absorbing and inspirational saga”
Booklist, January 2008

“The long-forgotten battles against cold, adverse tides, jellyfish and each other were front-page news on both sides of the Atlantic and are marvellously brought back to life here.”
The Sunday Times, November 2008


Fields of Glory

“It makes sobering as well as inspiring reading…he has done sports fans a service”
Brough Scott, Sunday Telegraph

Excellent…Mortimer is to be envied for his choice of subject and the skill with which he has treated it.”
Robin Marlar, The Cricketer [one of his five books of the year in 2001]

“Masterly”
Cape Argus [South Africa]

“A fascinating compilation that mixes boys' own tales of great deeds on sportsfields and battlefields.”
The Sunday Times

“This excellent book skilfully recalls the heady days when top sportsmen really were heroes”
Aberdeen Press & Journal

“A compelling read about men who fought hard, played hard and lived hard.”
Bolton Evening News

“If you like yarns that come spitting out of the pages with the ferocity of an overheated Lewis gun, then this one’s for you. A cracking read, make no mistake.”
Worcester Evening News

“One of the most fascinating sports books in a long time.”
Rugby World Magazine


Stirling’s Men

“Mortimer’s account possesses depth…a serious and extremely readable account of a band of warts-and-all warriors”
Western Daily Press

“A fascinating insight into the regiment’s birth and its early years…an enthralling read”
Mars & Minerva, Regimental Magazine of the SAS

“Mortimer proves that there is always room for thorough, well-crafted studies which go beyond the boys’ own bravado”
Eastern Daily Press

“Mortimer is a fine writer and brings his skills to bear in retelling the story…he knows how to hold the reader’s attention”
Scottish Legion News

“A fascinating book”
Derby Evening Telegraph

“A fabulous page-turning narrative that will capture the imagination”
The National Army Museum


The Longest Night

“The careful scene-setting painlessly imparts forgotten information about the facets of wartime life…Gavin Mortimer’s book is a timely reminder that there are still many living survivors who remember and were scarred by the terrifying experiences.”
The Literary Review

“Mortimer deserves full credit for assembling a mountain of material and presenting it with lucidity and balance”
Philip Ziegler, Daily Mail

“An excellent book…Gavin Mortimer has interviewed scores of survivors for his gripping narrative.”
Andrew Roberts, Wall Street Journal

“Well written…recaptures that desperate gripping time when the very survival of the country seemed to hang in the balance”
Morning Star

“Mortimer has achieved a complex task with great aplomb. The story of the Second World War always needs new ways of being told and this is a daring and effective attempt.”
Mail on Sunday

“Brilliantly constructed and utterly absorbing.”
The Romford Recorder

“This book vividly recalls the terror that came to London that May night”
Leicester Mercury

“Mortimer has written a hard-worked, widely-researched and altogether admirable book.”
The Contemporary Review

“A gripping account”
The Vancouver Sun


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