A journey of discovery

Shavetails and Bell Sharps book cover
WarMule Fri, 16/05/2014 - 20:28

Below is a list of books that I have read through my journey of learning about mules in war. Some of these are no longer being published, but can be sourced through second-hand bookshops or online through sites such as abebooks.co.uk which has millions of new and used books, rare books and out of print books.

All these books have been recommended by people I have been in contact with as I explore World War 1 and the roles mules played throughout.

if there are other books you think are worth reading, please post a comment below.

Shavetails and Bell Sharps
Emmett M. Essin

The last U.S. Army mules were formally mustered out of the service in December 1956, ending 125 years of military reliance on the virtues of this singular animal. Much less glamorous than the cavalryman's horse, the Army pack mule was a good deal more important: from the Mexican War through World War II, mules were an indispensable adjunct to army movement. The author has exhaustively researched the ubiquitous yet nearly invisible army mule. Through his work we learn a great deal about military procurement, transport, and supply, the bedrock on which military mobility rests. Emmett M. Essin is a professor of history and the director of Developmental Studies at East Tennessee State University.

The Military Mule in the British Army and Indian Army: An Anthology
Brian Nicholls, Philip Malins, Charles Macfetridge

An anthology of stories by those who served in or knew well the British Army's Mountain Gunner's that served primarily in the North West Frontier of India for one hundred years until 1947. The book also describes service in Gallipoli in WW1 and Burma in WW2.

Confessions of Custard: A Military Mule
V. R. Burkhardt, Marian MacKenzie-Johnston, Beatrice Ann Gordon

An insight into Army life between the wars as recorded in a series of letters from Custard an army mule penned by Colonel Burkhardt to two little girls enhanced by delightful sketches.

Theirs Not to Reason Why: Horsing the British Army
Graham Winton

This book provides the first comprehensive study of the British Army’s horse services between 1875-1925, including the use of horses in the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer and the 1914-18 wars. There is a particular focus on the military procurement of horses in relation to the domestic horse breeding industry, foreign supply in times of war, the debate about mechanisation versus the horse and an integrated military transport system. It also covers the use of mules in wartime.

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