On this page I will list books on the F-S and British Commandos and let you know which ones I found of interest or value. I will also consider posting brief reviews from other readers or authors. I have personally purchased these books and I am not receiving any compensation to promote them. They are listed in no special order! Where to look? Obviously Amazon, Abe Books, Alibris, and Ebay. Rating are totally subjective: 1 to 5, five being highest.
Defendu, All In Fighting, Get Tough, Scientific Self-Defence, Shooting to Live. These are all must-have books for the serious F-S collector and reader. I recommend reading all of the Fairbairn and Sykes manuals to get a flavor for the men and their times. Get Tough is probably still my favorite of all. Another one worth reading is the techniques intended for use with the Cobra. It is posted on the internet and if i find the link again i will list it. Unfortunately none of the illustrations are provided with the article.
5.0 Commando Country: Stuart Allan. Superb book on the training methods and various sites used in the Highlands of Scotland. The book gives credit to the broad spectrum of dedicated instructors employed in teaching Brits, French, Poles, Jews, Canadians, Americans, Scandinavians,and Germans as commandos and resistance fighters. Good descriptions of the curriculum and how it was varied to meet the demands of different troops including Police and the Home Guard.
5.0 British and Commonwealth Military Knives: Ron Flook. This is an excellent reference book which is getting harder to find and therefore more expensive. It is still worth the money and is filled with hundreds of high quality photos of all of the standard models and many variants. It is hardbound, over 250 pages long and printed on high quality paper. If you can find a copy I highly recommend it.
4.5 The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife and Other Commando Knives: Ron Flook. A more recent book by Mr. Flook with an incredibly long title. Over 260 pages long, again, printed on good quality paper. It is in paperback and very well illustrated and has some exciting new documentation on the development of the F-S, and in particular, it finally acknowledges the legitimacy of the First Pattern Knives with three inch long guards. The section on etched or named knives is extensive and has some previously unseen and lovely knives. I recommend the book although I disagree with Mr. Flook over some of the knives he has called fakes. He and I have long agreed to disagree on that topic! This book is easy to find on Ebay and well worth the money.
4.8 Commando Dagger: Leroy Thompson. Considered one of the staples in F-S knife books, it is still in print in paperback. It is 164 pages long and covers all of the standard models and some of the lesser known knives. Mr. Thompson also illustrates many of the post war models. The photos are excellent with good detailed shots of guards and markings. One of the more affordable references today by a man who has written hundreds of articles in magazines and books on the F-S, other fighting knives, and firearms of the world. I have several copies including one of the first hardbound copies. The author was a friend of Dorothea Fairbairn and many of the men who carried these knives and is himself an expert in Executive Protection. It has been my pleasure to know him and to have bought many fine knives from him.
4.5 Knives of War: Gordon Hughes, Barry Jenkins, and Robert Buerlein. Some of the top names in the writing world when it comes to fighting knives. This paperback is 120 pages long and a compilation of many articles covering a broad array of WW-II fighting knives. It is copiously illustrated with line drawings instead of photographs. If you are into fighting knives a copy of this book should be on your shelves. It is very affordable and highly informative.
4.8 The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife: Wolfgang Peter-Michel. Hardbound and 158 pages long on high grade paper. This book has all color photos and is very nicely illustrated. In some of the photos the red tint is excessive, probably the fault of the printer. The clarity of the photos is very good. The author also provides some fresh insight into the evolution of the knife from model to model and brief biographies of both Fairbairn and Sykes. I feel the price is a little high but the quality of the book makes up for it.
4.8 Allied Military Fighting Knives: Robert Buerlein: An exceptional book, and Author. I have bought dozens of F-S Commando knives, Ek knives, and books from Mr. Buerlein. He is a pleasure to deal with and his book covers Ek, USMC Stiletto, the Case V-42, and many F-S knives. It is still available I believe in paperback. I bought one of the first editions covered in red leather. The photos are B&W but clear. The paper is good quality although I am less familiar with the newer printing. Again I recommend the book for its coverage of some of the lesser known variants and the V-42 etc. The paperbound book would rate a little lower.
4.0 Fighting Knives: Frederick Stephens. One of the old standby reference books on fighting knives. It has become increasingly hard to find. Hardbound and 125 pages long. It does have some material not found in the other books. The photos are a little dark and smallish. But there is a great section on knuckle knives like Dudley of Robbins and others. It also includes chapters on German fighting knives, WW-I trench knives, and some clandestine weapons. If you find a copy I would buy it, but I believe the previous books listed would be preferential I think.
4.8 Fairbairn-Sykes Commando Dagger: Leroy Thompson. Paperback 80 pages with copious illustrations. Excellent book for a modest price by a noted author. Part of the Osprey Series of weapons books. Great book for the price.
3.5 Collector's Guide to the Fairbairn - Sykes Fighting Knife. Commando 1940 - 1945: Alan Locken. This is a small paperback book illustrated with line drawings. The drawings are excellent quality, but nothing justifies the crazy prices being asked for this out of print primer by Alan Locken. Yes I own a copy but i bought it when it was in print and more affordable. It deserves a reprint to bring the price back into reason.
4.0 Military Knives: A Reference Book - From the Pages of Knife World Magazine Paperback: Frank Trzaska, Mike Silvey, William Windrum an excellent compendium of articles on various WW-II era fighting knives by some of the top authors.
4.8 Theater Made Military Knives of World War II: Bill & Debbie Wright. An excellent resource book of knives made in the theater or for men going off to war. Some very high quality knives and some make-do ones. Highly illustrated with color photos, hardbound, 260+ pages on high grade paper. This is the best book ever printed on the topic of non-factory made knives from the USA.