Kathleen's War


Latest Publications
OUT NOW - KATHLEEN'S WAR, my mother's account of living as an Englishwoman in Nazi-occupied Holland, is edited with commentary by me. I have been intending to get it into print for a long time, and now, with the help of graphic designer Penny Jones, it makes a handsome paperback, complete with photographs and map, at £7.99.
ISBN 978-0-9569217-0-3. Available from 

THE DARDANELLES DISASTER – Winston Churchill’s Greatest Failure - appeared in paperback in August 2010. The hardback original appeared, also from Duckworth Overlook, in August 2009 and remains available.

EEL PIE ISLAND, published in October 2009, sold out by February 2010 but was reprinted in April and is still readily available via bookshops and Amazon.

Eel Pie Island Launch
Eel Pie Island was launched on Eel Pie Island – where else? – on Wednesday 7 October 2009, the eve of official publication. It was a classic island occasion, with an inconveniently high tide that prevented people from crossing the footbridge, and it was raining heavily. More...

Work in Progress
I have received the offer of a "modest advance" - I quote my publisher - for another naval epic. It will be quite different from anything that has gone before, being focused not on an individual or a battle, campaign or war but on a theme running right through Anglo-German naval history on the 20th century. More on this in due course...

Latest Obituaries

These are lean times for Guardian obituarists as the paper makes more and more desperate cuts to reduce its annual deficit. Two pages a day plus one on Saturday have become one page a day and two on Saturday, a 40% reduction in space. So 2013 has been a lean year so far, but not without interest. Publications include Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist, the last of the 20 July plotters who tried to assassinate Hitler; Carl Elsener, the man who designed the Sqiss Army knife as we know it and made it a worldwide brand; Admiral Sir Sandy Woodward, who led the Royal Navy's task force to an unlikely victory in the Falklands war against Argentina; and Berthold Beitz, for many years CEO of Krupp, the German steelmakers, who was a less-known but just as courageous Oskar Schindler.
Woodward had been "in stock" for years, like many other famous people written up in advance, such as Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach, the man who persuaded Thatcher to send a naval task force to the Falklands. He thereby saved her political bacon - but was not awarded a gong because he was publicly attacking government plans to reduce the fleet by a third at the time. His boss, Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Lewin, was made a Knight of the Garter and a peer - he was in New Zealand at the time of the decision and subsequent despatch of the task force! How mean was our Maggie... 

More obituaries and articles can be found at

Author's Whinge
WITH TWO EXCEPTIONS I am not a bestselling author, but I have published fourteen books. They have gone into fourteen languages. Twelve have been published in the USA. Three have won literary accolades. The reviews, as you may have seen on this site (there are plenty of others!), have been positive on the whole. So Dan van der Vat is no Dan Brown, but rather a “mid-list” author who has a solid track record, asks little from a publisher (and gets decidedly less). More...