Here is a secret that is, I think it’s fair to say, distinctly unlikely to surprise those who know me. As a kid, I used to pore over Osprey’s Man-at-Arms series books, thin but information-dense volumes about soldiers of every era, from Roman legionaries to GI Joes. The crowning glory of each book was, of course, the detailed color illustrations with chewily-dense commentaries drawing attention to the double-tongued belt buckle here, the non-standard unit patch there. Since then, Osprey has gone from strength to strength, adding a whole slew of new series to their range and in total publishing, believe it or not, over 2,300 titles. I suspect I’m not the only big kid who still has a whole host of them on his shelves, although in fairness they tend to be meticulously well-researched and useful reference works. But yes, it’s probably still the pictures that win me over.
In that context, even though it’s hardly my first book, I was especially tickled to write something for the Osprey Elite series: Russian Security and Paramilitary Forces since 1991. I submitted a hefty parcel of manuscript, photos (including many from the talented Vitaly Kuzmin) and art direction over the summer and it is — very provisionally — scheduled to come out in August 2013. Meanwhile, the equally-talented Johnny Shumate will be turning my screeds of notes into full-color pictures of Russian cops, OMONovtsy, Interior Troops, snipers, and the like. That kid inside me is very happy.