Holland, James 1970-
Holland, James 1970-
Born 1970, in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England; married; children: one son. Education: Attended Durham University.
Has worked variously for publishing houses in the publicity department; freelance writer.
Fortress Malta: An Island under Siege, 1940-1943, Orion (London, England), 2003.
The Burning Blue (novel), William Heinemann (London, England), 2004.
Together We Stand: Turning Tide in the West: North Africa, 1942-1943, HarperCollins (London, England), 2005.
A Pair of Silver Wings (novel), William Heinemann (London, England), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals such as the Daily Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times, Sunday Express, and New Statesman.
James Holland was born and raised in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, near Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral, an area steeped in history. He attended Durham University, where he studied history, and went on to work in the publicity department of several major publishers in London, promoting the work of such notable clients as celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. His writing has appeared in a variety of national newspapers and magazines, and he has written both fiction and nonfiction books that draw on his interest and education in history. Fortress Malta: An Island under Siege, 1940-1943, for instance, takes a look at the conditions on the island during World War II, a small parcel of land that has nevertheless become the most bombed place in the world. A British colony since 1814, Malta bore the brunt of numerous flyover attacks from both the Germans and the Italians during the war, resulting in King George VI of England awarding the island the George Cross for Gallantry. Holland concerns himself more with the personal stories of the war, delving into the histories of the people who lived on Malta through the attacks, and how they survived the devastation. Carlton Sherwood, in a review for the Washington Times, observed that Holland "fashions a remarkably, seamless history that introduces his readers to dozens of unlikely characters." Library Journal contributor Brian K. De-Luca further remarked: "The Maltese people's stories of personal courage and suffering … shine through in Holland's superb documentation." Nicholas Roe, writing for the London Guardian, stated: "The broad perspective is done well, albeit without challenging or revising received accounts." Roe also noted: "Ranging through the military and civilian communities, Holland shows the war's destruction of everyday life as food, water, fuel, electricity, transport and buildings gradually disappeared."
Together We Stand: Turning Tide in the West: North Africa, 1942-1943 addresses the end of the British campaigns in North Africa during World War II, a dramatic period due to the scale of the endeavor as well as the wartime military personalities involved. Holland compares the later attempts to the earlier years of the campaigns, examining the organization of the different forces, and analyzing the level of preparedness and training of each nation. He also looks at the way the arrival of the Americans, timed with the reorganization of the British troops, turned the tide in Africa. Holland interviewed veterans and incorporated their individual stories with the more commonly described history of the military operations. "Holland's narrative is leisurely and anecdotal," according to a Kirkus Reviews critic, "drawing on the memories of dozens of players, including the photographer Cecil Beaton and the journalist and author Alan Moorehead." In a review for Publishers Weekly, one writer called Holland's book "a compelling and detailed account," and an "exhaustively researched narrative." Gilbert Taylor predicted in Booklist that the volume, "flavored with his tendency to kibitz about strategy and tactics, will keep readers engaged."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2006, Gilbert Taylor, review of Together We Stand: Turning Tide in the West: North Africa, 1942-1943, p. 18.
Bookseller, February 4, 2005, review of Together We Stand, p. 35.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2006, review of Together We Stand, p. 28.
Library Journal, October 1, 2003, Brian K. DeLuca, review of Fortress Malta: An Island under Siege, 1940-1943, p. 94.
Publishers Weekly, December 5, 2005, review of Together We Stand, p. 44.
Fantastic Fiction,http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (November 7, 2006), "About James Holland."
Guardian Online,http://www.guardian.co.uk/ (May 1, 2004), Nicholas Roe, "Against All Odds."
Washington Times Online,http://www.washingtontimes.com/ (November 7, 2006), Carlton Sherwood, "Revealing Horrors of Most Bombed Place on Earth."*