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Writing to an existing book format

Cold War Berlin: An Island City Volume 1 is part of the Europe@War series from Helion. I was initially concerned that writing to an existing format would cramp my creative style, but I soon realised that having a strong, well-established format was actually liberating, not constraining at all, and allowed me to concentrate on the narrative.

The Europe@War series looks at conflicts since the Second World War and so is the perfect home for the Cold War author. The series looks to provide new insights into not only well-known, but also little-known or entirely unknown aspects of armed conflicts, and military forces in Europe since 1945. Visit to see other titles in the series.

The books are presented in an A4 softback format, which has a number of key advantages. The most obvious one is the size - a bigger page format means bigger images, maps, tables and charts, allowing the delivery of more and better information. The books have a colour section in the middle, which is normally reserved for aircraft or vehicle profiles, large colour maps, uniform illustrations and sometimes colour photographs. However, black and white images appear throughout the book alongside the text, overcoming one of my pet niggles in non-fiction - the images sit next (or close) to the text that refers to them, and you don't need to wait until a glossy colour 'plate' section in the centre of the book that is disjointed from the narrative. The @War books are also printed on coated paper, which means images jump off the page at the reader, rather than disappearing into absorbent paper. This is particularly relevant to Cold War Berlin: An Island City, as many of the contemporary images are of questionable quality.

It would be very wrong to dismiss this format as being like the many popular history 'magazines' available at your newsagent. The @War books are based on serious research and are valued as reference points by academics and researchers, but are presented in user-friendly format that appeals to the professional user, the armchair enthusiast and modellers alike. There can be no doubt that @War books pack a huge amount of quality content into a relatively small package.

The following spreads show how this content looks in the finished article. Large photos alongside the relevant text, big black & white maps, fantastic colour profiles, full page colour maps and large tables/charts.

You can order your copy of Cold War Berlin: An Island City at or at

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