Now that we’re in the middle of the second decade of the century, virtually any tidbit of information is at our fingertips. Having a print-page reference book with extensive photo documentation is still pretty handy and nifty to have, though. These military history reference books are great stocking and book shelf-stuffers alike and provide not only all the basics and detailed history of their subject matter but several pages of photographs with detailed captions as well.

There are two major publishers of this kind of military photo-reference book: Squadron Publications and Pictoral Histories Publishing Co, Inc. Both overlap only in terms of general subject matter covered and having books from both publishers stocking your shelves is a great start towards a personal military history library.

Squadron Publications are perhaps best known for their In Action series, which are detailed photo-histories of specific military equipment or units from throughout the history of warfare. These include F-4 Phantom II in Action, B-17 Flying Fortress in Action, Iowa-Class Battleships On Deck and so on. Squadron Publications also publishes and sells numerous scale model-specific references such as paint guides and construction technique guides.

Pictoral Histories Publishing Co, Inc. provides highly detailed photo-reference books on a number of general history subjects, but also have highly detailed references for specific naval vessels. American Battleships is a complete listing of every U.S. Navy battleship to ever be on the register, including those that never made it off the drafting board (such as the entirety of the Montana class, canceled after the Navy decided it’d rather have supercarriers) and vessels only begrudingly considered battleships (such as the beginning of armored naval warfare where the lines between “cruiser” and “battleship” were ill-defined). If that’s a little too spread out for you, Pictoral Histories Publishing Co, Inc. also offers specific books on major naval vessels such as USS Enterprise, USS California, USS Los Angeles and so on.