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The Times History of War: The Illustrated Military History of the World from Ancient Civilisation to the 21st Century [Paperback]

David C. Isby , Richard Brooks , Jan Honig , Richard H. Berg , Mark Herman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Nov 2003

The most ambitious study of warfare ever published

From the Ancient World to the present day, The Times History of War reveals how warfare has been shaped by social, political, technological, agricultural and even climatic changes. It investigates how warfare has, in turn, been the agent of political and social change.

Lavish maps chart the campaigns and battles that have changed the course of military history. Diagrams and line drawings show how new weapons and equipment work.

From small unit tactics to grand strategy, The Times History of War is the most thorough analysis of warfare ever published.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; New edition edition (3 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007164580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007164585
  • Product Dimensions: 31 x 22.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,355,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

A comprehensive overview of war throughout the ages
From the first wars of civilization - the chariot lords sweeping through ancient Mesopotamia and Homer's warriors on the plains of windy Troy - to today's darker threats of terrorism and biological weapons proliferation; The Times History of War provides and overview of how this most important human activity developed. The text - written by a team of specialists and experienced military historians (myself included) - is accompanied by extensive illustrations. The maps are the heart of the book, which serves as an atlas of military history, and presents the accuracy, comprehensiveness and clarity readers have come to expect from The Times series of historical atlases. For a reference atlas as well as an illustrated survey of military history, this book should be of interest to the general reader and specialists alike. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

‘Of all the historical disciplines, the study of military history is perhaps the most multi-faceted.’

Since the first nation states established armies, the theory and practice of war had evolved at different speeds at different times -- and on different continents. Changes in military techniques have built and toppled empires; conversely, political upheavals from the fall of Rome to the French revoltuion have changed the way nations go to war. Each chapter is devoted to a discrete period of military history: from the empires of the ancient world to the age of Napoleon; from Gatling guns to microchips. The Times History of War focuses on wars or battles typical of their time. Battles like Cannae, Waterloo and Stalingrad are examined in detail not because of their political consequences, but because they included all the key features of Ancient, Napoleonic and mid-twentieth century warfare respectively. Coverage becomes more comprehensive after 1914; all major twentieth century wars are included as the pace of technological change accelerates the development of strategy and tactics by land, sea and air.

This fully updated edition of The Times History of War charts the development of warfare since ancient civilization to the dawn of the 21st century.

Illustrated with 336 specially commissioned maps and diagrams and 150 photographs, a leading team of military experts reveal the evolution of theory, tactics and practice of military conflict, from the fall of Rome to nuclear submarines, ballistic missiles and ‘cyber-war’.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent guide, but limited by its vast scope 28 Nov 2004
The Times History of War proves that this is a complex subject, influenced by and intimately bound up with politics, economics, social change, religion, culture, technology ... and even meteorology. Warfare is also an evolving art, science and discipline - it's often said that general always re-fight the last war, only to be caught on the hop because a new enemy emerges, or an old enemy does something new and unexpected, or a new weapon suddenly appears. The machinegun and the tank were shocking newcomers in their day ... but anyone reading this review will vividly remember 9/11!
There is an immediate pitfall in any work of this scope - the reader quickly begins to spot what has been missed rather than appreciate what is there. This is a taster, an introduction to history, so it must inevitably leave you feeling dissatisfied, in need of a more substantial meal. It does, however, put warfare into perspective: it has to be understood not as simply a series of different battles, but as an expression of social and historical change.
The Times History notes that the boundaries between periods of history have always proved contentious. Trying to pigeonhole warfare can be fraught with imprecision and abstraction. Mechanisation and tank warfare seems to create a clear historical division ... yet urban warfare and guerrilla warfare hark back to more primitive ways of killing one another.
Lavishly illustrated, full colour, with an abundance of maps and battle diagrams, this is a concise and analytical volume. It asks what worked, what went wrong, what were the outcomes. It is akin to a guidebook or roadmap, identifying the main points of interest in the history of warfare. It is up to the traveller to stop and explore at greater length and depth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but flawed 16 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This book is comprehensive, handsome and admirably researched, but the sheer extent of its coverage is its downfall: huge swathes of history are reduced to a mere two pages, often leaving the reader bewildered and in need of more detail.
Attempts to cover dozens of campaigns from several forces using just one map reduces their legibility and causes confusion. Likewise, a single caption often fails to capture much of the subtleties of events.
Diagrams of individual battles suffer the same fate: really, what's needed are a number of separate diagrams with more in-depth explanations. Certainly some of the earlier diagrams are rendered nonsensical to anyone unfamiliar with events on the battlefield.
My final compaint is the level of production: almost every spread contains a typographic or grammatical error of some sort, which soon starts to annoy (shame on you, The Times). A second edition would benefit from a really close subbing.
Despite these criticisms, The Times History of War still manages to inform and leaves the reader eager to learn more. For anyone interested in history, battlefied tactics, or mankind's ridiculously large appetite for self-destruction, will be suitably amazed by what's on offer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reference Book 5 Sep 2002
By GlenGDN
This book is a superb source of reference. It covers a huge period from the ancients to modern warfare, and in my opinion covers most of the most important conflicts that could be covered in one book. The detail is limited, but as a reference it is superb, with overviews, maps and diagrams.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the times history of war 23 Feb 2005
very readable covering a vast subject concisely
a great stating point to look up a war
could call it a great bluffs guide
superb reference book
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