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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent short history of Mongol Warfare,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Mongols (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)an excellent book with some very vivid illustrations the book traces the history of the Mongol invasions, explains about their military organisation and methods of warfare. Mongol cavalry manouvres are illustrated and the weaknesses of the Mongol army such as Siege warfare are discussed. The only fault of the book is its size as although good value it is too short to cover such a vast topic in the space allowed.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction without the means to go any further,
This review is from: The Mongols (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)This relatively old title first published in 1980 is a good introduction to the Mongols, but little more than that especially since it contains no bibliography allowing for further reading by any reader interested in learning more. This is a pity because it limits its value significantly.
Otherwise, the title contains short descriptions of the main Mongol campaigns, especially those in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe. It is however less informative about the conquest of China although some elements can be found in the section dealing with Mongol siege warfare.
The book has essentially two main strengths that make it nevertheless valuable.
One is that through his summarized presentation of the Mongols living conditions, equipment, art of warfare, and, more specifically, their horses, bows and mobility, he shows rather well the origins of their triumphs and what made them so dangerous that they appeared to be irresistible for a long time. The extent of the reputation that they manage to build for themselves, and which they deliberately emphasized and played upon, not least through terror tactics was such that the psychological impact of their first significant defeat in Western Eurasia at Ain Jalout in 1260 was considerable throughout the Muslim world. It largely exceeded the strictly military consequences of the event, which were limited, and was mainly due to political events taking place in the Mongol heartlands. Even then, however, a largely depleted Mongol force including many auxiliaries and relatively few Mongols was only defeated after a hard struggle.
The second strongpoint of this book is its illustrations. The maps and photos are good, but some of Angus McBride's colour plates are simply superb and among his very best. My overall favourite is the rather vivid plate showing a Mongol archer about the pull out one of his arrows from the neck of a Russian fugitive warrior that he has finally run down in the middle of the Russian winter. Another excellent one is that of another Mongol warrior, this time a heavy cavalryman, against whom an unhorsed and unarmed Teutonic knight (he seems to have lost his sword during the struggle) desperately tries to defend himself.
Still worth just about three and a half to four stars (hence the four star rating, since halves are not possible), mostly because of these two points, but the title could certainly do with a bit of revamping, and with a page of references in particular.
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent book but unfortunately too short,
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This review is from: The Mongols (Men-at-arms) (Paperback)A very well illustrated and decently written Osprey.
The author sucessfully uses the small amount of page he is given to present us with various aspects such as:
- A quick review of Mongol's Conquest and history
- Mongols tactics and manoeuvers
- Mongols weapons, armour and life on campaign
- Siegecraft and tactics
- Detailed account of the Russian and European campaign
The plates are as usual very well done (by the talented Angus McBride) although editing probably precludes, do not include the caption next or very next to it. The Captions are actually at the end of the book which is always irritating.
I thought the author was maybe a bit too self-promoting himself by referencing other of his books.
A chronology would have been welcome as some sort of plate showinng a pannel of weapons used by the mongols.
One single disapointment would be the small size of the Men-at-arms series which only contains 40 pages or so.
This is quite often criticised in reviews for this series and I personally think a 50 pages book would probably be practical minimum at least not to disapoint readers who can pay quite a lot for a 40pages book.
To conclude, a very good book covering a lot despite the small allowed size.
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The Mongols (Men-at-arms) by S.R. Turnbull (Paperback - 20 Nov 1980)