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A useful summary of two and a half millenia of pre-classical warships
on 31 March 2013
The author managed to squeeze two and a half millenia of warship building and design into a very compact 48 pages, covering everything up to (but not including) the triremes of the classical period. So the naval experiences, shipbuilding and tactics of Egyptians, Sea People, Minoans, Phoenicians, early Greeks, etc. are all covered, with some pretty well done illustrations complementing the text.
For most of the cultures the author discusses the materials used (and sourcing - an important consideration), the construction techniques, the main types used, main tactics and any significant, recorded battles.
Lots of the material from the period remains at least somewhat open to interpretation - which the author gladly acknowledges - but sources range from written materials of the period, depictions in pottery, archaeological finds, and other secondary sources.
The one potential criticism of the book is that the format forces the author into shortcuts - and the reader getting most of the book is one that is already fairly conversant with both the period, naval technology of the times and naval architecture more broadly. So while the book is supposed to be an easy start, the brevity on the one hand and the breadth of areas to be covered on the other, mean that more prior knowledge of the topic is required than is the case in many of the other books in the series.
Still, a great quick overview of pre-classical naval matters and definitely to be recommended in my opinion.