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The Art of War in the Western World,
This review is from: The Art of War in the Western World (Paperback)
The introduction on the dust cover of this absolutely first class publication summarises it better than I could; so I've quoted it below:-
"Combining the drama of combat with detailed analysis of strategy, tactics, and logistics, Archer Jones illustrates how wars have been fought since the Persians and Greeks crossed swords at Marathon nearly 2,500 years ago.
From Hannibal's campaigns against Rome and the Christian crusades in the Holy Land to Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz and beyond, The Art of War in the Western World tracks the movements of a host of armies through history. Jones follows the destiny of the battlefield soldier - whether perched on a seige tower, mounted on horseback, marching across open terrain, or confined to a submarine - with a combatants eye.
Jones shows how the introduction of new weaponry - such as the bayoneted muskets at the turn of the eighteenth century and the submersible torpedo boat in the twentieth century - has continuously revolutionised warfare. Sometimes the changes are sudden: World War I, which littered Europe with miles of barbed wire and trenches, is characterised here as the "Apogee of Defense". Just two decades later, Germany mounted a blistering offensive with modern tanks and aircraft, rebuked only by the Hurricanes and Spitfires of Britain's air force.
The Art of War in the Western World includes dozens of illustrations of the implements of war, from catapults to rocket launchers. There are also numerous maps, tables, diagrams and schematics highlighting strategy and troop movements."
Additionally, Archer Jones makes clear the importance of economics to military affairs in schematics such as 12.2 The role of Cost in Choosing the Optimum Combination of Spearmen and Dismounted Knights; illustrates the various strategic options available to force commanders during the different eras in schematics such as 12.5 The Influence of the Ratio of Force to Space, and very much more.
If I were restricted to only one book on the Western World's military history, this would be it, so to all those with such an interest, from war-gamer to professional soldier; my advice is buy this book while you can. It's an absolute classic.