6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Excellent addition to military history libraries
, 27 May 2012
This review is from: Road to Manzikert: Byzantine and Islamic Warfare 527-1071 (Hardcover)
I enjoyed Brian Todd Carey's Road to Manzikert as an introduction to Byzantine and Islamic warfare over the first six centuries of the medieval period. It highlights changes in military organization, strategy and tactics in the Byzantine, Arab Muslim and Turkish Muslim worlds. The text is clearly written, covering both the Byzantine (chapters 1 and 3) and Islamic subjects (Chapters 2 and 4), and culminating in the important battle of Manzikert in 1071 (chapter 5). This book can also be seen as an update to Alfred Friendly's fine (but dated) The Dreadful Day: The Battle of Manzikert, placing this pivotal engagement between the Byzantine Empire and Seljuk Sultanate in its proper place as a decisive political defeat, rather than a devastating military one.
Carey and his team of cartographers reconstruct numerous battles in multiphase map sequences, including campaigns from Justinian's Persian and Gothic wars, the early battles of Muhammad (Badr, Uhud, and the battle of the Trench), significant battles between Islam and Byzantium and Persia during the Rashidun Caliphate (highlighting the important battles of Yarmuk River and Qadisiya), as well as discussing strategic issues faced by a Byzantine Empire imperiled by a growing Muslim threat to the East and Bulgar and Rus attacks from the North.
At a 164 pages, this work was clearly never designed to go into as much detail as earlier excellent but separate treatments of Byzantine and Islamic warfare by John Haldon, Warren Treadgold, Hugh Kennedy, and others. These works concentrate on either the Byzantine or Islamic martial perspective, and rarely give adequate treatment to both. Road to Manzikert present its reader with an excellent introduction to warfare in this period that includes snippets of relevant primary source readings from Byzantine and Islamic historians, an engaging narrative, and a chronology and two glossaries covering the various characters covered in the work, as well as important military terms. This book is an excellent addition to military history libraries seeking information on early Byzantine and Islamic warfare in one short book.
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