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Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare: The Triumph of the West

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Now available in a revised and updated version, The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare provides a unique account of Western warfare from antiquity to the present day. The book treats the history of all aspects of the subject: the development of warfare on land, sea and air; weapons and technology; strategy and defense; discipline and intelligence; mercenaries and standing armies; cavalry and infantry; chivalry and Blitzkrieg; guerilla assault and nuclear arsenals. It places in context particular key events in the history of armed engagement, from the Greek victory at Marathon, through the introduction of gunpowder in medieval England and France, to the jungle warfare of Vietnam and the strategic air attacks of the Gulf War. Throughout, there is an emphasis on the socio-economic aspects of military progress: who pays for it, how can its returns be measured, and to what extent does it explain the rise of the West to global dominance over two millennia?

The combined effort of seven leading experts, this book treats the history of all aspects of the subject of warfare, from its development on land, sea, and in the air to weapons and technology and stategy and defense, from discipline and intelligence to mercenaries, standing armies, cavalry and infantry, from guerilla assault to nuclear warfare. 200 color plates. 100 halftone illustrations. 31 line drawings. 28 maps.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Highly polished and well illustrated, this book is a comprehensive history of the Western (European) way of war, spanning ancient Greece to today's modern methods and policies of destruction … The text is superbly supported by numerous and handy sidebars providing details, insights, and anecdotes … Parker's conclusion is historically based and particularly chilling.' Library Journal

'… this is a well-written and handsomely presented volume … the illustrations are pertinent, and the captions interesting … the range of scholarship is impressive … and it has all been pulled together by the finest military historian currently writing, who has also contributed several important sections.' History in Focus

'… exceptional … beautifully illustrated … A highly readable book, and an interesting one, both for the expert and the amateur enthusiast. A must for college libraries.' USI Journal

'This book deserves close attention from the student of military affairs…a valuable overview of the history of warfare …' Foreign Affairs

'This is an attractive book. The numerous illustrations are marvellous and are integrated well with the text.' Journal of World History

'… impressive …' Contemporary Review

Foreign Affairs
…this book deserves close attention from the student of military affairs…The attractive volume makes imaginative use of diagrams, maps, and pictures, which serve far more than merely decorative purposes. In short, a valuable overview of the history of warfare and a worthy companion of other fine one volume surveys.
Bloomsbury Review
The volume's thesis, controversial for some, claims that it is the West's peculiar form of waging war that has led it to dominate so much of the globe. As the various essays in the book outline the development of war in the West, they very ably support that central thesis…copious illustrations—especially the battle plans and reconstructions…will be welcome reading to anyone who wants a broad overview of warfare.
Library Journal
Highly polished and well illustrated, this book is a comprehensive history of the Western (European) way of war, spanning ancient Greece to today's modern methods and policies of destruction. Parker and six prominent American and British scholars contribute 17 chapters to this detailed study of war. Parker's effort explores the history of Western war through strategy and policy; tactics and logistics; finances and culture; weapons and fortifications; air, land and naval battle; and conventional and civil war. The text is superbly supported by numerous and handy sidebars providing details, insights, and anecdotes. Supplementing the text are a reference guide containing a rather subjective chronology of warfare, a pedestrian and slightly inaccurate glossary, and a marvelously described annotated bibliography. Parker's conclusion is historically based and particularly chilling. For the general reader.-Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (Ret.), Brunswick, Me.
A detailed, highly visual account of war in the West from antiquity to the present day, explicating and illustrating the controversial thesis that war in western societies has followed a unique path leading to western dominance of the world. The volume contains 17 chapters in four parts: the age of massed infantry; the age of stone fortifications; the age of guns and sails; and the age of mechanized warfare. Includes a chronology, glossary, and annotated bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521738064
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2008
  • Series: Cambridge Illustrated Histories Series
  • Edition description: Updated edition
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 376,019
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey Parker is Andreas Dorpalen Professor of History at the Ohio State University. He is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567–1659 (second edition, Cambridge, 2004) and The Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800 (second edition, Cambridge, 2001).
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Table of Contents

Introduction: the Western way of war Geoffrey Parker; Part I. The Age of Massed Infantry: 1. Genesis of infantry 600–350 BC Victor Davis Hanson; 2. From phalanx to legion 350–250 BC Victor Davis Hanson; 3. The Roman way of war 250 BC–AD 300 Victor Davis Hanson; Part II. The Age of Stone Fortifications: 4. On Roman ramparts 300–1300 Bernard S. Bachrach; 5. New weapons, new tactics 1300–1500 Christopher Allmand; 6. The gunpowder revolution 1300–1500 Geoffrey Parker; Part III. The Age of Guns and Sails: 7. Ships of the line 1500–1650 Geoffrey Parker; 8. Conquest of the Americas 1500–1650 Patricia Seed; 9. Dynastic war 1494–1660 Geoffrey Parker; 10. States in conflict 1661–1763 John A Lynn; 11. Nations in arms 1763–1815 John A. Lynn; Part IV. The Age of Mechanized Warfare: 12. The industrialization of war 1815–1871 Williamson A. Murray; 13. Towards world war 1871–1914 Williamson A. Murray; 14. The West at war 1914–18 Williamson A. Murray; 15. The world in conflict 1919–41 Williamson A. Murray; 16. The world at war 1941–45 Williamson A. Murray; 17. The post-war world Williamson A. Murray with Geoffrey Parker; Epilogue: the future of Western warfare Geoffrey Parker.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Required text for ILE but lacks depth

    Overall, this is a decent work of history. It places several key events in historical perspective and provides some insight into how and why military events transpired. However, it is a general overview with little depth on any single subject. It is required for US Army ILE, but I could only recommend it for a general starting point in any military history research.

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