The Reader's Companion to Military History

The Reader's Companion to Military History

by Robert Cowley, Society for Military History Staff, Geoffrey Parker
     
 

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The Reader's Companion to Military History is the first major reference work on military history to represent a global perspective. More than 150 distinguished military historians, biographers, and journalists contributed nearly 600 articles to this remarkable chronicle of warfare, which combines compelling historical narrative with the latest in contemporary…  See more details below

Overview

The Reader's Companion to Military History is the first major reference work on military history to represent a global perspective. More than 150 distinguished military historians, biographers, and journalists contributed nearly 600 articles to this remarkable chronicle of warfare, which combines compelling historical narrative with the latest in contemporary scholarship. Here is essential information on major events and battles, commanders, weaponry and technology, and strategy and tactics. Other topics include courage, discipline, the effects of weather on warfare, military justice, the role of propaganda, the evolution of uniforms, psychological warfare, and morale. Filled with surprising anecdotes and little-known facts, The Reader's Companion to Military History covers not only European and North American military history but that of Asia, Africa, and South America. Never before has a single volume so eloquently addressed the many intriguing aspects of that most destructive, fascinating, and relentless of human experiences -- war.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
One editor is the cofounder of Military History Quarterly and the other teaches military history at Yale, so the volume is certainly shaped by knowledgeable people. Two key questions they must deal with are 1) what entries to include in a one-volume book that covers such a huge swath of material and 2) exactly what to say in individual entries. As far as school usefulness is concerned, this volume aims at variety more than depth. People covered range from Manchu Emperor K'ang-hsi to WW II Admiral Ches-ter Nimitz to Florence Nightingale. Some articles are excerpted from books, some written for this volume. Of course there are wars and battles and concepts, such as economic warfare and neutrality. There are some delightful surprises too, such as a nearly four-page tour of the representation of war in western art. To add a bit of spice, the editors include several "10 Best" lists scattered throughout the volume. Topics include top tens for sieges, military disasters and works of historical fiction about war. For the latter, at least, a more extended, annotated list by topic would have been more useful. The index is solid, but I'm not sure how easy it is to find a topic among over 600 items, or to guess exactly what heading it will appear under. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Houghton Mifflin, 592p. illus. index., $20.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Daniel J. Levinson; History & English Teacher, Thayer Acad., Braintree , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
Library Journal
Cowley, editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and Parker (naval and military history, Yale) bring together the contributions of 150 journalists, historians, scholars, and biographers in more than 590 entries to this polished one-volume encyclopedia of war. Although Western-oriented and with an emphasis on 19th- and 20th-century warfare, it offers more than just a routine listing of people, places, and events in the history of war. The editors have skillfully added well-written pieces on the art and science of war, including entries on deception, strategy, discipline, espionage, logistics, geography, laws of war, origins of war, weather, and treachery. Best are the entries on the theories of land and naval warfare, especially those by Clausewitz, Corbett, and Mahan. Also included are numerous sidebars of little relevance or value, most being entirely subjective and without historical foundation (e.g., "Ten Best War Movies," "Ten Best Works of Historical Fiction About War"). Recommended for general readers.Col. William D. Bushnell, USMC (ret.), Brunswick, Me.
School Library Journal
YAThis well illustrated, solidly researched, articulately written volume is a major contribution to the field of military history. YAs will find short articles helpful for researching term papers and for satisfying curiosity regarding wars and the people, institutions, and doctrines that fight, wage, and control them. While other compendia deal with military history from the start of recorded time, such as E. R. Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy's The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History (HarperCollins, 1993), none approach the subject from as many different aspects as this one. This objective work deals with military history on five continents (nothing on Australia) and from ancient times to this decade. It contains compact and thorough articles on conflicts from the Algerian War to the Zulu Wars; major battles from Actium to Zama; significant land, sea, and air combat leaders from Edmund Allenby to Georgii Zhukov. Also included are military philosophers and their theories from Sun Tzu to Karl von Clausewitz; and military technological advances from Greek Fire to land, sea, and air precision-guided munitions. Some articles are as current as today's newspaper, such as "Gays in the Military." What makes the publication so effective is its brilliantly composed, lengthy, and thorough index. Finally, and most importantly, the military historians who wrote the cogent essays are tops in the profession.Alan L. Gropman, National Defense University, Washington, D.C.
Booknews
This is a paperbound reprint of a 1996 work. It comprises approximately 600 signed entries by military historians, biographers, and journalists, providing information on major battles, commanders, theorists, weaponry, strategy, and tactics, alongside anecdotes, trivia, maps, and illustrations. Arranged alphabetically, entries span the period of recorded history and cover campaigns from around the world. Cowley is co-founder and editor of and Parker is an author and historian affiliated with Yale U. and Ohio State U. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395669693
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/01/1996
Pages:
573
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 10.38(h) x 1.38(d)

Meet the Author

Robert Cowley is editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History and of the anthology Experience of War, described by Kirkus Reviews as "a bonanza for military history buffs."

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