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In this military-history survey, editor de Souza (classics, Univ. Coll., Dublin) and 20 British and American professors and other authorities cover the political, economic, and social contexts of wars, also discussing key battles and military leaders in geographical areas that include Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, Greece, the Hellenistic Empire, the Roman Empire, Celtic Europe, the Steppes, Southeast Asia, China, Korea, Japan, Mesoamerica, and the Andes. In a chapter titled "War Before History," anthropologist R. Brian Ferguson (Rutgers Univ.) brings in additional worldwide material and asks the thoughtful questions of when, where, and why the wars under discussion began. Maps and time lines are given for each area, though dates vary greatly, from thousands of years B.C.E. through the 16th century C.E. (for the Aztecs and Incas). Among the fascinating details readers will learn is that one reason the Romans fought the Gauls in southern France was for control of the wine trade. In addition to written accounts, the contributors document their discussions with photographs of "visual resources," e.g., skeletal remains, statues of warriors, ruins of fortifications, and weapons and armor found on archaeological sites and in graves. Recommended for all public libraries.
—Anne Marie Lane