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KLIATTThe trouble with wars and other combat situations in history is that they fade too soon in the public mind. No matter how extraordinary the event, the relentless march of time soon sends it receding into the hazy past, and before long there is an entire college generation that can barely remember the Gulf War, nevermind Vietnam or WW II. Teachers and graying military veterans alike can only shake their heads at students to whom Gettysburg, Gallipoli and Guadalcanal all fuse into the same amorphous mass. This book is a powerful antidote to such historical fuzziness. Not really an encyclopedia in spite of its name, the book is more a survey of the entire canvas of military history, with many short chapters in chronological order. Each five or six-page entry is devoted to one specific war, campaign, or battle; and the major conflicts, such as the American Civil War, are broken down into smaller segments. The subject listings run from Ancient Warfare down through the Cold War, and each is studded with maps, photos and drawings appropriate to the action. The descriptions of each topic are necessarily brief, in view of the book's enormous scope, but the writing never seems sketchy or facile. Events are compressed, but written in such a way as to stimulate further reading. The text never descends into dryness or the tedium of too much detail. Perhaps best of all, it does not glorify war nor romanticize armed conflict. What it does do is treat warfare with the respect it deserves, with the hope that readers will someday discover ways to make the entire concept obsolete. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2002,Lyons Press, 304p. illus. maps. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Raymond Puffer, PhD.