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The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare: The Triumph of the West (Cambridge Illustrated Histories) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0521738064 ISBN-10: 0521738067 Edition: Updated edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Illustrated Histories
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Updated edition edition (September 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521738067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521738064
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From 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.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'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

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Customer Reviews

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Geoffrey Parker did an excellent job in this work.
Octavius
One very helpful feature of the book is that it contains diagrams of several key battles, showing troop deployments and movements.
K. Yost
This book is a great guide to the history of warfare.
Kyle McGrath

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Octavius on March 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
As with its political and economic systems, Western Europe came to develop very unique military institutions that had evolved from Greco-Roman military doctrines applying war as a science and as a precise instrument towards defined political ends: emphasizing on uniform training and equipment as well as strict discipline. This book studies the evolution of Western military institutions from antiquity to modern times and demonstrates how these progressive changes contributed to the modern doctrines of Western warfare that are used today by every nation-state.

Geoffrey Parker did an excellent job in this work. Although many illustrative books are just that, this book has very detailed explanations in addition to very useful illustrations such as photos, maps, and diagrams. The book covers all of the important aspects of Western military evolution. For example, it will start by explaining how the early Greek phallanx comprised of citizen farmers was a significant factor to developing the citizen armies of the Roman legions to the later nation-state armies of 18th century Europe. The book looks at the impact of important military/political thinkers such as Thucydides, Caesar, Machiavelli, and Clausewitz, in the evolution of military doctrine. The book of course makes sure to cover how advances in science and engineering such as siege engines, firearms, and explosives changed the conduct of warfare and how armies adapted to such changes.

This is nothing short of an excellent book that has the right balance between text and illustrations. Unlike other illustrative texts that are mostly pictures with little substance, this book is extremely thorough and detailed as to the main factors responsible towards the unique evolution of western military institutions and their impact on the world. I strongly recommend it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Geoffrey Parker has assembled some of the best working military historians for this volume, so that each chapter is up-to-date, well written, and reliable. Unlike many illustrated histories, this one gives at least some endnote references, and includes excellent short bibliographies for each chapter. The illustrations are also outstanding. About as good a history of warfare as could be produced within its word limits.
--Professor Clifford J. Rogers
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By K. Yost on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers an excellent overview of warfare throughout the ages, from the Assyrians to the present day, and covering the personalities, weapons, strategies, tactics and technologies used. It should be noted that it covers only warfare as it has impacted and been fought in the Western culture, with no reference at all to important forces like the Mongols and only very brief interludes relating to the likes of China and Japan (except insofar as their wars involved Western opponents as in the Russo-Japanese War or World War II).

It is not a work for experts, in my opinion, but a terrific primer for those who are new to the subject and looking to ground themselves in the subject before moving on to more focussed and analytical works.

One very helpful feature of the book is that it contains diagrams of several key battles, showing troop deployments and movements. Many other overview texts on the history of warfare which I have seen merely describe the battles, and I found the diagrams particularly useful in clarifying how these fights developed. My one criticism of the book is that might have used more such diagrams, but that is a quibble.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kyle McGrath on March 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a great guide to the history of warfare. I have looked at and read a lot of books on this subject, and I find this book to be pretty good. What makes it better than most are the pictures, special boxes highlighting neat events, maps, and graphics.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alex on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book accomplishes its goal amazingly well with clear graphics, lucid text, and wonderful accuracy . Easily the best in its field, the book gives you a profound understanding and knowledge of the european wars. The chapters are well written and up-to-date. The bibliographies are clearly stated to give the reader further information on a given topic. This is history of war at its finest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book provides a good first glance at the various stages of warfare that have come and gone throughout human history, from Greek Hoplites to guerilla warfare. The illustrations in this book are very beautiful and informative, and a number of insets provide interesting factoids.
This book is ideally suited for those wanting a good overview of the history of warfare. Be forewarned, though, that this book should not be used as a reference except for general facts in the history of warfare. Battle formations, major skirmishes and important people make up the majority of the content. Smaller details are not included, for the most part.
Overall, this is a great book to own. I bought it for a college course a few years back and kept it afterwards. This is a good starting-off point for any interested in military history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Brett on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a student I found this book to be helpful and articulate. It has a lot of ground to cover--Ancient Greece to the present day--and does a remarkable job of conveying what happened and why. Though it is occasionally dry, I found myself engaged throughout. My only complaint is that it maybe could have benefited from being a bit longer. Brevity is certainly a virtue, but when your topic is as large as this one, I think a longer book is justified. It's definately nice to have around as a reference book too.
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