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The Cambridge Illustrated History of Warfare: The Triumph of the West (Cambridge Illustrated Histories) Paperback – Unabridged, September 29, 2008

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: 8 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,547 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

A nice straightforward history compilation.
J. Fell
The book looks at the impact of important military/political thinkers such as Thucydides, Caesar, Machiavelli, and Clausewitz, in the evolution of military doctrine.
Octavius
I have looked at and read a lot of books on this subject, and I find this book to be pretty good.
Kyle McGrath

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Brown on July 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First a pet peeve - why is it necessary to make a book glossy from cover to cover forcing the reader to heft over 3 pounds every time he or she reads it? I have never had my arm muscles ache as much as with this 400 page book!

Ok, on to content.

This book is a comprehensive look at the way men have gone to battle since the rise of the West in ancient Greece. Using detailed diagrams when necessary, the reader can see how manpower was deployed and how weapons were used.

Particularly interesting to me were the diagrams of the Greek phalanx and the Roman centuries, examples of the discipline and technique that along with technology helped the West to defeat opponents. Did you know that a major factor in the success of Alexander the Great was the ability of his troops to carry all they needed thus avoiding a long supply line and crowd of camp followers?

This book is filled with insightful commentary on why armed conflicts turned out the way they did. Why was the huge Spanish Armada defeated by the relatively insignificant (at the time) English Navy? What was the Needlegun and why did it give the Prussians an advantage? How did Cortez with just a few hundred Spaniards defeat tens of thousands of Aztecs?

The tide of battle can be turned by weather, by leadership or the lack thereof, by technology and other factors. You will find yourself on an informative march through over 2000 years of conflict up to the 1991 war in Iraq. On finishing this book, I wondered how the Bush directed "war of choice" in 2003 would be seen by such a history as this.

As one would expect, more recent wars are treated in more detail with excellent accounts of WW1 and WW2.
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