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The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 BC to the Present Hardcover – March 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1376 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Resource; 4 Sub edition (March 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062700561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062700568
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.8 x 2.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This is the latest revision of a meticulous and carefully organized reference work. As in previous editions (the most recent published in 1986 as the Encyclopedia of Military History), this compendium covers armed conflicts since 3500 B.C. This edition expands space devoted to the Near East, including the Persian Gulf War, the Soviet-Afghanistan War, and military operations in Lebanon. The invasions of Grenada and Panama by U.S. forces are discussed. Unlike the last edition (the second revised edition) in which the only new material was an addendum tacked onto the end of the book, revision is found throughout this volume. For instance, weapons used in ancient China receive more attention, reflecting recent scholarship and the author's own keen interest in weapons development. The chronological arrangement of the book fosters an understanding of world history and today's political boundaries and regional conflicts. The broader implications of specific battles and the introduction of new weapons are emphasized.

The encyclopedia's reference value is enhanced by clear line drawings of weapons and battle formations. One hundred seventy-four maps enable users to follow the narrative descriptions of battles and, in many cases, provide geographic orientation essential to understanding the political significance of a battle.

A selective bibliography is limited to books. However, many of the more important research publications are mentioned in the text. The index is divided into three parts: "General Index," "Index to Wars," and "Index of Battles and Sieges." It is an important feature of the encyclopedia since it is the best way to pinpoint information in the chronological arrangement.

This work complements the late Trevor Dupuy's last major effort, the six-volume International Military and Defense Encyclopedia [RBB Ag 93]. As were earlier editions, it will be useful in public and academic libraries.

Customer Reviews

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As well as the general index, there is an index to battles and index to wars.
Meow Tomcat
This book is the starting point for any serious inquiry to events in military history.
IGS
I read parts of this book on an almost daily basis and still find out new things.
Ram Potukuchi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ram Potukuchi on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I originally bought this book in 1978 for $25. I only replaced it with the new addition in the year 2001. This book is the definitive one-volume work on military history---nothing else can compare to it. All the battles are there and there are many helpful diagrams. The opposing forces and casualties are listed for almost every battle. Included in the book is an excellent bibliography---if you read every work there you should come out with a thoughrough understanding of military history. I haven't, even after 22 years. If you are a wargamer this is a book you will use frequently. I also recommend it to college students and even graduate students majoring in history. The book is well worth the cost. All the great military leaders are highlighted at the beginning of each chapter. I also liked the author's "Comments" section which is usually given after very important battles and events. I read parts of this book on an almost daily basis and still find out new things. This is the one book I would want on a desert island.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 1996
Format: Hardcover
One of the most comprehensive works of military history
available, this is a must-have for anyone interested in the
subject. Not only does this work detail every significant
recorded military conflict since 3500 BC, but it sheds light
on the methods, tactics, weapons, leaders, technologies,
great captains, and innovations with which these conflicts
were fought. Truly, R. Ernest and Trevor N. Dupuy's work
should be at the center of any military historian's library,
whether he be a serious scholar or just an armchair general.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ronald T. Jones on July 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have owned this book, Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, for a number of years and have yet to come across a text of military history exceeding the former in sheer volume of information. Harper is essentially 1500 plus pages of a timeline covering events from 3100 BC to the beginning of the 1990s. Interspersing this timeline are articles analyzing military developments and personalities within each era of coverage. What makes Harper so comprehensive is its detailed inclusion of events beyond Europe. Regions of the world that would customarily recieve scant to no attention in more Eurocentric works dealing with this topic are focused upon with a dramatic vigor that sheds light on leaders and wars unfamiliar to the West.(Given the prevalent ignorance of history, Western leaders and wars may be just as unfamiliar to a disconcertingly large segment of the Western world). This book is a great reference for anyone desiring a concise, year by year account of military operations in any time period. Harper is a tremendous, tireless resource for scholars and military history aficionados in general.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on July 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the best additions to my bookshelf in a long time. It is humongous, but instead of tracing every important event in human history as so many of these types of books do, it traces the evolution of military and warfare, it records almost every single battle ever (a few are excluded for space reasons), it has pictures and all kinds of cross-referencing indexes at the back.
This book is divided into chapters for time periods, and the chapters are divided into sections that talk about different areas/nations. Each section starts with an overview of the people, their history, their tactics and strategies, and just generally adds some background. Then the authors give an extremely detailed and referenced timeline of military events.
Of course, in a work this size, there will be errors. In the introduction to this edition, the author acknowledges that, and apologizes. He notes that often there are inconsistencies from one history to the next, so while researching he had to pick which was most likely to use. Still, this is an extremely helpful, thorough, well-written and illustrated book that no one should be without.
And you can get some good excercise while reading it; it's somewhere around ten pounds.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. McGrath on October 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Any understanding of history, especially anthropological history (i.e. the history of peoples) must have at its core a grasp of organized, mass violence. For it was the victors of those sometimes periodic, other times incessant, spasms of violence who told the story of the battles and who preserved the culture which spawned the combatants. The genesis, history, and culture of the Carthagenian Empire is obscure because the emergent Roman Empire completely immolated Carthage hundreds of years before the advent of Christ during the Punic Wars. The authors of this comprehensive, thoroughly engrossing chronology detail the story of the Punic Wars - and each and every other armed conflict from the dawn of history through to the 1990's. This reviewer is unaware of any other single-volume work which comes even close to this achievement.
The Encyclopedia of Military History is organized by chapters which cover each major era of military development. Each chapter contains an introductory section which outlines the broad development of weapons, military doctrine, and tactics during these eras. Particular emphasis is placed on the Greek and Roman systems and thereafter the military technologies and doctrines of the emergent european nation states and their colonies. After each chapter's broad introduction, the authors delve with intricate detail into the military campaigns of each era using a dual column per page format which packs dense amounts of information onto each page. Engrossing, if concise, histories of each war, campaign, and battle are organized chronologically and geographically (i.e. those fought in Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Americas, the Far East, Near East, Africa, etc.).
It is difficult to fault this book.
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