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.