From Library Journal
Since there is no end to this planet's being plagued by wars, there is concomitantly no end to books on military history. The latest addition to the publisher's illustrious "Companion" series is this elegantly edited volume of essays covering people, places, and all things military since the beginning of recorded time when, it seems, wars also began. Holmes (military and security studies, Cranfield Univ. and the British Royal Military Coll. of Science) has obtained the talents of nearly 150 other prominent military historians in crafting more than 1300 entries relating to battles, generals, weapons, diplomats, military theorists, and nearly every other conceivable nuance generated by our incessant need for armed conflict. Excellent maps accompany entries about specific battles, and most entries conclude with a short, useful bibliography. One may quibble now and then about the sources recommended for further reading why, for example, is there no mention of Donald Smythe's Guerrilla Warrior (o.p.), an outstanding biography of John J. Pershing? but all in all this is a reference tool of remarkable quality. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Holmes is professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science. He has presented two popular BBC Television series on military history and authored six monographs on the subject.
Although this reference work surveys all military services from ancient to modern time periods, it emphasizes land warfare in Europe and North America from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. It contains approximately 1,300 entries arranged in an A-Z format written by some 148 contributors from Great Britain, Europe, and North America. There are 31 feature articles of two or more pages on topics such as Artillery, Infantry, Logistics, Peacekeeping, Tactics, and Women in the military. Appropriately placed throughout the text are 70 black-and-white maps and 15 black-and-white illustrations. Entries are cross-referenced and signed, and many contain a short bibliography of one to five items at the end.
There are numerous single-volume reference tools with coverage similar to that of The Oxford Companion to Military History. One recent example is Cowley's Readers Companion to Military History (Houghton Mifflin, 1996), which has more than 600 entries, 40 maps, and 89 black-and-white illustrations. All entries are signed, and most have short bibliographies. Holmes compares favorably with Cowley, with more entries and maps but fewer illustrations. The Oxford Companion to Military History should be considered by high-school, public, and academic libraries that need a convenient military history guide. RBB
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