on December 5, 2008
Dr. Hamblin, a professor of history at Brigham Young University and a frequent FARMS contributor (for example, with Stephen D. Ricks, coeditor of the important 1990 FARMS volume Warfare in the Book of Mormon), has produced a hefty tome that ranges from its opening chapter on "The Neolithic Age and the Origin of Warfare (to c. 3000)" to an eighteenth chapter treating "Early Second Intermediate Period Egypt (1786-1667)."
In between, he discusses warfare and siegecraft in Mesopotamia under the Akkadians and Neo-Sumerians and through the Middle Bronze Age (which furnishes the volume's terminal date); covers Mari, Syria, Lebanon, Canaan, and Anatolia; and closes with several chapters on warfare in Egypt commencing from the Pre-Dynastic, Early Dynastic, and Old Kingdom periods. Among many other topics, the book treats questions of recruitment and training, logistics, weaponry, the role of "magic," naval conflict, fortifications, and combat narratives. Hamblin pays particular attention to the ideology of the "holy war" in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, arguing that subsequent Near Eastern concepts of "holy war" (including today's) should be understood against this older background.
In a jacket endorsement, Professor Robert Drews of Vanderbilt University pronounces the book "a goldmine of information--both textual and archaeological."