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Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor Hardcover – October 2, 2006

4.9 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Written by a team of British military historians, this oversize volume seizes attention with the publisher's brand-name design: images surrounded by information-packed captions silhouetted against a white or a black background. Its pictures are sure to snare the substantial audience interested in the history of swords, guns, and body armor. Limiting the subject to portable armaments, the work extends from the first likely weapon (a rock) to the rifles issued to contemporary infantrymen. In most cases, the emphasis is on the tools of the ordinary soldier, his equipage through time explained with arrowed illustrations. The evolution of handheld weaponry is soon apparent, with that of firearms especially prominent. Some guns depicted here will be recognizable (think AK-47) even to those who recoil from guns. Explaining how such lethal equipment works is Weapon's forte; another asset is the comparison of weapon categories across a suite of historical societies. Popular? That's a foregone conclusion. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Weapon depicts the spectrum of weaponry from the stone axes of early warfare to today's modern artillery." – Publishers Weekly

"An illustrated history of weaponry diagrams in detail." – Columbus Dispatch

"From Assyrian spears to the AK-47, weapons — and the warriors who have brandished them — forged history by shaping the rise of empires and the course of revolutions with the ax, the bow, the sword, and the gun." – Military Officer

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: DK; First Edition edition (October 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756622107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756622107
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.1 x 12.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The hallmark of the books published by DK is that leafing through one is like looking at a museum. That is certainly true of "Weapon: The Complete Visual History of Arms and Armor," that looks at the 4,000 years history of weaponry. There are hundreds of weapons on display in this 360-page book, and there are dozens of museums and collections thanked for contributing photographs. My son has designs on being a military historian, and this book is going to end up in his collection because I have no doubt he will enjoy the visual treats and historical information contained in this volume.

The introduction establishes a series of distinct categories of weaponry: bows, arrows, and spears; axes and clubs; swords and daggers; staff weapons; firearms; and armor and helmets (I am fascinated by the decision to put projectile weapons before clubs, as if there was a reasoned decision that the first weapon was something thrown rather than, as the opening of "2001: A Space Odyssey" so memorably suggests, something used as a club). The development of each category is briefly laid out. For example, Firearms begin with matchlocks and flintlocks before moving to percussion caps, revolvers, brass cartridges, repeater firearms, self-loading firearms, and machine guns. Consequently, the introduction provides both the basic definitions and the basic histories of the various types of weaponry.

The rest of the book is divided into five chronological sections: The Ancient World, The Middle Ages, The Early Modern World, The Revolutionary World, and the Modern World.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as a source book for my D&D games, not only did it meet that goal to perfection but it was actually very interesting and a pleasure to read.

The pictures are great and really give you an idea of size and weight. And speaking of weight, most weapons have weights listed.

Great book, highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book at my public library, and now every time I go there, I just HAVE to read it. It tells the history of weapons like no other book before. The pictures are detailed and the descriptions are very informative yet easy for the smallest child to read. This is NOT one of those books that bores you out after a while. I even stick to the Handgun section, and I read it every time I see it. I'll bet there is no guide to weapons better than this book. Don't just consider it. Make it necessary for long trips.
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Format: Hardcover
The strength of this book is to be found in the amazing photos found throughout. This alone makes the book worth every penny. It is quite inspiring to look through and I've gotten a lot of reproduction ideas from it.

Here are the problems I have with this book:

1) With a few exceptions, the artefacts shown in the book do not have any direct references as to where they come from, making it difficult or impossible to double check anything. There are indirect references on the last page, where photo credits are given, but that is not always specific enough to help. Why is this important? Well...

2) I question the accuracy of some of the measurements that are given. For example, on pg. 65 the "Double-Edged Sword" is given as having a weight of 4 lbs, which is awfully heavy for a real sword of the period. The length also seems short at 32" (unless that refers to just the blade, but I don't believe such is specified anywhere). It'd be nice to know where the original is kept or elsewhere published to double check things.

3)While most of the info seems good, some of it is very wrong. I'm thinking mostly of pp. 48-49 regarding the Bronze and Iron Age warriors. For example, they assign the bronze sword on the bottom to the Celts, but this pre-dates the La Tene period by at least five centuries. No actual La Tene swords are even shown! The battle axe on pg 49 (upper left) is actually a Viking broad axe from the 10th - 11th Cent A.D., and certainly not Iron, let alone Bronze Age. The only Celtic artefacts are the helmet, the two daggers, and the Battersea shield (and even these are, technically, Insular rather than truly Celtic). Really, this should be two separate sections, one on Bronze Age and one on Iron Age Celts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not an in-depth text about a particular weapon or type of weapon. It is a beautiful, & informative book. The book labels the weapons by name, place of origin, time period, & sometimes breaks down the components of a particular weapon. It covers everything from prehistoric weapons to modern guns & bayonets, everywhere from Asia to Africa to Europe. The binding seems like it will last for a good while - I first saw this book in my local library, before purchasing it - it was in very good shape.

Oh, for those who are also considering "Knives and Swords" (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/075665646X/ref=oh_o03_s01_i02_details), you should be forewarned that they are in many ways the same book. I purchased both, not realizing that they were from the same publisher. Knives & Swords has nothing that isn't in this book (so far as I can tell) but is a slightly sturdier, more coffee-table type binding. Of course, Knives & Swords does not the missile weapons from this book - including guns. I would recommend buying this book of the two.
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