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Weapon: A Visual History of Arms and Armor Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"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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They can be reviewed together because of their kinship in sharing the same visual concept and the same supremely expert author, R. G. Grant. No pilgrim, Grant is the author of over 20 books, most on the subject of conflict, implements of war and the fighting man.
All three books are wonderfully delicious for those of us whose DNA inclines us toward the history of arms, armament and the men who have carried them. These books are chock full of photographs, charts, maps and illustrations on every page to beautifully compliment and expand upon a tightly written, no fluff text. And this text is extremely well researched.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I have not read each of these three books in their entirety. I've had them for only 2 weeks and after scanning them from start to finish, I am now devouring them slowly, page by page, like a monk with a holy book, meting out tasty morsels judiciously. I want this to last a long time.
Although, the books overlap to a degree, they are not repetitious in any negative way as they each have their own exclusive focus.
Warrior takes on the subject of the individual fighting man from 600 BCE to the present, from the Greek Hoplite, the Samurai, Zulu, Mongol bowman, American rifleman to the modern western infantry and special forces...and almost everything in between.
Weapon focuses on just about every kind of implement of a fighting man's arsenal of killing tools from Assyrian spears to the AK 47. In some cases, replicas have been photographed but mostly it's the often crusty, old real thing. The photography is first rate. As in all three books, the text and illustrations are intermingled in such an artful way as to make each page a visual smorgasbord.
Battle covers the first recorded major battle which is between the Canaanites and the Egyptians at Meiddo and takes us through conflicts in every age all the way to modern times. Its focus is on the Generals, the strategies, the troops and their weapons.
Battle was published by DK in 2005, Weapon in `05 and Warrior in `07. Highly recommended, all three.