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Weapons: An International Encyclopedia From 5000 B.C. to 2000 A.D. Paperback – April 15, 1991
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Especially nice is the section on Nuclear weapons. A very detailed accoutn of the effects of nuclear weapons, thier tactical use and specifics including maps that show the how the blast radius of a 100 Megaton bomb could effectively put an end to a sizable portion of britain. Also given are details on radiation behavior and the effects of varying RAD doses as well as explanations as to the various terminology and accronyms such as ICBM, SLBM, IRBM, MIRV ect. It even has a nice table showing various blast yields and the corresponging blast radius and thermal effects. For instance a 10 Megaton bomb would give someone standing 35 miles away first degree burns! There is also a good section on Bio weapons and a very good section on Chemical weapons.
information on more dated weapons of war are also very good, though not always with as much depth. But the scope is the strong point, everything from maces, to chain mail, to bronze swords, to wooden clubs, to pole arms and pikes, to bows and arrows, to flint lock muskets, to samuri swords to self proppelled artillery. It's ALL here. Dont expect to find a complete guide to every specific model of tank or fighter, or expect to find a complete covereage of every singe machine gun, but short of actually listing and covering every single weapon ever made, this really covers all of the history of man's quest to find better ways of destroying himself.
As a lifelong student of military history I highly recommend this book. For me it is the "how it works" of weaponry and warfare. This book offers excellent diagrams and explanations. I often refer to it when looking for references to arms. Buy it - you will not be disappointed.