Military history this time in a retro review from July 14, 2006.
Review: Battle: A Visual Journey Through 5,000 Years of Combat, R. G. Grant, 2005.
The visuals are a combination of maps, timelines, weapons, uniforms, and portraits of military leaders. The text is mostly sketches of significant battles. Battles is a term loosely used in this book. Some of the sketches are actually of campaigns or entire wars. The organization is broadly chronological, with brief material on how warfare changed from era to another, and the battles grouped together by geographical areas. A latter section also covers some terrorist actions.
Grant starts with the war between the Sumerian city states of Lagash and Umma in about 2450 BC and ends not too far away in space — the ongoing war in Iraq.
The book has the expected shortcomings. There is a very brief section on what we know about Pre-Columbian warfare in the Americans. There is no mention of sub-Saharan wars not involving Europeans.
There are some surprising typographical errors in dates and map scales but not enough to avoid the book.
Together with George C. Kohn’s Dictionary of Wars, this book would serve as a good, quick reference on world military history or a memory refresher. Or you can simply use it to whet your appetite for more reading on subjects generally not taught in Western schools like the wars on the Indian sub-continent or between Korea and Japan.