My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Review: The Encyclopedia of Warfare

The Encyclopedia of Warfare The Encyclopedia of Warfare by Dennis E. Showalter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very large and ambitious book with nearly 30 individual contributors covering a huge timeline. At the front are an index of wars and campaigns, an index of maps and charts and a nice timeline of civilization as a whole. After that, the various conflicts are basically organized by date and groups into broad categories (with only a limit description of the division criteria):

Ancient Wars 2500 BCE to 500 CE
Medieval Wars 500 CE to 1500 CE
Early Modern Wars 1500 CE to 1775 CE
Revolutionary Wars 1775 CE to 1815 CE
Wars of Empire and Revolt 1825 CE to 1914 CE
World Wars 1914 CE to 1945 CE
Modern Wars 1945+

Almost all of the information provided is under specific headers for a given battle within a conflict or campaign. The information is typically very basic, frequently lacking summary on what the objective of the battle was (focused more on a description of the forces and outcome, with some having maneuvers as well). In addition, the war/conflict headings were empty of any summary on the ‘casus belli’ and ultimate outcome. This gives the impression of a simple list of battles. Reinforcing this impression is how each section was actually organized … just by date, so it was not uncommon to jump across continents making it difficult to keep track of such conflicts … this would have been a lot better if there were geographic subdivisions (and a map). . Minor conflict with only one or two battles should have always been groups together. This was not consistent, and I assume a result of the many contributors (which I acknowledge can be difficult to manage). Examples:

Post Roman Britain (500 - 1500)
Franks (500 - 1000)
Byzantium (500 - 1000)
Turkist Empire (600 - 1299)
Muslim Expansion (624 - 1100)
China Tang Dynasty (581 - 950)
Korea (600 - 1100)
Norse Expansion (800 - 1066)
Norman England (1066 - 1200)
Holy Roman Empire (900 - 1259)
China Song/Ming (960 - 1644)
Scandinavian Kingdoms (1157 - 1471)

This makes the encyclopedia good, but short of its potential.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheEncyclopediaofWarfare #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.