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, November 24, 2022

Review: A History of War: From Ancient Warfare to the Global Conflicts of the 21st Century

A History of War: From Ancient Warfare to the Global Conflicts of the 21st Century A History of War: From Ancient Warfare to the Global Conflicts of the 21st Century by Chris McNab
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a hugely ambitious effort to summarize the History of War in under 233 pages … that is some 5 thousand years of perhaps the most prominent human activity since we came together in communities to control the natural resources around us. As might be expected, it is frequently overly general in its treatment for many of the pivotal moments in history. That would not have been as much of a problem, except the work also suffers from a confusing organization of what facts are actually presented that the principle question was often left unanswered … and how did this specific fact alter our world (or as the blurb states how did these conflict periodically reshape history). In nearly every battle, we see some combination of foot soldiers, mobile warriors and ranged combatants … but we don’t often see how these actually evolved. 

There is some discussion of a few formations … but there is not so much an explanation of of how one formation had an advantage over another formation and how the weapons and technology influenced that effectiveness. Finally … the early history did not appears to be as well researched as I had expected … example: the claim that Scythian horse archers could hit a SINGLE target from horseback at a gallop is not supported in any of my historical sources outside of myth and legend. Instead, they were known for showing [as a group] “clouds” of arrows back toward their opponents while riding away (which was awesomely effective and very dangerous in its own right without need of exaggeration). There are fewer of these issues as we move more into modern history, so perhaps there is where the author’s specialty is and perhaps that is why the early treatment of war history (in the first half of the book) was not as solid I as wanted … since the modern history from the 19th century on was much better. Over all, I just didn’t get what I wanted to out of this book.

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

#AHistoryOfWar #NetGalley.

View all my reviews

No comments:

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.