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A review by Carroll Quigley in Military Affairs, Summer 1967 (Vol. 31, No. 2), pp. 95-96,

of a book: 

A HISTORY OF WAR AND WEAPONS, 449 TO 1660: English Warfare From The Anglo-Saxons to Cromwell

by A. V. B. Norman and Don Pottinger.

New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1966

 

 

A HISTORY OF WAR AND WEAPONS, 449 TO l660:

   English Warfare From The Anglo-Saxons To Cromwell

   by A. V. B. Norman and Don Pottinger.

   (Thomas Y. Crowell: New York. 224 pages; $6.95)

 

   Any effort to describe 1200 years of the techniques of warfare in just over 200 small pages of text is a project so bold that it deserves to fail. But this attempt is far from a failure. Clearly written, accurate, wall-informed, and beautifully organized, with illustrations on almost every page, it is a credit both to authors and publisher. The secret of this success rests on its organization. First the subject was divided into nine chronological periods, beginning with the Anglo-Saxons, followed by the Normans, and then by single chapters on each of the four centuries, 12th to 15th, with the last three chapters on three half-centuries from 1500 to 1660.  Within each of these nine chapters, the material is sub-divided into four parts concerned with military organization; arms and armour; tactics and strategy; and, finally, castles and cannon. Each paragraph or page is marked by an appropriate symbol to indicate which of: these four topics is being discussed at that point, so that the reader, if he wishes, could read a brief history of tactics from 449 to 1660 by reading only the passages in the nine chapters marked by the symbol "T. To assist this there are, in addition to the ordinary table of contents, four other tables of contents giving the pages for each of the four topics. The plan may sound rather artificial, but it is surprisingly successful, aided, as it is, by the numerous small but clear illustrations in two colors.

 

   The chief weakness of the volume is its extreme brevity. The authors clearly understand their material and its implications, but often indicate the latter so briefly that a rapid or inexperienced reader might miss them. This is particularly true of the relationships between the subject and the economic, political, social, religious, or ideological context within which organized force operates. The way in which Norman words his exposition shows that he is fully aware of 'this context, but there are numerous places where a few additional words or a brief sentence could have made the connection clearer to the reader.

 

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