printed copy

Extreme War

Terrence Poulos

ISBN 0806527307
Publish Date 1/3/2006
Format Hardcover
Categories Citadel, Military
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The Legendary Leaders, Weapons, Battlefields, And Tactics That Defined 4,000 Years Of Warfare

What was the most effective infantry weapon of the Medieval world? Which defeat was the worst ever suffered by a Roman army? Was Erwin Rommel the best general of World War II, or the most overrated? And which legendary military leader endured the most embarrassing commanding debut in history?

The answers to these and hundreds more of the questions regularly asked and argued over by armchair generals are brought together in one illustrated compilation. Within this thought-provoking and comprehensive volume, you’ll witness the first victory won through small arms fire (Cerignola, April 1503) and walk among the worst army ever assembled (the rabble led by Peter the Hermit in the First Crusade), visit the greatest castle (the Crusader fortress of Krak de Chevaliers, in Syria) and fire the most common firearm in history, the Brown Bess. The topics are examined in fascinating detail, with careful analysis of how and why each leader, weapon, battle, or tactic came to fame—or infamy. These amazing inside stories examine the heroes and the hapless, the finest hours and worst blunders the military world has yet seen.

Essential reading for military history buffs of any stripe, the book covers the very best and worst of every period of warfare, from ancient times to the 21st century.

No activity has had greater impact on mankind than war. It has destroyed entire civilizations, made kings of peasants and stripped rulers of their power, inspired every art form, ensured the growth or demise of religions, spurred invention and creativity. And like every human endeavor, warfare has its key figures and crucial developments: those people, weapons, and tactics that—for better or worse—made an indelible impact upon the field of battle and thus influenced the course of history.

Extreme War is the first and only book to gather the pivotal generals, battles, and technological advancements of 4,000 years of martial history in one place. Within the pages of this extraordinary compendium are the stories behind the subjects, including deep and insightful analysis of why each battlefield tactic arose and succeeded or failed, and how the legendary leaders achieved their vaunted victories or suffered ignominious defeat. It details where and when the introduction of new weaponry shifted the advantage and altered the map, and how a single flawed decision could suddenly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and cost a battle…or an empire.

Across land, on and under the sea, and in the air above, the superlatives of combat unfold. From the most decisive drawing of first blood to the most famous last stand, the weapons, strategies, and tactics that forever shaped the world through force of arms are fully explored.

Extreme War provides well-reasoned and documented answers to hundreds of questions military buffs want to know and explores the blunders and tactical errors that played a formative role in military history. Not without controversy, and sure to start as many discussions as it settles, Extreme War brings compelling detail and rare clarity to the chaos that is combat.

Terrence Poulos holds a B.A. in Modern History from the University of Toronto, as well as a M.A. in International History from the University of Chicago, where he is currently a doctoral candidate. Widely published in both popular and academic journals, he served as co-editor for Richard Engler’s critically acclaimed World War II memoir, The Final Crisis: Combat in Northern Alsace, January 1945.

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