In This Review

Warfare in the Western World, 2 vols
Warfare in the Western World, 2 vols
Edited by Robert A. Doughty and Ira D. Gruber
D. C. Heath, 1996, 1012 pp

This is a massive and in some respects quite traditional kind of book, military history of the West from 1600 to the present at the operational level -- that is, a description of the large movements of armies (more rarely, navies and air forces) across theaters of war. Herein lies both strength and weakness: coherence at the price of a rather narrow focus. The editors, distinguished historians themselves, have assembled an able cast of American historians as contributors; the work would have profited, in fact, by the inclusion of some foreign experts. It must be noted, moreover, that the production is unattractive: margins are too narrow, and maps and diagrams few, monotone, and not very imaginative. Footnotes are lacking, although each section has a list (not annotated) of suggestions for future readings, some of which are questionable. Despite these reservations, these writers know their work and have produced a solid set of narratives. This will be a valuable work for readers looking for a jumping off point for further exploration, or for answers to some basic questions.