The military business generates more than its share of coffee-table books. This volume, however, offers something more. The principal author, Andrew Duncan, worked for many years at the International Institute for Strategic Studies after serving in the British army; his collaborator, Michael Opatowski, is an exceptionally talented graphic designer. As an overall survey of the world's conflicts, with some additional material on global issues such as refugee movements and military technology, their book is remarkably good. The descriptions are concise and factual, but Trouble Spots' strongest merit lies in its imaginative graphics and maps, which are colorful and exceptionally well designed. The essays include references to other books as well as Web sites. One hopes that this reference work will be updated year by year.