In This Review

Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine
Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine
By Patrick Wright
Viking, 2002, 499 pp

The history of armored warfare is rich not merely in mechanical devices but in interesting and sometimes appalling personalities. This book exploits that fact thoroughly, reveling in the peculiarities of men such as J.F.C. Fuller, a believer in black magic who was also a thoughtful and progressive soldier. The author, a professor of "modern cultural studies," is really interested not in military history but rather in the tank as symbol, icon, and totem. He has self-indulgent fun exploring these themes (even reverting to the first person voice in a nominally analytical work). In the end, however, this rambling book is less about armored vehicles or war and more about the author's musings on the politics of the last century.