Another efficient, attractive survey by the Forts in America, History of Firearms team. Starting with assumptions about primitive armor based on the practices of recent Stone Age cultures (casings of leather, wood, fiber), this proceeds through Western civilizations--Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman--to the Age of Mail in the early Middle Ages, its reinforcement and eventual replacement by plate, explaining how each type was constructed and why changes occurred. Mr. Peterson also counters misconceptions--a full suit of armor weighed no more than the modern soldier's pack; when it fit properly it didn't impede movement. A brief look at body coverings outside Europe (especially the Samurai warrior) and at the recent return to bullet-proof vests concludes. San Morrison's Armor is much more detailed and tells more about warfare generally (although it omits the primitive and non-European altogether); it is also more fully and sharply if less invitingly illustrated. Other books emphasize medieval trappings; this is armor for protection first and last, a stout appreciation in a slim volume.