Beginning in the Bronze Age, readers will take an international trip to learn about the weapons, leaders, and historically famous battles that shaped civilizations and the paths of history.
Overall, the book is well-crafted; the warriors and history are arranged in a loosely chronological order, and the book jumps from culture to culture, continent to continent every few pages, briefly describing a selection of the most successful weapons and battle strategies of each age. The illustrations—which have the look of mixed watercolor and digital—enhance the text and typically feature a full-page battle scene or character study on the verso and information about weapons, armor, etc. on the recto. Visually, some historical facts are inaccurate: Alexander the Great’s heterochromia is not depicted, and Joan of Arc seems inspired more by Albert Lynch’s 1903 depiction than by historical renderings, but overall the images are effective. The text is easily understood but has a definite, perhaps understandable bent toward hyperbole: “The Egyptian chariot was the most feared weapon in the world.” The mixture of cultures and genders throughout the book is diverse, and the inclusion of famous female generals and warriors (from Boudicca to Tomoe) is noteworthy. Backmatter beyond an index is nonexistent, which is unfortunate: Readers will search in vain for a glossary of terms, a pronunciation guide, and a timeline.
Glitches notwithstanding, this is worth a second look. (Nonfiction. 8-12)