Bookstores and libraries continue to report a heavy demand for books on weapons and battle. Mr. Laffin, a former soldier and an active student of military history, teaches at an English grammar school and knows how to teach in print as well. In describing the 10 battles in this book, he emphasizes the way in which improvements in arms forced innovations in military strategy. ""Modern war started when men began to use gunpowder to fire projectiles."" And so, the author's survey goes from the 15th century to the 20th. Among the battles included are those of Blenheim (1704), Austerlitz (1805), Vicksburg (1863), Crete (1941) and Iwo Jima (1944-45). Each was chosen as a prime example of new arms forcing new tactics. The bonus extra in the books is the running commentary on the political history that led to the battles. The illustrations are detailed line drawings of advances in weaponry design and battle diagrams. This is the best seen here since Donald arr Chidsey's Goodbye to Gunpowder (1963, p. 445, J-159).