An eye-grabber: large, clear photographic layouts of weapons share pages with explanatory text and definitive illustrations--in a combination that looks like a table-top covered with goodies. Each double-spread covers a subject, from primitive weapons to the ""Guns that Won the West""; it's easy to forget their function in the beauty of the pieces and their clever designs. A four-page spread on ""Crossbow versus Longbow"" provides an excellent, detailed look at both, including advantages, firing procedure, and even a quick take on William Tell. The pages on American Indian weapons incorporate a quick history lesson. Other weapons, especially from the Middle Ages, are breathtaking simply as art. A plum pudding of a book.