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WEAPONS & WARFARE by Milton Meltzer


From the Stone Age to the Space Age

by Milton Meltzer & illustrated by Sergio Martinez

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1996
ISBN: 0-06-024875-0
Publisher: HarperCollins

Meltzer (Hold Your Horses!, 1995, etc.) presents a sobering overview of the tools and techniques of battle, from prehistoric times to the present, in an intelligent, direct, and necessarily brief style: The subject is so immense that he doesn't spend too much time on any particular topic. The evidence is appropriately depressing: As far back as 10,000 b.c., people have been fighting each other. Diligent reportage on the technological development of weaponry is skillfully accompanied by Martinez's consummate charcoal illustrations that depict these weapons, famous battles, and warriors throughout history. The bloody trail that stretches from wooden clubs to thermonuclear bombs is full of horrors. The reasons for the origins of war are basic enough to grasp: Primitive man fought over lack of food or the possession of a mate. As the reasons for armed combat became more sophisticated, so did the weapons. Meltzer's discussion is more than just a rehashing, and readers will enjoy the intriguing connections the author makes, e.g., between modern ballistic missiles and ancient slingshots and stones. His recitation of statistics regarding current handgun sales within the US and his subsequent appeal to the basic humanity of young readers are the book's best lessons of all. (Nonfiction. 8-12)