From the title and Philip Warner's credentials--he is Senior Lecturer at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, as well as the author of many books on military history and tactics--one expects a different kind of book. After all the volumes on generals and great battles, sketching the life of the common soldier does not inspirit the author. Warner has produced a dozen rather hackneyed capsule biographies of warriors ranging from a Stone Age chieftain, some Vikings, Normans, Mongols, Crusaders, Renaissance mercenaries, to the infantrymen of both World Wars. While he displays an encyclopedic knowledge of tactics and weaponry in each period, he's no stylist; his semi-fictional pieces are not much more than second-rate mini-adventure stories with cliches dominating. His literary bridge between the eras--all his heroes are descended from each other, a metaphor perhaps for the unbroken chain of violence marking our past--is especially artificial. But how can these portraits be more than cardboard uniforms when twelve stories are crammed into 160 pages?