It places in context particular key events in the history of armed engagement, from the Greek victory at Marathon, through the introduction of gunpowder in medieval England and France, to the jungle warfare of Vietnam and the strategic air attacks of the Gulf War. Throughout, there is an emphasis on the socio-economic aspects of military progress: who pays for it, how can its returns be measured, and to what extent does it explain the rise of the West to global dominance over two millennia?
'Highly polished and well illustrated, this book is a comprehensive history of the Western (European) way of war, spanning ancient Greece to today's modern methods and policies of destruction ... The text is superbly supported by numerous and handy sidebars providing details, insights, and anecdotes ... Parker's conclusion is historically based and particularly chilling.' Library Journal.