am 22. Juli 2000
This is one of the Men-at-Arms grabbag volumes. While there are wonderful illustrations and lots of facts crammed in here, one has to wonder just how accurate a book covering warfare in approximately 1/2 of Europe over a 570 year period can be. In the end, use this book as a jumping off point, but not the last word on Eastern Europe.
The Angus McBride illustrations are mostly up to their standards of excellence, although he has left the last painting only partially done for some obscure reason and he DOES like to focus on atypical arms and armour, which can be interesting, but also presents a rather skewwed vision of the armies of the period.
Nicolle tries valiantly with this volume. As I said above, there are a LOT of facts in here. There are two problems that press on the information. 1) Militarily, this is a poorly chronicled era and the sheer number of languages makes the task all the more duanting and 2) the timeframe is just far too broad for any serious considerations. Imagine lumping all of, say, American military developement from 1492 to the present (a similar timeframe) into a volume this size and you will get a notion of the enormity of the task.
The informaion is as good as the team can get it. The illustrations do their best to bring a candle to the minds of Western Europe and America as to what Eastern Europe went through. The writing is solid. In the end, though, the book has severe limitations. Take it with a grain of salt.