Centuries of warfare that changed the world are captured in History’s Greatest Wars. This book acts as a perfect primer for novices while offering seasoned history readers new perspectives on many famous and some not-so-well-known conflicts. Each chapter includes a quick-reference summary, a timeline, an overview of the war, essays on its principal leaders, a series of short, often offbeat features on aspects of the conflict, and a detailed account of a pivotal battle. Author Joseph Cummins highlights pivotal victories that changed nations, from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 to the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1521 and the first fervid days of the French Revolution of 1789 to the bloody stalemate that ended the Iran-Iraq War in 1988. Each chapter delineates defining moments in the development of political philosophies, from Athens’ defense of democracy against Persian despotism to the championing of equal rights for all in the American Revolution. It recounts the heroism of armies and individuals, from the Spartans’ fight to the death against the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC to the Korean admiral who inspired his country to repel a massive Japanese invasion in the 1590s. It traces the transformation of battle tactics, from the prearranged set-piece encounters of the Napoleonic Wars to the massive naval landings and aerial bombardments of World War II, explains the scientific innovations that yielded the machine gun, the tank, and the atom bomb, and vividly renders the key victories that turned the tide of war, from Waterloo to Gettysburg and D-Day. At the same time, it reiterates the constants of conflict: the slaughters and massacres, including the Holocaust and the little-known Taiping Rebellion, which killed up to forty million Chinese; the personal sacrifices made by those battling tyranny, among them the rebels of revolutionary France, Greece, and Mexico; and the extraordinary influence of charismatic leaders, ranging from Napoleon and Pancho Villa to Mao Zedong and Hitler.
Sweeping in its scope, yet intimate in its insights into the motivations of politicians, strategists, commanders, and soldiers, this is a collection that will enhance your understanding of the modern world and your own place in it.