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The Reader's Companion to Military History
edited by Robert Cowley and Geoffrey Parker

The Reader's Companion to Military History
How did war originate? What makes a war popular or unpopular at home? How common is desertion or mutiny? What makes a successful guerrilla insurgency? How have armies been fed throughout history? The Reader's Companion to Military History addresses these and other intriguing aspects of the most destructive, fascinating, and relentless of human enterprises — war. Filled with surprising anecdotes, little-known facts, and rare illustrations, The Reader's Companion covers major events and battles, commanders and theorists, weaponry and technological advances, and strategy and tactics. What makes the volume especially distinctive, however, is the range of thematic articles, covering such topics as courage, discipline, the effects of weather on warfare, military justice, surrender, the role of propaganda, the use of animals in war, the evolution of uniforms, psychological warfare, and morale. Unlike many military histories, the volume covers Asian, African, and South American history as well as that of Europe and North America. Subjects range from the Persian Wars of 490 B.C. to contemporary topics such as the revelations of Robert McNamara, gays in the military, and ethnic cleansing. One hundred fifty distinguished military historians, biographers, and journalists produced this volume under the editorship of Robert Cowley, editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, and Geoffrey Parker, Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University. The result is a remarkable chronicle of warfare that combines compelling historical narrative with the latest in contemporary scholarship.



Key Features:

Dozens of experts contributed articles on

• Joan of Arc
• Opium War
• Terrorism
• Women in war
• Alexander the Great
• Economic warfare



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Sample Entry:

Animals

Animals have been humanity's wartime allies since the dawn of history—and probably before. A surprisingly wide range of species—horses, elephants, dogs, and birds among them—have served in a variety of roles: as beasts of burden, mounts, guards and alarms, messengers—even as weapons.

Doubtless the most important animals of war have been the least remarkable: the necessary legions of pack and draft animals. Before the internal combustion engine, armies depended on animals in staggering numbers. In the seventeenth century an authority calculated that a modest artillery train of 15 cannon required 490 horses to pull the equipment alone—more would be required for the 239 wagons carting powder, shot, odd tools and supplies, and the officers' personal effects. And these horse-drawn wagons represented only one-quarter of the 944 needed by even a small European army of 15,000 men. In 1799 a joint Anglo-Indian army traveled with at least 85,000 bullocks, their route of march covering an area of eighteen square miles; in 1897 another British force in India, of 44,000 men, still required 60,000 draft animals. And what was an army's single greatest supply item by volume? Fodder for all the animals—a logistical fact through World War I.

But animals have also served on the front lines. Before the medieval invention of the horse collar made it an efficient draft animal, the horse was bred almost exclusively for war, hunting, and racing—the horse was considered the war animal par excellence from the end of the Bronze Age (when the chariot revolutionized warfare) through the nineteenth century. Armies only grudgingly gave up horses after World War I and still retain them for crack ceremonial units. Other animals have carried men into battle. The armies of the Arab conquest found that strong-smelling camels spooked opposing Byzantine cavalry horses and could carry them through deserts impenetrable to their enemies in order to deliver surprise attacks. Elephants—aggressive as well as huge with crews of archers, javelin throwers, and pikemen—terrorized the battlefields of the ancient world from Numidia to Burma. Their mahouts often carried a hammer and spike to pierce the animal's spinal cord should the beast, maddened by wounds, dust, noise, and strange smells, swerve from the enemy and plunge toward friendly ranks.

The dogs of war have been more than a phrase. Ancient Greeks occasionally used dogs in battle, and Spanish conquistadores hunted Peruvian Indians with mastiffs. In World War II the Soviet army trained dogs, with antitank mines strapped to their backs, to seek out Nazi tanks; but when released on the battlefield, the dogs indiscriminately aimed for Russian tanks as well. Dogs have been more successfully trained to sniff out land mines and have most often been used as guard animals. During the Peloponnesian War the barking of a dog named Sorter alerted Corinth to a sneak attack: the grateful citizens erected a monument to Sorter and forty-nine other canine guards, all civic heroes.