01 September 2009

Weaponry

Since I usually review things that I love, I thought for a change of pace that I would tell you about a book I bought for my son that we didn't like. It's called Picture That: Battles & Weapons.

I got it through Rainbow Resource. Their descriptions are usually spot-on. After I bought this, I realized that I had such a strong idea of what I wanted in the front of my mind, that I didn't really pay attention to the description they wrote. This is the key part I missed:

"This colorful book allows students to explore the history of battles and weapons through the art of different time periods. The large book is filled with reproductions of historical paintings, sculptures, pottery, tapestries, weapons, and other artifacts. Captions describe the works of art and point out historical information that can be seen in or corresponds with the paintings."

Uh, now that I look back, it shouldv'e been really clear. But here is my review anyway:

I was very excited to get this for my son, who was becoming more interested in weaponry. However, when we looked it over in person, we were disappointed. He was not overly interested in art depicting weapons, he wanted to see actual weapons. It had the history of some specific battles in it, but not how the history of battles in general has changed through time. There is very little variety of weaponry. I was hoping for a lot of excellent photos of weapons through history, who used them, and when, what they were made of, etc. This book is more of an overview of a few specific time periods and the weapons used and some battle notes. It is a nice hardcover with good text and war art, but not the in-depth study I was hoping for. If you want an exhaustive list of the kinds of weapons in history and which peoples invented them, why their location/ style of living inspired that kind of weapon, how it was used or when it was replaced by a more effective one or a new material, this is not the book to get. I have to say I was grumpy at the price I paid, but I also think that this was not the book I was looking for. Since it covers a broad range of history, it could be referred back to repeatedly during your history studies.

Later, I found the book I really wanted. It's called:

Oh, yeah! I don't know if it's just me (probably) but this is a totally awesome book. Maybe it has to do with growing up under the instruction of my dad. It moves from the simple club through axes, 'devices to assist throwing,' bows, pistols, field artillery, naval guns, machine guns, traps, obstacles, mines,bombs, liquid fuel rocket propulsion, missiles, anti armor weapons, and nuclear weapons. Whew! Each one has boxes and diagrams about how they are made and work. At the end there is a section on weapons in the regional and historical index. It's totally rad (did I just date myself)! Ironically enough, in the last section there are reproductions of art depicting ancient and historical weapons and battles. Ha!


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