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Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, the Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine

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Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, the Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine Cover

ISBN13: 9781585676675
ISBN10: 1585676675
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A cross-cultural study of chariot warfare detailing the chariot's use as a war machine right across the Old World, from Ireland to Korea as well as its ceremonial and religious use in the days of early Mesopotamia right up to twentieth-century filmmakers.

Review:

"This dense but readable scholarly study summarizes the chariot's history from its disputed origins in Europe and Asia more than 4000 years ago to its continued life on the wide screen. British scholar Cotterell (The Minoan World) reveals the workings of a vehicle that was, throughout its history, primarily a platform for archers (although halberds and spears were not unknown). In its mature form, it required three developments — the spoked wheel (lighter than the solid one), the powerful compound bow and the domesticated horse (faster than oxen, more powerful than the ass). As it developed, it also represented some of the most sophisticated Bronze Age technology — some Egyptian chariots are known to have weighed less than 60 pounds — and the charioteer was one of the earliest examples of a warrior elite selected for skill rather than birth. The author is cheerfully discursive about chariots in the Homeric and Hindu epics, and has provided a lavish array of illustrations so that practically nothing mentioned is left undepicted; it's not light reading at any point but informative throughout. The eventual demise of the chariot (more or less paralleling the decline of Rome), he shows, arose from improved infantry weapons, tactics that could cripple, or at least deter, horses, and cavalry that could move on rougher ground. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Rich in historical anecdote and narrative, "Chariot offers riveting descriptions of the military confrontations in which the deployment of chariots heavily influenced the outcome of outcome of battles and changed the fates of countries and empires.

About the Author

Arthur Cotterell combines a career in education with an extensive background in ancient civilizations.  His previous books include The Minoan World and The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilization.

 

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jvstin, January 25, 2009 (view all comments by Jvstin)
Chariot, From Chariot to Tank, The Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine, by Arthur Cotterell is a history of the chariot.

Between the domestication of the horse, and the use of stirrups and other techniques to make horse-riding warfare more practical, the primary uses of horses in warfare was by means of the chariot. Cotterell begins with the description of one of the major battles in the ancient world, the Egyptian-Hatti Battle of Kadesh in which 5000 chariots on both sides participated. From this basis, Cotterell describes the history of the use of the chariot in time and space from Rome all the way to China.

There is an enormous amount of detail in the book, but its marred by digressions, poor organization and badly formed repetitions. Cotterell mentions battles and places, only to return to them again and again. That would not be a problem, but there is no sense of building on what was already written, or an awareness that there is something new to be said in the narrative. He mentions battles, and then comes back to them again, talking about them as if we had not already read about it earlier in the novel. It was extremely frustrating to this reader.

I learned a lot from the novel, my conception of what good the chariot was and how it was used has expanded. I particularly appreciated that Cotterell did not restrict himself to the Middle East and Europe, as he extensively talks about the role of the chariot in India and China. Cotterell, in the typical haphazard fashion in this book, extends the mandate of the book beyond the war machine role of the chariot to discuss its use as symbol and mythological object ranging from Rome to China.

It's all a pity, though. I really wanted to like and recommend this book, but the disorganized writing and jumbled information just made this book a chore to read, rather than a joy. The scholarship and information is all there, but its more work than its worth, in my opinion, to reach and get it out.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9781585676675
Author:
Cotterell, Arthur
Publisher:
Overlook Press
Subject:
Military - Weapons
Subject:
History
Subject:
Ancient - General
Subject:
Military art and science
Subject:
Military - General
Subject:
Military history, Ancient
Subject:
Military art and science -- History -- To 500.
Subject:
World History-Ancient History
Copyright:
Edition Description:
B-Hardcover
Publication Date:
20050531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.22x6.36x1.25 in. 1.40 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Ancient Weapons
History and Social Science » Military » Ancient and Medieval
History and Social Science » Military » Weapons » General
History and Social Science » World History » Ancient History

Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, the Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine Used Hardcover
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$14.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Overlook Press - English 9781585676675 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This dense but readable scholarly study summarizes the chariot's history from its disputed origins in Europe and Asia more than 4000 years ago to its continued life on the wide screen. British scholar Cotterell (The Minoan World) reveals the workings of a vehicle that was, throughout its history, primarily a platform for archers (although halberds and spears were not unknown). In its mature form, it required three developments — the spoked wheel (lighter than the solid one), the powerful compound bow and the domesticated horse (faster than oxen, more powerful than the ass). As it developed, it also represented some of the most sophisticated Bronze Age technology — some Egyptian chariots are known to have weighed less than 60 pounds — and the charioteer was one of the earliest examples of a warrior elite selected for skill rather than birth. The author is cheerfully discursive about chariots in the Homeric and Hindu epics, and has provided a lavish array of illustrations so that practically nothing mentioned is left undepicted; it's not light reading at any point but informative throughout. The eventual demise of the chariot (more or less paralleling the decline of Rome), he shows, arose from improved infantry weapons, tactics that could cripple, or at least deter, horses, and cavalry that could move on rougher ground. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Rich in historical anecdote and narrative, "Chariot offers riveting descriptions of the military confrontations in which the deployment of chariots heavily influenced the outcome of outcome of battles and changed the fates of countries and empires.
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