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Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun: The Evolution and Science of Ballistics


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The science of ballistics has a long history and starts with one question: How does a projectile move through the air? Even before physicists worked that one out, military engineers had been tinkering with ballistic devices for centuries. The trebuchet of the Middle Ages has given way to rocket power, and the science of ballistics has evolved to match the technology. Mark Denny's survey covers this dynamic subject from prehistory to the weapons of tomorrow.

Taking the bang-whiz-thud approach, Denny first talks about internal ballistics--Bang --from before gunpowder to the development of modern firearms. External ballistics--Whiz --are next, with discussions about short- and long-range trajectories. Denny's lesson ends with a Thud --an explanation of terminal ballistics.

Throughout, Denny conveys applicable physics principles in a way that will appeal to technology buffs and ballistics enthusiasts alike. His fun and factual explanations are free of complicated equations; notes cover the key aspects of ballistics physics for the more technically inclined.

Denny has perfected this engaging balance of science and story. For study or hobby, Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun is an entertaining guide to the world of ballistics.

Book News Annotation:

Author and physicist Denny presents an engaging explanation of ballistics for the enthusiast, offering clear explanations, historical context, and ample visual aids as well as separate technical notes for the mathematically inclined. Describing the launch phase, he outlines the workings of projectiles from a thrown rock to the javelin, staffsling, crossbow or trebuchet; through the history and chemistry of gunpowder and attendant small arms; to the techniques and strategies evolving from the advent of rifling, automatic weapons, large scale ordnance, and the pitfalls of recoil. In considering the flight phase Denny touches upon topics such as the curvature of the earth, Coriolis and atmospheric effects, and parabolic trajectory, as well as describing the evolution of fire control, air bombing, rockets and guided missiles. Finally, he considers the terminal phase in terms of the effect on both metal and flesh of different types of ammunition, and explores the question of shock wave damage vs kinetic energy damage. He includes a glossary, bibliography, and extensive additional technical notes. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Denny, Mark
Johns Hopkins University Press
Military - Weapons
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Military » Weapons » General
Reference » Science Reference » Technology
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Applied
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Classical Mechanics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General

Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun: The Evolution and Science of Ballistics New Trade Paper
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Product details pages Johns Hopkins University Press - English 9780801898570 Reviews:
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