Synopses & Reviews
Before the nineteenth century, armies had to rely on slow and unreliable methods of transportation to move soldiers and equipment during times of conflict. But with the birth of the railroad in the early 1830s, the way wars were fought would change forever.
In Engines of War, renowned expert Christian Wolmar tells the story of that transformation, examining all the engagements in which railways played a part from the Crimean War and American Civil War through both world wars, the Korean War, and the Cold War with its mysterious missile trains. He shows that the 'iron road' not only made armies far more mobile, but also greatly increased the scale and power of available weaponry. Wars began to be fought across wider fronts and over longer timescales, with far deadlier consequences.
From armored engines with their swiveling guns to track sabotage by way of dynamite, railway lines constructed across frozen Siberian lakes and a Boer war ambush involving Winston Churchill, Engines of War shows how the railways - a fantastic generator of wealth in peacetime - became a weapon of war exploited to the full by governments across the world.
“Wolmar writes with an authoritative tone and solid research on how railroads, with their ability to move vast numbers of troops, made "industrial-scale carnage possible."
“Very accessible and likely to be popular with readers of general military history.”
The dramatic 100-year history of how trains became weapons, and transformed forever the nature of war
The birth of the railway in the early 1830s revolutionized the way the world waged war. From armored engines with swiveling guns, to the practice of track sabotage, to the construction of tracks that crossed frozen Siberian lakes, the iron road” facilitated conflict on a scale that was previously unimaginable. It not only made armies more mobile, but widened fighting fronts and increased the power and scale of available weaponry; a deadly combination.
In Engines of War, Christian Wolmar examines all the engagements in which the railway played a part: the Crimean War; the American Civil War; both world wars; the Korean War; and the Cold War, with its mysterious missile trains; and illustrates how the railway became a deadly weapon exploited by governments across the world.
About the Author
Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster specializing in the social history of railroads and transportation. He has written for major British newspapers for many years and has contributed to many other publications, including the New York Times and Newsday. He frequently appears on TV and radio as an expert commentator. His most recent books are Blood, Iron, and Gold, about how the railroads transformed the world; The Subterranean Railway, a history of the London Underground, the world's oldest system, and Fire & Steam, the story of Britain's railroads.