A History of the World in 100 Weapons

Published: May 23rd, 2011     
Product Image
Author: Chris McNab with forward by Andrew Roberts
Reviewed by: Ken McDevitt - IPMS# 46356
ISBN #: 978-1-84908-520-5
Other Publication Information: Hardcover; 384-pp; 7-3/4 x 10 in.
Price: $29.95
Product provided by: Osprey Publishing


There is a trend developing with me relevant to Osprey Books. As with the last Osprey book, once I started reading it I could not put it down. The book arrived on a Friday and I started it Saturday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon I was finished.


This is a 7 3/4 by 10 inch hard-cover book with 384 pages. Befitting the number of pages, the paper quality is good. This book contains many illustrations, diagrams and the photos come from public, private, commercial and museum sources. The font is not large but is very readable. Each weapon described is accompanied by several illustrations, photos and in some cases personal anecdotes about the weapon. Information "boxes" further describe the weapon's characteristics and specifications. With all the photos, illustrations and drawings the book was a faster read than anticipated.

Book Theme

The author describes how the development of weapons has changed how wars are fought how the world has been changed as a result of his selected "revolutionary" weapons. He does acknowledge that his list of the 100 most significant weapons may be debated. But, McNab makes a good case for his selections.

Major Sections

  • The Ancient World: 5000BC - AD 500
  • The Medieval World: 500 - 1500
  • The Early Modern World: 1500 - 1800
  • Imperial Wars: 1800 -1914
  • World War I: 1914 - 1918
  • World War II: 1939 - 1945
  • Modern Warfare: 1945 - Present

Book Content

This book covers weapons from early stone axes to IEDs and each weapon's analysis could be viewed independent of the other weapons. In many cases McNab will refer to prior weapons in the same category (I.E. swords, guns, planes) to indicate the advances that created significant improvements on the battlefield. What I found interesting was the progression of a weapon type through the chronological sections of the book. Just the evolution of the rifle in terms of projectile, ignition source, capacity, and it's mutation into rapid fire automatic weapons was fascinating. Just about every weapon type from personal use to global strategic delivery is covered. There is something for every area of weapons interest in this book. And for many of us modelers interested in aircraft, ships, armor and artillery there is plenty of content.


A very engrossing read and I give this book my highest recommendation.

Thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS USA for the opportunity to do this review.

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