As centers for defense and bases for attack since ancient times, fortifications are a crucial aspect of military history. Indeed, as Jeremy Black shows, the history of fortifications is a global history of humanity itself. Moreover, their remains offer a still potent, often dramatic testimony to the past, notably through the strength of the sites, the power of the works, and the vast resources they required. This compelling book explores not only the history of fortifications themselves, but also the real and potential threat to them posed by siegecraft.
Tracing the interaction of attack and defense over time, Black situates the evolution of fortifications within the wider development of governments, societies, and cultures. Moreover, his examination of the future of these installations, as well as of potential methods of destroying them, only reaffirms their omnipresence in human history-and their continued importance. Fortifications are not simply relics of the past, but rather elements fundamental to military and social interaction across the world today.
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 326
Weight: 585 g
Dimensions: 235 x 159 x 25 mm
Drawing on compelling comparisons informed by social and economic factors, Jeremy Black brings a global perspective and a clear understanding of how fortifications and siegecraft served specific military tasks. An invaluable contribution to a topic often overlooked in military history, his book highlights the ongoing interplay between defensive works and modes of attack in sophisticated and insightful ways. -- Stephen Morillo, Wabash College
With striking clarity, Black reveals how war across the ages has turned on fortifications. From ancient Mesopotamia to Mosul in the twenty-first century, armies have paid in blood for attacking them. Black charts the history of this long struggle between flesh and masonry, revealing how different cultures across the ages have used, located, developed, and elaborated such structures. Equally, he analyzes the interaction between fortifications and attack, revealing how human ingenuity has been applied to capturing forts; every method, from bloody assaults to bribery, has been applied. But, as Black shows, short of total destruction of the target, siege warfare is a terrible and costly business, even for the most modern of armies. -- John France, Swansea University