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What do you think of when the phrase military history is mentioned? The Civil War? World War II? Cavemen fighting over who got the best mammoth hunting grounds? The topic is epic in its scope across space and time, with battles ranging from Thermopylae to Khe Sanh. Let’s face it, there isn’t a library big enough to hold all the books – and you don’t have the time to read them all, assuming you have an idea of where to start.

Thankfully, you do have a military history book that hits the high points – showing the crucial weapons that changed the nature of war over the centuries. Military History: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Objects of Warfare provides a comprehensive overview of the most important weapons, vehicles, hardware, and equipment from the past. Whether that weapon is a simple Viking ax or the highly-advanced Su-27 Flanker, this book can give you the rundown on the most consequential weapons used throughout the ages. From the first flint arrowheads used in prehistoric times to today’s modern drones, the advances that changed the art of war are depicted with stunningly detailed illustrations and photographs.

Are your kids curious about that drone you bought? Do they ask what plane the Red Baron is flying while watching a Charlie Brown cartoon? Maybe a friend asked about the helmet you’re wearing in that picture of you on deployment in Iraq. With this book, you can answer their questions.

Writing a paper and need to trace the evolution of body armor? This book describes Ancient Rome’s iron plates, the bamboo shields used by Aztec warriors in Mexico, the iron and leather armor of Japanese samurai, the Kevlar helmets used by the United States in the Global War on Terror, and more.

It's not just about the gear, though. This book can also take you through important events and battles, like the conquest of Mexico by Spain in the 1520s. The people who made the biggest marks in military history, from Alexander the Great to Dwight D. Eisenhower, are also covered in this work.

Military History: The Definitive Visual Guide to the Objects of Warfare is available on Amazon.com for $22.26 for the paperback. A hardcover edition is also on sale for $39.17. It is a perfect holiday gift to introduce someone to military history without boring them with a ton of dry dates and facts.

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