Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Book Review: The Mongol Art of War by Timothy May

I have recently received five books for review, from Pen and Sword Books.

I have been fascinated by the rise of Chinggis Khan  (Genghis Khan) and the Mongol Empire for many years. I have watched many documentaries, read at least a couple of dozen books, and of course watched the few movies that have been made on the subject.

So when Pen and Sword asked me if I would consider reviewing some of their books I had a look through their website and noticed that they had several books relating to the Mongols and some of the other nomadic, steppe peoples. I found five in particular that interested me and asked them if I could possibly review one or two of those titles.

They very kindly sent me all five! So I have my work cut out. Over the next few months, I will be reading and then posting reviews of these five titles.

First up we have The Mongol Art of War by Timothy May. Currently available as an ebook, but soon to be published in paperback as well.

The book is subtitled Chinggis Khan and the Mongol Military System, and this sums up the book very well. For anyone who is interested, especially a wargamer, this book is an ideal introduction to the military side of the Mongol Empire. The first chapter gives a concise history of the rise and eventual fall of the Mongol empire, with examinations of the major campaigns and important battles.

After that, it moves on to a closer look at specific aspects of the Mongol war machine. Recruitment and Organisation, Training and Equipment, Logistics, Espionage, Tactics and Strategy etc. Finally, the book looks at the opposing forces and their strategies.

I found the book to be very well-written, easy to read and understand and very thorough in its scope and coverage. The book is not lavishly illustrated, having only a few black and white photos and then some line drawings showing battle strategies.
In the ebook format, this is more than adequate as Kindles are not great at showing images anyway (or at least, black and white ones like mine aren't).

Beyond my personal interest in the subject, I feel that this book would be an excellent reference for a wargamer wishing to start Mongol army. It covers the structure of the forces at some depth and also goes into detail about the relevant battlefield strategies.

I found the book so useful that I plan to buy the paperback edition to use for reference, to go along with the ebook that I have at present...
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