Sunday, July 07, 2013

Chariot: From Chariot to Tank, the Astounding Rise and Fall of the World's First War Machine by Arthur Cotterell



This comprehensive book on the chariot is comprehensive, engaging, reader-friendly, and well-organized. Casual readers need not worry about the names and events mentioned in the book because the author provides the necessary information. While students will find the notes and references section helpful for further studies.

The book covers three continents and historical events and mythological scenes of the three epics, Iliad, Mahabharata, and Ramayana. It has eight chapters and several illustrations. The author discussed the possible origins of the chariot; its uses; modifications and variations of the chariot in each region; impact of the chariot on warfare; the use of weapons, armor, and;domestication of animals used for pulling, the formation of the armies in consideration of the chariots; the symbolism of the chariot; and finally the gradual decline of its use. 

The following are the chapters included in this volume:
I. Chariot Battle
II. The Rise of the Charioteer
III. West Asia and Egypt
IV. Europe
V. India
VI. China
VII. The End of the War Chariot
VIII. Survivals, Ritual and Racing

For a history and mythology enthusiast like myself, this book is a treasure trove of information. The author provides a brief background before proceeding to discuss the battle scenes. He uses narration and comparison when describing not just the chariots but the leaders/warriors and people involved. 
Consequently he is able to go into further details without making it too boring. The only thing lacking is a basic illustration of a chariot and its parts, but overall the book has accomplished its purpose.

Rating: 10 out of 10


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