Cover image for Encyclopedia of warrior peoples and fighting groups
Encyclopedia of warrior peoples and fighting groups
Davis, Paul K., 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1998]

Physical Description:
ix, 294 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
Subject Term:
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
D25.9 .D38 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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Many military groups throughout the world have excelled in their craft either by fortuitous circumstances, outstanding leadership, or intense training. This volume surveys the units and populations from ancient times to the late 1990s that have come to historical promincence via warfare.

Author Notes

Paul K. Davis , Ph.D., is a history instructor at the University of Texas, San Antonio, TX and at St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX.

Allen Lee Hamilton , Ph.D., is assistant professor of Texas and American history at St. Philip's College, San Antonio, TX.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

The preface of this work, compiled by two history professors, lists the criteria for inclusion: populations that used a military structure to maintain societal discipline or dominate neighbors, soldiers whose specialized training or fighting styles dominated action during their time, units that rose through leadership or circumstance to military fame, and units that seek high-quality fighters to become an elite force. The 100 two-to four-page entries are arranged alphabetically in a double-column format, with references to two or three books or articles from which the information was drawn. The peoples and groups represented range widely from around the globe and throughout history--warrior priests who developed kung fu in sixth-century China; the Ashanti of nineteenth-century West Africa; Russian Cossacks; Viking berserkers; the nineteenth-century African American troops known as Buffalo Soldiers; the ANZACs of Australia and New Zealand; the Sikhs of India. The writing is objective and provides sufficient historical and contemporary background for a clear understanding of questions, such as why the British and later the Russians lost wars in Afghanistan. Illustrations depict many of the groups. The bibliography brings together the sources listed after each entry, and the index is accurate. As with many reference works, much of this information is available in existing resources. However, this volume brings together a wide range of fighting peoples and groups. High-school, public, and academic libraries that have a need for such a compilation will find it useful.

Library Journal Review

Davis (Encyclopedia of Invasions and Conquests: From Ancient to Modern Times, LJ 1/97) and Hamilton (history, St. Philip's Coll.) here approach their subject from the viewpoint of the people involved. Drawn from a wide variety of cultures and time periods, groups range from specialized military units such as the Green Berets and Varangian Guard to peoples organized in a military structure, such as the Hittites and Zulus. The encyclopedia is in standard A-to-Z format, with an index to locate subtopics. Each well-written, analytical entry includes more detail than would be found in a general encyclopedia and three references for further exploration of the topic. This work is especially suitable for high school students, undergraduates, and general readers with an interest in military history.‘Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-From Afghans to Zulus, and from the Spartans and Knights Templar to the Green Berets and the Flying Circus, this volume covers all of the basics on most of the fearsome fighting groups throughout history. They are listed alphabetically by their official name, but if readers don't know that Napoleon's army was called the Grande Arm‚e, they can find a reference to it under Napoleon in the index. The articles are short (usually one to two pages), and many include a black-and-white reproduction, photo, or map. Some of the pictures are a bit hazy. Each article ends with a brief selection of references. The index includes particular battles as well as individual leaders. The absence of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot seems a bit striking, but otherwise, this is a good reference book that will also be popular with browsers.-Herman Sutter, Saint Pius X High School, Houston, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The 103 two- and three-page articles on "fighting groups" of history in this book are about evenly divided between peoples (e.g., Franks, Mongols) and military formations of one sort or another, such as the RAF. The scope is vast. Five millennia and all continents are represented, Sumer to submariners. Obviously, the omissions must be extensive. In general, the editors have focused on subjects with high popular recognition. Unfortunately, these topics are already extensively treated in college reference collections, some many times over. The encyclopedia offers little to offset this redundancy: its illustrations are poor, the index meager, and the bibliography haphazard. There is also a good deal of misinformation. Josephus does not say that the Zealots were at Masada, he identifies only Sicarii. Minutemen did not fight on the Lexington green; that town retained the older form of militia, the "training band." The Merovingian Franks were not the Franks of Tacitus when it came to military science; their forces have been analyzed at length in Bernard Bachrach's Merovingian Military Organization, 481-751 (1972), a work apparently unknown to the editors. And what is one to make of the inclusion of the Amazons? Why not the Valkyries too? Finally, the writing is often clumsy. Selectors can avoid this item without regret. P. L. Holmer Southern Connecticut State University