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The Art of War in the Middle Ages: A.D. 378-1515

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  115 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
This history of medieval warfare, originally written in 1885 when its author later one of the great medievalists was still an undergraduate at Oxford, remains for students and general readers one of the best accounts of military art in the Middle Ages between Adrianople in 378 A.D. (the most fearful defeat suffered by a Roman army since Cannae in 216 B.C.) and Marignano (1 ...more
Paperback, 194 pages
Published June 30th 1960 by Cornell University Press (first published August 1st 1885)
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John
Jul 04, 2012 John rated it it was amazing
Proof that the rating system here is rubbish.

Check this out, this is Sir Oman's FULL book, with the absolutely brilliant chapter on the Swiss, their pikemen and Ascendancy etc., but this gets a 3.8 rating while the INCOMPLETE book without the analysis of rapid light infantry pike and the tactics of Leo and the Strategicon of Maurice scores over a 4.2

Sir Charles Oman writes some of the best English language paragraphs to date, any date. Check this one out:

"The strength of the armies of Philip an
...more
Carl Phillips
Jan 26, 2016 Carl Phillips rated it it was amazing
One of, if not the best, book on medieval military history ever written. The destruction of the widely accepted idea that Europe's knights being just rich kids on horseback is worth the price of the book. The keen analysis of the downfall of the mounted knight and the rise of the longbow and the Swiss pike a glorious bonus.

Buy and read it immediately if you consider yourself even vaguely interested in medieval military history (or medieval military fantasy).
Coyle
May 31, 2012 Coyle rated it really liked it
We all know the what war was like in the Middle Ages, right? A bunch of rich guys get on horses and run into each other with lances, swords, and axes until one of them can't any more. And... that's pretty much spot on. But! How did the world (or at least the West, but come on, that's the important part of the world, right?) come to that state of affairs? How did we get from the Roman army -one of the most well-trained, well-equipped, and efficient killing machines ever- to an "army" consisting o ...more
Gianluca
Nov 18, 2013 Gianluca rated it liked it
For the amount of data, battle review, sheer information, this book deserve 5 stars, no doubt. Sir Oman covered many middle age battles in a quite short book, in itself quite an accomplishment. There are also a few battle's illustration, something missing from many military books even today.

But I gave it only 3 stars because I felt throughout it that the author tried not to expose his knowledge on the matter but to prove his points, namely that the French suck, that cavalry was the main force th
...more
Alexander Eichner
A pleasant and important work in the history of military history; if you're interested in high politics, macro events, wars, and material history, this is an essential book.

Frankly though, I don't care about it any more. It says almost nothing about the social world.
Francescopennesi
Interessante resoconto sulle strategie di guerra del medioevo. Purtroppo però si parla troppo di strategia e tattica, tralasciando completamente gli effetti della guerra sulla popolazione e sulle città. inoltre l'autore sembra eccessivamente ancorato ad idee che, a mio modestissimo parere, sembrano un pò azzardate (i cavalieri medievali ed i loro comandanti erano tutti degli imbecille che caricavano sempre in modo insensato, per dire).
Un buon testo per farsi un'idea sui passaggi fondamentali de
...more
Allen
Dec 06, 2014 Allen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Written 130 years ago, this book is a great handbook for understanding the wars and battles of medieval history as you read about them in other books. The author covers strategy and tactics, weapons and weapon systems, the raising and equipping of armies and the use of mercenaries such as the famed and feared Swiss pikemen. Changing technology results in changing strategy and tactics, with the advent of firearms the most significant of all.
Brent Lambell
Jan 26, 2008 Brent Lambell rated it it was amazing
This is the book that got me into military history. Its a fun and easy read that gives a good survey of military conflict throughout Europe from the dark ages to the renaissance. Its far from the perfect historical document and has been challenged in some circles but all the same, its a fine piece of work worth the read.
le-trombone
Nov 08, 2009 le-trombone marked it as to-read
Note: Added to my to-read shelf not because this is a recommended history, but because it's not. Apparently he let his pet theories get in the way of the historical record. I'm still interested because he's a source for some science fiction writers who wrote a lot of alternate history.
Andrei
Jul 28, 2011 Andrei rated it liked it
The short version, still very interesting view on late Romans and the question on the infantry in late Middle Ages, and surprisingly arrogant towards the French. Worth to have it combined with Hans Delbruck.
Michael Brady
Apr 01, 2012 Michael Brady rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
The history of warfare is the history of mankind. This one is concise and well written.
Chris Mericle
An excellent book, I gave it a low ranking because it is dated.
Rob Bradley
Nov 16, 2009 Rob Bradley rated it liked it
Mounted cavalry can be defeated by pikemen.
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Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman was a British military historian of the early 20th century. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering. His style is an invigorating mixture of historical accuracy and emotional highlights, and it makes his narratives, though founded on deep research, often read as smoothly as fiction, es ...more
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