Great Sieges in World History: From Ancient Times to the 21st Century

ABC-CLIO. Feb. 2021. 301p. ISBN 9781440868023. $97. REF
Tucker, the author and editor of more than 60 books on military history, contributes another notable work with this single-volume encyclopedia of military sieges. He defines a siege as any “effort by a military force to blockade a city, fortress, or enemy position with the intent of securing its submission, either by cutting off its food or water supply…or by taking it by assault.” His book opens with an essay discussing siege warfare, and concludes with an index and contributor bios. The bulk of the volume is devoted to 100 chronologically arranged entries on the sieges it defines as the most significant in history, beginning with the Siege of Troy (1194–1184 BCE) and concluding with the Siege of Mosul (2016–17). Each entry covers the siege’s lead-up, the siege itself, and its aftermath. Tucker includes sieges that he says changed the world, in Jerusalem (70 CE), Rome (537–38), Constantinople (1453), and Leningrad (1941–44). This guide is complemented with illustrations, maps, informative sidebars, and suggestions for further reading.
VERDICT Never glossing over the human casualties and physical destruction wrought by war, Tucker’s thoughtful work will help readers understand the evolution of siege warfare. Highly recommended for those interested in military history.
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