Review: Warlord Armies, Tim Newark

Rating: 4 out of 5

I was confused by the title, “Warlord Armies”, when I picked this up, and I have to say I’m still confused by it now that I’ve finished this. In short, it looks like Mr Newark wanted to include a set of different places and peoples, and he couldn’t tie these together by other means than using the concept of a warlord as opposed to a general. The primary difference in this sense is that the warlord is followed by people who respect their authority while the general is paid for his service.

However, leaving the above semantics aside, I enjoyed this. There is an inordinate emphasis on Ireland, but also mentioned are Burgundians of the 15th century, the Poles and Lithuanians of the 13th and 15th centuries, the Hussites, the Japanese samurai of the late 16th century on both land and sea, the Gilbert Islanders, and the Mongolians of the 1920’s with respect to Baron Ungern-Sternberg. This makes for a very interesting composition—that could nevertheless have been improved by a more inclusive look into the Americas as well.

Yet, as the author has focussed on normally ignored areas, with one plate on Turkic cavalry of the 7th century and another on Yermak’s conquest of Siberia, I have to rate this more highly than I otherwise would. Again, in some cases the text could have benefitted from the use of maps as there are mentions of invasions and counterinvasions (especially when looking at Japan and Korea), but I appreciate that that was not the Concord Publications’ style.

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