The Military Use of Massive Weapons
Artillery using gunpowder was first deployed in China during the 11th century; as it spread westwards the new technology quickly rendered existing defences obsolete and prompted the development of larger, more destructive weapons. From early bombards to the atomic cannons of the Cold War, this chronological survey comprises illustrated case studies of the very largest guns, with descriptions of their use in land and sea battles and data on their length, weight, calibre and range.
Empire of Guns
The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution
Challenging the conventional narratives of cotton mills and inspired innovators, Priya Satia argues that the constant state of war and Britain’s thriving gun trade were driving forces in the Industrial Revolution. Discussing the economic impact of war on political and industrial progress, she scrutinizes the claims by Samuel Galton Jnr, the leading gun manufacturer, that his industry was no worse than any other as everyone was participating in war manufacturing, and that guns were instruments of civilization, essential for preserving property. Slightly off-mint.
Amphibians and Reptiles
Although they are distinct animal classes, reptiles and amphibians are often considered together, not least in Britain because there are fewer species than in any other vertebrate group. This illustrated guide to the native and non-native species found in the British Isles introduces their biology and behaviour and suggests areas of study where further research is needed, explaining how carrying out such projects is readily accessible to the amateur naturalist. Foreword by Chris Packham.
In Search of Lost Frogs
The Campaign to Rediscover the World's Rarest Amphibians
In 2010, an international team of researchers, led by the author of this book, set about searching for rare species of frogs, toads and salamanders that had not been seen for decades. This illustrated record of their quest describes the expeditions to inhospitable environments in South and Central America, India and Africa and details their successes and failures in finding lost species, as well as their identification of new species, such as the so-called 'Monty Burns' toad discovered in Colombia.
The American Arsenal
The World War II Official Standard Ordanance Catalogue
During the Second World War, the US Ordnance Department set about producing a definitive catalogue of army equipment to counteract inconsistent information in circulation in unofficial publications and to avoid the parallel development of similar equipment by different departments. The exhaustive master guide, reconstructed from the original loose-leaf version, contains descriptions, specifications and over 900 photographs and drawings of vehicles, weapons, ammunition and equipment from the M4 Sherman tank to the M1 helmet.
The Physics of War
From Arrows to Atoms
Throughout history, military leaders have searched for a ‘wonder weapon’ to give them an advantage over enemies, and very often, it was science that supplied the new armament, from the ballista to the atom bomb. The science writer Barry Parker narrates the history of warfare and the contribution of physics, telling the story of battles from Megiddo to the Second World War, while discussing major breakthroughs in physics and topics such as gunpowder, submarines, and radar.
The British Shell Shortage
Of the First World War
The British shortage of munitions during the First World War was a case of gross mismanagement with disastrous consequences at the Front and political fall-out at home. This study examines shell manufacture in both political and military contexts in 1915. In particular, Harding looks at the fighting at Neuve Chapelle and the Aubers Ridge from the perspective of the Rifle Brigade, whose casualties, when reported in The Times, resulted in the formation of the coalition government and the Ministry of Munitions.
Pigeon Guided Missiles
And 49 Other Ideas That Never Took Off
The pioneering behaviourist BF Skinner was able to demonstrate in the 1940s that conditioning pigeons, housed in the nose of a missile, to peck repeatedly at an image of a target, could be an effective weapons guidance system. As with all the apparently hare-brained schemes in this book, including Thomas Edison's concrete furniture, Wilhelm Reich's cloud-busting machine and British Rail's flying saucer, the system was never adopted.