A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder (Anglais) Broché – 27 novembre 1998
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This large book is filled with interesting information on the origins of incendiaries and gunpowder, from ancient Assyria, up to around 1500 A.D. The first chapter looks at incendiaries, and includes a marvelous investigation into the ingredients of Greek Fire. After that, the book turns to the origins of gunpowder in the West, and the evolution of its use in warfare. The next two chapters are quite fascinating, focusing of firearms and pyrotechnics in Muslim lands and China. The final chapter is a quick look at saltpeter.
I must admit to having found this book to being quite a mixed bag. F.E. Morgan’s (1960) introduction bemoans the development of military technology, and seems quite out of place in this book. As for the text itself, the author wrote this book for a scholarly audience, and it shows it. That is to say, it is written in a dry, even turgid manner that is bound to put the casual reader to sleep.
The articles themselves contain information that ranges from the absolutely fascinating to the dull, overly drawn out look at obscure points. That said, though, this book is a wonderful resource, that contains a goldmine of information for anyone interested in Greek Fire or the early use of gunpowder. I give this book a somewhat guarded recommendation.