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Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1492-2015, by Micheal Clodfelter

Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2017. Pp. xx, 804. Illus., tables, biblio., index. $295.00 paper. ISBN: 078647470X.

A Valuable Reference Guide to Five Centuries of War and Armed Conflict

Michael Clodfelter is the author of a number of books on American military history. In 1992 McFarland issued Clodfelter’s Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1618-1991, a massive reference guide to some hundreds of wars, rebellions, riots, and other violent occurrences in all parts of the world. Every few years since, Clodfelter has produced a revised and expanded edition of this work, and in this fourth edition covers conflicts from the Columbian event down through 2015 and includes many additional violent outbreaks and has extensive revisions to much of the older material.

Entries are arranged chronologically and then regionally. The individual accounts range from brief summaries to multi-page essays. The fullest entries offer extensive details on forces involved, casualties, commanders, consequences, and more.

As is the case with all such works, there’s more war and conflict than can ever be covered in one volume.

Clodfelter sometimes stretches the meaning of “war” or “armed conflict". Some major events, such as the American Civil War or the Second World War, are treated with multiple entries dealing with individual campaigns or even battles, while some obscurer conflicts, especially many in the non-Western world, are often accorded much shorter . This Western – and particularly English-speaking – focus leads to some odd entries, so for example, we find some discussion of the 1844 “Nativist Riots” in the U.S., while some important “colonial” wars merit only with a line or two, and Clodfelter has wholly missed some important events, such as the 2004-2005 campaign in Bhutan against an invasion by Indian radical Maoists.

Despite this, on the whole this new edition of Warfare and Armed Conflicts is excellent, being far more inclusive of non-Western conflicts than most similar works, and is an important reference for anyone interested in military history.


Note: This edition of Warfare and Armed Conflicts is also available various e-editions.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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