Book Review: Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance, 1864-70: Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, & Argentina


by Gabriele Esposito, with illustrations by Giuseppe Rava

Oxford & New York: Osprey Publishing, 2015. Pp. 48. Illus., maps, chron., tables, biblio., index. $17.95 paper. ISBN: 1472807251

An Introduction to Latin America’s Bloodiest International Conflict

Beginning several decades ago Osprey’s “Men at Arms” series now numbers some 500 short books on various armies, wars, or military services across the ages.  Ostensibly devoted to uniformology, the volumes are actually excellent handbooks to about the military instructions or events under consideration.  The volume under consideration here with text and artwork by two specialist in their fields, is fairly typical of the series.

Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance provides a short, concise treatment of the origins, outbreak, course, and consequences of the war, which Paraguay initiated, only to be ultimately overwhelmed by her larger, more powerful neighbors, with casualties running into the hundreds of thousands.  The short treatment tells us of some spectacular fighting, including riverine actions, sieges, guerrilla operations, and outright pitched battles.  The text is supplemented by orders-of-battle, mini-profiles of prominent figures, analytical treatments of each of the armies, and more.  There are several excellent maps (more in fact than are often found in major books), and the numerous illustrations include period photographs, copies of historical paintings, artists’ impressions, and color plates, with extensive notes. 

Armies of the War of the Triple Alliance is an excellent introduction to a conflict very poorly treated in English, and also serves as a very good guide to the quality of the entire Osprey “Men at Arms” series, some early issues of which now command several hundred dollars.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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