Book Review: Their Arrows Will Darken the Sun: The Evolution and Science of Ballistics

Archives

by Mark Denny

Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. Pp. vii, 324. Illus., diagr., tables, append., notes, biblio., index. $30.00 paper. ISBN: 0801898579

A look at how missile weapons work from Edinburgh University theoretical physicist Denny, who has written several notable works explaining science and technology for the layman, such as Ingenium: Five Machines That Changed the World and Blip, Ping, and Buzz: Making Sense of Radar and Sonar.

Denny divides his subject into three broad categories, dealing with internal, external, and terminal ballistics.  Approaching his subject with some humor, he then begins literally at the beginning, with the ballistics of rocks, javelins, and slings, then goes on to bows and war engines.  Naturally the main focus is on gunpowder and other chemical propellant weapons.  Denny examines the performance of guns, artillery, and rockets based on the nature of propellants, the differences between weapons intended for long range or for short range use, and more, including how missile weapons do their damage. 

The work is very well illustrated, has numerous surprisingly clear tables and diagrams, and tends to avoid complex math and techno-speech.  For those interested in such matters, there is lengthy appendix labeled “Technical Notes”. 

Perhaps the most useful book on ballistics for the layman ever.

---///---



Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close