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Review for Snipers at War

Author/Director : Walter, John

Format : Book

The subtitle to this quality volume is "An equipment and operations history" which neatly but a perhaps inadequately describes what it contains. Primarily this is a detailed history of the rifles and optical sights that sharpshooters have used around the world since the term and the technique gained popularity around the mid 1800's. There is a complicated introduction to ballistics with a considerable number of comparison example targets showing the spread of shots over measured distances for various rifles, and detailed discussions of the progress of the optics that went into producing ever more accurate and effective sights.

However as any military tactician will tell you, the weapon is more than just the rifle. This is where the book becomes more than just a small-arms guide. It includes an introduction into how sharpshooting became a recognised specialisation, taking it from the days of crossbows to the American Civil War. It also describes how sniping went in and out of military fashion over the 20th century, and even include a number of short biographies of some of the more prominent snipers of the 'glory days' of the First World War and the Eastern Front of the Second World War. It ends with a review of modern sniper weapons in use today, along with some notes on what it takes to be a sniper and how the craft has changed over the last 150 years. The book has plenty of good quality photographs throughout to illustrate the kit and personnel involved. All in all, it is a beautifully produced, impeccably researched study of the subject by someone who definitely knows what he's talking about, with enough detail to interest the knowledgeable while still being accessible to the interested. Highly recommended.

Published by : Greenhill Books, 2017
ISBN : 978-7-78438-184-4

Review last updated : 2018-04-24 19:12:00

See also : other "General Military or Reference" reviews