Battles that Changed History

An Encyclopedia of World Conflict

by Spencer C. Tucker


While some may feel that "war is not the answer," conflicts of epic proportions do shape world history and influence much wider events. Indeed, these critical events of the past offer valuable lessons for our present and future, particularly as several wars with global significance continue around the world.

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Cover image for Battles that Changed History

November 2010


Pages 655
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/Conflict and Wars

This encyclopedic collection of more than 200 of the most decisive and important battles throughout world history gets a fresh interpretation by a noted military historian.

The mythic and doomed stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae; the siege of Carthage in 149-146 BCE, which ended with Rome destroying the city and enslaving the entire remaining Carthaginian population; the Battle of Hastings in 1066, arguably the most important battle ever on English soil; the Battle of Trenton that saved the American Revolutionary cause and established the military reputation of General Washington; the firebombing of Tokyo on the night of March 9-10, 1945, that destroyed one quarter of the city.

All of these conflicts—and hundreds more—played a crucial role in defining the direction of history and the evolution of human society. This text provides high school-level readers with detailed descriptions of the battlefield actions that have played the greatest parts in shaping military history and human existence. Special attention is paid to the greater historical context and significance of each battle, especially in relation to other events.


  • Chronological organization of topics allows readers to quickly locate individual battles and place them within the larger continuum of history
  • Numerous illustrations, drawings, maps, and photographs depict pivotal battles and make the book visually appealing
  • Every essay dedicated to a specific battle has a bibliography of references for further reading
  • A fact box at the top of each entry provides essential information and statistics in one easy-to-access location


  • Clear, thoughtful presentations of 212 battles in history based on the latest research
  • Ample maps and illustrations
  • Fact boxes provide key information at a glance
  • An excellent analysis of factors that contributed to victory, including leadership, weapons, tactics, and terrain
  • References for further reading
  • Battles are drawn from around the world and across recorded history
Author Info

Spencer C. Tucker, PhD, graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and was a Fulbright scholar in France. He was a U.S. Army captain and intelligence analyst in the Pentagon during the Vietnam War, then taught for 30 years at Texas Christian University before returning to his alma mater for 6 years as the holder of the John Biggs Chair of Military History. He retired from teaching in 2003. He is now senior fellow of military history at ABC-CLIO. Tucker has written or edited 36 books, including ABC-CLIO's award-winning The Encyclopedia of the Cold War and The Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, as well as the comprehensive A Global Chronology of Conflict.



"This clear and concise overview of the major battles from a number of wars would be a great addition to the collection of any library. Recommended."Library Journal

"A very useful military-history resource. . . . recommended for undergraduate and public libraries as well as high school

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