Wars That Changed History
50 of the World's Greatest Conflicts
by Spencer C. Tucker
September 2015, 609pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-785-9
$121, £94, 106€, A166
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-786-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The Thirty Years’ War ravaged the German population.

A thorough study of significant wars throughout history and their influence on world affairs—from the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmore III's Campaigns during 479–459 BCE through the Iraq War of 2003–2011.

For hundreds of years, wars have played a determining role in history and have decided the rise and fall of civilizations. Many believe that understanding the causes and consequences of warfare may move humankind towards world peace. This selection of the 50 most consequential wars, compiled by award-winning military historian Spencer C. Tucker, presents each conflict in chronological order and discusses its causes, its course, and its significance in world history.

Through thoughtful essays and supporting visual evidence, this reference work examines the types of weapons systems employed and their effects in the field; the roles played by individual leaders such as Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln, and Adolf Hitler; and the impact of geography and economics on the battlefield. The work includes fascinating information about warfare, addressing subjects such as how transportation and logistics changed the face of war over time, what invention marked the ascendancy of infantry over cavalry, why World War I remains the most important war in the 20th century, and which war killed nearly half of the population of Germany. Each essay includes the latest interpretations of strategy, agendas, and consequences of the featured event.


  • Features Illustrations, maps, and photographs to visually engage readers
  • Discusses the significance of major conflicts and their broad historical consequences
  • Offers the most recent interpretations as to the causes and effects of each war covered
  • Provides a list of books for additional reading to expand learning opportunities
  • Reveals the meaning of the term "tech-tac disjoint" and explains its relevance to to modern use of technology-enabled weaponry
Spencer C. Tucker, PhD, has been senior fellow in military history at ABC-CLIO since 2003. He is the author or editor of 52 books and encyclopedias treating military and naval history, many of which have won prestigious awards. Tucker's last academic position before his retirement from university teaching was the John Biggs Chair in Military History at the Virginia Military Institute. He has been a Fulbright scholar, a U.S. Army captain and intelligence analyst in the Pentagon, and a visiting research associate at the Smithsonian Institution. His recently published works include ABC-CLIO's Battles That Changed American History: 100 of the Greatest Victories and Defeats; 500 Great Military Leaders; and Instruments of War: Weapons and Technologies That Have Changed History.


"Tucker has authored a commanding volume of military history that would be a valuable addition to any library."—Booklist, November 24, 2015

"Wars that Changed History will serve as a good introduction and overview for scholars at all levels. The bibliographies at the ends of the entries provide a good start for more in-depth research. For all collections where there is an interest in history. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All libraries/levels."—Choice, July 1, 2016
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