Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare

These 2 books, covering The Middle Ages, 768-1487 and Renaissance to Revolution, 1492-1792, though with different authors, form an elegant pair of references. They cover a period that is infrequently covered in much detail, and rarely illustrated with any maps, much less the excellent examples here. My primary use for these books is as aids when reading both history and, even more, historical fiction such as Sharon Kay Penman, Dorothy Dunnett and Neal Stephenson. These authors write intricately plotted tapestries that rely heavily on movements in historical time, but their publishers include only incidental maps.  These volumes supply a much needed reference for readers who are not quite au courant with the 3rd Anglo Dutch War, or the rise of Maratha India. The accompanying text gives an adequate survey of the time, but the primary emphasis is `rightly on the illustrated portion. The maps are beautifully designed, and easily deciphered, covering both individual battles and broader strategic concepts.

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