About the Book

Engines of War

Engines of War

How Wars Were Won & Lost on the Railways
November 2010
Hardcover · 368 Pages
$28.95 U.S. · $36.50 CAN · €20.99 E.U.
ISBN 9781586489717


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Before the nineteenth century, armies had to rely on slow and unreliable methods of transportation to move soldiers and equipment during times of conflict. But with the birth of the railroad in the early 1830s, the way wars were fought would change forever. In Engines of War, renowned expert Christian Wolmar tells the story of that transformation, examining all the engagements in which railways played a part from the Crimean War and American Civil War through both world wars, the Korean War, and the Cold War with its mysterious missile trains. He shows that the 'iron road' not only made armies far more mobile, but also greatly increased the scale and power of available weaponry. Wars began to be fought across wider fronts and over longer timescales, with far deadlier consequences. From armored engines with their swiveling guns to track sabotage by way of dynamite, railway lines constructed across frozen Siberian lakes and a Boer war ambush involving Winston Churchill, Engines of War shows how the railways—a fantastic generator of wealth in peacetime—became a weapon of war exploited to the full by governments across the world.

About the Author

Christian Wolmar is a writer and broadcaster specializing in the social history of railroads and transportation. He has written for major British newspapers for many years and has contributed to many other publications, including the New York Times and Newsday. He frequently appears on TV and radio as an expert commentator. His most recent books are Blood, Iron, and Gold, about how the railroads transformed the world; The Subterranean Railway, a history of the London Underground, the world's oldest system, and Fire & Steam, the story of Britain's railroads.