The typical elite title, focuses mostly on a detailed view of the different branches of the Assyrian army, their gear, roles, and tactics, but as it tells the story of the Assyrian army and campaigns in pretty much tells the story of Assyria. The Assyrians, although a very different people from the Mongols, still stand out like them in certain ways-both were sadistically cruel and thought nothing of slaughtering civilizations (a zesty description of Assyrian torture of rebel chieftains is given early in the book), but also showed great administrative skills and almost unnatural talent at all forms of warfare-light and heavy cavalry and infantry, and sieges. The Assyrians clashed with most of the powers of their day-the Egyptians, the Hittites, the Israelites, the Syrians, the Arabs, and the Elamites, and were also having to put down Babylonian rebellions many times every century. At their greatest extent they ruled over most all of modern Iraq east to Elam (Iran), along with Urartu (Armenia), eastern Turkey, the entire Palestinian coastline south into Egypt. It was only relentless rebellions and civil wars that finally brought them to their knees, but their destruction was complete-their capital was thoroughly razed and subsequently forgotten, and as the Biblical prophet said (Nahum 3:19), the Ancient World rejoiced. As would be expected, Angus McBride's artwork really brings them to life, but even without that this would still be an essential book.