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The saga of human civilization has been formed and scarred by conflict. At eachstage of our history there have been defining episodes of violence, sometimeslong and simmering, at other times sudden and cataclysmic. And each stage has produced new forms of weaponry. Some of these weapons of war have been decisive, such as the terrifying war elephants deployed by Hannibal at the battle of Cannae in 216 B.C. Others have become iconic in our culture. Chief among these is the AK-47-symbol of communism, and now of terrorism, and the most widely found fiream in the world. Some weapons have been definitive in their simplcity, such as the bayonet; in other cases, such as the Tomahawk cruise missile, the sheer complexity is dazzling. Fifty Weapons that Changed the Course of History tells the story of the last 3,500 years through the weapons that have shaped it. The technical specifications, statlingly illus-trated, are given context and meaning by explaining their part in human conflict and their long-tem legacy. More than a manual of materiel, this is the story of the weapons that formed our world.