Reference type: Encyclopedia
Authority: While no information could be found about the author himself, his bibliography of past works is most impressive. All thirteen titles pertain to war and fighting, with a few clustering around World War II. This combined with the wide range of sources listed in the The Battle Book's bibliography suggest that Perrett has conducted research to a great depth in this area.
Audience relation: The concept of a parallel universe based on a divergent timeline is very common in science fiction. Often, the divergence will center on a major event, such as the assassination of JFK or the outcome of a battle. While this book does not provide the entire context for each battle, enough is provided that a writer can get a feel for each battle's importance to the war and its effect on history. Essentially, this would make an excellent “window shopping” book when seeking a point of divergence and an excellent jumping-off point for future research.
This book attempts to cover a very broad span of history as concisely as possible. It begins with the wars of ancient Egypt (1469 BC) and ends with the Gulf War (1991). Each battle's entry covers less than a page, giving the bare facts plus a brief commentary.
Although this book is well-researched and useful, the organization leaves a bit to be desired. The battles themselves are arranged alphabetically instead of chronologically. The front of the book provides a wholly useless list (also in alphabetical order) of the battles with their entry numbers. The three appendices in the back of the book, however, are very useful. The first is a chronological list of the battles, broken down by individual wars. The second is an index to the principle leaders involved with each battle. The third and last is an index to tactics and weapons employed. Theses appendices are useful, but the user is forced to keep flipping between them and the main text.
Despite its organizational weaknesses, this book is still valuable enough to be used a writing resource.