As the title suggests this is a whimsical examination of some of the more unusual elements of military history. The stories range from unusual weapons and odd battle plans to the foibles of great and not so great commanders.
There are one or two jarring notes - an explanation of Public Schools or a note that Transylvania does actually exist (we know..), but otherwise the tone is about right, with the right mix of amused surprise and clear explanation. There are also a set of useful footnotes that provide the original sources for most of the stories.
I must admit some of the incidents described were quite familiar to me (the many wounds of Alexander the Great or some of the more unusual ways in which warships sank themselves), but given that I spent most of my time reading a wide range of works on military history I was surprised just how many of the topics were entirely new to me.
There are plenty of interesting snippets in here, with enough variety to ensure that any familiar story is followed by something new and unfamiliar.
1 - War Elephants and How to Beat Them
2 - Ignominious Deaths
3 - What's in a Name?
4 - A Misplaced Sense of Honour
5 - Suicide Mission
6 - Soldier's Accessories
7 - The Gods are With Us
8 - An Army Marches on its Stomach (and its Liver)
9 - Unlikely Survivors
10 - Siege the Day
11 - Stranger Things Happen at Sea
12 - What Do You Want - A Medal?
13 - Undiplomatic Responses
14 - The Pressures of High Command
15 - Miscellaneous
16 - Weird and Wonderful Weapons
17 - Towards the Future - Robot Wars
Author: Philip Sidnell
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military