Timothy Brook

Making a Bang

The Gunpowder Age: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History

By Tonio Andrade

Princeton University Press 432pp £27.95 order from our bookshop

Not without reason, though often without much reflection, historians of the modern world have been fascinated by our capacity to kill each other by launching projectiles and blowing things up. The story of exploding devices has certainly been a thrilling one for those who believe that this particular means of destruction has been the motivating force of history since the Middle Ages. In many accounts, there is a near inevitability to the story of how all this came about, with the arrow pointing towards the triumph of the West.

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