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Dictionary of Fortifications (Hardback)

An illustrated glossary of castles, forts, and other defensive works from antiquity to the present day


By Jean-Denis Lepage
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 352
Illustrations: 369 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399072243
Published: 12th December 2022



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This Dictionary of Fortifications is an attractive and convenient reference for anyone with an interest in castles, forts, walled cities and any other defensive architecture, including temporary structures, of any period. The heart of the book is a useful glossary of over 1,200 terms relating to fortifications through the ages. Drawn from many languages besides English, each has at least a concise definition or description, while more significant entries take the form of short articles. Many are accompanied by a clear sketch, diagram, cross-section, floor plan or map skilfully executed by the author himself. In all there are over 400 of these black and white illustrations. Although the glossary is organized alphabetically (from Abatis to Zwischenwiderstandnet), cross references allow the reader to easily follow themes of interest through the book.

Buttressing the glossary there is a section giving an overview of the historical development of fortifications from prehistory to the present day. A further chapter outlines the concomitant development of siege warfare over the same long span, detailing the evolution of siege engines and other tactics used to overcome fortifications. This is a fascinating reference for anyone with the slightest interest in military architecture.

Overview drawings, close-up drawings, sections, and even weapons receive a visual reinforcement of the text.

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The Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"I believe the author he has produced a reasonably accessible novices dictionary of an historically important subject."

Pillbox Study Group - Loopholes, Number 86

"So, if you don't know your dungeon from your donjon, or your demi-lune from your demi-baston, then this fascinating reference is certainly for you. Even if you are more familiar with such terms, it is still a title well worth finding room for on your shelf."

Military History Matters - Issue 133, April/May 2023

4 out of 5

I think this is a great reference to add to your home library. Ideal for anyone organising a Battlefield Study to a WW2 site - loads of fascinating snippets about both Allied and Axis field fortifications.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

This book could have been a boring manual of fortifications, instead it is an engaging read, packed full of interesting facts. An interesting reference book.

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GoodReads, Paul Digget

About Jean-Denis Lepage

Jean-Denis Lepage was born in 1952 at Meaux (France) near Paris. After studying English at the University of Angers (Maine-et-Loire), Jean-Denis worked in the UK before moving to Groningen in The Netherlands. Until recently he worked as a free-lance translator, illustrator and author but has recently retired. He has published several books with the accent on fortifications and the Second World War. His previous works include: Hitler’s Stormtroopers (Frontline, 2016) and Torpedo Bombers (Pen & Sword, 2020).

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