This book is a journey through some of Angus McBride's best historical artwork, depicting the world's most fearsome warriors, from Gladiators to Pirates to Zulus. Battle dress and arms are shown in unrivalled detail and brought to life in vivid scenes of fighting, pillaging and carousing. A full text commentary accompanies each piece of artwork, providing the background to the image and helping readers to get more out of each illustration. The foreword, engagingly written by Men-at-Arms series editor Martin Windrow, provides a full introduction to Angus's life and work, and features paintings that have never before been published.
Angus McBride is one of the world's most respected historical illustrators, famous both for his historical artwork and for his work on Lord of the Rings. Angus has contributed to more than 70 Osprey titles in the past three decades.
Finally the long awaited collection of Angus McBride's military history illustrations has arrived in a quality, hard cover book. I say collection but it is really more of a sampler of the unbelievably prolific McBride's work, as he has turned out in excess of 700 paintings for Osprey Publications alone and this book contains but 45 of them. The book is hard cover with a dust jacket; 9 1/2 x 11; 144 pages; good quality paper with a built in, ribbon book mark. Very nice. The first few pages are devoted to a brief biography followed by an interview with McBride in which he discusses working techniques, the problems of historical illustration, etc. Now, as Angus might say, to our muttons. The paintings range from Ancient Egypt to WW II, all, of course, with a military orientation but by no means all battle scenes. Actually, less than half are depictions of battle. In contrast, there is a wonderful piece in which a dismounted Armenian cavalryman (leading an obviously nervous horse), a monk and a serf coaxing a very recalcitrant donkey, are crossing a boiling mountain stream on a rickety, wooden bridge, all against a soft and peaceful woodland setting; the McBride touch. There are several pages with just a single figure against white with details of equiptment and clothing to the side, and they are splendid. Among these, the Visigoth Warrior is a particular favorite of mine. Also, the ladies are not excluded from this book. Queen Zenobia is featured in a plate as is a Mixtec Queen and there is also a plate of WACs, WAVES and women Marines. There are 34 single plates and 11 double page spreads. The layouts for the single page paintings have the reproduction on the right hand page faced by a description of the piece and an enlarged detail which can offer a close up view of the artist's working methods. The description and details of the double page spreads are on the two pages preceeding the painting. The cropping of the single plates is sometimes extreme but the trade off is that the viewer gets a closer look of the main elements of the work. Vignettes are taken right to the edge of the page. You literally get a full page of art. Devoted fans of Angus may wonder at some of the selections chosen for reproduction in this book but even the somewhat questionable choices will offer up much material to be studied by artists, both professional and aspiring, as well as to be admired by the layman. The quality of the reproductions is for the most part excellent. Sharp and very colorful. As some British friends of my might say, "brilliant." A very few may be a little on the dark side but not really objectionable. Unfortunately one piece, The Battle of Hastings, is poorly reproduced (particularly in regard to the color balance) and even worse is the large detail of it at the beginning of the chapter. For some unknown reason the publishers chose to reproduce this one piece from a print rather than the original transparency and, particularly in the much enlarged, chapter heading detail, this is painfully obvious. This reproduction does the artist no favors. Happily, it stands alone in the book. Overall I give this book a high recommendation. Military buffs and artists will find it especially appealing but my recommendation also extends to anyone who appreciates fine, quality art work. It is an excellent book. Finally, we can hope, considering the volume of McBride's output, that there will be a Vol. II, a Vol. III, etc. Better yet, a larger format with two or three times as many pages; a proportionate increase in the volume of artwork; perhaps a few foldouts; a slipcase; in other words, a true "coffee table" book. Now there's an idea!
Finally Mr. McBride's great art in good printing quality2006/2/23
No doubt about it, Angus McBride is a master illustrator. And this great HC-book proves it (although it's a shame there are just 45 plates...). The paperbacks at Osprey Publishing are nice, but to be honest, their color reproductions of Angus' illustrations are not really good. Here the depth of colors used, the shadow-play both in lights and tissues, finally come out. It is clasic illustration at it's very best. The plates (often double-spread) show battle scenes and posed images of warriors from the ancient times /Rameses II) until WWII (only one). Each plate is accompanied by a well written text on either the scene as it occurred or the uniforms and arms on display. As a reader you get to travel through Egypt, Greece, Babylon, Rome, European Middle Ages, Japan, Africa, Middle America as the ancient times come alive in front of your very eyes. Marvellous!!! What I like most about Mr. McBride's work is that he took the time and trouble to create "true" scenes that really could have taken place. As much as I also admire the Funckens' work, this makes you be there and makes you want to know more about history. In the foreword Angus tels us a little bit about his work, techniques and career.
This book isn't just for people interested in uniforms. It's a wonderful starting point for anybody interested in classic illustration and history. Even when you think you know it all. Here you can relive what you might have forgotten.
McBride's Savage world!2003/1/7
I have been waiting for a large format compellation of Angus McBride's art for some time now. Finally, Warriors and Warlords is here. The only disappoinment is the book's brevity. Fans of McBride's contributions to the Osprey books will enjoy this single volume spanning his career and the bredth of his subject matter. The man has an unmistakable approach to his subjects. What really makes this book a gem is the interview with McBride, where he gives much advice about technique and materials. Some of the unforgettable illustrations in this book include: a gladiator about to administer the coup de grace; a forlorn scene of doomed Vikings making their last stand; a triumphant Celtic chariot crew; Shaka Zulu and his men making a bloodthirsty charge. This artist is expert at capturing period costume yet giving his subjects timeless humanity. His evocative use of light makes him seem less like an illustrator and more like a Great Master. And let's not forget the ubiquitous carrion circling overhead, awaiting the carcass of the loser. This book is not to be missed. Hopefully Osprey will get wise and publish many follow ups.
The Adventure continues!2002/11/9
Raymond F. Gillis
Mr. McBride's books are always eagerly awaited because of the chance to see another chapter in history spring to life. This large volume of his efforts is highly appreciated. The richness of the textures, the glint of armour, the absolutely wonderful facial expressions are all here. The chance to view a number of his background effects is always welcome. He makes the figures truly part of the earth. I also enjoy his scenes against the white of the page. They are simple but show off the figure in a most dramatic way. This is a wondrous book...highly recommended. If you are a fan of Howard Pyle, N. C. Wyeth and similar artists you will love this book! It is great value for the money.
Wow, what a book!2013/8/15
Kurt A. Johnson
I remember discovering the work of Angus McBride when I was a boy, reading Osprey's excellent books. Not long ago, when I was talking to my son about ancient warriors, I mentioned the man that I considered the greatest military illustrator of all time, Angus McBride. Well, he poked around on-line, and discovered this book. And I must say, "Wow, what a book!"
This excellent work begins with a short biography of Angus McBride, and then launches into a presentation of his work. McBride pictures are presented from all times, from The Chariot of Pharaoh Rameses II to Women In World War II. Each picture has its own introduction, complete with blowups of interesting details of the picture. And, to make matters ever better, quite a few of the pictures are presented large, on a full two facing pages of the book.
My son and I both really liked this book, which is chockfull of excellent pictures. Indeed, if I have one complaint against this book it is that it is too short...of course if it was longer it would probably be too expensive. But, nonetheless, it is a great book, one that is sure to please anyone who is interested in military history, or just plain likes excellent artwork!