I recently acquired the Star Wars: Essential Guide to Warfare by Jason Fry and here is my review:
Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare was an overall fun read. It provides beautiful depictions and visuals of a vast assortment of weapons and vehicles. It also serves as an analysis of the tactics and strategies used in the warfare of each individual organization and era of star wars history.
As I was reading, I had my comic book collection, various assortment of video games that I had played, and the Star Wars: New Essential Guide to Chronology (along with a few other source books), plus Wookieepedia open in another window to refer to. Now, the book mainly focuses on the pure technological and strategic aspects of star wars but it also provided explanations, first person accounts, stories, and brief time lines of different wars. This, naturally made me nervous. From the beginning of galactic history to the end of the Ruusan reformation was all pretty solid with little inaccuracies. Which is expected seeing that the great hyperspace war and all of the Sith wars, etc are mostly comics, books and video games which have been documented, organized, and canonized beforehand.
As I was nearing chapters regarding the Clone Wars I became stricken with nervousness. Questions like “Are they going to use the established time line?”, “Are they going to replace the established time line completely?” or “Are they going to integrate the two? If so how well of a job will they do?” began to race through my mind. Surprisingly, they did choose to integrate the two and they did very well. Despite a few inconsistencies, (for example, they made Willuff Tarkin a Moff when, in fact he was a governor) they were very careful with the placement of events. They avoided using dates, for example, instead of saying “the outer rim sieges began in 19 BBY” they stated “the outer rim sieges began in the third year of the clone wars”. They also referenced the training of the clones by Mandalorian mercenaries and the Null Class ARC troopers which is a “tip of the hat” to Karen Traviss, author of the Republic Commando series. Apart from the information on the wars and weapons of the star wars galaxy, the book also provides beautiful illustrations that bring the stories and descriptions to life. Events from wars like the Stark Hyperspace Conflict and the Yuuzahn Vong War that, previously I had only read about and never seen images of, were brought to life before my very eyes. Thus, changing my perspective on those wars.
So, lets recap. The book provides interesting information on weapons, factions, events, and commanders. The author does his best not to screw up continuity, and the illustrations are magnificent and beautiful. This book has earned it's place among my collection of source books and I'm sure it will earn it's place in your collections as well.