Battle Stations!: Fortifications Through the Ages


32 pages
Contains Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55037-889-9
DDC j355.7'09





Illustrations by Mei Tsao and Ken Nice
Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus and co-author of Becoming a Teacher.


For young students curious about how fortifications work, and why they
should be constructed in the first place, this source is excellent.
Stephen Shapiro has chosen 10 examples, ranging from 1500 BCE to the
present, to show how various civilizations tried to defend themselves
from enemy attack. Mei Tsao and Ken Nice provide graphic representations
of each type of fortification. Concluding chapters identify and portray
siege defences, various types of body defences (from Greek phalanx and
Roman testudo to medieval body armour), camouflage, and 20th-century

Egyptian and Roman fortifications, the Great Wall of China, Japanese
castles, and more modern European fortresses are depicted and supported
with cut-outs, maps, and glossaries. Coastal defence batteries,
including the Martello Towers, the defence of San Francisco harbour, and
the Maginot Line between Germany and France are also covered. Shapiro
explains the North American Continental Defence system employed during
the Cold War, and the more recent Star Wars program. Complicated
structures emerge as ways that societies tried to protect themselves
from attack. Even middle-elementary students should find it easy to
understand these fortifications through the ages, which author Shapiro
refers to as “battle stations!” Highly recommended.


Shapiro, Stephen., “Battle Stations!: Fortifications Through the Ages,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,