DK Publishing truly knows how to assemble and present books that deserve to be displayed on coffee tables. It is an added bonus that DK’s coffee table books are also well worth reading. When DK teams with author and military historian R. G. Grant, however, the resulting display books are “must-haves” in the library of any serious student of military history. Fortunately, Mr. Grant’s partnership with DK has been quite fruitful in the past decade and has given us, among other things, several impressive volumes, including Battle: A Visual Journey Through 5,000 Years of Battle (DK Publishing, Inc., 2005; 360 pages) and Sea Battle: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare (DK Publishing, Inc., 2008; 360 pages). Battle, as its subtitle suggests, takes its readers on a sublime visual journey through the past five thousand years of human conflict. From the earliest recorded clash of armies in ancient Sumeria to the current War on Terror, just about every noteworthy battle, weapon and military personality recorded by human history are presented in a capsule summary format with beautiful and eye-catching photographs and artwork. Sea Battle is similarly formatted and arranged, and offers the entire timeline of conflict on the high seas from the Age of Galleys to the modern era. Both Battle and Sea Battle offer a comprehensive examination of the conflicts of World War II. Although the data presented in the capsule summaries will not further enhance the expert student’s knowledge of the war, it will provide a very complete – and attractive – quick reference for anyone seeking a quick refresher on any particular battle. More importantly, Battle and Sea Battle offer students of the Second World War a tremendous vehicle for the exploration of other wars, especially those wars and conflicts that are not taught in US or European schools. For example, many modern students are probably unaware of The Great Northern War of 1700-1721 in which Russia emerged as a world power (at the expense of Sweden and its Baltic allies) or that Japans WWII efforts to conquer Korea were merely the extension of a Japanese drive to secure land on the Asian continent that goes back to at least the late 16th century. Both subjects, among hundreds of others, are included in Battle. Even students who think they are knowledgeable about military history will find kernels of information that will surprise them. At the Battle of Yorktown – the decisive battle in the American War of Independence -- how many modern readers would not be surprised to learn that there were only 108 American casualties? When one compares that to the more than 10,000 American casualties during the D-Day invasion during World War II, Yorktown seems far more inconsequential as a battle, but no less important as a political event. Both Battle: A Visual Journey Through 5,000 Years of Battle and Sea Battle: 3,000 Years of Naval Warfare will make handsome additions to the home of any student of military history. They will also be engrossing reading for young people, especially young boys, who will find the capsule summaries of each battle and the weapons employed in them both easy to read and hard to put down. If you are considering these books, the issue should not be whether you should purchase them, for they are quite beautiful. Rather, the issue should be whether your coffee table is worthy to hold them!