Why did Napoleon succeed in 1805 but fail in 1812? Were the railways vital to Prussia's victory over France in 1870? Was the famous Schlieffen Plan militarily sound? Could the European half of World War II have been ended in 1944? These are only a few of the questions that form the subject-matter of this meticulously researched, lively book. Drawing on a very wide range of unpublished and previously unexploited sources, Martin van Creveld examines the 'nuts and bolts' of war: namely, those formidable problems of movement and supply, transportation and administration, so often mentioned - but rarely explored - by the vast majority of books on military history. In doing so he casts his net far and wide, from Gustavus Adolphus to Rommel, from Marlborough to Patton, subjecting the operations of each to a thorough analysis from a fresh and unusual point of view. The result is a fascinating book that has something new to say about virtually every one of the most important campaigns waged in Europe during the last two centuries.