First, I must express a certain amount of disappointment. Osprey’s Men-at-Arms series has a number of good books on medieval military history of various countries. These are generally in two volumes, one covering 1000-1300, and the second 1300-1500. That Poland only gets one book for the entire period is a real shame (though it’s not the first time it’s been done this way, either).

As usual with such a short book, the historical background leaves a lot unsaid, especially when the subject is as unfamiliar to me as the history of Poland is. But it’s a decent summary, and of course comes with a good chronology.

The main sections on organization, and arms and armor, are of course the bulk of the book, and fairly well detailed for available space, and probable lack of regular documentary evidence. I kind of wish just a bit more detail was offered on the earlier periods, as it is evident that German and western European military fashions overtook many of the more Polish/eastern fashions as time went on. More meditation on that would also be interesting, but also consume limited space on speculation.

The art is fairly good (Angus McBride is still missed, but Gary Embleton and his son have some good work here), though I’m really unsure about the city walls shown in Plate G. In fact, with a couple exceptions, the backgrounds really seem to suffer here. But the main figures are well done, with good commentary about what’s going on with their equipment (…in fact, this is one of the longer commentary sections Osprey has had, short of books like The Ancient Greeks in the Elite series which was pretty much all commentary). As ever, the black-and-white photographs of period art and artifacts are plentiful and helpful, and include the floor plans of six different fortresses.

In many ways, this all just marks it as typical of the Osprey breed, which it is. Poland is not something that sees a lot of military history coverage here, so I’m very happy to have the book. As ever, it’s well produced, and I hope we see more by Sarnecki.