“I love Jezza”, says James, and he’s not talking about Mr Clarkson. Jeremy Black’s comprehensive book is an eminently readable history of tanks and armoured warfare. It looks at how different forces tried to reclaim superiority in mobile warfare during the 20th and 21st centuries using technological transport advances: tanks, tanks, and more tanks – Black suggests that tanks weren’t, in fact, a silver bullet but their success depended on their use as an integral component in a much wider armoury. Tanks represented the reconciliation of firepower and mobility, seizing the imagination of commanders and commentators whose progress had been impeded by the capabilities of ordinary infantry. Black traverses a remarkable range of wars and campaigns – focusing on the first and second world war – and he is quite scathing in places about Liddell Hart’s version of these events. As a military historian, Black’s account is a detailed and well-researched tale of limitations and defeats as well as of potential and achievements: it is useful to understand what did not work, in the world of tanks, just as much as it is to revel in great technological success.