MATCHLOCKS TO FLINTLOCKSWILLIAM URBAN Book Number: 85598 Product format: Hardback
Sub-titled 'Warfare In Europe And Beyond 1500-1700', acclaimed historian William Urban focusses on the replacement of 'crowd armies' by professionals. The professionals integrated into crown armies, government-supervised, bureaucratised institutions. The key to this process was the mercenary, originally recruited because the obligations of feudal levies were too limited and mercenary forces evolved operationally into skilled users of an increasingly complex gunpowder technology in evermore complex tactical situations. By the end of the 17th century, soldiers were identifying with the states and the rulers they served. In the early modern world, three dominant cultures of war were shaped by a synergy of their internal and external interactions. One was Latin Christian Western Europe, another was Ottoman Islam, and the third, often overlooked, was east-central Europe - Poland/Lithuania, Livonia, Russia, the freebooting Cossacks, in a volatile mix of variations on a general Christian theme. Urban's fascinating narrative covers campaigns and battles, soldiers and generals, from the French invasion of Italy in 1494 to Austria's Balkan victories culminating in the 1718 Treaty of Peterwardein. Geographically it covers ground from the Low Countries to the depths of the Ukraine. We learn much from the writings of François de la Rochefoucauld (1618-30) whose Maxims were short, pithy and clever. He was a good warrior, but an indifferent commander whose thoughts were always cynical. "Vanity makes some brave, he observed, ignorance others, and fear of shame almost everyone." Also covers technology, weapons and fortresses, the growth of empires, the Gunpowder Revolution, national cultures and the Turkish wars. 16 illustrations, 278pp.
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Bibliophile price: £10.00
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