Someone say publisher catalog?

Yet another catalog released – almost like there’s a catalog season or something. This time from another academic publisher that has a big early modern list: Boydell & Brewer. And they have an even larger medieval catalog. I’ll include here a fewer older works in case anybody missed them the first time around. My opinionated (and often snarky) comments follow.

Zerbe, Britt. The Birth of the Royal Marines, 1664-1802. Boydell & Brewer, 2013.
The Royal Marines come from a long and proud tradition dating back to 1664. However, the first incarnation of the service, the Marine Regiments, was plagued by structural and operational difficulties. The formation of the British Marine Corps at the onset of the Seven Years War in 1755 was a defining moment, for this was the first time the government gave operational priority to the Navy. Following many trials and tribulations, in 1802 the British Marine Corps were made the Royal Marines, giving them official sanction and permanency that has continued to the present day.
This book explores the long period between the Corps of Marines’ inception and its Royal codification in 1802. Based on extensive original research, it charts the development of the marines’ organisational structures and the Corps’ rapid expansion and change. It examines the operations and tasks the marines were required to undertake, showing how special operational requirements and organisational structures combined to give rise to the Royal Marines’ distinctive identity, quite separate from exclusively land-based or exclusively maritime-based forces. Amongst a great deal of fascinating detail, the book provides interesting information on how marines were recruited, from what social backgrounds they came, how they were trained, how they were paid, and how their key duties included guarding against mutiny and desertion, and being available as an imperial “rapid reaction force”. The book includes extensive material on the many, very varied actions in which the marines were involved, worldwide, including the famous, successful action against American rebels at Boston’s Bunker Hill in 1775.

I like the abstract: it’s detailed, and actually gives the reader a sense of what the book argues, rather than simply describe its content.

Harding, Richard. The Emergence of Britain’s Global Naval Supremacy: The War of 1739-1748. Boydell & Brewer, 2013.
The British involvement in the war of 1739-1748 has been generally neglected. Standing between the great victories of Marlborough in the War of Spanish Succession [1701-1713] and the even greater victories of the Seven Years War [1756-1763], it has been dismissed as inconclusive and incompetently managed. For the first time this book brings together the political and operational conduct of the war to explore its contribution to a critical development in British history during the eighteenth century – the emergence of Britain as the paramount global naval power.
The war posed a unique set of problems for British politicians, statesmen and servicemen. They had to overcome domestic and diplomatic crises, culminating in the rebellion of 1745 and the threat of French invasion. Yet, far from being incompetent, these people handled the crises and learned a great deal about the conduct of global warfare. The changes they made and decisions they took prepared Britain for the decisive Anglo-French clash of arms in the Seven Years War. In this misunderstood war lie some of the key factors that made Britain the greatest naval power for the next one hundred and fifty years.
Britain’s victories in the Seven Years War were even greater than Marlborough’s? But Winston Churchill said Marlborough saved all of Europe from Catholic tyranny and slavery! I’m so confused.
Oakeshott, Ewart. European Weapons and Armour From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution. Boydell & Brewer, 2012.
A treasury of information based on solid scholarship, anyone seeking a factual and vivid account of the story of arms from the Renaissance period to the Industrial Revolution will welcome this book. The author chooses as his starting-point the invasion of Italy by France in 1494, which sowed the dragon’s teeth of all the successive European wars; the French invasion was to accelerate the trend towards new armaments and new methods of warfare. The author describes the development of the handgun and the pike, the use and style of staff-weapons, mace and axe and war-hammer, dagger and dirk and bayonet. He shows how armour attained its full Renaissance splendour and then suffered its sorry and inevitable decline, culminating in the Industrial Revolution, with its far-reaching effects on military armaments. Above all, he follows the long history of the sword, queen of weapons, to the late eighteenth century, when it finally ceased to form a part of a gentleman’s every-day wear. Lavishly illustrated.
Swords.
Hopkin, David. Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870. Boydell & Brewer, 2013.
Revolutionary France gave the modern world the concept of the “nation-in-arms”, a potent combination of nationalism, militarism and republicanism embodied in the figure of the conscript. But it was not a concept shared by those most affected by conscription, the peasantry, who regarded the soldier as representative of an entirely different way of life. Concentrating on the militarised borderlands of eastern France, this book examines the disjuncture between the patriotic expectations of elites and the sentiments expressed in popular songs, folktales and imagery. Hopkin follows the soldier through his life-cycle to show how the peasant recruit was separated from his previous life and re-educated in military mores; and he demonstrates how the state-sponsored rituals of conscription and the popular imagery aimed at adolescent males portrayed the army as a place where young men could indulge in adventure far from parental and communal restraints. The popular idea of moustachioed military folk-heroes contributed more to the process of turning “peasants into Frenchmen” than the mythology of the “nation-in-arms”.
Once again, we discover that it’s always good to look at the actual evidence (and maybe even new types of evidence), and not just lazily apply a zeitgeist (like “revolutionary fervor”) to explain everything that happened in a historical period. Eventually the word will get out that there is usually a big difference between the theoretical norm and the reality.
Krimmer, Elisabeth, and Patricia Simpson, eds. Enlightened War: German Theories and Cultures of Warfare from Frederick the Great to Clausewitz. Boydell & Brewer, 2011.
Enlightened War investigates the multiple and complex interactions between warfare and Enlightenment thought. Although the Enlightenment is traditionally identified with the ideals of progress, eternal peace, reason, and self-determination, Enlightenment discourse unfolded during a period of prolonged European warfare from the Seven Years’ War to the Napoleonic conquest of Europe. The essays in this volume explore the palpable influence of war on eighteenth-century thought and argue for an ideological affinity among war, Enlightenment thought, and its legacy.
The essays are interdisciplinary, engaging with history, art history, philosophy, military theory, gender studies, and literature and with historical events and cultural contexts from the early Enlightenment through German Classicism and Romanticism. The volume enriches our understanding of warfare in the eighteenth century and shows how theories and practices of war impacted concepts of subjectivity, national identity, gender, and art. It also sheds light on the contemporary discussion of the legitimacy of violence by juxtaposing theories of war, concepts of revolution, and human rights discourses.

Correggio, Balbi di. The Siege of Malta, 1565 Translated from the Spanish Edition of 1568. Edited by Ernle Bradford. Boydell & Brewer, 2005.
This is the history of one of the great battles of the world, written by a private soldier who was an eye-witness. The siege of Malta was a crucial moment in the long struggle between Islam and Christendom for domination of the Mediterranean, fought out by unequal forces on the small island which commands the sea-routes at the centre of that sea. The Knights of St John were a survival from the medieval world, the largest of the surviving crusading orders, and they had been driven out of their base on Rhodes in the eastern Mediterranean after a great onslaught by the Turks in 1522. Now, forty-three years later, the Turkish ruler, Suleyman the Magnificent, who had been the victor at Rhodes, was determined to finish them off. He sent out a huge armada, carrying the pick of his army, under two commanders. Against this powerful force, the Knights could only raise a handful of men and mercenaries, and had to depend on the fortifications they had raised in the thirty-five years since they first came to Malta, which bore no comparison to the massive walls and ditches on Rhodes. Francisco Balbi di Correggio was a humble soldier of fortune who enlisted under the charismatic command of the Grand Master of the Order, Jean de la Valette. The extraordinary drama that unfolded after the first appearance of the Turkish fleet in the summer of 1565 is told in his own words, giving equal credit to the courage and leadership of the Knights and the grim determination of the ordinary people of Malta.
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