At the end of 2017, I’m able to catch my breath and reflect back on the past year. It was a digital year, among other things.
Most concretely, our History department’s Digital History Lab was finally completed. Two long years of planning and grant-writing, and almost 800 emails later, my quixotic labor of love is (almost) done! A generous anonymous donor gave us enough money to find a room one floor above our offices, and to find the money to stock it with PCs and iMacs, a Surface Hub touch-display, scanners (including a microfilm scanner and a ScannX book scanner), and a Surface Book tablet/laptop to pass around the seminar table and project to the Surface Hub. These tools will allow our undergraduate department to use the lab for a variety of projects: digital-centric history courses and digitally-inflected courses; independent studies and tutoring; faculty projects and internships; as well as public history projects with local museums. Not to mention the Skype-enabled Hub.
In the process of designing and overseeing the lab’s construction, I’ve learned a lot about institutional paranoia and the rules they necessitate, and how the digital humanities’ love of open-source software doesn’t play well with IT’s need for locked-down systems. So the lab had to forego many of the open-source tools used by digital historians and humanists. But I did try to provide the computers in the lab with commercial programs with similar features. The software includes:
- ABBYY FineReader for OCRing texts
- the standard Microsoft Office suite (including Access for relational databases)
- the standard Adobe Creative Suite, including Illustrator
- statistics software (SPSS and Minitab)
- EndNote (because we can’t install Zotero)
- Aeon 2 timeline software (for semi-interactive timelines like this)
- mapping software, including Google Earth Pro, ArcGIS, QGIS, Centennia and Euratlas historical digital maps, and MAPublisher to tweak geospatial data in Illustrator.
- OutWit Hub for web scraping and tagged entity extraction
- online software, such as Google Fusion Tables, Palladio, Voyant, etc.
- the machines also have Python, but I’m not sure about how easy it will be to constantly install/update new libraries and the like, given the school’s security concerns
- the department also has a subscription to Omeka, for our planned public history projects.
And there’s more to come. The anonymous donor made an additional donation which will allow us to replace that retro chalkboard with a 90″ monitor display. As well as purchase a few other software packages, and even a reference book or two. All the tools you need to do some digital history. And build a digital history curriculum for our undergraduate majors.
The DHL will be the centerpiece of our department’s new foray into digital history. Since we’re an undergraduate institution, our goals are modest. Having just taught the first iteration of my Introduction to Digital History course, it’s pretty clear that having undergraduates mess with lots of open-source package installations – much less try to learn a programming language like Python – would’ve been a nightmare (especially since I’m just learning Python myself). So our textbook, Exploring Big Historical Data, didn’t get as much use as I’d initially planned. But we did spend some time looking at the broader picture before we dove into the weeds.
And to make sure the students understood the importance of kaizen and the “There’s gotta be a better way!!!” ethic, I beat them over the head with the automation staircase:
As a result, the students were introduced to, and hopefully even learned how to use at least a few features of, the following tools:
- Adobe Acrobat automation
- Excel (don’t assume today’s college students know how to use computers beyond games and social media)
- MS Access
- OCR (ABBYY FineReader and Adobe Acrobat Pro)
- Regular expressions
- Google Sheets and ezGeocode add-in
- Google Fusion Tables
- Stanford Named Entity Recognition
- OutWit Hub
A digital smorgasbord, I realize, but I tried to give them a sampling of relational databases, text mining, and mapping. Unfortunately, we proved again and again that 60%-80% of every digital project is acquiring and cleaning the data, which meant there wasn’t as much time for analysis as I would’ve liked. And, to boot, several of the tools were extremely limited without purchasing the full version (OutWit Hub), or installing the local server version on your own computer (Stanford NER) – did I mention students had problems installing software on their own machines? But, at the least, the students were exposed to these tools, saw what they can do, and know where to look to explore further, as their interests and needs dictate. I’d call that an Introduction to Digital History.
Fortunately, I was able to play around with a few more sophisticated tools in the process, relying on the Programming Historian, among other resources:
- Vard 2 and GATE (cleaning up OCRed texts)
- MALLET topic modeling
- Gephi network software (Palladio also has some basic network graphing features)
- VOS Viewer for bibliometrics – if only JSTOR/Academic Search Premier/Historical Abstracts had the bibliometric citation datasets that Web of Science does (yes, JSTOR’s Text Analyzer is a start, but still…)
- Edinburgh geoparser
- Python (also with the help of Automating the Boring Stuff with Python).
So now I’ve at least successfully used most of the tools I see digital historians mention, and have established a foundation to build future work upon.
So, what are my resolutions for 2018?
More of the same, but applied toward EMEMH!
More digitalia – adding a few more toys to Eastern’s Digital History Lab, training the other History faculty on some of its tools (Zotero and Omeka, for starters), and practicing a bit more with GIS. And figuring out a way to efficiently clean all those 18C primary source texts I’ve got in PDFs. And, just as mind numbing, creating shapefiles of the boundaries of early modern European states.
More miltaria – I’m teaching my European Warfare, 1337-1815 course again this Spring, and will try to figure out a way to have the students’ projects contribute towards an EMEMH dataset that will eventually go online.
And did I mention a year-long sabbatical in 2018-19, so I can finish the big book of battles, and start the next project, a GIS-driven operational analysis of Louis XIV’s campaigns? Yeehaa!
So here’s to wishing your 2018 might be a bit more digital too.
Three years into my graduate school experience at Ohio State, this student of History went out on a limb and took Geography 580: Cartography. I recall that the professor was a bit of an eccentric tyrant – he’d berate students for chewing gum, and even made one male student take his ball cap off in the classroom. While I enjoyed the subject, the detail was, at times, a bit too much: I ended up getting a B+ in the course because even though I was able to trace a map of Australia into a CAD program via a digitizing tablet and puck, I refused to memorize the details of additive color systems and printing processes (this was 1995, after all). While my interest in mapping Australia’s population evaporated at the end of the semester, I retained the fascination with mapping. So much so that I forged ahead in creating my own maps for research, even as I knew that there was more to mapping than AutoCAD and, later, Adobe Illustrator. Though I will admit to spending several hundreds dollars in order to purchase a royalty-free vector map of Europe.
And now, some twenty-two years later, I’ve finally accomplished at least part of what I’d set out to do those many years ago. After about ten days of intermittently playing around with QGIS (free, open-source Geographical Information System software), I finally have a passable first draft of a map I’ll use for my upcoming Crusades course. Drum roll please:
First I downloaded Natural Earth base-maps. Second step was to create a list of significant towns, look up their coordinates and import them into QGIS, and then set up rule-based formatting to display the major cities in a larger, upper-case font (and a larger, square icon). Next, I scanned and georeferenced one of the maps from Nicolle’s Atlas of the Islamic World, then traced the (approximate) boundaries of Christian and Muslim states as polygons (snapping to adjacent polygons to avoid slivers) while keeping a wide berth of the coasts, before finally clipping the polygon layers to the coastline layer.
Not too bad, though the georeferencing goes awry once we reach the Baltic – but that’s why you only rely on the georeferenced map for the borders, and not the cities or coastlines. The labels need tweaking (both font style and positioning), and of course it lacks all the info expected of a professional map: scale, title, key, etc. But it’s good enough for showing in class (once I add a scale), and, what’s more, it will serve as the basis for tracing territorial changes over the various Crusades.
A more basic base-map that I can use for note taking (in Notability on my new iPad Pro 12.9″) looks like this, with a jaunty little rotation added for good measure:
Practicing with maps of the Crusades this semester will prepare me for even more fun next semester, when I teach my European Warfare, 1337-1815 course again. So I’ll finally be able to combine my crazy timecharts with ‘bespoke’ maps. After that, hopefully, a year-long sabbatical when I’ll be able to trace military operations in Flanders over the course of the War of the Spanish Succession in gory GIS detail. But I’ve gotta pace myself. There’s still a battle book to be written.
Took me long enough.
Which gives me time to throw a quick blog post up into the Ether – now that we’ve finally gotten our electricity back, after six hours. I’ve been busy with teaching two grading-intensive courses (a senior seminar on the Age of Enlightenment and the Historical Research and Writing course), as well as my European Warfare 1337-1815, but also getting some overdue research done. So I might as well share little bits that are too long to publish in full.
As I’m nearing the completing of my long-delayed siege capitulation chapter, I came across this humorous piece illustrating a lot of the themes I’ve been exploring over the past few years. Without further ado, I bring you another episode in the rarely-boring Country-man and Observator Show, from 1706.
Cm: It pleases me and all good Christian Englishmen, Master, I have a whole Budget full of Victories.
O: What more Victories? New Ones, Roger?
Cm: Yes, Master, all Spike and Span New. Let me see, Master, I’ll lay ’em out before you in Mode and Form. First and foremost I present with the Surrender of Ostend, that’s the Place you wanted to have Taken, and so I hope you are pleas’d for One, especially since it was Taken in less time than you thought for [it defended itself for more than three years during the Eighty Years War].
As soon as my Lord Overkirk began to fling his Bombs on one side, and the English Fleet did the like on the other side of the Town, the French and Spaniards began to Squeak like so many Rats and Wessels between two Fires. Ah, Master, ’tis a sad thing to be Roasted at that rate; and while a Body is turning upon the Spit to be Basted with huge ugly Bombs and stinking Carcasses [an incendiary bomb]; ’tis enough to Fright any Body. I’ll warrant it the poor Frenchmen Drip’d more T—- [Turd] than Tallow; the heat of the Fire shrivel’d their poor thin hunger-starv’d Carcasses.
But there is one thing I observ’d upon the Papers that seems very Chomical, I cou’dn’t forbear Laughing at it: Master Mothe [La Mothe-Houdancourt], the French Governor in the Town, when it was Surrender’d, excused the Bravery of his Men, which he said Was quite lost in Defending a Ravelin; but he did not attribute it to a Natural Cause, but to Witchery and Devildom, and said All his Men were Bewitch’d. Aye, thought I, and so was thy Master Bewitch’d too, when he sent a Mothe [i.e. a moth] to take Care of the Cloathing of such a Town as Ostend. The Notion of Witchery is a poor excuse for Cowardice, and being over-match’d in Bravery and Skill in Martial Affairs.
But, Master, I foresee this Notion of Witchery will spread a great way; Anjou he’s coming Home Bewitch’d and Bedevil’d. Bavaria and Collogn, the two Brothers of Treachery, they are Bewitch’d and Hagg-Riden out of their Country. Prince Eugene he has Bewitch’d poor Vendosme, as I’ll tell you By and By. But the Duke of Marlborough he has Bewitch’d all Flanders, as the Earl of Peterborough has done all Spain. Bless me, Master, was there ever such Witchery, such a parcel of Martial Necromancers ever known at one time in the World? One would think that all the English Forces had been rais’d in Lancashire [the Pendle witches 1612], and were the Legitimate Issue of Teague O Devilly, begotten on Mother Demdyke [one of the Lancashire witches].
But Master, it rejoyces my Heart to see this Witchery as Monsieur Mothe calls it, go on o’the other side of the Water. Dendermond is Bewitch’d already; and a Spell is lay’d upon Newport, that will be actually Bewitch’d in twelve or fourteen Days time; nay, I heard some of our Coffee-House Wizzards say, That before the Campaign is ended Dunkirk will be horribly Bewitch’d. Ha! thought I, will it so? Then the Prophecy that I remember I read, concerning the French King, may come to pass.
Lorrain you Stole, by Fraud you got Burgundy,
Dunkirk you Bought, and you shall Pay for’t one Day.
Obs: He has Pay’d for’t long ago.
Cm: Aye, Master, to a Corrupt Minister that had no Power to Sell it and Receive the Money; and, I think the English Nation were Bewitch’d at that time, that they did not Hovel-Post that Minister. But now, Master, is our time to make the French King pay for Buying Stollen-Goods; and I foresee we shall do it with a Vengeance.
There’s another great piece of Witchery coming on the Stage too: The Earl of Rivers is going to Bewitch a Power of People somewhere or other; and the French King, tho’ he is an Old Wizzard, and has his Familiar, Goody Maintenon, always about him, he can’t tell whether they are going: But they are going to Bewitch some of his People, that’s for certain; because they carry with ’em Mortars, Bombs, Great and Small Guns, and other Instruments of War, the Spells with which the Duke of Marlborough has Bewitch’d so many Towns and People in Flanders. And what is most inconsolable to the French King is, that 12000 of those very Wizzards that Bewitch’d all Flanders are Ship’d off at Ostend, and wait only for a Wind to joyn in this Expedition.
Well, for my part I would give a Pot of October [brew] to see how the French King himself is Bewitch’d at this News. What are become of all his Little Imps that us’d to Creep into the Cabinet of Princes, even thro’ the Little Key-Holes? That when we had an Expedition forwarded, as at this present, could tel him it was to be at Camaret? [Did Tutchin know that Marlborough is traditionally credited with spilling that particular secret?] That when we had sent a Spy to France he was so effectually told of it, that when the Vessel Arrived, his Officers could come to Her side and ask for Lame Puckle? Master, I fancy the French King is Bewitch’d, because his Devils have lost their Power, because our Devils, with whom they held a Correspondance are Exorcis’d, and render’d Incapable of doing us any more Mischief. Tar-box for that.
Obs: Indeed, Honest Country-man, the little Shifts that are made use of by the French King, his Ministers and Generals, to excuse their Bankrupcty of Power, are so very Weak, that none but the Vassals of France, who must have their Eyes put out for Seeing can help Laughing at them. ‘Tis but t’other Day the French Kings Minister at Madrid told the Grandees of Spain, Asembled for that purpose, That his Master would rather call Home his Grandson, the Duke de Anjou, than that such Sacriledges should be Committed in a Catholick Kingdom by Wicked Heretics. This is the specious Pretence for calling Home his Spanish PERKIN; but who can believe the sincerity of the French King in this Point, who has, himself, been the most Sacrilegious Monster that ever Europe Bred? That has spared neither Religious-Houses, nor their Inhabitants, or the Lands Given and Settled to Pious Uses, when it has been his Interest to Seize them; and had he not been Diverted by a War in Eighty Eight, he had Wag’d War upon his Holy-Father, the Pope, at that time.
Monsieur Mothe’s Whim of Witchery is Comical enough. A good Excuse for being Beaten. This strange Reflux of French Valour cannot proceed from any Natural Cause; no, by no means. The French Courage can never be decay’d in its Nature, ’tis some Evil Planet Governs, and the French Troops are certainly Bewitch’d.
I might here assert that ’tis Natural for Men, so much beaten as the French has been of late every where, and in all Engagements, to be Cow’d and Disspirited, that ’tis also Politick for Men when they find the Dice of War run against ’em to leave off Playing at Soldiers. But to attribute the want of French Courage to Witchcraft, is in so many Words telling the World, That the Devil Reigns in the Year 1706, and that his Ancient Alliance with the French King is come to a Period.
Honest-Roger, all this is the Work of the Almighty, he gives Courage and he Disspirits Men; God is against that Wicked Tyrant, that Grizly Oppressor of Mankind, that Bloody Butcher of Protestants, and can he then Prosper? Who can withstand the fixt Resolves of the Eternal Being? Or can Humane Force over-come the Almighty Arm? No, Roger, ’tis Providence, and not Witchcraft has Disspirited the French Forces; and the same Providence may, and will do the same by us, if we don’t own that High Hand by whose Influence we Conquer, and make suitable Returns for such Auxiliaries of Divine Power.
Cm: Now, Master, out of my Budget I pull a Notable Victory, obtained by Prince Eugene over the Duke D’Vandosme. The French Forces in Italy are also Bewitch’d; this Magick Spell fles a great way: I fancy some or other of our Side has got Pandora’s Box, and opens it at every turn when he pleases, and let his Poisons fly to taint the Frenchmen with Cowardice. Master, in short we han’t yet got the Particulars of the Fight in Italy, but of this we are certain, that there has been a Fight and that the French Army is Routed Horse and Foot, and that Vandosme is Mortally Wounded, so that he’ll hardly be in a Condition to Act against the Duke of Marlborough.
And now what wil become of the Something of Orelans that was to have Vandosme’s Post? I fancy Vandosme was a Malicious Fellow, and being Incens’d at the French King, for putting Orleans over his Head, he carried his Bewitch’d Army to Prince Eugene to have ’em Kill’d, and so that Orleans, when he came, might have no Army to Command. Those Frenchmen are Spiteful, let ’em be Bewitch’d or not Bewitch’d.
Obs: That Prince Eugene, the most Neglected of any general, has done the greatest Exploits in War that ever any Age could produce, always out-Number’d, out of time Recruited, Troops Ill Paid, and yet always Victorious. Unrewarded, and yet Faithful to his Trust; and what is yet more Glorious, as Poor now, after being General so many Campaigns, as at first when he held the Truncheon of Honour. Covetousness is the worst Vice a General can have, a Covetous Man can never be so true to his Trust as he that despises Money, and seeks nothing but the Good of his Country in the Service of it; a Covetous Captain is a Rent to a Kingdom, you must purchase his Fidelity at so high a Rate as the Enemy may’nt out-bid you for his Treachery. But Brave Prince Eugene has not sought himself, but the Interest of his Master, and the Common Good of Europe, and has made such a Stand in Italy as future Ages will wonder at.
Cm: Master, they say the Emperor will give him part of the Duke of Bavaria’s Country, and so Reward Fidelity and true Merit with the Forfeitures arising by Treachery.
Obs: If he had all Bavaria I should rejoyce exceedingly. But, Roger, when the account of this Victory comes confirm’d it will prove a Glorious Stroke on Behalf of the Confederates. The Duke of Savoy will by this means joyn the Imperial Forces, the Seige of Turin will be raised, and the Country of Savoy will be cleared from the Vermin that now Infect it; and so, Roger, let us go to Bed with a good Health to Prince Eugene.
God, I love The Observator.
One more bit of background: using witchcraft to (satirically) describe an otherwise-inexplicable military victory was an old trope – see, for example, A Letter from a Trooper in Flanders, to His Comerade: Shewing, that Luxemburg is a Witch, and Deals with the Devil (1695).
I’m thinking about making a few minor changes to my European Warfare, 1337-1815 course next semester. Past versions have focused a fair amount on the narratives of various wars: out of the 38 class meetings (50 minutes each), I devote one class meeting each on the 100YW, the Ottoman wars, the Wars of Italy, the French Wars of Religion, the Dutch Revolt, the 30YW, L14’s wars, Frederick the Great’s wars, the French Revolutionary wars, and the Napoleonic Wars. The rest are topical.
This time I’ll be condensing a few of the war narratives and warfare topics into a single class (sorry Dutch Revolt, sorry French Wars of Religion). Thus I’ll focus on the Italian Wars, the 30YW, Frederick’s wars, the Revolutionary/Napoleonic wars, but more and more Louis XIV’s wars. This will give me more space to read a few of the new French books out, and focus a bit more on the actual process of campaigning, Louis XIV-style. This includes dedicated classes on small war, professionalization (military ranks/organization…), maybe even the fiscal-military state. Shockingly, I hardly mention the Military Revolution in the course – I’m not a big fan of sweeping historiography at the undergrad level. Even in a course that covers almost 500 years of European military history!
But to the reason for my post: Any suggestions for good early modern combat sequences from movies? I’ll include a few scenes from Alatriste, and there are a few things on YouTube, but if you have any other favorites, let us know in the comments.
I’m moving into the revolutionary section of my European Warfare, 1337-1815 course, so I thought I’d throw up (not literally) a slightly different type of time chart that I’ve developed. Since entire courses are taught on the few decades from 1789-1815 (including by me), it makes sense to get a bit more granular about those years. Hence a more detailed time chart, month by bloody month.
The events on this first time chart actually have less to do with war and more with political events, but then I can’t lecture about war all the time.
But I can lecture about war a lot of the time:
I don’t think I’ve posted an example of this type of (monthly) chart, but then again, I have put up almost 300 posts. As usual, there are plenty of opportunities for improvements, but that would take time.
Much like early modern military planners in April, I’ve been consumed with the beginning of the campaign season, otherwise known as the beginning of the academic year.
This semester I’m teaching Western Civ part deux, as well as my upper-level ‘European warfare, 1337-1815’ course. For those interested in the topics, here you go:
|Studying War and the Military|
|The Discipline of Military History|
|The Age of Cavalry|
|The Hundred Years War|
|Medieval Military Thought|
|Causes of Early Modern War|
|The Ottoman Wars|
|The Wars of Italy|
|The Italian School of War|
|The Valois-Habsburg wars|
|The French Wars of Religion|
|Religion in the French Wars of Religion|
|Dutch Revolt (Eighty Years War)|
|16C Warfare in the Netherlands|
|Thirty Years War|
|Experience of the Thirty Years War|
|Louis XIV’s wars|
|Warfare in the age of Louis XIV|
|Siegecraft – Ath 1697|
|Operations – 1706 campaign|
|Rise of Prussia|
|Frederick the Great’s Wars|
|Mid-18C Battle Tactics|
|French Revolutionary wars|
|French Revolutionary warfare|
|Napoleonic Wars 1796-1804|
|Napoleonic Wars 1805-1811|
|Napoleonic Wars 1812-1815|
|Partisan & Guerrilla War|
|Clausewitz & Modern War|
Sorry, but if you want to see the assigned readings, you’ll need to pay tuition!
So what do you do if you teach a variety of early modern European courses over and over (in this case, Reformation Europe, European Warfare 1337-1815, Religion War and Peace in Early Modern Europe), need to quickly get up to speed on the narrative every time you teach it, and fancy yourself a visualizer of historical information? Something like this:
A bit of overkill, perhaps, but I’ve always liked my data dense. I’ve shared other examples of my timecharts before, and this is a more recent version of my overview of the Italian Wars (Wars of Italy if you prefer) in all their nauseating complexity. A topic, it so happens, that I’m covering in class today.
To slightly repeat myself from my earlier posts: this cheatsheet combines information on the names of the wars, their chronology, the combatants involved in any given year, the alliances, the rulers, and the main military movements and combats (battles, sieges) in each war year. I give a copy to students for reference purposes, and display it on the screen as we discuss the narrative of the war. You can also just use the colorful timeline (on left side) as a strip in the margin of a Powerpoint slide if you want to display other material on the slide (you can also trim the columns down to just the main belligerents).
Next up: figure out a way to simplify all this narrative detail down, without dumbing it down. Ideally I’ll add a few maps as well, or at least the same map of Italy with the various alliances, occupations, and major combats as they change over the course of the wars. Now will somebody write a good narrative of the wars in English please? Or even French.
Let me know of any factual corrections, embarrassing omissions, or design tweaks. Be sure to check out the Symbol page at the top of the blog header if you’re not familiar with my symbolism. (On that note, I got Bertin’s Semiology of Graphics for Xmas. Whoopee!!)
This was an earlier version, and I still like the maps (though I need to make my own):
Feel free to use the top graphic in your own courses, with appropriate attribution of course. And let me know! But no publications please (see the Citing the Blog page for general comments).
Continued thoughts on Keegan’s Face of Battle and its influence on recent early modern military history.
Why so little influence?
Additional examples of early modern Keeganesque publications could undoutedly be unearthed, but I believe the overall disparity between FoB‘s reputation and its imitators is real. So now we need an explanation or two. I think the muted interest in Keegan’s “rhetoric of battle history,” and even of his social history of battle, says more about the discipline of military history than of the irrelevance of Keegan’s idea.
- Military historians are, by-and-large, still a traditional bunch. We still tend to impose universalistic (i.e. Western), modern professional models of decision-making on military actors (e.g. Alfred Burne’s Inherent Military Probability), and only recently have we started seriously considering other motives for action. Assuming that a field general would act as a modern general might make sense for 19C America, but whether it applies to 17C aristocratic France is another question altogether. Probably the most ‘impactful’ contribution to this discussion in EMEMH would be the various scholars working on the history of the military book, such as Mark Danley and David Lawrence and Ira Gruber. Even here, however, military historians seem to be more interested in how the practices they describe differ from the real battlefield as the rhetorical strategies used in the manuals.
- I think Keegan’s discussion of rhetoric and even of the battlefield experience itself is historiographically out-of-tune with what Anglo military historians of the late 20C/early 21C are interested in. Its reception, if not its foundation, was undoubtedly driven not only by Keegan’s interest in what battle is really like, but also by the mid-20C century fashion for social history, telling the history of those who had no voice. In our case, the grunt in the mud. Importantly, many other exemplars of this ‘new military history’ were rejected by many traditional military historians – if anything, their claim to be the new-and-improved study of war led to a backlash among military historians, particularly when ‘war and society’ works rarely studied the actual fighting. (Check out the various articles and prefaces of traditional military history and war and society works published in the 1980s and 1990s for a flavor of how each side viewed the other.) Admittedly, Keegan’s social history of war didn’t leave the fighting out, but that doesn’t mean we’ve assimilated his conceptual framework, or even his subject matter. We continue to focus on tactics, nodding towards the soldier’s experience, but not putting it at the center of our work. I think we still tend to follow the other rhetorical features of the battle piece as well, when we think of morale in the singular – at most unit-wide, and when battlefield studies still operate on the assumption that leadership is a (if not the) key ingredient in success. Military historians want to explain success after all, a point explicitly made in K. Kagan’s The Eye of Command riposte. A social history of combat starts with a different goal. Contrast the top-down approach of your average battlefield study – even one that notes how command decisions and tactical realities influence the individual soldier’s experience – with the perspective taken by social history, which emphasizes the importance of agency for even low-status individuals. Early modern European military history still has extremely few studies of the voices from the ranks, compared with commander biographies; the Tolstoyian view of battle was long ago dismissed by most military historians. While military history’s top-down perspective is certainly reinforced by the lack of individual soldier accounts, this same lacunae didn’t prevent social historians of past generations from unearthing unorthodox sources – trial transcripts, wills and testaments, economic documents – and developing new methodologies in order to get a glimpse of how the subjects sought to understand their experience on their own terms (or as close to unmediated as is possible). I think the archetypical case study for a social military history would be mutinies (agency and all that), yet I know of only one work that takes this approach head on, an edited collection at that: Jane Hathaway, ed., Rebellion, Repression, Reinvention: Mutiny in Comparative Perspective (Westport, CT, 2001). Considering the volume of existing courts martial records, that no one has done a serious study is indicative of the difference in outlook between the two fields. This may also be a particularly-Anglo tendency: the French have spent decades writing about military-civilian interactions (Corvisier on soldier statistics, J-P Bois on veterans…), while the Germans have written many books and articles on the interaction between garrisons and townspeople, for example. (I don’t know if alltagsgeschichte – everyday history – has made its way to early modern German military history or not.) But perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised about our lack of interest in the social history of battle: how important was Keegan’s ‘social history of warfare’ approach (i.e. military history from below) to his own, later works? I can’t answer that question very well since I’ve only read a couple of his post-FoB works, but what I have read seems to easily fit within traditional military history pre-FoB, with the exception of his book Soldiers.
- Keegan’s battle history rhetoric was also a perfect fit with the cultural history wave of the 1990s, but most military historians have been equally hesitant to jump on that bandwagon, particularly with its whiff of postmodernism. To the extent that military historians are comfortable with culture, they use it as an explanatory variable rather than a method: culture expressed either in terms of a ‘clash of civilizations’ model (Keegan’s A History of Warfare, Hanson’s Western Way of War, Parker’s Military Revolution), or else by the application of a period’s zeitgeist to military matters (Gat’s Origins of Military Thought, Lynn’s Battle). The first of these two schools has found itself under unremitting attack, while the second tends to be a boring yet widely-accepted default on a far smaller scale (Re: the Military Enlightenment). Fundamentally, military historians want to know the answer to a very practical question: why did one side win and the other lose? When the answer doesn’t involve tactical advantages and military leadership, the most popular response in the Anglo historiography is a focus on military administration and finance – check out the Bibliography tag for my overview of monographs from the 2000s. Anglo military historians are likely to explain the practical question of military victory with one or more equally practical answers. But there is a whiff of change in the air. The new Warfare and Culture series from NYU Press encourages the combination of the traditional and the cultural, so hopefully we’ll see more exploration of the intersection of these two approaches.
- One aspect of this traditionalism is the lack of comfort with theory and even method. The military historiography’s reaction against the cultural turn in the mid-1990s, and John Lynn’s attempt to co-opt its sexiness while refusing to surrender to its silliness, is interesting reading if you haven’t read it already. In some respects I share this discomfort, but this influences how we interpret sources and how we think and talk about historical arguments. One result of the traditional military history mindset is a focus on the real and a dismissal of the imagined as irrelevant – as we see in the lack of traction Lynn’s distinction between real and imagined war has received thus far (from his Battle book). We read the sources to find the nuggets of truth within them; we care less about what their phrasings tell us about how contemporaries thought, their mentalité. (If you rolled your eyes as you read my smidgen of French vocabulary, you’ve proven my point.) Military historians are much less interested in descriptions of reality than uncovering the reality itself: constructed identities and ‘weapons of the weak’ account for little with a bayonet sticking in your guts, they would say. All this means that we might understand and even agree with Keegan’s diagnosis of the rhetoric of battle history, but we are not surprised, nor our interest piqued, nor are we eager to show off our methodological sophistication by parroting it to our colleagues (except me apparently). We skip over it because that’s not what we’re looking for: we want the answer to the question of what battle is like, not what’s standing in our way. Even for Keegan, I get the sense that the “rhetoric of battle history” is a problem, not an analytical structure to be applied widely. Once you are aware of the rhetoric of battle history, you can overcome it and get to the Truth. Problematizing the battlefield experience is the last thing military historians want. Military historiography prefers the direct approach.
- Answering the more specific question of why Keegan’s rhetoric of battle history idea hasn’t been explored, more mundane disciplinary practices also play a role. One concrete product of our apathy towards theoretical approaches is that we military historians don’t, for example, use shorthand phrases for different methodological approaches or concepts, whether it’s close reading or thick description or agency or what have you. Clausewitz’s “friction” and his “trinity” are about as close as we come to buzzwords, and often those are only trotted out in passing, as a necessary kowtow to the Great Clausewitz. We tend not to talk like other socially/culturally-minded historians do. If we did talk like those other historians, I would bet money that we would talk more about Keegan’s “rhetoric of battle history” idea rather than just latch onto his generic metaphor of the “face of battle” – he served the former term up on a platter after all, with quotes and everything, at the very beginning of his section on the ‘Battle Piece’ (p. 36). But we just don’t talk about our history that way. Lynn’s “battle culture of forbearance” is one of the most commonly used examples of a conceptual category of tactical military analysis, but it sees little use despite its utility, even though Lynn has used the term in a whole variety of publications.
- As a concrete example, it’s worth noting that Keegan’s phrase didn’t resonate for me until long after I had read it the first few times: it required several convergent trends from both teaching and research, combined with a serendipitous rereading. The idea of a rhetoric of siege history didn’t appear in my dissertation, and I was only reminded of the phrase when I taught the chapter for my first ‘European Warfare 1337-1815’ course: thinking about it from a student’s perspective, I realized that this was a useful term that encompasses the idea that how we talk about things shapes how we think about them (an insight not original to Keegan I know). My insistence that students pay careful attention to the argument being made by an author was reinforced by my authoring an introduction to argument mapping, a reading approach which emphasized paying close attention to the language used by scholars (you sometimes have to try several different wordings before you figure out the phrasing that best represents the author’s argument). Further, having students analyze primary sources from early modern Europe semester-after-semester also forced me to alert students to the slipperiness of early modern English, which heightens one’s sensitivity to meaning. A new-found attention to argumentation and a sustained focus on primary source analysis in the teaching realm also coincided with my revisions to the dissertation manuscript. I had just recently finished writing about how historians always describe early modern sieges as scientific, predictable and ritualized, which leads to all sorts of misconceptions about siegecraft. Plus, I was trying to come up with a more ‘meta’ argument about siege and battle for my book, to find an equivalent to engineering efficiency, when I realized with embarrassment that the English had been using the term “vigor” everywhere and I hadn’t even noticed it before. An emerging attention to language and an emphasis on method (I had just finished the appendices in VuS) primed me to latch onto Keegan’s rhetoric of battle history. My attention to language has been further reinforced of late by the need to identify productive search terms when mining large corpora of digitized sources, and I’d guess this will be more and more common as the digital humanities spread beyond the digerati. I have no idea if this is a unique set of experiences or not, but I am certain that far too few EMEMHians explicitly talk about methods. That’s one of the reasons such discussions are a mainstay of this blog.
- There are other possible reasons why the FoB hasn’t led to an avalanche of works, at least for the early modern world. Most practically, there aren’t a ton of sources available “from below.” So it’s no surprise that those few works on the subject have involved well-sourced wars: Carlton’s Going to the Wars for the English Civil Wars, Spring’s With Zeal and Bayonets Only for the American Revolution, and Muir’s Tactics and the Experience of Battle for the Napoleonic era. A few war and society surveys have also included sections on the subject. As discussed in #2 above, however, this doesn’t explain why military historians haven’t attempted to adopt methods or source genres used by social history. Perhaps, as I speculated at one conference, it seems weird for military historians to ignore the 95% of the sources (written by officers, planners, diplomats…) and just focus on the 5% written by those in the ranks, especially when early modern bureaucracies created SO MANY detailed sources to explore.
- Another possible practical explanation is that once someone’s written a book on the battlefield experience in the American Revolution, for example, there probably isn’t much need for a second. Assuming that there are a limited number of primary sources to begin with, they’ll likely get used up in the first book on the subject. So unless an argument emerges from the original work, we really only ‘need’ one work for each period, or at most each war. This explanation, however, assumes that arguing about the soldiers isn’t as important as arguing about why commander X won battle Y – if it’s considered important enough, an argument will ensue regardless of the availability of evidence. This explanation further relies on the fact that military historians are far less willing to apply broad theoretical models to the past: have any military historians written a Foucauldian or Saidian analysis of early modern military discipline?
Those are my thoughts on why Keegan’s FoB is far less influential than one might expect.
I won’t end these posts with a call to arms – it really is intended merely as my self-reflective description of recent military historiography. And I should add a mea culpa that I am personally far less interested in researching the experience of the individual soldier than answering many of the traditional questions asked by military historians: why did one side win and another lose? But I think it’s useful to occasionally step back and take stock of our field, of its varying schools and debates. And the death of one of its major figures provides a good catalyst to do so.
I would make one plea, however. Even if we don’t think a social history of battle is the most important subject to study, I think we need to pay more attention to how contemporaries (and historians) talk about battle and its siblings, and how these rhetorical choices influence our (and their) perception of the reality of combat, in the army, and on the home front. The cultural ‘discourse’ of war and combat deserves a lot more attention than it’s received thus far, a fact Keegan recognized 35 years ago.
Here is the revised list of EMEMH publications – apologies for the cramped space, but it seems to be a function of the template I selected.
See here for initial methodology, and click on the Publishing tag for discussion. At the end of this long table is discussion of miscellaneous notes on the variables themselves.
Due to display size constraints, I have more variables than those displayed in the table here and also had to truncate some of the info. If you want the data to play around with, contact me.
Let me know of any corrections or additions.
Pgs: number of pages (from Amazon).
$: price of the book in (December) 2011 U.S. dollars according to Amazon.
PB?: Is the book available in paperback? 0 = yes, 1 = no.
Pop/Ac: Is the work an academic work, a popular work, or a popular work put out by an academic press.
#YrStd: Number of years covered in the book, with a minimum of 10 years (even for case studies).
War: War title covers. Sometime I’ll post up my abbreviations, but you can probably figure them out for yourself!
Country: What country title covers. If more than one, “Europe.”
Subject: The main subject matter – is it fundamentally a book about a war? a battle? War and Society?…
|2000||Birlinn Limited||Stoye||The Siege of Vienna||240||$15||0||AcPop||10||Ott||Austria||Siege|
|2000||Brill||Manetsch||Theodore Beza and the Quest for Peace in France, 1572-1598||380||$138||1||Ac||23||FWR||France||RWP|
|2000||Emperor’s||Duffy||Instrument of War: The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War||256||$65||1||Pop||10||7YW||Austria||Army|
|2000||INOS||Luh||Ancien Regime Warfare and the Military Revolution||210||1||Ac||90||7YW||Europe||MilRev|
|2000||Longman||Knecht||The French civil wars, 1562-1598||360||$37||0||AcPop||36||FWR||France||Survey|
|2000||Longman||Schieder||Frederick the Great||304||$35||0||AcPop||42||Multiple||Germany||Biography|
|2000||Longman||Frost||The Northern Wars: war, state, and society in northeastern Europe, 1558-1721||416||$69||0||AcPop||163||GNoW||Sweden||W&S|
|2000||Penguin||Chandler||Marlborough as Military Commander||408||$33||0||Pop||27||WSS||Britain||Biography|
|2000||Routledge||Glete||Warfare at Sea, 1500-1650: Maritime Conflicts and the Transformation of Europe||256||$4||0||Ac||150||Multiple||Europe||Naval|
|2000||Sutton||Black||Culloden and the ’45||252||$30||0||Pop||10||’45||Britain||Battle|
|2000||Sutton||Barratt||Cavaliers: the royalist army at war, 1642-1646||256||$17||0||Pop||10||BCW||Britain||Army|
|2000||Sutton||Edwards||Dealing in Death: The Arms Trade and the British Civil Wars, 1638-1652||304||$55||1||Pop||14||BCW||Britain||W&S|
|2000||Yale||Allen||Philip III and the Pax Hispanica, 1598-1621: The Failure of Grand Strategy||352||$66||1||Ac||23||DR||Spain||Strategy|
|2000||Yale||Parker||The Grand Strategy of Philip II||472||$35||0||Ac||42||DR||Spain||Strategy|
|2001||Boydell||Wiggins||Anatomy of a Siege: King John’s Castle, Limerick, 1642||328||$72||1||Ac||10||BCW||Britain||Siege|
|2001||Brill||Murdoch||Scotland and the Thirty Years’ War, 1618-1648||328||$178||1||Ac||30||30YW||Britain||Country|
|2001||Brill||Lenihan||Conquest and Resistance: War in Seventeenth Century Ireland||380||$204||1||Ac||100||Multiple||Britain||Country|
|2001||Cambridge||Parrott||Richelieu’s Army: War, Government and Society in France, 1624-1642||628||$142||1||Ac||18||FrSp||France||W&S|
|2001||Cassell||Childs||Warfare in the Seventeenth Century||240||$18||0||Pop||100||Multiple||Europe||Survey|
|2001||Cassell||Arnold||The Renaissance at War||240||$18||0||Pop||100||ValHab||Europe||Survey|
|2001||Cork||Lenihan||Confederate Catholics at war, 1641-49||320||$36||1||Ac||10||BCW||Britain||Army|
|2001||Longman||Lenman||England’s Colonial Wars, 1550-1688: Conflicts, Empire and National Identity||320||$60||0||AcPop||138||Multiple||Britain||Global|
|2001||Penn State||Dunning||Russia’s First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty||657||$99||1||Ac||15||Troubles||Russia||War|
|2001||Tuckwell||Macdougall||An Antidote to the English: The Auld Alliance 1295-1560||168||1||AcPop||265||Multiple||Britain||Country|
|2001||UCL||Fissel||English Warfare, 1511-1641||400||$38||0||Ac||130||Multiple||Britain||Country|
|2002||Ashgate||von Arni||Justice to the Maimed Soldier: Nursing, Medical Care and Welfare for Sick and Wounded Families during the English Civil Wars and Interregnum, 1642-1660||283||$150||1||Ac||18||BCW||Britain||Medical|
|2002||Basic Books||Parker||Success is Never Final: Empire, War and Faith in Early Modern Europe||432||1||Pop||150||Multiple||Europe||Edited|
|2002||Brill||Kunzle||From Criminal to Courtier: The Soldier in Netherlandish Art 1550-1672||824||$315||1||Ac||122||Multiple||Netherlands||Art|
|2002||Cambridge||Hughes||Politics, Society and Civil War in Warwickshire, 1620-1660||412||$74||1||Ac||40||BCW||Britain||W&S|
|2002||Cambridge||Sonnino||Louis XIV and the Origins of the Dutch War||252||$41||0||Ac||10||DW||France||Diplo|
|2002||Cambridge||Rowlands||The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest 1661-1701||432||$57||0||Ac||40||Multiple||France||W&S|
|2002||Cambridge||Tracy||Emperor Charles V, Impresario of War: Campaign Strategy, International Finance, and Domestic Politics||362||$37||0||Ac||43||Multiple||Spain||W&S|
|2002||Chicago||Churchill||Marlborough: His Life and Times||1,050||$78||0||AcPop||27||WSS||Britain||Biography|
|2002||Edinburgh||Roberts||The Jacobite wars||256||$38||0||Ac||10||Multiple||Britain||War|
|2002||Foundry||Heath||Armies of England, Scotland, Ireland, the United Provinces, and the Spanish Netherlands 1487-1609||160||$315||1||Pop||122||Multiple||Europe||Army|
|2002||Greenwood||Speelman||Henry Lloyd and the Military Enlightenment of Eighteenth-Century Europe||240||$105||1||Ac||40||Multiple||Britain||Biography|
|2002||Greenwood||Guthrie||Battles of the Thirty Years War: from White Mountain to Nordlingen, 1618-1635||352||$120||1||Ac||17||30YW||Germany||Battle|
|2002||Oxford||Housley||Religious Warfare in Europe, 1400-1536||248||$45||0||Ac||136||Multiple||Europe||RWP|
|2002||Penguin||Parker||The Dutch Revolt||336||$16||0||AcPop||53||DR||Netherlands||War|
|2002||Phoenix||Henderson||Prince Eugen of Savoy: A Biography||336||$32||0||Pop||45||WSS||Austria||Biography|
|2002||Routledge||Wheeler||The Irish and British wars, 1637-1654: triumph, tragedy, and failure||288||$41||0||Ac||17||BCW||Britain||War|
|2002||Routledge||Black||European Warfare, 1494-1660||240||$36||0||Ac||166||Multiple||Europe||Survey|
|2002||Routledge||Glete||War and the state in early modern Europe: Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as fiscal-military states, 1500-1660||288||$38||0||Ac||160||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2002||Routledge||Lee||The Thirty Years War||73||$30||0||Ac||30||30YW||Germany||War|
|2002||Spellmount||Falkner||Great and Glorious Days: Schellenberg, Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet||264||$20||0||Pop||10||WSS||Britain||Battle|
|2002||Sussex Academic||Glozier||The Huguenot soldiers of William of Orange and the Glorious Revolution of 1688: The Lions of Judah||228||$33||0||Ac||10||9YW||France||Biography|
|2003||Ashgate||Pursell||The Winter King: Frederick V of the Palatinate and the Coming of the Thirty Years’ War||336||$90||1||Ac||14||30YW||Germany||Biography|
|2003||Boydell||Hopkin||Soldier and Peasant in French Popular Culture, 1766-1870||408||$90||1||Ac||104||Multiple||France||W&S|
|2003||Brill||Satterfield||Princes, Posts and Partisans: The Army of Louis XIV and Partisan Warfare in the Netherlands (1673-1678)||312||$42||0||Ac||10||DW||France||War|
|2003||Cambridge||Potter||War and Government in the French Provinces: Picardy 1470-1560||412||$61||0||Ac||90||Multiple||France||W&S|
|2003||Cambridge||Bireley||The Jesuits and the Thirty Years War: Kings, Courts, and Confessors||320||$49||1||Ac||30||30YW||Germany||RWP|
|2003||Cambridge||Ingrao||The Hessian Mercenary State: Ideas, institutions and reform under Frederick II, 1760-1785||256||$53||0||Ac||25||Multiple||Germany||W&S|
|2003||Cambridge||Goodman||Spanish Naval Power, 1589-1665: Reconstruction and Defeat||328||$50||0||Ac||76||DR||Spain||Naval|
|2003||Emperor’s||Duffy||Prussia’s Glory: Rossbach and Leuthen 1757||208||$33||1||Pop||10||7YW||Germany||Battle|
|2003||Exeter||Stoyle||Circle With Stone: Exeter’s City Walls, 1485-1660||240||$75||1||Ac||175||Multiple||Britain||Siege|
|2003||Greenwood||Guthrie||The Later Thirty Years War: From the Battle of Wittstock to the Treaty of Westphalia||320||$92||1||Ac||22||30YW||Germany||Battle|
|2003||iUniverse||Young||European War and Diplomacy, 1337-1815: A Bibliography||308||$22||0||Ac||478||Multiple||Europe||Reference|
|2003||Longman||Hochedlinger||Austria’s Wars of Emergence: War, State and Society in the Habsburg Monarchy 1683-1797||488||$32||0||AcPop||114||Multiple||Austria||W&S|
|2003||MIT||Langins||Conserving the Enlightenment: French Military Engineering from Vauban to the Revolution||568||$60||1||Ac||110||Multiple||France||W&S|
|2003||Naval Institute||Guilmartin||Gunpowder and galleys: changing technology and Mediterranean warfare at sea in the sixteenth century||352||$33||1||Ac||100||Multiple||Europe||Naval|
|2003||Oxford||LeDonne||The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire: 1650-1831||288||$125||1||Ac||181||Multiple||Russia||Strategy|
|2003||Palgrave Macmillan||MacHardy||War, Religion and Court Patronage in Habsburg Austria: The Social and Cultural Dimensions of Political Interaction, 1521-1622||328||$140||1||AcPop||101||30YW||Austria||W&S|
|2003||Palgrave Macmillan||Hammer||Elizabeth’s Wars: War, Government and Society in Tudor England, 1544-1604||344||$130||1||AcPop||60||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2003||Pen & Sword||Watson||Marlborough’s Shadow: The Life of the First Earl Cadogan||224||$37||0||Pop||36||WSS||Britain||Biography|
|2003||Praeger||Starkey||War in the Age of the Enlightenment, 1700-1789||248||$85||1||Ac||89||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2003||Tempus||Smithers||The Tangier Campaign: The Birth of the British Army||192||1||Pop||10||Britain||Country|
|2004||Allen Lane||Rodger||The Command of the Ocean: A Naval History of Britain, 1649-1815||976||$22||0||Pop||167||Multiple||Britain||Naval|
|2004||Ashgate||Morriss||Naval Power and British Culture, 1760-1850: Public Trust and Government Ideology||312||$150||1||Ac||90||Multiple||Britain||Naval|
|2004||Boydell||Harari||Renaissance Military Memoirs: War, History and Identity, 1450-1600||240||$95||1||Ac||150||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2004||Brassey’s||Marshall||Oliver Cromwell, Soldier. The Military Life of a Revolutionary at War||248||1||Pop||18||BCW||Britain||Biography|
|2004||Brill||Griffin||Regulating Religion and Morality in the King’s Armies, 1639-1646||256||$156||1||Ac||10||BCW||Britain||W&S|
|2004||Brill||Lockhart||Frederik II and the Protestant Cause: Denmark’s Role in the Wars of Religion, 1559-1596||388||$204||1||Ac||37||FWR||Denmark||RWP|
|2004||Brill||Glozier||Scottish Soldiers in France in the Reign of the Sun King: Nursery for Men of Honour||292||$178||1||Ac||49||Multiple||Scotland||Country|
|2004||Cambridge||Parker||The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road, 1567-1659||336||$41||0||Ac||92||DR||Spain||W&S|
|2004||Exeter||Saunders||Fortress Builder: Bernard de Gomme, Charles II’s Military Engineer||416||$110||1||Ac||44||Multiple||Britain||Siege|
|2004||iUniverse||Young||International Politics and Warfare in the Age of Louis XIV and Peter the Great: A Guide to the Historical Literature||540||$32||Ac||55||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2004||Manchester||Cardwell||Arts and Arms: Literature, Politics and Patriotism during the Seven Years War||320||$75||1||Ac||10||7YW||Britain||W&S|
|2004||Oxford||Manning||Swordsmen: The Martial Ethos in the Three Kingdoms||288||$150||1||Ac||117||Multiple||Britain||Biography|
|2004||Palgrave Macmillan||Scott||Politics and War in the Three Stuart Kingdoms, 1637-1649||208||$39||1||AcPop||12||BCW||Britain||W&S|
|2004||Palgrave Macmillan||Royle||The British Civil War: The Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660||928||$40||0||AcPop||22||BCW||Britain||War|
|2004||Palgrave Macmillan||Mortimer||Eyewitness Accounts of the Thirty Years War, 1618-48||256||$38||0||AcPop||30||30YW||Germany||W&S|
|2004||Palgrave Macmillan||Hook||Sack of Rome, 1527||360||1||AcPop||10||ValHab||Italy||Siege|
|2004||Pen & Sword||Falkner||Blenheim 1704: Marlborough’s Greatest Victory||141||$25||0||Pop||10||WSS||Germany||Battle|
|2004||Spellmount||Chandler||Blenheim Preparations: The English Army on the March to the Danube. Collected Essays||232||1||Pop||27||WSS||Britain||Country|
|2004||Weidenfeld & Nicholson||Hussey||Marlborough: Hero of Blenheim||224||$25||1||Pop||27||WSS||Britain||Biography|
|2004||Yale||Kamen||The Duke of Alba||216||$35||1||Ac||57||DR||Spain||Biography|
|2005||Ashgate||Sankey||Jacobite Prisoners of the 1715 Rebellions: Preventing and Punishing Insurrection in Early Hanoverian Britain||176||$120||1||Ac||10||1715||Britain||W&S|
|2005||Boydell||Jones||Thomas Rainborowe (c.1610-1648): Civil War Seaman, Siegemaster and Radical||164||$80||1||Ac||38||BCW||Britain||Biography|
|2005||Brill||Lloyd||War, Society and Enlightenment: The Works of General Lloyd||750||$315||1||Ac||40||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2005||Cambridge||Ágoston||Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire||300||$39||0||Ac||298||Multiple||Turkey||W&S|
|2005||Chicago||Van Orden||Music, Discipline, and Arms in Early Modern France||344||$45||1||Ac||250||Multiple||France||W&S|
|2005||Edizioni Plus||Arfaioli||The Black Bands of Giovanni: Infantry and Diplomacy during the Italian Wars (1526-1528)||224||1||Pop||10||Naples1||Italy||Army|
|2005||Four Courts||McKenny||The Laggan Army in Ireland, 1640-80: The landed interests, political ideologies and military campaigns of the north-west Ulster settlers||250||$75||1||Ac||40||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2005||Four Courts||McGettigan||Red Hugh O’Donnell and the Nine Years War||190||1||Ac||10||Tyrone||Britain||War|
|2005||Frank Cass||Carpenter||Military Leadership in the British Civil Wars, 1642-1651: ‘The Genius of this Age’||240||$40||0||Ac||10||BCW||Britain||Army|
|2005||Frank Cass||Telp||The Evolution of Operational Art, 1740-1813; From Frederick the Great to Napoleon||240||$170||1||Ac||73||Multiple||Europe||Battle|
|2005||Johns Hopkins||Kirk||Genoa and the Sea: Policy and Power in an Early Modern Maritime Republic, 1559-1684||296||$55||1||Ac||125||Multiple||Italy||Naval|
|2005||Kansas||Citino||The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years War to the Third Reich||428||$25||1||AcPop||327||Multiple||Germany||Army|
|2005||Longman||Sadler||Border Fury: England and Scotland at War, 1296-1568||656||$31||0||AcPop||272||Multiple||Britain||Country|
|2005||Nebraska||Dull||The French Navy and the Seven Years’ War||472||$20||0||Ac||10||7YW||France||Naval|
|2005||New York Review||Wedgwood||The Thirty Years War||536||$20||0||Pop||30||30YW||Europe||War|
|2005||Palgrave Macmillan||Lunsford||Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands||376||$90||1||AcPop||145||Multiple||Netherlands||Naval|
|2005||Pearson||Wanklyn||A Military History of the English Civil War: 1642-1649||328||$67||1||AcPop||25||BCW||Britain||War|
|2005||Pen & Sword||Falkner||Marlborough goes to war: Eyewitness accounts, 1702-1713||239||$40||1||Pop||11||WSS||Britain||War|
|2005||Smithsonian||Black||Warfare in the Eighteenth Century||240||$18||0||Ac||100||Multiple||Europe||Survey|
|2005||Sussex Academic||Glozier||Marshal Schomberg 1615-1690: The Ablest Soldier Of His Age – International Soldiering And The Formation Of State Armies In Seventeenth-century Europe||249||$35||0||Ac||75||Multiple||Netherlands||Biography|
|2005||Thomas Dunne||Pavkovic||Fighting Techniques of the Early Modern World AD 1500 – AD 1763: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics||256||$30||1||Pop||263||Multiple||Europe||Survey|
|2005||Wiley||Spencer||Battle for Europe: How the Duke of Marlborough Masterminded the Defeat of the French at Blenheim||384||$35||1||Pop||10||WSS||Britain||Battle|
|2005||Yale||Stoyle||Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War||320||$50||1||Ac||20||BCW||Britain||Army|
|2006||Ashgate||Dutra||Military Orders in the Early Modern Portuguese World: The Orders of Christ, Santiago And Avis||370||$180||1||Ac||300||Multiple||Portugal||Army|
|2006||Cambridge||Mallett||The Military Organization of a Renaissance State: Venice c. 1400 to 1617||544||$69||0||Ac||217||Multiple||Italy||W&S|
|2006||Castle||Duffy||Fire and Stone: The Science of Fortress Warfare, 1660-1860||207||$10||0||Pop||200||Multiple||Europe||Siege|
|2006||Greenhill||Turnbull||The Art of Renaissance Warfare: From the Fall of Constantinople to the Thirty Years War||256||$35||1||Pop||165||Multiple||Europe||Survey|
|2006||Oxford||Conway||War, State, and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Britain and Ireland||370||$140||1||Ac||50||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2006||Oxford||Manning||An Apprenticeship in Arms: The Origins of the British Army 1585-1702||496||$199||1||Ac||117||Multiple||Britain||Army|
|2006||Oxford||Storrs||The Resilience of the Spanish Monarchy 1665-1700||288||$155||1||Ac||35||9YW||Spain||Country|
|2006||Palgrave Macmillan||Armstrong||Protestant War: The ‘British’ of Ireland and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms||320||$89||1||AcPop||20||BCW||Britain||W&S|
|2006||Pen & Sword||Falkner||Ramillies 1706: Year of Miracles||144||$25||0||Pop||10||WSS||Britain||Battle|
|2006||Pennsylvania||Plank||Rebellion and Savagery: The Jacobite Rising of 1745 and the British Empire||272||$55||1||Ac||10||’45||Britain||War|
|2006||Potomac||Black||War in European History, 1494-1660. The Essential Bibliography||240||$35||0||Ac||166||Multiple||Europe||Reference|
|2006||Scholar’s Shelf||Watson||Wallenstein, soldier under Saturn||488||$39||0||Pop||16||30YW||Austria||Biography|
|2006||Tauris||Chambers||Popes, Cardinals and War: The Military Church in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe||272||$84||1||Ac||260||Multiple||Italy||RWP|
|2007||Ashgate||Memegalos||George Goring (1608-1657): Caroline Courtier and Royalist General||414||$135||1||Ac||49||Multiple||Britain||Biography|
|2007||Boydell||Harari||Special Operations in the Age of Chivalry, 1100-1550||248||$25||0||Ac||450||Multiple||Europe||Battle|
|2007||Brill||Ostwald||Vauban under Siege: Engineering Efficiency and Martial Vigor in the War of the Spanish Succession||390||$181||1||Ac||11||WSS||Europe||Siege|
|2007||Brill||McCullough||Coercion, Conversion and Counterinsurgency in Louis XIV’s France||273||$138||1||Ac||55||WSS||France||W&S|
|2007||Greenhill||Urban||Bayonets for Hire: Mercenaries at War, 1550-1789||304||$40||1||Pop||239||Multiple||Europe||Army|
|2007||Greenwood||Showalter||Soldiers’ Lives through History: The Early Modern World||320||$65||1||Ac||280||Multiple||Europe||Biography|
|2007||Hambledon Continuum||Childs||The Williamite Wars in Ireland, 1688-1691||464||$30||0||Ac||10||9YW||Britain||War|
|2007||Longman||Gentles||The English Revolution and the Wars in the Three Kingdoms 1638-1652||544||$52||0||AcPop||14||BCW||Britain||War|
|2007||Longman||Szabo||The Seven Years War in Europe: 1756-1763||536||$54||0||AcPop||10||7YW||Europe||War|
|2007||Longman||Stevens||Russia’s Wars of Emergence 1460-1730||352||$54||0||AcPop||270||Multiple||Russia||Country|
|2007||Longman||Aksan||Ottoman Wars 1700-1870: An Empire Besieged||624||$50||0||AcPop||170||Multiple||Turkey||Country|
|2007||Pen & Sword||Wanklyn||Decisive Battles of the English Civil War||240||$40||1||Pop||10||BCW||Britain||Battle|
|2007||Routledge||SchumannSchweizer||The Seven Years War: A Transatlantic History||288||$42||0||Ac||10||7YW||Europe||War|
|2007||Routledge||Davies||Warfare, State and Society on the Black Sea Steppe, 1500-1700||272||$40||0||Ac||200||Multiple||Russia||W&S|
|2007||Spellmount||Falkner||Marlborough’s Sieges, 1702-1711||304||$50||1||Pop||10||WSS||Britain||Siege|
|2007||Tauris||Raymond||Henry VIII’s Military Revolution: The Armies of Sixteenth-Century Britain and Europe||256||$100||1||Ac||38||Multiple||Britain||Country|
|2007||Tauris||Stein||Guarding the Frontier: Ottoman Border Forts and Garrisons in Europe||264||$85||1||Ac||100||Multiple||Turkey||Siege|
|2008||Ashgate||Finlay||Venice Besieged: Politics and Diplomacy in the Italian Wars, 1494-1534||316||$145||1||Ac||40||Naples1||Italy||Country|
|2008||Boydell||Bull||‘The Furie of the Ordnance’: Artillery in the English Civil Wars||208||$90||1||Ac||10||BCW||Britain||War|
|2008||Boydell||Grummit||The Calais Garrison: War and Military Service in England, 1436-1558||240||$90||1||Ac||122||Multiple||Britain||Siege|
|2008||Boydell||Willis||Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century: The Art of Sailing Warfare||272||$50||1||Ac||100||Multiple||Europe||Naval|
|2008||Boydell||Potter||Renaissance France at War: Armies, Culture and Society, c. 1480-1560||367||$99||1||Ac||80||ValHab||France||W&S|
|2008||Brill||Lawrence||The Complete Soldier: Military Books and Military Culture in Early Stuart England, 1603-1645||444||$203||1||Ac||42||BCW||Britain||W&S|
|2008||Cambridge||Lynn||Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe||252||$25||0||Ac||280||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2008||Greenwood||Nolan||Wars of the Age of Louis XIV, 1650-1715: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization||656||$150||1||Ac||65||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2008||Harper Perennial||Holmes||Marlborough: Britain’s Greatest General||512||1||Pop||27||WSS||Britain||Biography|
|2008||Oklahoma||Spring||With Zeal and With Bayonets Only: The British Army on Campaign in North America, 1775-1783||408||$20||0||Ac||10||ARW||Britain||Battle|
|2008||Oxford||Donagan||War in England 1642-1649||400||$35||0||Ac||10||BCW||Britain||War|
|2008||Oxford||Cahill||Unto the Breach: Martial Formations, Historical Trauma, and the Early Modern Stage||256||$110||1||Ac||50||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2008||Oxford||Grummit||War, State, and Society in England and the Netherlands 1477-1559||400||$150||1||Ac||82||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2008||Oxford||Tracy||The Founding of the Dutch Republic: War, Finance, and Politics in Holland, 1572-1588||320||$135||1||Ac||16||DR||Netherlands||W&S|
|2008||Palgrave Macmillan||Harari||The Ultimate Experience: Battlefield Revelations and the Making of Modern War Culture, 1450-2000||408||$105||1||AcPop||550||Multiple||Europe||W&S|
|2008||Random House||Crowley||Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World||368||$16||0||Pop||11||Multiple||Turkey||Country|
|2009||Basic Books||Simms||Three victories and a defeat: the rise and fall of the first British Empire, 1714-1783||800||$40||1||Pop||69||Multiple||Britain||War|
|2009||Brill||González de León||The Road to Rocroi: Class, Culture and Command in the Spanish Army of Flanders, 1567-1659||408||$203||1||Ac||92||DR||Spain||Biography|
|2009||Cambridge||Rapple||Martial Power and Elizabethan Political Culture: Military Men in England and Ireland, 1558-1597||350||$116||1||Ac||39||Tyrone||Britain||W&S|
|2009||Harvard||Wilson||The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy||1,024||$23||1||AcPop||30||30YW||Germany||War|
|2009||Harvard||Almond||Two Faiths, One Banner: When Muslims Marched with Christians across Europe’s Battlegrounds||256||$20||0||Ac||410||Multiple||Turkey||RWP|
|2009||Leonaur||Malleson||Battles in Germany, 1631-1704: Decisive Conflicts of the Thirty Years’ War and War of Spanish Succession to Blenheim||352||$31||0||Pop||73||Multiple||Europe||Battle|
|2009||Nebraska||Dull||The Age of the Ship of the Line: The British and French Navies, 1650-1815||268||$19||0||Ac||165||Multiple||Europe||Naval|
|2009||Palgrave Macmillan||Wolfe||Walled Towns and the Shaping of France: From the Medieval to the Early Modern Era||272||$90||1||AcPop||850||Multiple||France||W&S|
|2009||Pen & Sword||Roberts||Cromwell’s War Machine: The New Model Army 1645-1660||288||$26||0||Pop||15||BCW||Britain||Army|
|2009||Pen & Sword||Mallett||Mercenaries and their Masters: Warfare in Renaissance Italy||304||$40||0||Pop||100||Multiple||Italy||Army|
|2009||Rochester||Dee||Expansion and crisis in Louis XIV’s France: Franche-Comté and absolute monarchy, 1674-1715||259||$80||1||Ac||41||WSS||France||W&S|
|2010||Ashgate||Pugliatti||Shakespeare and the Just War Tradition||260||$100||1||Ac||27||Multiple||Britain||RWP|
|2010||Boydell||van Nimwegen||The Dutch Army and the Military Revolutions, 1588-1688||584||$130||1||Ac||100||Multiple||Netherlands||Country|
|2010||Brill||Murdoch||The Terror of the Seas? Scottish Maritime Warfare, 1513-1713||448||$199||1||Ac||200||Multiple||Britain||Naval|
|2010||Cambridge||Owen||War at Sea under Queen Anne, 1702-1708||380||$34||0||Ac||10||WSS||Britain||Naval|
|2010||Cambridge||Pollak||Cities at War in Early Modern Europe||370||$99||1||Ac||270||Multiple||Europe||Siege|
|2010||Johns Hopkins||Sandberg||Warrior Pursuits: Noble Culture and Civil Conflict in Early Modern France||424||$60||1||Ac||37||FWR||France||W&S|
|2010||McFarland||Lepage||Vauban and the French Military Under Louis XIV: An Illustrated History of Fortifications and Siegecraft||300||$50||1||Pop||55||Multiple||France||Siege|
|2010||Pickering & Chatto||Bannerman||Merchants and the Military in Eighteenth-Century Britain: British Army Contracts and Domestic Supply, 1739-1763||264||$100||1||Ac||24||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2011||Ashgate||Smith||Royalist Agents, Conspirators and Spies: Their Role in the British Civil Wars, 1640-1660||252||$115||1||Ac||20||BCW||Britain||War|
|2011||Brill||Potter||Henry VIII and Francis I||584||$243||1||Ac||10||ValHab||Europe||War|
|2011||Frontline||Urban||Matchlocks to Flintlocks: Warfare in Europe and Beyond 1500-1700||304||$50||1||Pop||200||Multiple||Europe||Army|
|2011||Longman||Baugh||The Global Seven Years War 1754-1763: Britain and France in a Great Power Contest||752||$50||1||AcPop||10||7YW||Europe||War|
|2011||Manchester||Klingelhofer||Castles and Colonists: An Archaeology of Elizabethan Ireland||192||$85||1||Ac||63||Multiple||Britain||Siege|
|2011||North Carolina||Gruber||Books and the British Army in the Age of the American Revolution||360||$55||1||Ac||10||ARW||Britain||W&S|
|2011||Oxford||Lee||Barbarians and Brothers: Anglo-American Warfare, 1500-1865||352||$35||1||Ac||365||Multiple||Britain||W&S|
|2011||Palgrave Macmillan||Tlusty||The Martial Ethic in Early Modern Germany: Civic Duty and the Right of Arms||384||$95||1||Ac||250||Multiple||Germany||W&S|
Some general notes about the book list and its variables:
- I list 182 titles, but I have undoubtedly underestimated the number of popular works on EMEMH; you can tell my interest in the late 17C-early 18C, for example, by the number of popular titles on Marlborough and Vauban. Also, I did not include many biographies of people like Cromwell unless the author primarily focused on their military activities. See the earlier list for the methodology on the selection of titles. Let me know in the comments of any relevant titles that I missed.
- Publishers change names and disappear, rights to their books are purchased by other presses and republished, some books go out of print and then get republished as a paperback, and used copies tend to circulate online for quite some time unless a press has a print on-demand. The publishers and years listed are not necessarily that of the original edition.
- The prices are drawn from Amazon’s prices (U.S.) in the second week of December 2011. I relied on Amazon because it was easiest to look up, and long gone are the days when publishers would print the price of the book right on the back cover. With more research one could find the more useful original list price at the time of publication (instead of 2011 U.S. dollars) by looking at old publisher catalogs, old copies of Books in Print, reviews in journals, etc. But this is an informal exercise, so I’ll leave it to the real historians of the book if they’re interested in that. With the 2011 prices you can get a sense, nonetheless, of how much original list prices have been rising over the years.
- I used Amazon’s publisher list price, not any discounted price they might offer.
- I distinguished the price for hardcover vs. paperback books. For space considerations, here I only show the $ column, which indicates the cheapest list price for the book: if the book was available in paper, I used that price, otherwise the hardcover price is used. These may change if publishers decide to offer paperback to titles with decent sales. It is also possible that books from the past few years might eventually be published in paper at some point in the future, but the hardcover sales haven’t accumulated yet for a press to make that judgment. The same goes for the PB? field.
- In the price column I only included books that were still sold by the press, i.e. I excluded the prices of used books. In some cases, this means that a few works don’t have any price info, since they are apparently out of print in hardcover and not available in paperback (10 titles of the 177, or 5%).
- Using 2011 dollars makes it difficult to compare original list prices for books published years apart. However, it appears that the original list price tends to be “sticky,” and doesn’t increase as much as the list price of new publications. Regardless, the prices of some books continuously in print can change over the years, e.g. I’m pretty sure my own book has increased in price $20 or more since it first came out four years ago.
- It’s impossible to tell to what extent any subventions were paid by the authors in order to decrease the list price of their book. The market for such books requires different data, that would be much more difficult to collect, such as sales.
- I created the other variables based on my impressions and/or knowledge of the content: the press as an academic vs. popular publisher, the time period the book covers (# years) either from info in the title or the subject, the geographical scope of the work…
- For the number (#) of years covered by the book, I used the following rough methodology: 1) subtract the year range if it existed in the title; 2) assign it an even 100 years if the title used is a century; 3) use the length of a war if that is in the title, 4) use the adult life span of the subject if the work is a biography. Otherwise I ballparked it. If any of the resulting numbers were less than ten years, I rounded them up to ten, because even with a case study of a specific battle or siege that only lasts a few days, the author will usually provide background on the war, the fortifications, the commander, etc. I recognize that many works use generic start and end dates (1648, 1815…), and that individual authors may expand their title dates beyond their real focus, while others cover far more than the years mentioned in the title. And some authors may even cover only a few discrete episodes within a much longer time frame. But more precision than my above method requires a lot more time and patience than I have for this project.
- The Popular/Academic/Academic Popular distinction is an admittedly artificial and somewhat subjective one. Academic publishers presumably want to find popular books so their sales can subsidize specialized literature, so books published by academic presses that were intended for a broader audience were given the hybrid of Academic/Popular. Also, a non-academic reader interested in a particular topic will undoubtedly get academic books on the subject if they are available. And of course academics may also cite popular books if they are relevant to their subject.
- I’m not sure how much the overall academic publishing market has changed due to digital editions and online piracy of books, a global used-book market, the collapse of university funding for their presses, the collapse of library acquisition budgets, and other factors. But presumably a lot.
- The number of pages also came from Amazon – these can often vary by 10 or more, not to mention whether you cound the index, etc.
- The Country field is based on modern broad boundaries, and is meant to indicate current interest in particular parts of Europe. It is also expansive, in that I aggregated anything in the British isles into Britain, even if a work was focused only on Scotland, or Ireland. If the book discussed more than one country, I assigned it the Country that it focused the most on; if it gave substantial and equal coverage to more than one country, I assigned it “Europe.” A book promising a discussion of all of Europe was awarded “Europe”, although in most cases any one author will have a more limited geographical focus. (FWIW, I have more than a dozen keyword categories in my bibliographic database distinguishing all of these different types of keywords, but I didn’t want to reproduce them all here.)
- Subject: This is most subjective categorization of them all. I chose a single word to categorize each book. In many cases, several categories might have applied to a single work, but I chose the one which best represented the intended audience most likely to read the book. As an example, I classified a book on the Scots in the 30YW under the “Country” (i.e. on Scottish military history) category, rather than the “War” category, because in my judgment those interested in the Scottish military experience (regardless of which war) will be more likely to read it than someone interested in one of the 30YW’s other myriad aspects. I also included a book in the Country category if the focus of the work was on a region of Europe, e.g. the Mediterranean. I also included works that studied a group of people under the “Biography” category. The “War & Society” category is a catch-all category, including works on military administration, war and politics, war and its economic connections, war and its social impact, war and art…
In addition to the poll questions (which you should answer if you haven’t already), one final preface to my discussion of the value of academic publishers is to give a sense of what the publishing world of EMEMH has been like over the past 11 years. I try to keep a current bibliography, so I pulled all the records from my bibliographic database that were:
- single author books (with one or two exceptions)
- published between 2000 and 2011
- published in the English language
- “academic” books (i.e. I excluded Osprey publications, although I did include a few other presses like Pen & Sword because they are longer than the Osprey books)
- published on an EMEMH topic. Not an EME topic that is important for an EMEMHian (e.g. I excluded general surveys of the French Wars of Religion, or on religious aspects of the French Wars of Religion). The book had to be specifically written on military history within the period. I defined EME as starting with the Italian wars and ending right before the French Revolution. There were a few books that stretched either before or after those cut-off points, but if a significant portion of the book covered an early modern century, I included it.
- I included books that were new editions or reprints of older works
Look over the list of 179 titles and let me know in the comments if I have missed any works that meet the above criteria. The list is sorted by Year first, then Author. Thanks.
I’m finishing my collection of a few other pieces of info, and coming up I’ll look at what the list suggests about the current state of EMEMH publishing. Feel free to make comments of your own as well.