War and Society in Early-Modern Europe: 1495-1715

War and Society in Early-Modern Europe: 1495-1715

War and Society in Early-Modern Europe: 1495-1715

War and Society in Early-Modern Europe: 1495-1715

Synopsis

War and Society in Early Modern Europe takes a fresh approach to military history. Rather than looking at tactics and strategy, it aims to set warfare in social and institutional contexts. Focusing on the early-modern period in western Europe, Frank Tallett gives an insight into the armies and shows how warfare had an impact on different social groups, as well as on the economy and on patterns of settlement.

Excerpt

War has long been acknowledged as a central feature of the history of early-modern Europe. Yet, until quite recently, historical enquiry into the subject has been characterized by a predominant concern with battles, tactics and campaigns and a neglect of any consideration of the ways in which war impinged upon, and emerged out of, the institutional, social and economic structures of the period. This book, which grew out of a course taught in the University of Reading, is an attempt to situate war in its historical context. Though it deals with the technicalities of waging war and the ordinary soldier’s experience of conflict, it does not seek to provide a conventional military history of the campaigns of the early-modern period. Instead, it seeks to address other issues: why wars were fought; how armies were raised; the motives which impelled men to volunteer; the realities of life for the common soldier; war’s multifarious impact upon the economy and civilian society; the implications for the development of state institutions of the waging of war; and attitudes towards war. I have not attempted to cover naval affairs, although a discussion of such matters would have been Germane to many of the themes covered in the book. To have done so would have meant extending still further a text which is already long. Nor have I sought to cover countries lying to the north and east of Germany. Not only do I lack the necessary linguistic skills to deal adequately with them, I am not wholly convinced that developments in, say, Russia and Poland can be meaningfully discussed in the contexts of trends and changes which were, in many respects, particular to western and central Europe.

Anyone who writes a work of synthesis acquires a mass of

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