Academic journal article Military Review

BEYOND THE MILITARY REVOLUTION: War in the Seventeenth-Century World

Academic journal article Military Review

BEYOND THE MILITARY REVOLUTION: War in the Seventeenth-Century World

Article excerpt

BEYOND THE MILITARY REVOLUTION: War in the Seventeenth-Century World, Jeremy Black, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, UK, 2011, $29.95, 234 pages.

Jeremy Black's latest book, Beyond the Military Revolution, attempts to consider events and developments of Western military history from a global and multicultural frame of reference. Black is a prolific author-some would say too prolific-who has a tendency to revisit well-worn paths and to wander about without a clear focus. Although focusing on a discrete "period"-the 17th century-Black does not add anything new to his well-known calls for a multicultural approach to military history. He favors an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary explanation for the series of events often described as "the military revolution" of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Readers should not expect a detailed chronological narrative of the period. Rather, Black defends his ideas on the significance of technological innovation, organization, and the relationships between war and the state and war and society during the "Western Military Revolution." He warns about the dangers of assuming "teleology in history" and calls for a multifaceted, interdisciplinary, and multicultural approach.

Contrary to the majority of Western historians, Black does not privilege the "West" over "the rest"-even in matters pertaining to military technology and organization-with the possible exception of conceding to Western powers an advantage in naval capacity to sail and deploy around the globe. …

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