Glory of the Empires 1880 - 1914

Glory of the Empires 1880 - 1914

ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Glory of the Empires 1880-1914 by Wendell Schollander. (ISBN: 978 0 7524 8634 5)
First published; 2018 by The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Glos.,GL5 2QG

The first noticeable thing about this book is it's size. As a certain reviews editor said, "It is a coffee table book; put a leg in each corner and call it a coffee table". To quote Sir Terry Pratchett, 'this is the sort of book, that with a good overarm lob; could bring down a charging rhino!' This is a very heavy book! It weighs over 3kg! It is however, one of the best of it's kind for detail, information and history. If you are the sort of person that paints model figures of the period, then this is the book for you.

The book is 27cm x 20cm x 5.5cm, hardback with colorized black and white photos on the cover. At very nearly 900 pages, it is not a book you will read in one sitting. It is most definitely the sort of book you will go back to for that extra detail or for that little quirk, peculiar to the regiment concerned. The sub-title of the book is "The illustrated history of the uniforms and traditions of Britain, France, Germany, Russia and the United States". You will discover why the Wiltshire Regiment wore dented buttons; Why a Russian regiment wore a pink uniform and why the French Chasseurs Alpins were called "The Blue Devils".

The book is split into seven highly detailed sections covering a separate empire. In each section, there are list giving names of the regiments, year formed and colour of facing worn. Section one is an overview, section two is the British Empire section which includes The colonial regiments from West Indies, West Africa, Malaya, Egypt and the Sudan, Hong Kong and China, but not India. Section three covers India and The Gurkha regiments.

Section four covers the French empire and their colonial troops from; Algeria, Morocco, Senegal and Madagascar. The Foreign Legion and the Saharan regime take are also included. Russia occupies section five, which also includes the various Cossacks regiments. The German e.lire is in section six. This section also contains the German colonial regiments of East Africa, South-West Africa, Cameroon, Togo, Tsingtao (Jiaozhou) and the South Pacific Colonies. The final reference section covers the Americans and the Philippine Scouts and the Puerto Rico Regiment of infantry. The final section has a comprehensive index, split into the various sections.

Each section is split into sub-sections, giving the country's background, their Army and then information pertaining to the Cavalry and Infantry regiments. There is also a record of customs and traditions of each of the regiments. Details of arm badges are shown in black and white photos as are a list of a cap badges worn at the time. Tables describing the cap badges are shown for both cavalry and infantry. There are also a large collection of black and white photographs throughout the book. Most of these are single figure depicting uniforms but others actually show the differences between officer's and OR's uniforms.

The centre of the book contains some excellent colour plates: C1 - C10 show cap badge, headdress and tartan of the Scottish regiments, C11 - C18 show some of the Cavalry uniforms, C19 - C23 show figures from the infantry regiments. Plates C24-C89 show coloured uniforms from India, France, Russian and German.

This book is as comprehensive as it is large. The author deserves full credit for bringing together the six super-powers of the late nineteenth century. It contains so much information it is easy to get bogged down. From a model figurist's point of view, this book has all the detail required to paint accurate figures. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone in the modelling fraternity but also to anyone interested in military history of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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