The British Army 1714-1783 An Institutional History

The British Army 1714-1783 An Institutional History

Author
Stephen Conway
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
This is the first chronological volume, covering 1714 -1783, of a multi volume project for a modern history of the British Army to update Fortescue's history in 1930. It is an institutional history - a social history. There isn't much on on the campaigns, battles or skirmishes beyond a chapter on the military background to the era. However it is an academically sourced history of the Army itself. It covers the political and social background of the army. There are chapters on joining the service, military communities, army life, officers and men, women and the army and leaving the service. This is supported by testimony from letters, memoirs and other documents.

The section on military communities looks at the army as an organisation, but also compares the British Army with other European armies. Officers and men explores the relationship between the leaders and led, using concepts such as negotiated authority and moral economy. Long words for the the idea that the government, in the form of the officers need to keep their end of the bargain over supplying rations and dispensing fair justice or there will be trouble.

The sociological stuff ain't that bad, and the individual accounts provide an insight into the human experience. This reviewer, reasonably well informed about the C18th Army learned a few new things,

The work is illustrated with a fourteen colour images, most of which are readily available on the internet. A map or two might have helped. Lots of locations are mentioned in the text which could confuse a reader unfamiliar familiar with the campaigns of the era.

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