War in Europe, 1450-1700

eBook - 2013
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During the European Renaissance, an age marked equally by revolutionary thought and constant warfare, it was armies, rather than philosophers, who shaped the modern European nation state. "Mobile cities" of mercenaries and other paid soldiers-made up of astonishingly diverse aggregations of ethnicities and nationalities-marched across the land, looting and savaging enemy territories.In the 15th century, Poland hired German, Spanish, Bohemian, Hungarian, and Scottish soldiers. Later, Sweden fought in Muscovy with Irish, English, Scottish, French and German troops. Units of Croats, Germans, Walloons, Albanians, and especially Swiss served in French armies. In the Netherlands, Italians and Spaniards fought beside Irishmen, Germans, Dalmatians, and Walloons. Regiments of Swiss pikemen fought for Spain, France, and Venice, as well as for German and Italian princes. Companies of Poles, Hungarians, and Croatians fought in German regiments.Growing national economies, unable to pay or feed massed armies for any length of time, thus became war states, an early nationalism which would later consume modern Europe. Furies: War in Europe 1450-1700 by acclaimed historian of the Renaissance Lauro Martines compellingly and simply delivers the story of modern Europe's martial roots, capturing the brutality of early modern war and how it shaped the history of a continent
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2013
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9781608196197
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xv, 320 p.) : ill


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Jun 21, 2015

A detailed account of the art of financing war largely at the expense of the populace lower and merchant classes. Citizenry unable to avoid the conflicts that often raged around them looked to their leadership for protection while under siege, often with disastrous consequences. Taxes and special charges so easily dodged by the aristocracy and the favoured elite are discussed in great detail, along with the methods of taxation. While taxes were paid by the elite this often came at a cost to the state in terms of future incomes and yet more privileges of rank.

The text borders on being a light discussion on the concepts of "Machiavellianism": morality, duplicity and an overarching familiar pattern of personal gain above the needs of an decentralized and often inept state bureaucracy. The text is unique in topic and approach, however, the author is verbose and repetitive. He often revisits the same patterns of taxation and abuse between the major powers with only minor differences in execution.

His text could easily be shaved by 30% without harm to the topic. Near the middle of the text I felt I had to push my way through the book "just to be done with it". This was disappointing as I truly enjoy all facets of military history.

I would almost recommend reading the first 75 pages, skip to page 175 and then finish the book. The middle largely rehashes the same patterns of abuse from the perspective of different nations. Few new elements are brought into the discussion.

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