Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Military related archaeology research and military history books: HMS Invincible

The Winter 2014 Newsletter of the Nautical Archaeology Society has an article on the photogrammetry on HMS Invincible.  The HMS Invincible was launched by the French Navy in 1744 and was one of many ships captured by the Royal Navy  May 3rd, 1747 at the Battle of Cape Finisterre.  She was a 74-gun 3rd rate and copied by other shipyards because she was more modern than the ships of the Royal Navy.  She wrecked at Horse Tail Sand in 1758.

During this season’s work on the underwater wreck, researchers assessed, recorded and monitored the site.  Photogrammetry was used during the work to capture very good and useful images of the Invincible. 

The ship is located in shallow waters between 7 and 9 meters in depth and is surrounded by fine white sand.  When the weather has been calm, images taken have been very good.  Hopefully this work will yield new information on the history of this warship.  More information on the technique can be found in the newsletter.

1747 - Stern of the Invincible

1747 - Head of the Invincible

1747 - Profile of The Invincible

 1749-1752 - HMS Invincible while in Royal Navy service

Recommended for further reading on the British and French navies from 1650-1815 is The Age of the Ship of the Line by Jonathon Dull.  Well-regarded by many professional historians, journals and readers.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Military history books: The Odyssey and ancient Greek concepts of being a hero

While I do not normally discuss historical fiction on these pages, I will make an exception for Homer’s Odyssey.  The Odyssey covers the travels of Odysseus following his participation in the Trojan War as can be found in The Iliad.  His travels take ten years and this noble warrior and his men deal with a wide range of natural and supernatural obstacles.  Both books together can be considered an early work of historical fiction to the extent that it is unclear how much of the tales are drawn from history and how much from imagination.

The Bryn Mawr Classical Review reviews The Meaning of Meat and the Structure of the Odyssey by Egbert J. Bakker.  In this study, Bakker closely examines the role of meat eating and feasting among Odysseus and his band of men.  While this seems to be a small matter to examine, the author touches on what the story means to an ancient and what cultural norms the actions in the book represent.  The author examines what it means to be a civilized hero in ancient society and also spends time on the conflict between Zeus and Poseidon.

While the study of meat consumption and its meaning in the Odyssey may seem to have little relevance to the study of military history, it gives one an idea of what norms ancient Greeks might have applied to the concept of being a hero or a warrior.  The reviewer praises the book for its substance and efficient brevity.  I am impressed by the subject matter and the reviewer has also won me over.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the social aspect of ancient Greek warrior life and thought. 
1913 - (Odysseus in the battle with the suitors); Berlinische Galerie

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Military history books: Medieval hostage taking

War In History Volume 20, Number 3 presents a review of Hostages in the Middle Ages by Adam J. Kosto.  Kosto has studied and produced many works on the subject of hostage taking.  This particular book traces the use of hostage taking by military leaders through the Middle Ages.  Unlike the modern age where hostage taking is considered a criminal and barbaric act, in the Middle Ages, hostage taking was a common practice to ensure that a promise was kept by the family or allies of the hostage.

The author traces changes in the system, arguing that before 1000 AD hostage taking was more of a status act rather than one designed to enforce a promise.  Early medieval kingdoms were weak and poorly defined and weak institutions required the use of hostages to maintain power.  As government institutions developed, hostage taking became more of a mechanism involved in financial transactions.

The reviewer notes that the best part of the book is when Kosto discusses the fate of hostages when promises or deals are not kept.  Often, hostages did not suffer for this, possibly because then their worth was lost if killed.  The book does not fully address the taking of whole communities as hostages which was apparently widespread during the Hundred Years War.  Overall the reviewer recommends this book as an important study of a subject that is not widely studied and written on.  As a subject that impinges directly on the conduct of medieval warfare, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the politics of medieval warfare. 
 1801 - "Norman soldiers" from Military Antiquities Respecting a History of The English Army from Conquest to the Present Time by Francis Grose

New military history research: The 1905 Russian Revolution and the Spanish Civil War

Middle Eastern Studies provides a study Murat Yasar addressing the influence of the 1905 Russian Revolution on the Young Turks of the Ottoman Empire.  The author states that the revolution was an important factor in the political success of the Young Turks.
 The barricades of Presnya, 1905 - by Ivan Vladimirov


The Bulletin of Spanish Studies: Hispanic Studies and Researches on Spain, Portugal, and Latin America presents a series of studies on the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Angel Vinas discusses the two memoirs of Colonel Segismundo Casado and their discussion of the March 1939 coup.  The author states that both memoirs are unreliable history and were probably written with the assistance of MI6 for the first and Francoist government for the second.  He argues that the memoirs are too widely trusted today and should be reevaluated.

Robert S. Coale looks at eyewitness accounts of members of the International Brigades (Abraham Lincoln Brigade) when they were forced into French refugee camps following the fall of Barcelona.

 1937 - Transport of refugee children during the Spanish Civil War

Alison de Menezes Another study examines how writings about the Spanish Civil War over time have used humor and the carnivalesque to deal with the memories of the war.


George Esenwein examines histories of the Spanish Civil War during the Cold War have too often imposed a Cold War perspective on the history of that period and need to be re-examined in this light.

A study of the role of the Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War by Daniel Kowalsky is presented.  The author studies diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Spain and also argues that it may be useful to study Stalin’s role in Spain as one stemming from a position of weakness rather than strength.  The author argues that all non-Soviet histories of the Soviet Union’s involvement in the war take the same stand on this issue and that studying this issue from a different angle is necessary.

 1936 - Surrender of Red Soldiers, Somosierra, Madrid

David Pike examines France’s response to the Spanish Civil War.  He argues that the French left was pacifist in nature but was forced to confront the dangers of fascism in Spain.  The French right opposed fascism but saw that as the lesser of two evils in relation to communism and socialism.  In the end, France and Europe were conflicted over how to deal with the Spanish Civil War and in the end France had enemies on three frontiers in 1939.

Richard Baxell discusses the make up and administration of the International Brigades.  There have been dissenting opinions on these forces with some arguing that the brigades were a Soviet structure where any political dissension was quashed for political and not military necessity.  However, Baxell argues that administration of the forces were more even-handed, especially among the English speaking battalions.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New military history research: Bismark's calculated moves

The Canadian Journal of History has provided a segment of a study on the interview of Otto von Bismark at the 1878 Congress of Berlin by Henri Opper de Blowitz.  The study probes closely into the interview that some consider a blemish on Bismark’s record.  However, the study examines the possibility that this interview was a calculated move on Bismark’s part to guide European politics.  Regardless of the intent, the published interview did greatly affect European politics with a great many voices weighing in to comment on Bismark’s intentions.
An Incident in the Franco-Prussian War by Etienne Prosper Berne-Bellecour 

Military history books: The English Navy during the Hundred Years' War

The January 2012 volume of the Journal of Military History provides a review of Edward III and The War at Sea: The English Navy, 1327-1377 by Graham Cushway.  The book is a large scholarly work on the evolution of the English Navy during Edward III's reign.  The author addresses the issues facing Edward’s maintenance and control of the fleet considering its high cost and the difficulty in getting English merchants to cooperate with his naval needs.

The book addresses the conflicts with Scotland and France and how those were dealt with over time.  While the book provides a great deal of information of the English navy during the Hundred Years’ War, it is not as informative on the conditions and tactics of naval combat at this time. 

In sum, the reviewer appreciates the great deal of scholarly coverage of Edward III and his military skills in managing a very difficult to manage Navy.  In addition, the author has provided a very large bibliography for further research of English admirals and the English navy in this period.  

The book has also received a strong recommendation from the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology for the information it provides.  I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the early part of the Hundred Years’ War, medieval military history, or naval history.   
Detail of a miniature of a sea fight off of La Rochelle. Last quarter of the 14th century, after 1380

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New military history research: Chinese 1911 Revolution, Sweden and WWI, and Sweden during the Great Northern War

Chinese Studies in History provides an abstract on the Nationalist Government’s use of exhibitions to commemorate and popularize Sun Yat-sen and the 1911 Revolution.  Exhibitions were a new form of visual teaching in China at the time and the exhibits were designed to provide the Chinese people with a sense of the importance of the Revolution and to encourage their acceptance of the Nationalist government.
 1911 - Imperial troops sent to recapture Hankou from the Republican rebels

The Scandinavian Journal of History provides two military history abstracts.

The first discusses Swedish activism that promoted Sweden’s alliance with Germany in WWI.  The author revisits previous discussions of the particulars of the activism at issue.

The second discusses religion in the Swedish Army during the Great Northern War (1700-1721).  The study’s author looks at chaplain duties, sermons and hymns sung.  Historians have said this was used to instill greater morale and confidence in the army however, the author argues that the army’s religious practices were very much like those of the rest of the civilian population of Sweden.
 Great Northern War - Battle of Kalisz October 29, 1706 between Sweden and Russia also with opposing factions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on each side

Monday, January 20, 2014

New military history research: English Civil War of 1642

Historical Research has an abstract discussing the English Civil War of 1642 and maritime history.   The author argues that English seafarers had a much stronger involvement and effect on the issues surrounding the civil war than has previously been acknowledged by historians.

1643- Prince Rupert of the Rhine - a noted German soldier, admiral, statesman, scientist and artist; he led the King's cavalry during the English Civil War, was exiled and later returned as an English admiral

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New military history research: The Battle of Marathon and Australia in the Vietnam War

A Journal of Maps abstract discusses the 1st Australian Task Force in the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1971.  The author states that the Australians pursued a counterinsurgency campaign and engaged in thousands of seemingly inconsequential battles.  However, by mapping the battles, a picture emerges as to the importance and meaning of the battles engaged in and the results can be used by today’s commanders to better wage campaigns.
 1967 -  Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR) dog handlers in Vietnam.  Private Thomas Douglas Blackhurst of Swansea, NSW (left), with Justin and L Cpl Norman Leslie Cameron of Kingston, SA, (right) with Cassius.
The Bryn Mawr Classical Review provides a full book review of Marathon the Day After: Symposium Proceedings, Delphi 2-4 July 2010, edited by Kostas Buraselis and Elias Koulakiotis.  The book assembles 16 essays which deal with many aspects of the ancient Greek Battle of Marathon (490BC).  The essays touch on the battle itself, the politics involved, the political and cultural effects of the battle in Greek history, Roman history and other cultures over time.  Some essays also discuss the cultural and political effects of the battle on other countries such as Iran, Britain and Japan.  Overall, the reviewer says the essays are written by preeminent scholars and that the book is important for the study of the battle. 
  1869 Painting by Luc-Olivier Merson of Pheidippides, the Athenian herald said to have run to Athens to  announce Greek victory over the Persians at Marathon only to die of exhaustion

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New military history research: Naval power in medieval Asia, and the Algerian National Liberation Front

A research article abstract in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies addresses the development of naval power around the Melaka Strait from AD 500 to 1500.  The author examines how this power evolved alongside political development of the communities that existed around the strait.  Chin and India appeared to have dominated the regional development around the strait.
The Journal of North African Studies offers up an article abstract on the Chinese and Algerian alliance that began in 1958.  The author of the article discusses the ways in which the alliance helped China legitimize its Great leap Forward campaign and how the Algerian National Liberation Front used the alliance to legitimize that party’s recent military control over Algeria.
 1958 - Fighters of the Algerian National Liberation Army against the French colonial power

Monday, January 13, 2014

New military history research: Spanish Civil War, US Civil War, British doctrine, the looting of WWII Germany and the Spanish Flu in WWI

The January 2014 issue of War in History presents studies of five interesting topics. 

One study relates to the Republican Popular Army of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.   The author maintains that political commissars created by the Republican government helped to support mobilization of military forces in a very politicized environment.
1936, Spanish Civil War - Republican Troops on the Aragon Front
The next study asserts that since the US Civil War, that war and every American war since has generated a real or perceived drug problem among Americans.  

The third study addresses the development of military doctrine in Britain between the World Wars.  The author asserts that the British Army, Air Force and Navy shifted doctrine and established a common military language and formed a joint strategic structure.
The fourth study documents how extensively American GIs looted Germany after their breakthrough there and discusses how the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force dealt with it.  The author points out that many GIs felt Germans deserved such treatment and that the soldiers deserved to have the items they took.
Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) Officer James Rorimer supervises U.S. soldiers recovering looted paintings from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany during World War II

The final study explores the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and the various claims made about its origin.  The author discusses the social effects of the flu and the way it was spread and discussed in the time.  The author believes that the flu emerged in China in the winter of 1917-1918 and spread across many populations because of the ongoing war.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New military history research: Angolan civil war, MI5 operating abroad and Christianity and its political use during WWII

The International History Review presents a number of interesting abstracts.

The first abstract addresses a study of the use of British mercenaries in the Angolan civil war of 1975-76.  The author has looked into the question of whether the British government was involved in this involvement of British mercenaries and decides that it was not involved.  Rather the mercenaries were driven by their own personal interests.  However, the the piece explains that this involvement did cause tensions between the dominant political parties of Britain at the time.

 The next abstract addresses the activities of the British Security Service, MI5, in colonial territories and in independent foreign territories in the Middle East.  The author believes that these activities were aimed at Communism in the areas of focus but that hostility towards Britain in these places limited MI5’s effectiveness.

Another abstract explores how Christianity was utilized for political reasons during and after World War II.  Stalin was religious and some leaders beloved Christianity could be used to build a political and cultural bridge between the Soviet Union and the West.  However, soon after the war, Christianity was used as a reason to fear and despise the Soviet Union and ultimately this approach caused a stronger rift between the East and West in the post war era.
The village priest is awarded the medal "To the partisan of the Patriotic War (Second Grade)" 
pre-1954 image

Thursday, January 9, 2014

New military history research: Oman coup, Paris Revolutionary Tribunal and late 19th century African troops

The Journal of Arabian Studies: Arabia, the Gulf, and the Red Sea presents an abstract on a study of the July 23, 1970 coup in Oman.  The coup replaced Sultan Said bin Taymur with his son Qabus.  The study concludes the coup was actually implemented by the British Foreign Office with reluctant backing from the Ministry of Defense.  Propaganda is alleged to have been spread to hide British involvement in the coup.  

The European History Quarterly has an abstract on a study of the Paris Revolutionary Tribunal of 1793-1794.  The historian who wrote the study challenges the idea that the tribunals were conducted using secret information.  He states instead that the tribunals depended on information provided at the district and communal levels and sow as a more open process than previously considered to be.

Run on the Tuileries on 10. Aug. 1792 during the French Revolution - 1793 by Jean Duplessis-Bertaux

There is also an abstract on a study of Italy’s use of indigenous troops in the late 19th century to protect its African interests.  Italian troops had difficulty operating in African areas and Italy became very dependent on indigenous troops tom police and protect Italian interests.  Despite Italian worries about their trustworthiness, the Italian government continued to use these troops because they had no other options.

Enda Yesus Fort (Church of Christ), Mek'ele, Ethiopia; Site of Ethiopian siege of the Italian garrison between December 1895 and January 1896

This day in military history: January 10

1981, Salvadoran Civil War – The revolutionary FMLN begins its insurrection with major attacks against the El Salvador government

1941, WWII – Greek forces take Klisura, Albania after Italian forces withdraw from the sector

1916, WWI – Austro-Hungarian army captures Lovcen Pass in Montenegro forcing armistice talks two days later

 October 4, 1914 - Montenegrins in Lovcen

1864, US Civil War – Blockader USS Iron Age runs aground off Folly Inlet, South Carolina and is bombarded to destruction by Confederate fire

1806, Napoleonic Wars – Dutch Settlers of the Batavian Republic surrender Cape Town to the British, establishing British rule in South Africa

1791, Northwest Indian War – Native Americans begin a siege of American settlement Dunlap’s Station on the Great Miami River

1072, Norman Conquest of Southern italy - Norman warrior Robert Guiscard takes Palermo, Sicily from its Arab rulers

 early 19th century - Robert Guiscard and Count Roger

49 BC – Caesar crosses the Rubicon River with his army, crossing from Gaul into Italy and initiating a Roman civil war 

second half of the 15th century - Jean Fouquet - Caesar crossing the Rubicon

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

This day in military history: January 9

1996, First Chechen War: 200 Chechen fighters assault a Russian federal airbase in Dagestan, Russia and then take thousands of civilians hostage

1945, WWII: US Landings on Luzon at Lingayen Gulf begin with the Japanese not contesting the initial landings

1917, WWI: The Battle of Rafa where British forces defeated Ottoman forces to take the Sinai Peninsula

1864, ACW: A skirmish at Ripley, Tennessee results in 46 Confederates captured

1847, Mexican-American War: US forces defeat Mexican forces at the Battle of La Mesa in present day California

1812, Napoleonic Wars: The Siege of Valencia Spain ends after 67 days with 16,000 some Spanish troops surrendering to 20-30 thousand French troops 

 Spanish guerrilla fighter - Francisco Chaleco, 1814

1127, Jin-Song Wars: Jin Dynasty soldiers in China besiege and sack Bianjing , capital of the Chinese Song Dynasty

475, Domestic revolt: Byzantine Emperor Zeno fled the capital Constantinople under threat of plotters including an Ostrogothic general

Military history books: The Sino-Japan War of the 1930s and the involvement of the European and North American powers

It’s not often enough that one learns new military history from a book review.  The October 2013 American Historical Review presents a review of Clash of Empires in South China: The Allied Nations’ Proxy War with Japan, 1935-1941 by Franco David Macri which does just that.

The book looks at WWII from an Asian perspective whereby World War II begins with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in September 1931.  Japan ultimately wanted China and a much expanded role in East Asia and eventually the world.  While China under Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek was under threat of Japanese invasion, both the Soviet Union and Britain felt the pressure of this Japanese advance as well.  The Soviet Union felt a threat to its East Asia holdings and Britain was worried for its Asian colonies and nearby Commonwealth powers.

The author discusses the various diplomatic wrangling conducted between Japan, the Soviet Union, Britain, the US, Canada and others.  He points out that the British colony of Hong Kong was particularly troublesome for Japan since Hong Kong was the main entry point of weapons bought by Chiang Kai-shek.  Britain was not selling the weapons but allowed its colony to act as a conduit for them.  Japan was overly aggressive in its talks with the other nations, becoming more and more anxious as its war against China was stalemated.  British officials were overly confident that Japan would not be tempted to attack British interests directly.  The Chinese, though militarily weak, successfully manipulated the other powers opposing Japan to maintain the stalemate.  China even offered to sell Hong Kong and other territories to Britain but Britain found the price to be too steep.

Also interesting is that it was in this period that Canada moved farther from the British sphere of influence and more under the American sphere of influence.  Though the reviewer does not agree with all of the author’s conclusions about the war, the book is strongly recommended for its analysis of the Sino-Japanese conflict in the 1930s.  Other reviewers have strongly endorsed this book as an important history of China and the war there before 1941.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone wanting a more nuanced history of WWII, with the diplomacy that was involved, or someone interested in military history during the 1930s.       
Sept-Oct 1931, Japanese infantry advances in Manchuria after Mukden Incident

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Military history books: The Vietnam War according to the South Vietnamese who fought it

The January 2012 volume of the Journal of Military History provides two reviews of The Vietnam War: An Assessment by South Vietnam’s Generals by Lewis Sorley.

From 1976 to 1978 the U.S. Army Center of Military History commissioned the recording of the recollections of 17 South Vietnamese who had fled Vietnam following the 1975 collapse of South Vietnam.  The interviews were published but are difficult to find.  Sorley has combined the 17 interviews into one volume, cutting out parts that are redundant or which do not provide much information on the war.  However, he has left in a large amount of the material, namely the important parts of these personal histories.

Two of the people interviewed were General Cao Van Vien, Chief of the Joint General Staff of South Vietnam from 1965 to 1975 and General Ngo Quang Truong who was I corps commander in the last few years of the war.  Their interviews are very enlightening as are most of the other 15.  They are somewhat biased and protective of the respective interviewees roles but many blame themselves and the Vietnam military for losing the war by not taking advantage of successes.  The pieces show some anxiety with the US effort but they also blame the corruption within their society and the lack of having a strong nation as a big reason for failure. 

The pieces are said to be very thoughtful and informative and they cover a number of the campaigns of the war.  They address management of the South Vietnamese military and dealings with the US military and US advisers.  Both reviewers rate this volume as important to the study of the Vietnam War and recommend it.  Considering the material and the importance of these interviews in understanding US attempts at nation building during a time of conflict, I would recommend this to anyone interested in the Vietnam War or US nation building operations during war.    

     Lieutenant General Hoàng Xuân Lãm, I Corps commander; General Cao Văn Viên of the ARVN general staff; Major General Ngo Quang Truong (Lam's replacement) (far right); with U.S. Army Lieutenant General Richard G. Stilwell

Monday, January 6, 2014

New military history research: WWII in Ireland and Northern destruction of the South during the American Civil War

The International Journal of Iberian Studies presents an abstract discussing a study of Basque exiles who fled General Franco’s Spain during WWII.  The study points out that the Basques chose Ireland because it was democratic, free and Catholic.  Many of these Basques continued to resist fascism from Ireland while at the same time, General Franco’s government representatives in Ireland worked hard to have the Irish government extradite these people back to Spain for trial and punishment.  
The December 2013 volume of Civil War History presents a review of War Upon the Land: Military Strategy and the Transformation of Southern Landscapes during the American Civil War by Lisa M. Brady.  The book examines how the geography of the South affected the Northern campaigns and how the Northern Generals used the destruction of the Southern environment to win the war.  The book is both a military history and environmental history aimed at exposing the importance of the land during the Civil War.

The author uses the campaigns of Grant, Sheridan and Sherman to illustrate her points.  Brady discusses how the Union forces attempted some transformations of the landscape for their military purposes and failed but also how they determined what kind of destruction they could wreak to demoralize and weaken the South.  One of the prime targets was agricultural land which was destroyed both to reduce food available to Southern forces but to also provide a concrete example to Southerners of the destruction they would and did suffer for continuing the war.

The reviewer praises the book as an important study of the war and one that opens up new ideas about the war that require further study.  Other reviewers have commented quite favorably on the book as well.  This book is recommended to any student of the American Civil War looking for a new perspective on Northern strategy and anyone interested in Southern agricultural and environmental history.
Philip Sheridan

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Military history books: Warfare and fortifcations in the ancient world

Bryn Mawr Classical Review provides reviews of three books dealing with ancient warfare.

The first book reviewed is Mercenaries in the Classical World: To the Death of Alexander by Stephen English.  The book’s focus is on Greek mercenaries but suffice it to say the reviewer was not impressed by the volume.  He points out several serious factual mistakes and mis-readings of ancient sources by the author.   In addition, the author appears to have barely used non-English sources.  Moreover, the author does not really focus very much on its subject except for random stories and such.  The full review can be found here.  I agree with the assessment of the reviewer and would avoid this book.  There are many good books on the subject but this is not one. 

The next review is on fortifications, Hendrik W. Dey’s The Aurelian Wall and the Refashioning of Imperial Rome, A.D. 271-855.  The wall was 19 kilometers and surrounded Rome when built in the 3rd cenutry.  It maintained its importance through the early Middle Ages.  The author describes the building of the wall and the many restorations and expansions done over the centuries.  He also discusses the cultural, political and spiritual importance of the wall to Rome.  The reviewer says that at times the author stretches his theorizing a bit far but overall he provides very interesting thoughts on the wall and its presence around Rome.  The book is noted as being good for graduate level readers and it is recommended as a very detailed look at the Aurelian Wall.  The full review is here.    

1756- Aurelian Walls by Giovanni Battista Piranesi

Finally we consider Brian Campbell and Lawrence A. Tritle (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Warfare in the Classical World.  The book is a major work dealing with tactics, weapons, soldiers, logistics and so on.  It covers the period from the beginning of  the classical period of Greece to the end of the Roman principate.  The book starts with a general review of the subject and also addresses current methods of studying this history and the evidence used.  Then the book addresses troops, equipment, organization, for these periods and the effects of the military on society.  The book continues with essays on injuries, medicine, Greek mercenaries, navies and naval logistics.  Following this are discussions of horses, their equipment, upkeep and use on the battlefield.

The book then turns to the enemies of the Greeks and Romans and details on them.  Following this are detailed discussions  on six battles and campaigns chosen to illustrate overall concepts.  Finally the book connects the legacy of ancient warfare to today.  The book has extensive notes and bibliographies.  The reviewer notes that there is a lack of some non-English studies and certain details and findings can be challenged but that overall the book is a very comprehensive, detailed and important work for anyone studying ancient warfare in Greece and Rome.  I highly recommend it for anyone wanting a thorough read of the subject.   The full review is here

"The Sea! The Sea!" Heroic march of the Ten Thousand Greek mercenaries - From Life magazine, 1901 - by Bernard Granville Baker


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Military history books: The care of US soldiers maimed in World War One

The April 2013 issue of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era provides a book review of Beth Linker's War’s Waste: Rehabilitation in World War I America.  The book covers the post war physical rehabilitation of US soldiers maimed during World War One.  The overall verdict is that the book fills the void on a subject rarely, if ever, fully written on.  One interesting point is that soldiers could be dishonorably discharged if they did not obey orders to rehabilitate and use their prosthetic limbs regularly.

The book discusses many medical management issues including the costs of the care provided to injured service members, nursing care, the motivation of the orthopedic surgeons working on the soldiers and establishment of the U.S. Veterans’ Bureau.  The author also studies the strong efforts made by the US government to transition these wounded service members back into regular society. 

The book has also received a great deal of positive attention from many prestigious journals further establishing its quality and worth.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in World War One medical history or a cultural study the rehabilitation of maimed US soldiers. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New military history research: Stone Axeheads of northwest Europe

From North American Archaeologist, an abstract describes a study of Neolithic stone Axeheads and other stone artifacts from northwest Europe and three island lithic sources for these items.   

 17th century drawing of flint axehead by Wenceslas Hollar

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Native American war party camps

This blog, A Woodsrunners Diary,  always has interesting information on 18th century wilderness living.  This particular post is of a short lecture about Southeast and Northeast Indian war camps.  What I found most interesting was the techniques these Native American warriors used to stay hidden and lightweight when going to war.  It really reminds one how with the right kind of skills and preparation, a group of warriors can really disappear into the terrain.

Indian Warrior with Scalp by Barlow, a 1789 engraving published by William Lane, London, England