Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: Anatomy of Victory

It would be unfair and unreasonable not to review what has become a modern historical classic on the subject of military analysis for the late seventeen century. First published in 1992, Brent Nosworthy was one of the first and only military historians of the English speaking world to concentrate on this period of warfare and without this work, I'd have been well and truly without a light to guide me.

The Anatomy of Victory: Battle Tactics 1689-1763, whilst not exclusively dedicated to the late seventeenth century and not concentrating on the period immediately preceding the Nine Years War nevertheless covers in some detail developments throughout the seventeenth century which culminated in linear warfare - the subject of this text.

Whilst by no means exclusively, Williamite Warfare relies on much of Nosworthy's referencing which has been extensively corroborated across all resources available to me. The only deficiencies from my perspective is that this work, whilst casting an invaluable back-shadow over the late seventeenth century, is nevertheless not about the proto-linear Williamite period. Gaps are still apparent when seeking answers to all the essential questions and because of this, for me this is not the ultimate text or last work on the subject.

I can highly recommend it to anyone interested in this period. It is currently out of print and you'll not get much change out of AUD100.00. Having said that, if your interest extends no further than the turn of the eighteen century, then only a third to half of this book would be of interest. Happily, it is often stocked in major academic and research libraries.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, Nosworthy's book is a fine guide. It was a bit of a revelation when it appeared in the early 1990s, I remember.

    Over the years, people have taken a few pot-shots at his interpretations - particularly on the "Lace Wars" yahoo group (which had some very erudite discussions on Brent's account of drill in Britain, France and the German States in the period).

    Personally, I liked his account of the transition from Williamite struggles to control very large armies to the more coherant analysis of the art of war in the mid 18th century.

    So, yes, it's another fine Blog post on another invaluable book!