Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review: From Pike to Shot

Remembering an age before the Internet, Charles S Grant provided the wargamer with the single most readily available and concise coverage of later seventeenth century warfare and armies in From Pike to Shot 1685-1720. Published in 1986 by the Wargames Research Group, this book helped almost everyone who commenced wargaming the Wars of the Grand Alliance and Spanish  Succession for the last 25 years.

Of much greater application to the Nine Years War campaigns, this book provides the starting point for collecting all central and western European armies of the late seventeenth century period - a separate volume covering the Swedes and the Russians, focusing on the Great Northern War.

Of only fleeting reference for the evolution of warfare preceeding 1685, Grant spends invaluable space on the Monmouth rebellion and well as the Boyne and Irish campaign. Again, the campaign detail tends toward the Anglo experience but as far as regimental lists and uniform details are concerned, it is an almost universal cornerstone for the mid to late Williamite period. For that reason it provides an essential starting point from which to work backwards for earlier campaigns.

Whilst other works have since been published and the Internet has emerged as an invaluable tool for the military researcher, Williamite Warfare was nevertheless drafted with this book never far from reach. Highly recommended.


  1. I totally agree, its a must for anyone painting or researching the period. My copy is very battered from constant use. The trouble is now is trying to find a copy that you don't need to take a second mortgage out for. At the last Wargame show I attended the book was up for sale for £35!!!

  2. From Pike to Shot is a great book. As you said, it came out at a time when the information was simply not available widely. It’s still a very useful guide to the period, even if some armies have now been covered in a lot more detail elsewhere (Portuguese, Italian, Spanish). There were rumours of a volume II to cover the Great Northern War, but it never happened, sadly. Above all, you simply have to admire the sheer love which the author has for the period – I always found this one of the best things about this book.