Britain’s Soldiers

Rethinking War and Society, 1715–1815

Edited by Kevin Linch and Matthew McCormack

£75.00
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ISBN: 9781846319556

Publication: March 7, 2014

Series: Eighteenth-Century Worlds 5

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The British soldier was a fascinating and complex figure in the century between the Hanoverian accession and the Battle of Waterloo. The ‘war and society’ approach has shed much light on Britain’s frequent experience of conflict in this period, but Britain’s Soldiers argues that it is time to refocus our attention on the humble redcoat himself, and rethink historical approaches to soldiers’ relationship with the society and culture of their day. Using approaches drawn from the histories of the military, gender, art, society, culture and medicine, this volume presents a more rounded picture of the men who served in the various branches of the British armed forces. This period witnessed an unprecedented level of mass mobilisation, yet this was largely achieved through novel forms of military service outside of the regular army. Taking a wide definition of soldiering, this collection examines the part-time and auxiliary forces of the period, as well as looking at the men of the British Army both during their service and once they had been discharged from the army. Chapters here explore the national identity of the soldier, his sense of his rights within systems of military discipline, and his relationships with military hierarchies and honour codes. They also explore the welfare systems available to old and wounded soldiers, and the ways in which soldiers were represented in art and literature. In so doing, this book sheds new light on the processes through which soldiers were ‘made’ during this crucial period of conflict.

Dr Kevin Linch is Principal Teaching Fellow at the University of Leeds.

Dr Matthew McCormack is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Northampton.

List of tables and figures Acknowledgements Notes on the contributors Introduction: Kevin Linch and Matthew McCormack PART 1: Nationhood 1 ‘The eighteenth-century British army as a European institution’, Stephen Conway 2 ‘Soldiering abroad: the experience of living and fighting among aliens’, Graciela Iglesias Rogers PART 2: Hierarchy 3 ‘Effectiveness and the British Officer Corps, 1793-1815’, Bruce Collins 4 ‘Stamford standoff: honour, status and rivalry in the Georgian military’, Matthew McCormack PART 3: Discipline 5 ‘“The soldiers murmered much on Account of their usage”: military justice and negotiated authority in the eighteenth-century British army’, William P. Tatum III 6 ‘Discipline and control in eighteenth-century Gibraltar’, Ilya Berkovich PART 4: Gender 7 ‘Conflicts of conduct: British masculinity and military painting in the wake of the Siege of Gibraltar’, Cicely Robinson 8 ‘Scarlet fever: female enthusiasm for men in uniform, 1780-1815’, Louise Carter PART 5: Soldiers in Society 9 ‘Disability, fraud and medical experience at the Royal Hospital of Chelsea in the long eighteenth century’, Caroline Louise Nielsen 10 ‘Making new soldiers: legitimacy, identity and attitudes, c. 1740-1815’, Kevin Linch

In all, the volume contains some superb chapters that showcase exciting new avenues of research; and it makes a valuable contribution to presenting a much fuller picture and understanding of the soldier and his complex and important place in eighteenth-century British society and culture. 
Gavin Daly   English Historical Review

The volume contains some superb chapters that showcase exciting new avenues of research; and it makes a valuable contribution to presenting a much fuller picture and understanding of the soldier and his complex and important place in eighteenth-century British society and culture.
  The English Historical Review

An interesting and well-balanced collection of essays on the experience of the combatant, where each chapter makes a distinctive contribution to the overall argument.
Alan Forrest  
University of York

Does the book achieve its stated aim and refocus the war and society approach? In many ways, it does. But it does so without losing sight of some now well-established lines of historical inquiry—particularly in the field of cultural history and gender studies—and this is perhaps its greatest strength. Each chapter has its own focus, but collectively the essays also challenge the view that war and soldiering was in any way remote from British society during the eighteenth century.
Gerard Oram   Journal of British Studies, 54:1

Britain’s Soldiers succeeds in provoking thought on the British army as a product of a society and not an entity separate from it. Any analysis of the army from 1715-1815 must take into account this work and its central message.
  Journal of Military History, 78:4

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

225 Pages

ISBN: 9781846319556

Publication: March 7, 2014

Series: Eighteenth-Century Worlds 5

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