Giant of the Grand Siècle: The French Army, 1610-1715

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Overview

An "invisible giant," the seventeeth-century French army was the largest and hungriest institution of the Bourbon monarchy; yet it has received incomplete treatment and is poorly understood. Combining social and cultural emphases with more traditional institutional and operational concerns, this book examines the army in depth, studying recruitment, composition, discipline, motivation, selection of officers, leadership, administration, logistics, weaponry, tactics, field warfare, and siegecraft. The portrait that emerges differs from what current scholarship might have predicted. Instead of claiming that a "military revolution" transformed warfare, Lynn stresses evolutionary change. Questioning widely-held assumptions about state formation and coercion, he argues that this standing army was primarily devoted to border defense, and only rarely to internal repression.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"John Lynn's Giant of the Grand Siecle is a giant of a book..." M.J. Carley, H-France Review of Books

"A valuable work for anyone interested in the Age of Louis XIV or the French Army going into the eighteenth century." A.A. Noft, The NYMAS Newsletter

"...a masterful work which will serve as a landmark for future military historians." Paul Sonino, H-France Review of Books

"John Lynn's Giant of the gRand Siecle is a giant of a book, not only in length but also in substance." Paul Sonnino, H-Net Reviews

"...this work is encyclopedic, unfailingly interesting, and beautifully researched and written. Indispensable for all modern European collections." G.P. Cox, Choice

"...a useful reference tool for those of us in French language and literature." Joseph L. Allaire, The French Review

"This book is a comprehensive study of the French army during the seventeenth century and its place in the history of state-building....Lynn offers carefully nuanced revisions of many standard views concerning the military origins of absolutism, the nature of the military revolution, and the alleged modernity of Louis XIV's army...this book...admirably achieves its goal of forcing us to confront directly the massive significance of the army." William Beik, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

"...this is a fine, thick book with clear organization and exhaustive use of the manuscript and printed sources that will allow historians to refer to it with confidence for many years." The Historian

Every historian of the seventeenth century who attempts to understand the entirety of that turbulent time must have this book on his bookshelf or suffer the consequences of incomplete knowledge and a crippling blind spot." Army History

"This is a valuable book...highly recommended for both the scholar and the novice." Frederick C. Schneid, American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521032483
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Pages: 672
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Part I. Context and Parameters: 1. Contexts of military change in the Grand Siècle; 2. Army growth; Part II. Administration and Supply: 3. The military administration; 4. Food and fodder; 5. Providing other essentials; 6. The tax of violence and contributions; Part III. Command: 7. The costs of regimental command; 8. The culture of command; 9. The high command; Part IV. The Rank and File: 10. Army composition; 11. Recruitment; 12. Discipline and desertion; 13. Elements of morale and motivation: dependence and loyalty; Part V. The Practice of War: 14. Weaponry and tactics; 15. Learning and practising the art of field warfare; 16. Positional warfare; Epilogue: insights on state formation; Bibliography; Index.

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