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The Dutch Wars of Independence: Warfare and Commerce in the Netherlands 1570-1680: The Eighty Years Struggle, 1566-1648 (Modern Wars In Perspective) Paperback – 19 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (19 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582209676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582209671
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 558,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"This work is a brilliant success at marrying the latest scholarship and wonderfully clear narrative and synthesis. 't Hart clearly answers one of history's mysteries: how did the northern Netherlands forge a nation out of disparate units; successfully battle the superpower of the 16th century, Spain; build the most successful commercial state in Europe; and experience a Golden Age, all while fighting an 80-year war? Indispensable for collections in early modern Europe, military, or state formation history. Summing Up: Essential." --J. J. Butt, James Madison University, in CHOICE

About the Author

Marjolein ’t Hart is head of the research department on the history of the Netherlands at the Huygens Institute (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) in The Hague and Professor History of State Formation in Global Perspective at VU University Amsterdam. She has published extensively on the early modern history of the Netherlands (in comparative perspective), including books on warfare and state formation (1993) and financial history (1997).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Money is the sinews of War and the obtaining of it has tested the powers of the State since the days of the Pipe Roll. The Eighty Years War and its chums the Thirty Years War and the Dutch War are all covered by this study of how (what became) the Dutch Republic managed its finances. The war in the Low Countries was a key part of the cause of a number of Spanish state bankruptcies; yet the much small provinces of what became the United Provinces managed to avoid that fate chiefly by building on their financing arrangements from the days of Charles V. Their good credit, urban responsibility and (after Maurice) the discipline of their forces made for a much more efficient model than the Spanish banking and military methods. It also made for higher tax on individuals. As t'Hart notes much of the cost of garrisons was redistributed amongst the garrison towns: war feeding war. However, lest we imagine it was all hunky-dory the author has a chilling section on the abuse of the rural peasants from marauding Spanish foragers, the Dutch urban authorities who taxed them but did not protect them, and the Dutch army who either foraged off them or punished them for being foraged by the Spanish. One of the Orange family being known as Boerenplager (punisher of country folk). Some things do not change.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A fourth-hand account for the price of an original research 21 April 2014
By Anton Tomsinov - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I rarely say such words, but DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. Period. This is not a history research, but a jingoism under the mask of science. Published in a respectable series by a decent publisher, it is priced as though it were an academic study, but do not be deceived. The whole book is devoted to proclaiming how awesome the Dutch rebels were, so every chapter is full of ungrounded generalisations. The author did not do her own research but copy-pasted bits from here and there, sometimes even from third-hand books (like Tallet’s or Hale’s works on war and society) which makes her book a fourth-hand account. Such a collection could be justified by an original synthesis like McNeill or Tilly became famous for, but there is nothing original here. Even the main thesis (that the war was profitable for the Dutch) does not stand and gets modified (after all, single persons prospered while the country suffered). What’s even more hilarious is how she discards recent research that is not to her liking, like works of Tracy or Drelichman and Both, without any evidence.
There is too much uncritical praise to the Dutch (like the claim that they had tolerance for every religion or nation) and too little comparison to experience of other states, which were not that much different. Parker’s book on the Spanish Army of Flanders is an example how to do it the right way.
Spanish cruelties of war get extensive coverage, while the Dutch are praised for discipline in scorched earth policy and in punishing the Southern Provinces for loyalty to the king.
The author’s understanding of warfare and strategy is very poor (especially of the impact of new fortifications; or she mistakenly says that only Dutch warfare was called then ’The School of War’, while that name was given to the Eighty Years’ War in general and adventurers flocked to study in both Armies).
But the best part is where she claims that the war was good for peasants because in the end survivors got larger land plots. Hard to argue with that kind of logic.
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