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From Contractor To Service,
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This review is from: The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest 1661-1701 (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History) (Hardcover)The reign of Louis XIV overshadows his century both in splendour and in length, and even this excellent book does not take us through to the very end of the reign. Although it is a pity that we do not visit the Spanish Succession it also means there is more time for the less well served (in English anyway) wars of the King.
It is difficult for us to think back to the era where the French army was not an instrument of the state but a form of public finance initiative mixed with elements of charitable gifts with tax breaks. Louis had to re-educate his nobility away from the high inflation rate in honours demanded from Cardinal Mazarin to one where service, kingdom and class were broadly congruent. At times reading Guy Rowlands' book is like reading the Forsyth Saga or a Trollope novel as these exotic "grands" engage in the sordid business of social status. Soames Forsyth would have been well able to grasp the elements.
Although the military element is necessarily less than the organisational I found the detailing of the practical use of ranks and commands very enlightening for a more traditional military history. I was especially interested in the positive comments on the military skills of Monsieur, who so often appears as a wife-beater surrounded by vicious mignons.
This is good thick detailed academic history, but it is never boring.
The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest 1661-1701 (Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History)(3 customer reviews)