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A Social rather than Military History,
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This review is from: The Northern Wars: War, State and Society in Northeastern Europe, 1558 - 1721 (Modern Wars In Perspective) (Paperback)
I have read a number of the books in the series, and until this one they have struck good balances between giving a coherent account of their subjects, and the wish to engage in detail with wider or deeper aspects of the wars in question. This volume does not do this; the focus is almost exclusively on the interaction between social and political arrangements in the involved nations, and their ability to put armies of different configurations in the field. The accounts of the courses of the wars, far less the individual campaigns are cursory in the extreme, and they take place in isolation from wider contemporary events, though not of course from the ever-present background of social and military structures. The author makes no concessions to help the non-expert; as an example, foreign language terms for institutions are always used, often similar but different for the various nations, and I found myself constantly referring to the glossary. I write this review not to decry the obvious scholarship of the author, but to warn any prospective reader that this is not the book to read in order to acquire a decent understanding of the causes, courses, and outcomes of the Northern Wars, or indeed of the military achievements of the Swedish Kings, Gustavus Adolphous, and Charles XII, or Peter the Great of Russia, or anyone else.