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The Pope's Soldiers: A Military History of the Modern Vatican (Modern War Studies) Hardcover – May 19, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies
  • Hardcover: 444 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (May 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700617701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700617708
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"An extraordinary and unparalleled work that tells a fascinating story of considerable importance for understanding the history of the Papacy and modern Italy."--Brian R. Sullivan, coauthor of Il Duce's Other Woman: The Untold Story of Margherita Sarfatti, Benito Mussolini's Jewish Mistress, and How She Helped Him Come to Power

"A readable account that makes a new and important contribution to our understanding of Vatican history and affairs."--Frank Coppa, author of Politics and the Papacy in the Modern World

"Written with admirable detachment, lucidity, and learning."--D. S. Chambers, author of Popes, Cardinals, and War: The Military Church in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe

About the Author

David Alvarez is a professor in the Department of Politics at St. Mary's College of California and is the author of Spies in the Vatican: Espionage and Intrigue from Napoleon to the Holocaust and Secret Messages: Codebreaking and American Diplomacy, 1930-1945, both from Kansas, and Nothing Sacred: Nazi Espionage against the Vatican, 1933-1945.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By igladius on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great read. This story was well told with the extra info you only get with someone who has done the research !
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By Amazon Customer on April 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good book on a neglected part of history. Most histories gloss over this area so this fills an important place
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alvarez's book on the pope's soldiers is an excellent work on a little researched subject. It is hard to come by any objective modern histories concerning the Papal States and the Vatican. Alvarez is objective and provides a great history of the Papal military as a whole, not just the Swiss Guard. He intertwines politics and information on the Papal States and the Vatican with the military aspects to make a well rounded book. I haven't finished the book yet, but I'm already ready to order Alvarez's "Spies in the Vatican." I would recommend "The Pope's Soldiers" to all seasoned history buffs who already have a basis of knowledege about European history or college students. For history buffs like me, its great to read about information that is new, well researched in this case and has been hard to come by! Five Stars.

ECW
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By David Bustillos on September 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really intresting History of the Vatican's Military. Fantastic information presented. It was really I opening. For any Student of Euro Military or a Catholic I would highly recomend this book\.
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Format: Hardcover
From the review on StrategyPage.Com

"Alvarez, author of Spies in the Vatican: Espionage and Intrigue from Napoleon to the Holocaust, opens with a look at the inept Papal forces of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He examines the causes of their decrepitude, various proposals for reform, and the factors frustrating modernization. Alvarez then discusses in some detail more serious efforts to reform the armed forces that began in the post-Napoleonic era. Each time a good start was made, however, war intervened, pitting the half-ready troops against better equipped, more numerous foes. Against Austrian regulars in 1848-1849, Piedmontese regulars and Italian nationalist insurgents in 1861, and finally, Italian regulars in 1871, papal troops often served with skill and discipline, but they were always so greatly outnumbered as to be fighting against hopeless odds. There followed a long period of total neglect, with limited efforts at reform, until the eve of the Second World War, when a reform of the Swiss Guard and other ceremonial units was initiated to provide greater security for the pope against Italian fascist threats and, during the war itself, the very real danger of a Nazi occupation of the Vatican. Finally, Alvarez discusses the transformation of papal military and police forces into modern security forces, albeit with attached ceremonial functions."

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