- Paperback: 328 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521083923
- ISBN-13: 978-0521083928
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,871,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peninsular Preparation: The Reform of the British Army 1795-1809 1st Edition
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This book describes the rebirth of British military power and hence of the authority of her diplomacy. When England went to war with revolutionary France in 1793 her army was weak from ten years of neglect of discipline and training, from political interference in the selection of its officers and from the failure of her recruiting policies.
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Between the end of the American and Bourbon War in 1783 and the beginnings of the wars with Revolutionary and Imperial France, Britain's army was allowed to fall into disrepair. It is Glover's thesis that a handful of key leaders, including Secretary at War Lord Castlereagh and Commander in Chief the Duke of York, took on the task of reforming the army. In successive chapters, Glover addresses the elements of the army and its systems for promotion, discipline, education, and retention, and how they were improved. The takeaway may be the willingness on the part of key leaders to perserve through bureaucratic inertia, political flack, and trial-and-error learning.
"Peninsular Preparation" is not intended for the general reader. Its content is the dry stuff of military administration, and presumes reader knowledge about the role of the British Army in the Napoleonic wars. The author is rather fearless in taking on a complicated and often politicized topic; the book is highly recommended to students of the Peninsular War.
Historians will appreciate the in-depth research. Glover invariably relies upon first-hand, lesser known sources. His surveys span the macro-to-micro spectrum. The British army is not viewed in isolation but against comparitive benchmarks, such as the French and Prussian armies. Often critical, Glover does not shy from tackling historians who wrote before him. His methodology and areas of study construct a comprehensive, consistent argument.
Reformers will also benefit from this descriptive work. Glover adopts a holistic pen, setting the army's reforms amidst political, economic, and social contexts. The perspectives he uses---politican, commander, soldier---paint a consistent picture of impediments to and problems requiring reform. Glover's implication is that reform is not bureaucratic in origin; rather, it is driven in exigent circumstances by individuals strongly seized of instrumental goals and objectives. Bureaucracy then follows suit. In short, great men (can) overcome mundanity.
There is little to criticise in this work, save that Glover's objective diction is occasionally betrayed by a subtle invective against those who thwarted necessary reform.