- Series: Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology (Book 22)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (December 18, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801869943
- ISBN-13: 978-0801869945
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,596 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe: Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology) New Ed Edition
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Francis Bacon, writing in 1620, remarked that the magnetic compass, the printing press, and gunpowder changed the appearance and state of the whole world. Bert S. Hall focuses closely on the last innovation to examine the effects of changes in military technology on European history in the late Middle Ages and early modern era. Strategists, he writes, first used guns as a means of inducing panic in an enemy. When rival armies gained access to this technology, the psychological use of firearms gave way to their employment as weapons of mass destruction. With increased military power came a transformation in the power of states, allowing greater centralization and force. Military history buffs will find much of interest in these pages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Hall has long been recognized as a leading authority on early modern military technology. Scholars of the period and historians in general will find this the best treatment to date of the impact of gunpowder on Western Europe during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries."(History: Reviews of New Books)
"Combines a good grasp of military history with an understanding of the history of technology... Hall manages to integrate his technical discussion into a refreshing reinterpretation of general military history in the period, and his book is an engrossing read."(American Historical Review)
"The best book yet on military history in the era from the Hundred Years' War to the Thirty Years' War."(Frederic J. Baumgartner, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
"Hall's unmatched command of the sources and the science of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century military technology makes this book a must-read for any scholar interested in the subject."(Clifford J. Rogers, United States Military Academy)
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If you are looking for a broad summary of 16th century warfare, tactics and mentality, this is only partially your work.
However, to explain the development of gunpowder, its effect and technical applications, this is very appropriate. The book is well written and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in the period with some background knowledge.
The work is primarily focussed on the effects of gunpowder and firearms, but begins in the pre-gunpowder era of the late middle ages. By demonstrating how wars in this period were waged, the author shows the reader just how little the first gunpowder technology changed the way wars were fought. In essence, he shows how commanders faced with the new technology tried to fit it into traditional roles previously occupied by the longbow and crossbow and how it did not immediately eclipse those weapons in such roles.
From there, the author goes on to show how the peculiar advantages and disadvantages of the increasingly sophisticated gunpowder technology came to revolutionize strategic and tactical thought.
It is a rare work that considers topics ranging from the way in which the differing "recipes" that existed for gunpowder vastly altered the explosive potential of the substance to the tactical innovations and battles of Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba. Mr. Hall handles both technological and historical matters with equal ease and effectively demonstrates how deeply the two are intertwined.
It is a tremendously engaging and enlightening work, and very well documented in its more than 800 endnotes. Perhaps surprisingly for an historical work, it was a real page-turner. When forced to set it down, I found myself counting the hours until I could get back to it. I will definitely be looking for additional books by this author.