William Urban, the Lee L. Morgan Professor of History and International Studies at Monmouth College and an internationally recognized authority on the history of European warfare, has written another book on that topic.
Published this month by Frontline Books, “Bayonets and Scimitars: Arms, Armies and Mercenaries 1700-1789” is available from Amazon.com, as well as from the London-based publisher.
“There has been a lot of interest in the theory of the evolution of warfare during this period,” noted Urban, who said the book serves as a follow-up to “Matchlocks to Flintlocks: Warfare in Europe and Beyond 1500-1700,” published in 2012. “I felt it was important to bring to the general reader’s attention the direction that the academic conversation has been going, and to make it entertaining, as well.”
The wars and political maneuvering of Frederick the Great and Catherine the Great transformed Prussia and Russia into major players in European politics. France, the richest nation in the West, survived losing successive wars, then bankrupted itself assisting the Americans in an unnecessary war of revenge. Britain became the model of economic and financial efficiency and made itself supreme in North America, the Caribbean and India, only to face such financial troubles that its leaders asked their colonial subjects in America to pay more taxes.
The 18th century marked a watershed in European history. It was a period of significant economic, political and technological upheaval, which led to the American and French revolutions; the wars also paved the way for Europe’s domination of much of the world during the 19th century.
Dennis Showalter, a professor at prestigious Colorado College and a leading military history scholar, wrote the book’s foreword. He noted, “This highly readable account concentrates not just on high politics and military strategy, but also on the everyday experiences of those involved, giving us a compelling glimpse of the human face of warfare during this important period.”
Another noted historian, University of Exeter professor Jeremy Black, wrote, “In this thought-provoking book, William Urban provides a wide-ranging and important account of war in a crucial part of global development.”
The 256-page hardback edition is also available locally at the Monmouth College Bookstore. It joins a collection of nearly 20 historical works by Urban, who is now in his 48th year on Monmouth’s faculty.