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The Italian Wars 1494-1559: War, State and…

The Italian Wars 1494-1559: War, State and Society in Early Modern Europe… (2012)

by Michael Edward Mallett, Christine Shaw (Author)

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Mallett was originally commissioned to write this book for a series called "Modern Wars in Perspective" - when it become clear he would die before being able to finish it, Shaw was given the task to complete it. The end result is essentially a narrative history written by Shaw with a pair of thematic chapters written by Mallett inserted in the middle.

The book deals only with the Italian Wars in Italy, other theatres of the wars, which in the later part of the period were often the more important ones, being addressed only to the extent they impacted Italian affairs.

The narrative chapters go through 65 years' politico-military history* in considerable detail and within a relatively low pagecount (366pp total in the paperback) - accordingly, the writing is compressed and thin on analysis: you can learn a great deal of what happened, less about why it happened. Keeping all the personages and places that pass by straight takes some work. The thematic chapters are easier reading, focusing on the big picture rather than myriad details.

I wouldn't say I'm unhappy with the book, but I'm not ecstatic either. It's solid rather than brilliant.

* The ad copy at Amazon etc suggests the book concentrates on analysis of military technology and socio-economic contexts - don't believe it. There's such analysis here, but the bulk of the text is narrative history of armies marching about, kings deliberating policy, and popes machinating to make their nephews into dukes. The subtitle similarly may be considered a bit off the mark; there's not very much about "society" here.
1 vote AndreasJ | Oct 14, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Edward Mallettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Shaw, ChristineAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0582057582, Paperback)

The Italian Wars of 1494-1559, in which France and Spain battled for control of the Italian peninsula, had a major impact on the whole of Renaissance Europe.  This important text combines analysis of developments in military strategy and the tactical use of firearms with consideration of the social and economic context and the reactions of Italians of all social classes to the social and cultural changes wrought by the wars.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:37 -0400)

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