An examination of the experiences of British soldiers who fought in the Seven Years' War.
This new book by British freelancer Brumwell (coauthor, Cassell's Companion to 18th-Century British History) makes a nice companion to Fred Anderson's Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (LJ 2/1/00). Whereas Anderson gives a magisterial overview of the conflict, Brumwell concentrates on the experiences of the rank-and-file "Redcoats" in the British army. Drawing on wide-ranging research in North American and British archives, he revises the standard negative view of the ordinary British soldiers and their officers. This negative view sees the rank and file as the dregs of society who obeyed orders only out of fear of the lash, while their officers tended to be unimaginative fops or fools who had purchased their commissions. While not denying that there is an element of truth in these stereotypes, Brumwell demonstrates that by the end of the war Britain's "American Army" had become a flexible, impressive fighting machine. Brumwell notes the irony that George Washington's Continental Army owed much of its success to its emulation of the British army in the Seven Years' War. This is a noteworthy, engaging book for specialists as well as general readers. Highly recommended for all academic and public libraries. T.J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.