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The Projection and Limitations of Imperial Powers, 1618-1850, by Frederick C. Schneid, editor

Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2012. Pp. xiv, 224. Map, notes, index. $199,00. ISBN: 9004226710.

Essays on War and Empire

This festschrift honoring the late Gunther Rothenberg (1923-2004) opens with an overview of his life and work by his wife, Prof. Eleanor Hancock (Australian Defence Force Academy) and an introduction by Prof. Scneid (High Point University).  The essays that that follow were presented at a series of seminars in Rothenberg’s honor at High Point University, and all focus on the period and region of his greatest interest, Central Europe from the 1700s to the mid-1800s. 

The individual essays are all by noted scholars.  The essays vary in their subject matter.  Three of the essays examine strategic and policy aspects of several wars in the period, with a revisionist view of the character of the Thirty Years’ War (Peter H. Wilson), a look the global context of the wars of Louis XIV and Napoleon (Jeremy Black), and the complex relations among France, Italy, Piedmont, and the Hapsburg Empire (Ciro Paoletti) from 1688-1748.  One paper looks at the interesting concept of “honorable surrender” in the age of Louis XIV (John A. Lynn II).  Three essays address military institutions and effectives, one on Prussia (Dennis Showalter), one on Russia (Janet M. Hartley), and a general survey of the various armies during the Napoleonic campaign of 1813 (Robert M. Epstein).  The volume closes with essays on “Europe’s Progress and America’s Success, 1760-1850” (Paul W. Schroeder) and “War and Revolution in the Age of the Risorgimento.”  The essays tend to set events within a larger framework than is commonly the case, looking at the continent-wide and even global complexities of their themes. 

A volume in the Brill series "History of Warfare," all of the essays in   well-written, thoughtful, and usually insightful, making this an excellent memorial for Prof. Rothenberg and likely to prove rewarding reading for anyone interested in military or diplomatic history.

Note: This work is also available as an e-pub, ISBN 978-9-0042-2670-8


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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