by Ian Beckett
New York/London: Hambldon Continuum, 2006. Pp. xv, 272.
Illus., notes, biblio., index. $29.95 paper. ISBN:1576079252
The Victorians at War
takes a look at the British Army from the first third of the nineteenth century through the very early twentieth, taking it from its roots as a semi-amateur force still anchored in the glories of the Napoleonic age to the modern army on the eve of the First World War.
Prof. Beckett, a specialist in the Great War, approaches the professionalization of the British Army by focusing on the works and deeds of a number of officers and even a few civilians. Most of these people are today largely forgotten -- Cardwell, Roberts, Elphinstone, Cough, Buller, Childers -- but in their day, whether by brilliance or their ineptitude, they pushed the British Army forward to become a more professional, technically sophisticated force.
Although there is some neglect of operations, The Victorians at War provides good read for anyone interested in the British Army, its "little wars," and, of course, the Great War.