Book Review: The Fighting Tudors


by David Loades

Kew: The National Archives/Dulles: International Publishers Marketing, 2009. Pp. 236. Illus., tables, notes, biblio., index. $36.00. ISBN: 1905615523

Although the Tudors ruled England for well over a century (1485-1603), in The Fighting Tudors Prof. Loades(Oxford) gives us the first general survey of the English way of war in the period.

Loades argues that the Tudor was characterized by the “civilianization” of government functions dealing with war making as state institutions evolved, a process found in other countries in other ways.  A short introduction on the nature of kingship in England is followed by a reign-by-reign look at how military and naval administration, organization, and equipment evolved in the period, and, of course, the actual conduct of operations.  There are short accounts of each of the various wars, campaigns, and rebellions, and even of covert operations.  Loades also discusses the increasing integration of diplomatic and military activities as England developed into a major power.  Of particular interest is the contrast between the ways war was managed, led, and conducted during the reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII and those during that of Elizabeth I. 

The Fighting Tudors gives the reader a good look at the development of the military side of one of the first nation-states in the modern sense, and will prove valuable for those interested in British history, the Renaissance, and the rise of modern military institutions.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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