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The War of the Spanish Succession 1701-1714 (Paperback)

Military > Pre-WWI P&S History > By Century > 18th Century

By James Falkner
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
Illustrations: 20 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399013482
Published: 13th October 2021
Last Released: 20th September 2023



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The War of the Spanish Succession, fought between 1701 and 1714 to decide who should inherit the Spanish throne, was a conflict on an unprecedented scale, stretching across most of western Europe, the high seas and the Americas. Yet this major subject is not well known and is little understood. That is why the publication of James Falkner's absorbing new study is so timely and important.

In a clear and perceptive narrative he describes and analyses the complex political manoeuvres and a series of military campaigns which also involved the threat posed by Ottoman Turks in the east and Sweden and Russia in the north. Fighting took place not just in Europe but in the Americas and Canada, and on the high seas. All European powers, large and small, were involved – France, Spain, Great Britain, Holland, Austria and Portugal were the major players.

The end result of eleven years of outright war was a French prince firmly established on the throne in Madrid and a division of the old Spanish empire. More notably though, French power, previously so dominant, was curbed for almost ninety years.

As featured in

VaeVictis Magazine, November 2023

James Falkner, who specializes in this time period and this conflict, covers all this and more in a volume that presents an unbiased overview of the diplomacy, politics, and military initiatives that took place during the War of the Spanish Succession. He includes numerous maps, illustrations, and a chronological time line to assist readers.

Read the full review here

Pirates and Privateers, Cindy Vallar

James Falkner achieves the result of scoring a very good hit having produced an articulated book that will not fail to be appreciated by scholars and fans of eighteenth-century military history.

STORIA militare, December 2018

The focus here is on the diplomatic, political and campaign level military events. Even the biggest of the battles rarely get more than a page or two, enough to give an outline of events, before the focus moves onto the wider impact of the battle. Given the scale of this conflict this is probably the best approach, as long battle accounts would have disrupted the account of wider events. This is a good history of this important but someone neglected conflict, the first in the long series of wars that dominated the Eighteenth Century.

Read the full review here.


This book is an overview of the entire conflict and does not go into the minutiae of the separate battles or sieges. For those, you will have to look elsewhere. However, it does fill the gap in a book that brings the entire war to your finger tips. The author has a solid grasp of the history and reports it in a well done no-nonsense style without any hint of bias. I find this refreshing in a book about this war.

So thank you Mr. Falkner for this book. It brings to life the war and its battles, it's campaigns and is a great addition to anyone's library.

Read the full review here!

Robert Peterson - A Wargamers Needful Things

The War of the Spanish Succession, fought to decide who should inherit the Spanish throne, was a conflict on a then unprecedented scale, stretching as it did across western Europe, the high seas, Canada and the Americas. The author describes the complex political manoeuvres as well as the military campaigns, which also involved the threat posed by the Ottoman Turks in the east, as well as Sweden and Russia in the north. All the European powers were involved – Austria, Great Britain, Holland, France, Spain and Portugal were the major players, while many others such as Denmark, Hanover, Prussia and Savoy were also drawn into the conflict. The end result after almost 12 years of outright war was a French prince established on the throne in Madrid and a division of the old Spanish Empire.

Further, French power, previously so dominant, was curbed for nearly 100 years, with a new balance of power being established in Europe. In all six maps and 23 monochrome illustrations support the text, which benefits from text notes, a bibliography and an index. Also included is a diagram showing the line of succession to the throne of Spain, a chronology of the war and three appendices covering such topics as treaty terms.

An interesting and readable summary of a conflict which is not always well covered, written by an author who knows his subject well.

Stuart Asquith, Author

A well written and tactfully considered account of the political, social and religious machinations of the early 18th century Europe that led to a long and complex struggle to place heirs on thrones.

This work provides an excellent insight into the minds of Europe’s religious, state and military leaders in a time when land, power, wealth and borders were used as political pawns in a real life Game of Thrones. It tells of how alliances were made and broken at the whim of some of Europe’s most powerful individuals and those who took a stand against them.

Before Napoleon and Wellington came Louis XIV and The Duke of Marlborough – two adversaries whose very leadership depended on old allegiances, unbroken promises and clever political puppet masters who whispered in the ear of the king.

Michael Kirkby

As featured in

VaeVictis January-February 2016

About James Falkner

James Falkner is a leading authority on eighteenth-century warfare and he has made a special study of the military exploits of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. His book, Great and Glorious Days: Marlborough's Battles 1704-1709, is one of the outstanding studies of the subject. His other books include Marlborough’s Wars: Eyewitness Accounts 1702-1713, Marlborough's Sieges, Marlborough's Battlefields, Fire Over the Rock: The Great Siege of Gibraltar 1779-1783, Marshal Vauban and the Defence of Louis XIV’s France, Marlborough’s War Machine, The War of the Spanish Succession, 1701-1714 and The Battle of Fontenoy 1745: Saxe against Cumberland in the War of the Austrian Succession.

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