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A Guide to British Military History (Paperback)

The Subject and the Sources

British History

By Ian F W Beckett
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 246
ISBN: 9781473856646
Published: 21st March 2016



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What exactly is military history? Forty years ago it meant battles, campaigns, great commanders, drums and trumpets. It was largely the preserve of military professionals and was used to support national history and nationalism. Now, though, the study of war has been transformed by the ‘war and society’ approach, by the examination of identity, memory and gender, and a less Euro-centric and more global perspective. Generally it is recognised that war and conflict must be integrated into the wider narrative of historical development, and this is why Ian Beckett’s research guide is such a useful tool for anyone working in this growing field. It introduces students to all the key debates, issues and resources. While European and global perspectives are not neglected, there is an emphasis on the British experience of war since 1500.
This survey of British military history will be essential reading and reference for anyone who has a professional or amateur interest in the subject, and it will be a valuable introduction for newcomers to it.

Likely to be useful to a wide readership in public, as well as academic libraries.

Reference Reviews, volume 30, issue 8 - reviewed by K.C.Fraser

For a less serious and very enjoyable book on military history - ideal Christmas or birthday present material - I recommend Jeremy Archer's A Military Miscellany. Not clunking at all and often very funny, it is another potentially-useful reference work and very readable to boot.

Read the full review here.


This survey of British military history will be essential reading and reference for anyone who has a professional or amateur interest in the subject, and it will be a valuable introduction for newcomers to it.

Armourer, November – December 2016

You will discover a multitude of sources and different bits of information on aspects of military events related to our best enemies. It's very well done, especially the index of twenty pages which easily retrieves the authors cited work throughout.

VaeVictis, November – December 2016

Professor Beckett's new book will give many professional and popular historians ease of access to their chosen field of study and should not be confined to the shelves of academic institutions.

Robert Bartlett
 Ian F W Beckett

About Ian F W Beckett

Professor Ian F W Beckett is Professor of Military History at the University of Kent. He has previously held chairs at the University of Northampton, the US Marine Corps University, Quantico, Virginia, the University of Luton and the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, was Chairman of the Army Records Society and is a Vice-President of the John Hampden Society. His publications include The Great War 1914-18, A Nation in Arms: A Social Study of the British Army in the First World War (co-editor), Ypres: The First Battle 1914 and Britain's Part-time Soldiers.

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