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Military Book List

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Introduction by Norman Cary

As a military historian by training, and a military museum curator by profession for 29 years, it is probably no great surprise that when I got interested in Renaissance faires in my late 40's, my focus, in terms of both activities and costume, was the military history of the era. As I got into it, what I discovered was some significant difficulty in obtaining solid information on this subject because there appeared to be no good selective guide to the available literature, both in print and on the web, concerning 16th century military history. It is only recently (mid-2006) that anything like this, Jeremy Black's War in European History, 1494-1660 (see the Bibliography section below for more information) has appeared, and it, while excellent, is a very broad-brush overview. Of necessity, it leaves out a lot of books that I think ought to be cited in a larger bibliography, and there is not much of the "in-the-weeds" reference material I find useful for my purposes as one interested in material culture. For additional bibliographical information, as well as a good overall survey, also see Cathal J. Nolan's The Age of Wars of Religion, 1000-1650: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare and Civilization. Vols. 1 and 2. (see the General Military History section below). I haven't read this volume as of this date, but the review I saw was outstanding.

I am putting together this document to make it easier for others to find out what they need to know on Renaissance warfare. It is not intended to be a static document, but instead an organic and ever-growing one. As time permits, I intend to annotate all the sources cited, add additional sources, organize and reorganize the document to facilitate its use, and, when possible, refer the reader to outside reviews of the cited publications. I also plan to cite certain general works, mostly on the history of the era, which might help the reader put the military history in broader perspective. As well, there are some general works on military history, as well as books on equipment and technology that are useful for understanding the military material culture of the period. Because of the size of the publication and the web citations, this document will probably be more useful in electronic format. If you get a hard copy and want an electronic one, just send me an E-mail at normtuba@aol.com.

In my experience, it is often hard to understand the way of war in a particular era without understanding something about what came immediately before and immediately after. For that reason, this bibliography includes sections on the warfare of the 17th century (at least for the first three quarters of it) as well as the warfare of the medieval period, especially from 1300 or so.

This is not intended to be a detailed scholarly bibliography or a guide to all the available literature. There are two reasons for that. The first is that my command of any language other than English is mediocre at best. The reader will find little, if any, foreign language literature cited. The second is that this bibliography is designed as a general guide to finding out about late medieval, 16th century, and early 17th century military history, and is directed primarily to the intelligent layman. It is a selective, if extensive, bibliography and a working tool.

Many of the books, articles, and web sites cited I have read, but as time goes on, I am providing more and more evaluations of publications based on the remarks of others. Where I have cited a particular publication and haven't read it, the basis for the citation is noted. Please note that when I say "review provided by" or "information taken from a review by" in this bibliography, I have not read the book myself but am citing information provided by a person who has read and evaluated the book. Quite honestly, in the interests of time and accuracy, I often take verbatim phrases and sentences and paragraphs right out of the reviews. I make no apologies for this; I feel it is, for me, the quickest and easiest way to get the information out there, and I do in every instance credit the source. Where it reads "There is a review of" or "A review may be found in", it indicates that I have read the book and am citing the review should the curious reader want to look at it. At the end of the bibliography, I have a list of books which appear to be relevant, but which I have neither read nor have seen a review on. As further information on these volumes becomes available, I will either add them to the body of the bibliography or take them off the list. There is also a section on books I have decided not to add to the bibliography at this time for various reasons. If you are familiar with any of these volumes, and think they should be included, let me know and I will reconsider.

This is a relatively long bibliography, so I have attempted to subdivide it in a manner that I feel will make it more usable. Below my signature block is a table of contents indicating how the bibliography is organized to help guide the reader. When looking for information on a particular subject or a particular era, please remember that many of the books cited do not fall exclusively into the chronological or topical context of my index; indeed, a great many cross these boundaries extensively. Structure your search for materials accordingly.

The opinions expressed herein are my own, and I am responsible for any perceived shortcomings and/or omissions. If you disagree with anything said here, or have suggestions for improvement or additions, send your comments to me at normtuba@aol.com. While I'm not promising I'll use your suggestions, I will be the first to admit that I am not an acknowledged expert in this era. My purpose is to put out the best bibliography I can, and I have no problem with taking the suggestions of others. If you have anything to say, I'd appreciate your input. If I use your input and credit is appropriate, I will cite the contribution.

If you have a use for this bibliography, or any portion thereof, for any purpose, such as a handout, feel free to use it. If it makes it more useful for your purposes, cut and paste and edit as required. All I ask is that you please credit it appropriately.

Norman Cary Hyattsville, MD

Used by permission

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