The Twilight Of A Military Tradition: Italian Aristocrats And European Conflicts, 1560-1800

Routledge
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First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Feb 22, 2008
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781135361426
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Language
English
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Genres
History / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Early-modern Venice is predominantly remembered as a maritime power, yet historians have become increasingly interested in its political and military aspirations within the Italian mainland. Adding to the growing literature on this subject, Giulio Ongaro’s book addresses the practical management of the Venetian military apparatus in this period. Focusing on two provinces - Vicenza and Brescia - he interrogates a broad spectrum of primary source documents produced by these rural communities that illuminate Venetian military activities between the mid-sixteenth century and the end of the War of Candia in 1670. From the production of the saltpeter, the construction of the fortresses, the supplying and the training of the rural militia and the quartering of troops, this book shows how essential military activities were managed and overseen at the local level.

In so doing, it demonstrates how local autonomy over the management of Venetian military apparatus - particularly from an economic point of view - did not necessarily conflict with wider, ongoing processes of state building or moves towards the centralization of particular public functions. Indeed the state appeared to encourage local élites (initially urban, then rural) to take a leading role in overseeing the localised management of military tasks. The result was a system that both supported the resilience of the local economy (both public and private), and which strengthened and improved the Republic's military assets, allowing it to remain the only Italian state free from the domination of European monarchies.

The Hero of Italy examines a salient episode in Italy's Thirty Years' War with Spain and France, whereby the young duke Odoardo Farnese of Parma embraced the French alliance, only to experience defeat and occupation after two tumultuous years (1635-1637). Gregory Hanlon stresses the narrative of events unfolding in northern Italy, examining the participation of the little state in these epic European events. The first chapter describes the constitution of Cardinal Richelieu's anti-Habsburg alliance and Odoardo's eagerness to be part of it. A chapter on the Parman professional army, based on an extraordinary collection of company roster-books, sheds light on the identity of over 13,000 individuals, soldier by soldier, the origin and background of their officers, the conditions of their lodgings, and the good state of their equipment. Chapter three follows the first campaign of 1635 alongside French and Savoyard contingents at the failed siege of Valenza, and the logistical difficulties of organizing such large-scale operations. Another chapter examines the financial expedients the duchy adopted to fend off incursions on all its borders in 1636, and how militia contingents on both sides were drawn into the fighting. A final chapter relates the Spanish invasion and occupation which forced duke Odoardo to make a separate peace. The volume includes a detailed assessment of the impact of war on civilians based on parish registers for city and country. The application of the laws of war was largely nullified by widespread starvation, disease and routine sex-selective infanticide. These quantitative analyses, supported by maps and tables, are among the most detailed anywhere in Europe in the era of the Thirty Years' War.
Italy 1636 is one of the most closely-researched and detailed books on the operation of early modern armies anywhere, and is explicitly inspired by neo-Darwinian thinking. Taking the French and Savoyard invasion of Spanish Lombardy in 1636 as its specific example, it begins with the recruitment of the soldiers, the care and feeding of the armies and their horses, the impact of the invasion on civilians in the path of their advance, and the manner in which generals conducted their campaign in response to the information at their disposal. The next section describes the unfolding of the long and stubborn battle of Tornavento, where Spanish, German, and Italian soldiers stormed the French in their entrenchments, detailing the tactics of both the infantry and the cavalry, and re-evaluating the effectiveness of Spanish methods in the 1630s. The account focuses on the motivations of soldiers to fight, and how they reacted to the stress of combat. Gregory Hanlon arrives at surprising conclusions on the conditions under which they were ready to kill their adversaries, and when they were content to intimidate them into retiring. The volume concludes by examining the penchant for looting of the soldiery in the aftermath of battle, the methods of treating wounded soldiers in the Milan hospital, the horrific consequences of hygienic breakdown in the French camp, and the strategic failure of the invasion in the aftermath of battle. This in turn underscores the surprising resilience of Spanish policies and Spanish arms in Europe. In describing with painstaking detail the invasion of 1636, Hanlon explores the universal features of human behaviour and psychology as they relate to violence and war.
Twenty-five years after its initial publication, The Making of the Atomic Bomb remains the definitive history of nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project. From the turn-of-the-century discovery of nuclear energy to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan, Richard Rhodes’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book details the science, the people, and the socio-political realities that led to the development of the atomic bomb.

This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence.

From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bomb provides a panoramic backdrop for that story.

Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.
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