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Books and the British Army in the Age of the American Revolution

Ira D. Gruber

Publication Year: 2010

This manuscript is an outgrowth of a presentation Gruber made to the Society of the Cincinnati (as part of the Society’s George Rogers Clark Lecture series) in 2002. It is a hybrid reference book and monograph. The work consists of a substantial introduction, a bibliography of books the officers preferred, a bibliography of books on war that do not appear in any of the inventories (termed books not taken), a set of biographies of the 42 officers on which the study rests, and various appendixes and tables that back up the earlier material.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents/Maps and Illustrations

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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xiii

This is a book about books—the books that shaped the British army in the age of the American Revolution. Although historians have understood that books were important to the eighteenth-century British army and its officer corps, they have never studied comprehensively the books on war that...

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INTRODUCTION: A French Connection

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pp. 3-63

Books were essential to the eighteenth-century British army and its officer corps. Successive governments relied on books to set standards for the army: to define the obligations of officers in serving their king and country; to prepare officers to lead the combat arms, particularly the artillery and engineers...

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PART I: Officers and Their Books

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pp. 65-135

The following sketches analyze the careers and libraries of forty-two eighteenth-century British army officers whose preferences for books on war have formed the basis for this study. These officers have not been chosen at random and cannot be considered representative of eighteenth-century...

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PART II: Books Preferred

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pp. 137-233

British army officers who served in the age of the American Revolution had literally hundreds of books on war to choose among: histories of campaigns and battles, treatises on engineering and artillery, reflections on the art of war, and works from the ancient world as well as specialized, contemporary...

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PART III: Books Not Taken

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pp. 235-266

There were many books on war available in eighteenthcentury Britain that did not appear in our officers’ records. Our officers very likely relied on some of the books that escaped their lists, inventories, and catalogues. We cannot be sure which titles they deliberately ignored and which titles...


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pp. 267-307

Bibliography of Manuscripts, Catalogues, and Scholarly Works

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pp. 309-320


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pp. 321-325

E-ISBN-13: 9781469603933
E-ISBN-10: 1469603934
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807833780
Print-ISBN-10: 0807833789

Page Count: 344
Illustrations: 9 illus., 1 map, 16 tables
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 676697361
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Books and the British Army in the Age of the American Revolution

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Great Britain. Army -- Officers -- Books and reading.
  • Great Britain. Army -- Officers -- History -- 18th century.
  • Books and reading -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
  • United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- British forces.
  • Military art and science -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century.
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