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The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667 - 1714

Posted By: insetes
The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667 - 1714

The Wars of Louis XIV, 1667 - 1714 By John A. Lynn
1999 | 431 Pages | ISBN: 0582056292 | PDF | 22 MB


Warfare dominated the long reign of Louis XIV. From 1672, France was continuously at war for over 40 years across Europe, from Sicily to Ireland, fielding the largest armies seen in the West since the fall of imperial Rome. Yet these conflicts - which shaped borders, determined lives, and settled crowns, and tell us so much about the great monarch's government and policies - have been strangely neglected by historians: this book is, astonishingly, the first comprehensive study in any language since the eighteenth century.John A. Lynn (the leading authority on the subject today) examines these wars together, systematically. He sets them - and their consequences - in their full diplomatic, military, administrative, and institutional contexts. He explains why they took place when and where they did; he looks for a coherent strategic policy behind them: he explores the operational logistics of their campaigns; and he considers what they achieved, and what they cost.The results are challenging: John Lynn portrays the mature Louis as far more concerned with defending his realm than he was with conquest. And, although the enormous cost of the wars shadowed the king's last years, Professor Lynn sees their achievements as more positive and enduring than is usually allowed.To the king, warfare was a process of attrition rather than a series of decisive and hence risky, events. As the number and strength of his foes increased, Louis created an army far larger than that maintained by any previous French monarch. So great was the need for troops that he finally sacrificed his navy to concentrate his resources on his land forces. John Lynn characterizes this kind of warfare (which predominated in Europe since the end of the Thirty Years War to the onset of the French Revolution) as "war-as-process"; and he argues that, while it did not win Napoleonic-style battlefield triumphs, it was consistent with the International system of the day, and offered strategic advantages and lasting gains in a way that modern historians have been reluctant to acknowledge.Written with all Professor Lynn's customary panache, this ambitious study offers a powerful central argument, an exhilarating breadth of vision, and a wealth of local detail. It will be necessary reading for specialists in the international relations of early-modern Europe, in the history and dynamics of ancien-regime warfare, and in French politics and institutions. But - as it sweeps us from Turenne and Vauban to Marlborough and Eugene - it is also a hugely enjoyable ride for those who take their history for pleasure and interest alone.