Two distinguished historians tell the story of the early modern soldier of Europe, a figure often misunderstood, in the period spanning from 1494 to 1789. He is the freebooting Landsknecht of the sixteenth century, swaggering in dilapidated finery through the ruins he and his kind created. He is the mercenary of the Thirty Years War in the seventeenth century, rootless and masterless, brutalizing civilians for a few coins, destroying civilization's works for the pleasure of it. He is the uniformed automaton of the eighteenth century, initiative beaten out of him, fit to do no more than endure battles and floggings until he pitched into an anonymous grave.
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The colorful beginnings of the modern Western soldier are told: his evolution from mercenary to professional, the weapons he carried, the way he fought, and how he lived, from the late fifteenth century and the introduction of gunpowder in battle to the start of the Age of Revolution.About the Author:
Dennis Showalter is Professor of History at The Colorado College and has been Mc Dermott Chair at the U. S. Military Academy, as well as a Distinguished Visiting Professor there and at the U.S. Air Force Academy and H.L. Oppenheimer Professor at the Marine Corps University. Among his publications are History in Dispute: World War I (2002) and History in Dispute: The Second World War (2000), The Wars of Frederick the Great (1996), and Tannenberg: Clash of Empires (1990).
William J. Astore is Associate Provost and Dean of Students, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center. With Dennis Showalter, he is the co-author of Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism (forthcoming).
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