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During the civil wars that rent England apart in the years 1642-51, there was in print only one English-language manual on the organization of the cavalry, and this is that book. Employed by Parliamentarians and Royalists alike, John Cruso's Militarie Instructions for the Cavallrie - published in 1632 - is both a crucial historical document and a valuable repository of tactical good sense. As Cruso writes in his address to the reader, 'Of making many books there is no end, said the wise king, many ages past; yet for some arts and faculties, I suppose (even in this printing age of ours) we may complain of scarcitie. For among so many authors ancient and modern, which have written of the Art Militarie, is it not strange that hardly any hath fully handled that which concerneth the Cavallrie?' In redressing this absence, Cruso's guide extends to every conceivable aspect of cavalry management, be it the most efficient way to assail a quarter - 'charge him on the reare or on the flanks: if there be any negligence in the quarter, it is likely to be on those parts' - or the nature of officers: 'Men would be Captains before they be souldiers. And hereof the chief cause is ignorance, the fruitfull mother of all errours.' Illuminating the text are twenty pages of detailed contemporary line drawings, which give a fascinating insight into seventeenth-century arms and formations. Militarie Instructions is a milestone in the development of cavalry tactics. Moreover, it is a highly informative and entertaining work through which the engaging personality of the author shines through.
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