Book Review: The Victorians at War


by Ian Beckett

New York/London: Hambldon Continuum, 2006. Pp. xv, 272. Illus., notes, biblio., index. $29.95 paper. ISBN:1576079252

The Victorians at War takes a look at the British Army from the first third of the nineteenth century through the very early twentieth, taking it from its roots as a semi-amateur force still anchored in the glories of the Napoleonic age to the modern army on the eve of the First World War.

Prof. Beckett, a specialist in the Great War, approaches the professionalization of the British Army by focusing on the works and deeds of a number of officers and even a few civilians. Most of these people are today largely forgotten -- Cardwell, Roberts, Elphinstone, Cough, Buller, Childers -- but in their day, whether by brilliance or their ineptitude, they pushed the British Army forward to become a more professional, technically sophisticated force.

Although there is some neglect of operations, The Victorians at War provides good read for anyone interested in the British Army, its "little wars," and, of course, the Great War.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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