[posted by Gavin Robinson, 7:00 am, 13 October 2013]
[Edit May 2016: Peter Gaunt cited this blog post in his review of my book in War in History to show how my thinking had changed, which was nice.]
Over the last three posts, I’ve shown that early modern armies couldn’t move without an adequate cavalry screen, that what was adequate depended on objectives and balance of forces, and that the balance between cavalry in field armies could be affected by small-scale raids. Now I’ll bring it all together, in a post that could be titled ‘how horses won the English Civil War’. (more…)
[posted by Gavin Robinson, 8:10 am, 1 August 2012]
[Edit May 2016: My opinion of my book has changed several times. When I first started on the proposal I thought ‘this is the best thing ever’ but by the time I submitted the whole thing it was more like ‘at least I wrote the correct number of words by the deadline’. As this post suggests, I was quite pleased with it when it came out, although I secretly regretted giving the publisher carte blanche with the cover design. The one in my head is much better but I didn’t want to spend any of my own time or money on it. Before long I went through a phase of thinking the book was terrible and not wanting anyone to read it, but now I’ve come back to being reasonably satisfied with it. It could have been better but it could have been worse. Reviews from people who know that they’re talking about have mostly been favourable. There are enough different things in the book that generous reviewers can easily concentrate on the bits they like and politely ignore the rest. I agree with Stephen Roberts that there isn’t enough about horses in it, and with Peter Gaunt that I tried to do too much and should really have split it into two books, although we don’t quite agree on what those books should have been, and I’ve changed my mind about it myself. My work has now been cited in the Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution which I suppose makes it a small part of the canon and makes me definitely a ‘proper historian’.]
My first (and possibly last) peer-reviewed academic monograph, Horses, People and Parliament in the English Civil War: Extracting Resources and Constructing Allegiance, has now been published by Ashgate. More details of what it’s about below the cut, and there’s also an interesting response at Mercurius Politicus. You can find it at these places, and probably others:
Amazon.ca (hardback only, but cheaper than UK and US prices)
[Edited 5/8/12: previews of the Kindle edition are now available at Amazon in the UK and US and are slightly longer than the PDF preview at Ashgate; also Erik Lund pointed out that the hardback is cheaper in Canada]
I understand that at those prices many people won’t be able to afford it, but if you’re a lecturer, please consider recommending it to your library and using it in your teaching. It has lots of cool ideas and useful facts that would fit into a wide variety of courses:
English Civil War: obviously it would complement any course about the civil wars. Highlights include a critical review of the historiography of allegiance, an important contribution to the debate on why Parliament won, and gender and animal perspectives on the war. It’s broken down into fairly short sections, some of which tell a self-contained story that a session could be structured around (the bits about the Watford petition, the Earl of Carlisle and Henry Marten would be particularly good for this).
Military history: has a lot to say about the resources versus battles debate. The section of the introduction that deals with this is available in the free preview at the Ashgate website.
Women’s and gender history: I’ve tried to integrate women and gender into political and military history. There’s some good stuff about false universals, unequal distribution of property, women’s agency and puritan masculinity.
War and gender: one of the few books that considers the intersections of these two important topics.
Animal studies: it’s all about horses. I’ve argued that horses should be seen as agents in the civil wars, and criticized anthropocentric approaches to allegiance.
Below is a more detailed summary of what it’s all about: