Friday, August 6, 2010

Book Review - The Art of War in Italy, 1494-1529

Over the past couple of weeks, I have read the book The Art of War in Italy, 1494-1529 by F. L. Taylor. I have the Classic Reprint Series edition by Forgotten Books, published in 2009, which is a facsimile reprint of a work originally published in 1921.

As I have noted in a prior post, I have a growing interest in this period, but know very little about it. With that in mind, I need to find some books to read through to expand my very limited knowledge. This seemed like a reasonable place to start, as I have seen this book mentioned elsewhere. Overall, I think it served as a useful overview of warfare in the period, and did a pretty good job of describing the changing roles of infantry, cavalry and artillery, especially with respect to the ways in which the French, Italians, Germans and Spanish took different approaches to things. Varying strategies and tactics of the various nationalities were reviewed, and a number of different battles were summarized. As a follow on to my very limited readings to date (Osprey Campaign series books on Fornovo and Pavia and their Landsknecht books, as well as Arnold's Renaissance Warfare book), I thought this was a good next step.

The one thing that concerns me a little bit about this book, and only time and further reading will tell, is that my lack of knowledge prevents me from knowing whether the fact that this book is 90 years old has rendered its interpretations and conclusions flawed or out-of-date. Perhaps modern scholarship has invalidated some of what Taylor lays out in this book; at this point I have no way of knowing whether that is true. I guess there is only one way to find out - read more!

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