Redcoat – Richard Holmes

Subtitled ‘The British Soldier in the Age of Horse and Musket’. An interesting read. It would seem that the basis of the modern army was laid down a long time ago. Lots of detail about how things were organised, the equipment used and life in the army. My one complaint is that the author claimed early on that he was going to concentrate on the ordinary soldier rather than the officer. He does give an airing to a handful of soldiers but on the whole he has fallen back on officers’ views of their soldiers or just concentrated on officers alone. I can understand it as officers are more likely to have written their experiences down, but he did say he wanted the soldiers’ perspective. Aside from that niggle, it has been a good read. I knew things were tough, but never that tough, nor did I realise that drink played such a part, not so much an army as a mob looking for the means of its next drink. Interesting…

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