Published: 22nd May 2011
:: Britain's Part-time Soldiers ::
The Amateur Military Tradition 1558-1945
Professor Ian Beckett
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From Pen & Sword Books
Britain's Part-time Soldiers presents a meticulously researched account of Britain's amateur military service. It is fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in British military or social history.
In this classic study, first published 20 years ago, Ian Beckett gives a comprehensive and scholarly overview of the development of the amateur military tradition in Britain from the mid-sixteenth century to the present day. He shows how standing armies in Britain have been viewed with distrust and how the preference for amateur and temporary soldiers has heightened the importance of the auxiliary forces in defence against both foreign invasion and domestic disorder.
The story of the auxiliary forces is traced from the early evolution of a national militia through to the more systematic organization of the local auxiliaries. Close attention is given to the development of such forces as the militia, yeomanry, volunteers, territorials and home guard. Ian Beckett describes the continuity between these forces and the important role they played in local society, highlighting not only their military purpose, but also their function as tools of social control and law-keeping.
Professor Ian W. Beckett is Visiting Professor of Military History at the University of Kent. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Chairman of the Army Records Society.
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