Throughout the book a key theme is order and control. How did a small number of officers exercise authority over large numbers of common soldiers? Traditionally the answer has focused on the role of a draconian system of corporal and capital punishment – by extensive use of the lash and the rope. Yet no institution can function through fear alone and he shows that the obedience of its common soldiers had to be negotiated by their officers who were very aware of their men’s sense of their entitlements, and their conception of military service as contractual.
By uncovering the mental world of both officers and common soldiers, Stephen Conway offers a very different view of how the British army operated between the Hanoverian succession and the end of the War of American Independence. His work will be fascinating reading for all students of British military history.
"Overall, this book is an enormous accomplishment. Conway’s focus on the army as an institution offers valuable insights into the norms and ethos structuring the organization’s daily operations. Professional historians, students, and general readers interested in military history will find something profitable in these pages." ~Journal of Military History
“This is an essential read for anyone studying the Revolutionary War and for anyone with an interest in Eighteenth century military practice.” ~The NYMAS Review