England's Colonial Wars 1550-1688
Conflicts, Empire & National Identity

By Bruce P. Lenman
December 2000
Pearson Education
ISBN: 0582062969
320 pages
$62.50 Paper Original


Bruce Lenman's hugely ambitious study explores three interacting themes: the growth of England's sprawling colonial empire; its military dimension; and the impact of colonial warfare on national identity. He starts in Ireland, with the renewed assault of English settlers on the Irish Gaeltacht. Under the (Scottish) Stuarts, England then began a dramatic expansion across the North Atlantic.

In America, the 'Indian Wars', fought with minimal Crown support, helped forge an independent military capability among the colonists; while, in the West Indies, slave numbers and French intervention forced English settlers into a new dependency on the Crown. In India, the East India Company achieved ascendancy by sepoy armies under British control. These were very different kinds of empire; and a showdown became inevitable. The climactic conflict, the American Revolution, would not only dictate the future shape of colonial expansion, but also decisively reshaped the identities of all the participants.

'.. deserves attention, not least because it brings military history back into the mainstream and demonstrates the centrality of conquest to the development of western Europe...' Trevor Royle, Sunday Herald 'vigorously iconoclastic...It is hard to imagine any reader who will not find his or her views challenged by Lenman's robust and splendidly unpredictable views' Professor Peter Marshall, Reviews in History 'Lenman has not only written an excellent survey of eighteenth century colonial wars, he has shown how this subject can be tackled' George Boyce, University of Wales, Swansea, H-Net Reviews

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