Engineering Efficiency and Martial Vigor in the War of the Spanish Succession: 2009 Distinguished Book Award
Author: Jamel Ostwald
Vauban under Siege is the first systematic comparison of the theory of Vaubanian siegecraft with its reality. It places Vauban’s siege accomplishments back into their broader context, highlighting his continuation of the quest for ever-greater efficiency pursued by a century of military engineers. Based on a comprehensive inventory of sieges in the War of the Spanish Succession, it describes how both French and Allied military officers rejected this efficiency paradigm and embraced instead vigorous brute force tactics. Ignoring their over-worked and under-compensated engineers at key points, generals chose to save precious campaign time by sacrificing their soldiers’ lives in siege after siege. This early modern cult of the offensive has influenced the Western way of war ever since. Winner of the
2009 Distinguished Book Award of the Society for Military History.
In: The World of the Siege
Representations of Early Modern Positional Warfare
Volume Editors: Anke Fischer-Kattner and Jamel Ostwald
The World of the Siege examines relations between the conduct and representations of early modern sieges. The volume offers case studies from various regions in Europe (England, France, the Low Countries, Germany, the Balkans) and throughout the world (the Chinese, Ottoman and Mughal Empires), from the 15th century into the 18th. The international contributors analyse how siege narratives were created and disseminated, and how early modern actors as well as later historians made sense of these violent events in both textual and visual artefacts. . The volume's chronological and geographical breadth provides insight into similarities and differences of siege warfare and military culture across several cultures, countries and centuries, as well as its impact on both combatants and observers.