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Warrior Race: The British Experience of War from Roman Times to the Present.

Warrior Race: The British Experience of War from Roman Times to the Present. Lawrence James. Little, Brown and Company. [pounds sterling]25.00. 864 pages. ISBN 0-316-85762-9. Mr James has made a name for himself as an historian on the grand scale with previous books on the Raj and on the Empire. Here he traces the history of the nation at arms and he does so by examining 'some of the myriad individual stories of those who were swept up in the hurly burly of war'. His concern is not just with the Royal Navy, the Army and later the RAF but with the effect of war on life and on the history of what became, in 1801, the United Kingdom. Traditionally the British do not think of themselves as a 'warrior race' -- unlike, say, the Prussians -- and have had hostile attitudes to standing armies, as opposed to the Navy. Periodically governments, as today, run down the 'military' only to discover that in a few years they need it desperately. The author has a healthy disregard of generalisation and about 'imposing neat pat terns'. He accepts that history 'concerns individuals who are so often irrational, untidy and unpredictable'. He has produced a book that is less a history of the country's armed forces and more a social history of war and its effect on British history.
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2002
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