If you’ve been to my website before you probably know that I’m fascinated with Elizabethan Ireland. Some people who fixate about this era usually focus on the intrigue of her court, or the characters that populated her court. People like Sir Nicholas Hilliard the miniature painter, or Sir Francis Walsingham, Europe’s first international spy master. Well, my thing is Elizabethan Ireland. I am absolutely fascinated with it. In fact, I wrote a piece of fiction about Elizabeth’s Ireland called The Gallowglass. (It’ll release this summer!)
While I was completing research about the book a friend of mine told about Elizabeth’s Army by C.G. Cruickshank. Now I am pretty familiar with how Renaissance armies were organized and run, but this book opened my eyes to the unique problems of putting together an army in an era when standing armies were actively frowned upon.
C.G Cruickshank seems to have been a military historian working and living in Britain from the end of World War II to the 1980s. He has several books out but they’re all out of print. But I was really impressed with Elizabeth’s Army. It is a detailed breakdown about how the English army was recruited, organized, trained, transported, fought, and paid. It’s an old fashioned history book that isn’t trying to make a social or political point. It’s only trying to explain – with great detail – how the army existed.
He also details where the army went and fought. Places like the Netherlands and Scotland I knew about. I did not know that they actually fought in Spain, too. The author is also effective painting the political picture of each engagement, like the motivation of their commanders and the political consequences to Queen Elizabeth for their successes and failures.
There are only two problems with the book. Problem one has to do with the time when it was written. Its original publication date was 1946. A second edition was released in 1966. So the writing can be ponderous at times. You’ll have to be patient with the book as the author is drawing his conclusion.
Problem two is that the book is out of print. If you want a copy, you’ll have to find one from a book seller. I found one a 2nd edition copy on Amazon. While the book is in pretty good shape, my copy has a couple of odd paint drops on the cover.
So if you’re an Elizabethan England nut like I am, or you’re an Elizabethan re-enactor, or you play a theme character at your local renaissance festival, I strongly suggest you get this book. It’s that good.
Oh, when you’re searching for this book just use the author and the title. My copy is sold old it doesn’t have an ISBN number assigned to it!
4 out of 5 stars!