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Holmes' Redcoats

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  • Adam Lynde
    A little while ago, attention was drawn to Richard Holmes new book, REDCOATS. I find it interesting that not one of the key regiments that served in Canada
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 25 8:25 AM
      A little while ago, attention was drawn to Richard Holmes' new book, REDCOATS. I find it interesting that not one of the "key" regiments that served in Canada during the War of 1812 is listed in the index (41st, 49th, 8th, etc.) --- an even more interesting omission, as the book covers the period from the early 18th century to the late 19th, and clearly these regiments were rather busy during this time, and in places other than Canada. Isaac Brock is not listed in the index, nor Prevost. Holmes is a very good writer, but one who has the limitations of other journalist-historians such as John Keegan. His sources are almost entirely printed texts, with nothing from collections of original documents. He writes very well, but for anyone already familiar with the literature of the period (and especially the first hand accounts of the Peninsular War, such as those by Gleig and Harris, or other sources such as Thomas Morris), there really isn't much that is new here. His choice of sources necessarily limits him to what is available in British libraries, and it is evident that the little fight on our side of the pond takes up very little shelf space in the Mother Country.

      My suggestion: get somebody to buy it for you for Christmas, rather than waste your one hard earned shillings on it.

      Adam Lynde


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Raymond Hobbs
      Adam et list: I am surprised to see this post. Some corrections [1] Holmes is not a journalist-historian but in fact was a serving Brigadier General in the
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 26 12:50 AM
        Adam et list:
        I am surprised to see this post. Some corrections [1] Holmes is not
        a "journalist-historian" but in fact was a serving Brigadier General in
        the British Army with overall responsibility for the Teritorials, has
        post-graduate degrees in history and was for many years Director of
        Studies at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He is currently
        professor of Military and Intelligence Studies at Cranfield University,
        UK, and has recently eceived the OBE for his services to history. He is
        a fully paid up member of that despised profession (as am I) of academic
        historians. He has, to date, twenty fine books to his credit.
        [2] The claim that he does not use primary sources is ludicrous. I have
        visited his home on several occasions and have been impressed by the
        piles of such sources littering his desk which he and his 'assistant'
        (wife, Liz) have poured over late into the night. He has the finest
        collection of private transcribed private diaries I have seen, and is in
        fact a stickler for the use of such sources. [3] I agree that the
        Canadian scene is virtually ignored in the book, although Richard is far
        from ignorant of the conflict and has a good collection of material on
        it. Rest assured, he and I have had several conversations on this topic
        and he is well aware of the War of 1812.
        Whatever the merits or demerits of the book under discussion, lack of
        primary research cannot be one of them.
        I hope this clears a few things up.
        Sincerely
        Ray Hobbs
        (In another life - Historian)
        41st Regt. of Foot


        Adam Lynde wrote:

        > A little while ago, attention was drawn to Richard Holmes' new book,
        > REDCOATS. I find it interesting that not one of the "key" regiments
        > that served in Canada during the War of 1812 is listed in the index
        > (41st, 49th, 8th, etc.) --- an even more interesting omission, as the
        > book covers the period from the early 18th century to the late 19th,
        > and clearly these regiments were rather busy during this time, and in
        > places other than Canada. Isaac Brock is not listed in the index, nor
        > Prevost. Holmes is a very good writer, but one who has the
        > limitations of other journalist-historians such as John Keegan. His
        > sources are almost entirely printed texts, with nothing from
        > collections of original documents. He writes very well, but for
        > anyone already familiar with the literature of the period (and
        > especially the first hand accounts of the Peninsular War, such as
        > those by Gleig and Harris, or other sources such as Thomas Morris),
        > there really isn't much that is new here. His choice of sources
        > necessarily limits him to what is available in British libraries, and
        > it is evident that the little fight on our side of the pond takes up
        > very little shelf space in the Mother Country.
        >
        > My suggestion: get somebody to buy it for you for Christmas, rather
        > than waste your one hard earned shillings on it.
        >
        > Adam Lynde
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        > The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds
        > of square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of
        > THOUSANDS of square miles...
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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