09.01.12, Rogers, Soldiers' Lives

Main Article Content

Donald J. Kagay

The Medieval Review baj9928.0901.012


Rogers, Clifford J.. Soldiers' Lives Through History: The Middle Ages. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2007. Pp. xxxii, 298. ISBN: 978-0-313-33350-7.

Reviewed by:
Donald J. Kagay
Albany State University

In light of the historiographical trend of the last few decades that has led research away from political and economic studies and toward the chronicling of marginalized groups and individuals, it is astounding to note that during this same time frame military history, once the unfettered preserve of retired campaigners, has expanded almost as greatly as social history. Greenwood Press is to be congratulated for supporting this development with the publication of a series of monographs focusing on the lives of soldiers from ancient times to the nineteenth century. For students of medieval warfare (a field that has grown exceedingly crowded in the past few years), Clifford J. Rogers's volume in this series is a very welcome addition. An expert in the campaigns of Edward III (1327-1377) and the amazingly varied military arenas of the Hundred Years War, Rogers in this work shows his wide erudition in all phases of warfare across all the medieval centuries.

Following the changes in military affairs from the fall of Rome (476) to that of Constantinope (1453), Rogers in this work peers into the lives of individual soldiers through the martial environments in which they lived. By using primary source material of many eras and locales and tying it together with the intelligent use of modern secondary works, he follows armies from their societal basis to their various means of recruitment and encampment to the various engagements they participated in including sieges, battles, and widespread raids and devastation and finally to the aftermath of their military service. Though not concentrating on any one medieval soldier, Rogers takes the reader through the lives of several important military leaders before providing an interesting vignette of the late-medieval warrior, Sir Thomas Grey of Heton.

For both military and social historians, Rogers's work is a very valuable contribution that stands as a worthy companion to the studies of Philippe Contamine, Helen Nicholson, and Michael Prestwich. His range of scholarly vision beyond the medieval heartlands of England and France will make this work doubly valuable to historians of southern and eastern Europe. From its fine organization, content, and style, Rogers's book will continue military history's contemporary trend of pushing its way from the fringes to the very forefront of Clio's realm.

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Author Biography

Donald J. Kagay

Albany State University