Review by Martin Koenigsberg
Just finished my 10th Book Review of the Year!!
Right around the same time as the American Civil War, another large modern state was uniting through warfare. In Italy, Mazzini, Cavour, and Garibaldi were uniting a nation-state that had not been one polity since the Roman Empire. Ron Field, an expert and writer on 19th Century warfare turns the Osprey touch to the life and military accomplishments of Guiseppe Garibaldi, the military adventurer part of the triad. With great color plates by Peter Dennis, and the usual plethora of pictures, graphs, and maps we get the story of a succession of wars, all in a short space between 1855 and 1865. Garibaldi, leading a series of forces usually dressed in the red of revolution, and often called the “Thousand”- whether 500 or over 10k actual members, moved from one battle to the next, often managing to commit the right reserves at the right moment to achieve costly victories. Big battles or small skirmishes- the essential dynamism of the man jumps off the page. Garibaldi was a political and military force. Field shows how his brilliance had limits in both spheres and how Mazzini and Cavour were instrumental in directing the energy where they thought it was needed most. He is a paradox in many ways, a revolutionary who created a kingdom, as Italy united under King Piedmont Sardinia. A Mason who cooperated with Catholics. The story of Italian unification, the Risorgimento, is fascinating and will be interesting for Military history buffs and more general readers. All the adult themes are political and nationalist here, and there are few graphic injury passages, so this is a good book for a Junior Reader over 11/12 years old with an interest in history. This is a real treasure trove for the Gamer/Modeler/Military Enthusiast. The gamer gets several scenarios, along with basic orders of battle- I just took pictures of a conventional game of one of the battles and it was impressive. This is where an ACW Gamer can use all those extra figures they might have as the Italians, like the American North and South, were riffing off French Uniforms at the time and feature tunics and Kepis. The Modeler will get several build and diorama ideas, but will probably need another color reference. The Military Enthusiast is the biggest winner, as a series of rather complex wars/political crises are explained in a simple expository style, showing both the brilliance of Garibaldi and his shortcomings compellingly. Whether you intend to travel to Italy more and want to know its history, or you just like learning about the 19th Century, this is a good book to read.
#WhatAreYouReading #BookReviews #19thCenturyHistory #MilitaryHistory #ItalianHistory #Risorgimento #SicilianHistory #RomanHistory #PiedmonteseHistory #AustrianHistory #FrenchHistoire #ItalianUnification #Nationalism #WargameResearch #Garibaldi #LeadershipStrategyConflict #RonField #CommandSeries14 #OspreyPublishing #Cavour #Mazzini #VictorEmmanuelII #Milazzo #Volturno #BlackPowder #SharpePractice #19CenturyWargames