Book review: Wars and soldiers in the early reign of Louis XIV : Bruno Mugnai

This first volume of a series is another example of the gusto with which Helion's Century of the Soldier series managing editor is attacking his subject. A decade ago finding books like this was like looking for hen's teeth, these days Charles Singleton is issuing them like the belt feed of an MG42.

It's a weighty tome with more than 250 pages and a broad spread of content from period background through organiztional history, uniforms, campaigns, standards, orders of battle and many illustrations.

The period plates are chosen well and there are several modern and excellent black and white line drawings. Bruno Mugnai's text is crisp and to the point and the centrepiece of the book is sixteen pages of colour plates of the Dutch army and its flags from 1660 - 1687 by the author.

This period is directly before the Nine Years War and includes the Dutch Wars. I was particularly interested in the plates as the representation of Dutch Marines of 1667 (the year of their formation) is excellent if open to interpretation.

A sample plate from the book

This is an excellent book from a variety of perspectives - the text is informative it may break new ground in key areas and most significantly, it brings together in one place important and useful data. The illustrations are fantastic - clean, detailed  and clear. Bruno's artwork is extremely elegant and places him together with his other fine output at the forefront of uniform plate work for the 17th and 18th centuries. The book is well laid out, reassuringly substantial in heft and feels like it is an important
work. I commend it to those interested in Louis XIV's very important adversary - The Dutch Republic