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Response to Review of Saltpeter: The Mother of Gunpowder

Dan Spencer rightly recognises my debt to specialist scholars in my attempt to integrate social, legal, political, scientific, intellectual and military histories through the quest for saltpeter. As he observes, this is not a study of warfare, though it alludes several time to battlefield consumption of gunpowder. What began as a study of ‘vexation’ under Charles I grew in intriguing directions and may pose more questions than answers. There may be many ways to examine the social, legal and political consequences of the security demands of the state.