As even the most casual observer of the British historical scene must know, the 'agricultural revolution' has proved both elusive and highly contentious. French 'immobilism', on the other hand, has become something of a commonplace, although explanations for this supposed failure are less consensual. Philip Hoffman's very welcome new book has two overriding merits.
The arrival of this new synthesis provides an occasion for Elizabethan military historians to reflect how far this field has come in the past twenty years, as has the whole field of early modern military history.
This book is the result of a bold and innovative research project funded between 1999 and 2002 by the then Arts and Humanities Research Board, with further funds provided subsequently by a number of scholarly institutions. The preface further acknowledges the support of a glittering array of scholars, not least Geoffrey Parker who read through the entire draft.
The 18th century is still the least popular among Ottoman historians. Recently, with the influential counter-narrative of Ottoman decline and the coining of a new term—the 'Second Ottoman Empire'—by Baki Tezcan, our understanding of periodization in Ottoman history has changed. It is now recognized that there was no golden age followed by centuries of decline.