Charlemagne’s Early Campaigns (768-777): A Diplomatic and Military Analysis, by Bernard S. Bachrach
I requested this book some time ago to review from the De Re Militari, and apparently the book got lost among the shuffle (being a prolific reader and collector of books , I can definitely understand how that may happen). Having read about Charlemagne recently , and being a general student of how the Saxons adapted to Christianity , it looks like this book is more about the military and diplomatic historical context of the combative early part of the reign of Charlemagne. The book is about 650 pages long of text, which promises to be a somewhat long read, and also a detailed one. Given its period of about 9 years and the fact that it includes chapters on wars in both Italy and Saxony, along with an opening chapter dealing with the period when Charlemagne ruled with his brother Carloman in part of the Frankish kingdom’s rather typical form of divided monarchy (a failed system of leadership they inherited from the Merovingians before them), and its length, it would appear that this is going to be an extremely detailed work.
As I have not yet begun to read the book yet, I cannot comment on its contents, except to say that as the 82nd volume of the History of Warfare series by Brill, it looks like a well-researched work that promises to be of interest to those who are academic students of warfare with an interest in diplomatic history. As that fits me (although perhaps not necessarily a wide audience), I think it will be well worth the read, given that I have three months to review it according to the procedures of the De Re Militari. It should be noted, in the interests of fairness, that although Charlemagne was certainly a warlike person, he did not seek all of the wars that he ended up in. Sometimes people just keep fighting and fighting and don’t know how to stop. It is not as if the early Medieval world was a place where peaceful leaders were secure, though. In such circumstances as those he found himself in, those who were strong preyed on those who could not defend themselves. It was a brutal age, to be sure, and Charlemagne was a man of his times, without a doubt.