Edward M. Spiers

in The Victorian Soldier in Africa

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780719061219
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700556 | DOI:

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This chapter focuses on the understanding of the late Victorian army that has benefited from a diverse and burgeoning array of scholarship. There are major works on civil–military relations, the army and society, army reform, and imperial defense, buttressed by biographies of senior commanders, studies of war correspondents and the role of the army in imperial propaganda. The late Frank Emery revealed that Victorian soldiers had written numerous letters from earlier campaigns. Letter-writing was not an exclusive preserve of regimental officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and private soldiers wrote many shrewd and observant commentaries. Emery spread his work over much of the Victorian period, including odd letters from the Crimea, India and Afghanistan, and so covered several campaigns in a perfunctory manner. More recent writing indicates that there is an abundance of material to sustain more focused research and writing on particular campaigns. From the Egyptian campaign onwards, the military authorities moved beyond exhortation and censored telegrams from the front.

Keywords: Victorian army; civil–military relations; late Victorian period; Egyptian campaign; military authorities; Frank Emery

Chapter.  9173 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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