Cover image for Firearms : a global history to 1700
Title:
Firearms : a global history to 1700
Author:
Chase, Kenneth Warren.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
xvii, 290 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Subject Term:
ISBN:
9780521822749
Format :
Book

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Material Type
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Status
Central Library UD390 .C43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This book is a history of firearms across the world from the 1100s up to the 1700s, from their invention in China to the time when European firearms had become clearly superior. It asks why it was the Europeans who perfected firearms when it was the Chinese who had invented them, and answers this question by looking at how firearms were used throughout the world. Early firearms were restricted to infantry and siege warfare, limiting their use outside of Europe and Japan. Steppe and desert nomads imposed a different style of warfare on the Middle East, India, and China - a style with which firearms were incompatible. By the time that better firearms allowed these regions to turn the tables on the nomads, Japan's self-imposed isolation left Europe with no rival in firearms design, production, or use, with consequences that are still with us today.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although firearms were invented in China and avidly taken up by the Ottoman Empire and other states, by 1700, European guns were the best in the world. This salient aspect of Western military superiority-perhaps the most important development in modern history-receives an insightful new analysis in this cogent study. Chase, a lawyer with a Ph.D. in East Asian languages and civilizations, considers, and rejects, arguments for Europe's exceptional technological, cultural or political advantages, focusing instead on specific military constraints faced by Old World civilizations in the early modern era. Non-European states, he argues, were preoccupied with raising cavalry forces to defend against fast-moving mounted steppe nomads, a context in which early firearms-heavy, slow-firing, inaccurate and unmanageable on horseback-were all but useless. In Western Europe, by contrast, battles revolved around walled fortresses (which were stable enough platforms to make use of primitive cannon and handguns), and were fought by infantrymen (who were big and slow enough targets to be hit by them). The greater utility of guns in Europe, the author contends, favored their widespread adoption and rapid improvement, which in turn stimulated revolutionary innovations in military organization and drill in European armies. Chase weaves a wealth of information on firearms technology into a lucid description of the interplay of geographical, logistic and economic factors in the warfare of the period, paying special attention to oft-neglected developments in Asia. His immersion in the details enlivens rather than bogs down his arguments, and the result is a well-written and compelling reinterpretation of a watershed in military history. B&w illustrations, maps. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.


Table of Contents

Introduction
The Oikoumene
The Steppe
The Desert
Logistics
Cavalry
Firearms
China to 1500: The invention of firearms
The rise of the Ming
The Ming military
The Hongwu campaigns
The Yongle campaigns
Vietnam
The South Seas
Tumu
Europe: The introduction of firearms
Sieges and battles
Geography
Guns and horses
Guns and ships
Guns and bows
Eastern Europe
The Americas
Western Islamdom: Turkey
The Ottoman military
The Balkans
The Mediterranean
Ottoman success
Egypt
The Mamluk military
Mamluk warfare
Marj Dabiq
Mamluk failure
The Maghrib
Sub-Saharan Africa
Eastern Islamdom: Iran
The Safavid military
Azarbayjan
Khurasan
Safavid success or failure?
India
The Afghans
The Mughals
The Portuguese
Southeast Asia
China from 1500: Foreign firearms
New Chinese firearms
Institutional change
Japanese pirates
The Great Wall
Wagons
The fall of the Ming
The Qing dynasty
Korea and Japan: Korea
Japan
Tanegashima
Nobunaga
Unification
The first invasion of Korea
The Korean response
The second invasion of Korea
The Tokugawa
Conclusion: Firearms after 1700
The world after 1700
Wagons and pikes
Firearms and nomads

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