Disease, War, and the Imperial State
The Welfare of the British Armed Forces during the Seven Years' War
In Disease, War, and the Imperial State, Erica Charters demonstrates how disease played a vital role in shaping strategy and campaigning, British state policy, and imperial relations during the Seven Years’ War. Military medicine was a crucial component of the British war effort; it was central to both eighteenth-century scientific innovation and the moral authority of the British state. Looking beyond the traditional focus of the British state as a fiscal war-making machine, Charters uncovers an imperial state conspicuously attending to the welfare of its armed forces, investing in medical research, and responding to local public opinion. Charters shows military medicine to be a credible scientific endeavor that was similarly responsive to local conditions and demands.
Disease, War, and the Imperial State is an engaging study of early modern warfare and statecraft, one focused on the endless and laborious task of managing manpower in the face of virulent disease in the field, political opposition at home, and the clamor of public opinion in both Britain and its colonies.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
1. Wilderness Warfare, American Provincials, and Disease in North America
2. The Black Vomit and the Provincial Press: The Campaigns in the West Indies
3. Flux, Fever, and Politics: The European Theater of War
4. The Royal Navy’s Western Squadron: Trials, Innovation, and Medical Efficacy
5. Adaptation and Hot Climates: Fighting in India
6. Imperial War at Home: The Welfare of French Prisoners of War
“Charters, a rising scholar who teaches medical history at Oxford, has provided the first book-length study to focus on the medical aspect of any of the four major wars that Britain engaged in between 1701 and 1783. . . As is characteristic of her growing body of published work, Charters exhibits fine scholarship. She synthesizes well the secondary literature that relates to her project. Nevertheless, her sources are predominantly archival, and she also makes use of the wealth of published treatises by medical officers of the period, some of whom served in the Seven Years’ War. . . . While Disease, War, and the Imperial State is a fairly brief book, it reads big, in that it covers, and covers well, so much.”
Society for Army Historical Research: Award for Best First Book