Fighting for a Living

A Comparative Study of Military Labour 1500-2000

Edited by Erik Jan Zürcher

Fighting for a Living

Edited by Erik Jan Zürcher

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

704 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9789089644527 Published July 2014 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada
Though fighting is clearly hard work, historians have not paid much attention to warfare and military service as forms of labor. This collection does just that, bringing together the usually disparate fields of military and labor history. The contributors—including Robert Johnson, Frank Tallett, and Gilles Veinstein—undertake the first systematic comparative analysis of military labor across Europe, Africa, America, the Middle East, and Asia. In doing so, they explore the circumstances that have produced starkly different systems of recruiting and employing soldiers in different parts of the globe over the last five hundred years.

1.         Introduction: Understanding changes in military recruitment and employment worldwide

Erik-Jan Zürcher

2.         Military labour in China, circa 1500

David M. Robinson

3.         From Mamluks to Mansabdars: a social history of military service in South Asia, circa 1500 to circa 1650

Kaushik Roy

4.         On the Ottoman Janissaries*

Gilles Veinstein

5.         Soldiers in Western Europe,  circa 1500-1790

Frank Tallett

6.         The Scottish mercenary as migrant labourer in Europe, 1550-1650

James Miller

7.         Change and continuity in mercenary armies: Central Europe, 1650-1750

Michael Sikora

8.         Peasants fighting for a living in early modern North India

Dirk Kolff

9.         “True to their salt”: Mechansims for recruiting and managing military labour in the army of the East India Company during the Carnatic Wars in India

Robert Johnson

10.       The scum of every country, the refuse of mankind: recruiting the British Army in the eighteenth century

Peter Way

11.       Mobilization of warrior populations in the Ottoman context,  1750-1850

Virginia H. Aksan

12.       Military employment in Qing dynasty China

Christine Moll-Murata and Ulrich Theobald

13.       Military service and the Russian social order, 1649-1861

Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter

14.       The French army 1789-1914: Volunteers, pressed soldiers and conscripts

Thomas Hippler

15.       The Dutch army in transition: from an all-volunteer force to a cadre-militia army, 1795-1830

Herman Amersfoort

16.       Draft and draftees in Italy, 1861-1914

Marco Rovinello

17.       Italian colonial troops in East Africa

Uoldelul Chelati Dirar

18.       Nation building, war experiences and European models: the rejection of conscription in Britain

Jörn Leonhard

19.       Mobilizing military labour in the age of total war: Ottoman conscription before and during the Great war

Mehmet Besikçi

20.       Soldiering as work: the all-volunteer force in the United States of America

Beth Bailey

21.       Private contractors from the nineteen nineties to the present.  A review  essay

Yelda Kaya

Review Quotes
Nathan Wise | University of New England, Australia
“Historians have long overlooked the labor involved in soldiering. But now, with the publication of Fighting for a Living, the world of military workers is brought to the forefront of scholarly inquiry. The editors throw a critical shining light on the nature of war and the nature of work for the millions of individuals who have contributed their labor, and often their lives, for the militaries of the world.”
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