Collections and Cancellations

First, if you’re a Library/Libraria/History subscriber and you have not yet restarted your subscription, please read this in order to know if you need to do so now or not, and if you do need to do so, when to do it.

Second, we have a rather esoteric announcement that will be of limited interest to most people, but will be of tremendous interest to the serious book collectors and those interested in Asian history.

THE CAMBRIDGE HISTORY OF JAPAN is the first major collaborative synthesis to present the current state of knowledge of Japanese history for the English-reading world. The series draws on the expertise and research of leading Japanese specialists as well as the foremost Western historians of Japan. From prehistory to the present day, the series encompasses the events and developments in Japanese polity, economy, culture, religion and foreign affairs. In the distinguished tradition of Cambridge histories, the completed series provides an indispensable reference tool for all students and scholars of Japan and the Far East.

The massive historical set, which is published by Cambridge University Press in 4,740 pages divided into six books, is very highly regarded as the definitive work on the subject of Japanese history.

Also on Castalia Library today is the daily serialization of Sir Charles Oman’s STUDIES ON THE NAPOLEONIC WARS, which is the current History subscription book. We’ve reached the third chapter, which concerns a largely forgotten battle of the Peninsular War that didn’t even take place in Spain, but in the south of Italy, and yet is deemed to be of tactical significance to the insightful student of military history.

The Battle of Maida is essentially of tactical and not of strategical importance. It was the forerunner of all the great battles of the Peninsular War so far as tactics go; it only differed from them in results because the British Army was commanded by Sir John Stuart and not Sir Arthur Wellesley. The troops and the tactics were the same if the generalship was different. The first clash of Kempt’s British light brigade and Compere’s heavy battalion columns, of which I have to tell in this screed, gives the key to the whole tactical superiority of the British infantry which lay at the base of Wellington’s victorious schemes during the years 1808–15. The battle passed without much notice at the time, because the Neapolitan campaign of 1806 forms a piece of by-play between the campaign of Austerlitz and the campaign of Jena; which few British and hardly a single continental commentator have cared to investigate. Its strategical and political results were nil; its moral results passed unperceived at the time, save among the handful of British officers of ready intelligence who laid to heart what they had seen and stored up its teaching for future use.