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The Rambling Soldier: Life In The Lower Ranks, 1750 1900, Through Soldiers Songs And Writings (A Peacock Book) Roy Palmer

The Rambling Soldier: Life In The Lower Ranks, 1750 1900, Through Soldiers Songs And Writings (A Peacock Book)

Roy Palmer

Published September 29th 1977
ISBN : 9780140471038
309 pages
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 About the Book 

Published in 1977 in the UK by Kestrel (Penguin) Books in hardback, this is a detailed 310 page look at The Rambling Soldier: Military Life Through Soldiers Songs and Writings. Life in the Lower Ranks 1750 - 1900. Its illustrated throughout with drawings, paintings and photos- and has bars of music all the way through recording the soldiers songs. If any gentlemen, soldiers or others have a mind to serve Her Majesty, and pull down the French king... let them repair to the noble Sergeant Kite, at the sign of the Raven in this good town of Shrewsbury... Such patter of the recruiting sergeants could be heard in the market squares of Britain throughout the century and a half (1750 - 1900) covered by this book. Attracted by adventure, of a steady -if small- income and a fine uniform, men flocked to the army in their thousands. There, despite the low pay and the meagre food, these raw recruits were transformed through constant drill and severe punishments into the soldiers that fought in the American War of Independence, in the campaigns against Napoleon, in the Crimea and in numerous small colonial wars. Roy Palmer has brought toegether songs and ballads from the period, and interspersed them with the writings (from letters, memoirs, etc) of many soldiers, as well as contemporary prints, and photographs, to give a vivid account of life in the lower ranks at this time. Extracts are taken from the work of twenty-nine soldier-writers. All served in the ranks, though two became officers. A few - Cobbett, Somerville, Blatchford - later made a living largely by the pen, but most remained obscure. Several are anonymous, and we know of them only from what they have written. Unless much has been lost or remains undiscovred, it seems that few rank and file soldiers of the 18th Century wrote of their experiences. However, the revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars produced a mass of writing, much of it published during the succeeding ten or twenty years