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Defending London

The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present
Mike Osborne

Defending London describes the various elements of London’s military heritage, and places them in their historical, archaeological and social context.   From the castles and strong houses of the medieval and Tudor monarchs and statesmen, to the pseudo-fortresses of the Victorian militia and rifle volunteers; the airfields of the anti-Zeppelin fighters of the Royal Flying Corps, and the Battle of Britain bases of the RAF, to the pillbox defences against invasion of 1940, and the anti-nuclear defences of the Cold War, and beyond. (The History Press)

Mike Osbourne's real interest is 20th century warfare and this really does show with only a couple of chapter on medieval buildings and he explicitly states he focuses on the military aspects of these buildings which much limits the interest of his books.
Osborne's comments on licences to crenellate on p. 46 are not unreasonable but his suggestion that John Dean (Dean, J., 2010/11, 'Statistical analysis of licences to crenellate' Castle Studies Group Journal Vol. 24) shows licences were granted in troublesome times and conflicted locations is, frankly, nonsense. Dean only shows clusters of licences at London and Hull, both much more reasonably explained by social reasons; if these clusters are removed from his statistical analysis the distribution shows no significant pattern. There just is no correlation with troublesome times and repeated attempts to suggest otherwise are strained. There are also times where Osborne confabulates a licence to crenellate, which was a bit of parchment, with a building. On a more personal note Dean's statistical analysis may be 'detailed and comprehensive' (although this author has seen other work suggesting the statistic analysis is not that thorough) but he did not spend several years collecting the data he analysed.

Published by The History Press (2012; Stroud)
ISBN: 9780752464657

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Last updated on Friday, March 10, 2017