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Pádraig Lenihan

Autor/a de Battle of the Boyne 1690

9+ obres 47 Membres 1 crítiques

Sobre l'autor

Padraig Lenihan is Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick. Before becoming an academic he was in the Irish Army for fourteen years. He has written extensively on Irish military history in the seventeenth century

Inclou aquests noms: Lenihan Padrig, Pádraig Lenihan

Obres de Pádraig Lenihan

Obres associades

Scorched Earth : Studies in the Archaeology of Conflict (2008) — Col·laborador — 5 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Nom normalitzat
Lenihan, Pádraig
Data de naixement
University of Limerick
National University of Ireland, Galway



Lenihan takes the 1 July battle and examines it in depth from military, political and above all psychological perspectives. His unpacking of what James II, William III and Louis XIV were really up to is most enlightening - he doesn't believe James had aimed at much more than the restoration of Catholic rights before 1688, which chimes with my instinct, but then goes on to say that in 1690 William's hold on Britain was still far from complete, and the Irish campaign was necessary as much as anything to satisfy the Westminster Parliament.

Lenihan's dissection of the military styles of the kings on each side of the Boyne and their commanders is even more impressive: William and Schomberg were second-rate (and he gives examples from William's other battles to support this), but James and Lauzun were third-rate - the best evidence of this being that the battle took place at the Boyne at all, rather than the much more strategic Moyry Pass, abandoned by the Jacobites without a fight.

The description of the Boyne battle itself is a forensic dissection, with Lenihan slightly (and unnecessarily) apologetic for the amount of detail, honest about the gaps and inconsistencies in his sources, and also honest about the fact that the most decisive moment in the battle was something which didn't happen on the previous evening, when William was grazed on the shoulder by a cannon-ball; had he been killed at that stage, his forces would probably still have won the battle (if it went ahead) but certainly lost the war, or at least concluded it on much less favourable terms. But the fact that William, though wounded, carried the field, while James fled despite a surprisingly low number of casualties, was enough to set the mythology of the battle and the reputation of both men.

Having said up front that I really enjoyed the text, I am sorry to say that there are several aspects of its presentation which fall below the standards I would expect from a responsible publisher. The maps are too few, and are confusingly placed and labelled, which is something you really don't want in a book on military history. The index has serious deficiencies. And James II's own memoirs - a key source!! - are confusingly cited; it is implied that they are reproduced in Clarke's 1816 biography, but it would have been nice to be clear. Despite all this I'd recommend the book unreservedly to anyone who already has a decent idea of the historical and geographical terrain.
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nwhyte | Aug 25, 2008 |

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