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Fortifications of the Incas H. W. Kaufmann Osprey Publishing

29th June 2013 History Books 5 Comments

H.W. Kaufmann has an MA in Spanish from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she also studied archaeology. She has a PhD from the University of Texas, Austin, in medieval Spanish and is fluent in six languages. She is a professor at San Antonio College and teaches languages. J.E.Kaufmann has an MA in History from the University of Texas, San Antonio. He is a retired public school teacher and teaches history part time at Palo Alto Junior College.

The greatest period of Inca expansion occurred during the reigns of Pachacuti (143871), Tupa Inca (147193), and Huayna Capac (14931527). From the mountain stronghold of Cuzco, they subjugated the surrounding kingdoms and territories, absorbing their civilizations and their peoples. By 1525, they dominated much of the west of the continent, relying on fortified strongholds, an extensive system of roads an bridges, and obligatory military service to control local populations. This title takes a detailed look at the development of Incan fortification techniques, and examines how they came to be overrun by the Spanish conquistadors.

Fortifications of the Incas (Fortress)

Boudicca’s Rebellion AD 60-61: The Britons rise up against Rome

Dr. Nic Fields started his career as a biochemist before joining the Royal Marines. Having left the military, he went back to University and completed a BA and PhD in Ancient History at the University of Newcastle. He was Assistant Director at the British School at Athens, Greece, and then a lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh. Nic is now a freelance author and researcher based in south-west France.

When the Romans occupied the southern half of Britain in AD 43, the Iceni tribe quickly allied themselves with the invaders. Having paid tribute to Rome, they continued to be ruled by their own kings. But 17 years later, when Prasutagus, the king of the Iceni, died, the Romans decided to incorporate his kingdom into the new province. When his widow Boudicca protested, she “was flogged and their daughters raped”, sparking one of the most famous rebellions in history. This book tells how Boudicca raised her people and other tribes in revolt, overran the provincial towns of Camulodunum , Londinium and Verulamium , destroyed the IX Legion, and nearly took control of the fledgling Roman province, before being finally brought to heel in a pitched battle at Mancetter.

Boudicca’s Rebellion AD 60-61: The Britons rise up against Rome (Campaign)

  • 5 responses to "Fortifications of the Incas H. W. Kaufmann Osprey Publishing"

  • OleVolog
    7:15 on June 29th, 2013
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    Inca Fortifications is more than just a book on fortifications. The authors provide enough background information to demonstrate the relationship between the fortified sites of the Inca to their cultural and historic background. They concentrate on the majory historic sites which for the most part can be visited without great difficulty. Although the book is only 60 pages, it is packed with information including illustrations that help present the reader with richer description.

  • HarlanSanders
    20:53 on June 29th, 2013
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    In the past six months, Osprey has published no less than three Campaign series titles on Roman campaigns fought in the First Century AD – I would say they have that century pretty well covered now. Dr. Nic Fields’ Boudicca’s Rebellion AD 60-61 is one of these three. Boudicca – a queen of the Iceni tribe in southeastern England – elected to lead her people in rebellion against their Roman occupiers and after a brief spell of success, were promptly annihilated. The main issue with this book, which is common in Ancient history, is lack of sources and hard data. Virtually everything we know about this campaign is based upon a few pages from Cassius Dio and Tacitus, neither of which are particularly detailed. The exact location of the battlefield and even specific information about Boudicca are unknown, which forces the author to try and fill in the numerous gaps with artfully-reasoned conjecture. At times, the author seems too willing to engage in diversionary soliloquies comparing ancient and modern perspectives on warfare and women, which is annoying. Overall, Boudicca’s Rebellion is interesting, although with the actual information in hand, it is a tale that is told in less than twenty pages and the rest is essentially padding.

    The author begins with a rather long-winded introduction that lays out the basis of the clash between Roman and Iceni in Britain, but does so in a very roundabout way. To be honest, I hated this introduction, since it does not serve very well as a springboard for the campaign and the author devolves into too much subjective commentary. He offers up nuggets such as, “soldiers, no matter when or where they serve, seem inclined to sexual carnality (civilians are therefore asexual?)” and “soldiers…have more than a smidgen of larceny in their souls.” So, according to this author, soldiers by definition are inclined to be rapists and thieves. This shows very poor historical writing form and is driven by stereotypes rather than fact. How does the author know that Boudicca’s daughters were raped by Roman soldiers and not some petty bureaucrat (or lawyer)? This is not how you write history. This section does include two nice maps depicting the tribes in Britain in AD 60 and the location of Roman forts.

    The section on opposing commanders is a throwaway, since the author spends a page discussing Boudicca before admitting, “we actually know nothing about Boudicca.” He then spends three pages on the Roman governor, of whom we know slightly more than nothing. The 15 page section on opposing armies should have been better, but it isn’t. It does have some nifty pictures of weapons and Roman re-enactors, but the author’s description of Celtic tactics is based upon generalities and his description of the Roman Army reads like a management organization chart. If one could summarize, this section would say something like: the Romans won because they were a professional army and the Celts were not. I would add, Roman discipline and superior tactics (use of reserves) made up for lack of numbers. However, while these observations are more or less correct, they don’t add much. Indeed, they might not even be correct. Given our lack of hard information on this campaign, there may well have been other specific factors that contributed to the end result (e.g. illness, luck, religious factors). If we knew this little about the Battle of Midway in 1942, we would know that the Japanese had a big fleet but were defeated by a smaller American fleet, without knowledge of US code-breaking or faulty Japanese operational planning.

    The campaign narrative itself is 37-pages long, but with barely 20 pages of text. Furthermore, most of this section covers the outbreak of the rebellion, initial rebel victories and the concurrent Roman campaign in Wales, with only 10 pages covering the show-down between the Romans and Boudicca. Nevertheless, this section is interesting and well-written and serves to redeem this volume. The four battlescenes by Peter Dennis, four maps and lots of color photos also add to the splendor. Dr. Fields may not have much to work with, but the Osprey art staff sure helped him to fill in those potholes. The final battle is anti-climatic. Once again, the Romans demonstrated that the best form of warfare is strategic offensive coupled with tactical defense. Boudicca’s horde smashed itself to pieces against two Roman legions and they she disappeared from the pages of history. The aftermath section is also a bit weak, since other than mentioning post-campaign Roman punitive measures, it doesn’t say too much about Roman Britain in the decade after the rebellion. I felt that the whole diplomatic-economic angles were missing and that the picture of the rebellion presented here is somewhat one-dimensional. The author also seems to inject some Modern prejudices by suggesting that the Romans were “cruel,” which ignores the fact that plenty of organized cruelty has occurred in modern times. Despite all my criticisms, I would still say that this volume is worth a read by anyone interested in Roman military history, but compared to a Battle like the Teutobergerwald, it lacks real detail.

  • Patent Lawyer
    1:08 on June 30th, 2013
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    Queen Boudicca led a rebellion against Roman forces in Britain in 60-61 AD. This book confronts an almost impossible problem–very little is known about Boudicca or the specifics of the battle. It is not even clear where the battle took place although author Nic Fields presents what appears to me to be a very credible hypothesis.

    This book begins with context. Britain did not seem like much of a place to wage a war of conquest. But newly invested Emperor Claudius (yes, that Claudius, as in “I, Claudius”) needed a military victory to gain credibility and he chose Britain as t5he site for his glory. A number of tribes/kingdoms in the conquered country were allowed to keep a degree of autonomy (keeping their own leaders). One of these was the Iceni. After the death of their king, the Romans essentially looted the lands, and treated Queen Boudicca and her daughters roughly (if a few lines in Latin works here or there can be believed). The Iceni rose in revolt along with other tribes/kingdoms.

    There followed a war, with Boudicca leading the Britons and Caius Suetonius Paulinus the Romans. Both leaders are described (the treatment of Boudicca is extraordinarily brief, given the lack of much information about her). Then, the two armies are described (although the Britons were more an armed rabble than an organized army). The opposing plans are described as well as the war that took place, including some of the actions. The culminating battle–that gave the war to the Romans–is described as best the author can given limited information.

    Pluses: A nice chronology, the usual bevy of illustrations in an Osprey publication, the maps, the rich quality of the pages themselves).

  • please
    1:38 on July 1st, 2013
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    The cover of this book I got from Amazon doesn’t matches the cover shown.

    Boudicca’s Rebellion written by Nic Field proves to be a well written book overall but it really doesn’t offered anything new to the reader who are familiar with Roman history. The book has nice photos of Celtic and Roman gears, latter helped by Roman reenactors and the book goes into the background of the conflict. The maps provided are pretty decent but full colored illustrations proves somewhat limited Two of the four show Boudicca standing tall addressing her warrior hordes. There is no full colored illustration reflecting the final battle.

    This author does not stray from the written passages of the entire campaign. The book doesn’t even questioned if Boudicca was actually flogged and her young daughters raped. I would think it would actually be other way around as Boudicca was often describe as tall, blond and good looking woman.

    Putting this review in proper perceptive, I would compared it unfavourably with the book, Mons Graupius written by Duncan Campbell, Osprey Campaign book 224. Both Mons Graupius and Boudicca’s revolt had the same problem, lack of original sources to fill out the huge empty hole of unknown. But where both books differs is that author of Mons Graupius went out on a limb and gave his readers his perception and his educated assumptions of what might have happen to filled in that huge hole of unknown. In doing so, he gave the readers an educated narrative based on his own knowledge and education of the campaign to come up with a reasonable study. But with Boudicca’s Revolt, this author did no such thing and anyone who is familiar with Boudicca’s Revolt prior to reading this book, will gain no new insight from reading this book. There are a lot of “filler material” in this book that don’t add much. The book’s narrative doesn’t even offer an analysis of how Boudicca lost control and direction of her revolt since whatever plans she initially had, was gone when her revolt against Roman injustice become more of a rape/pillage/torture/loot expedition. Such a revolt will turn on itself if they were ever successful. I thought the book was bit too harsh on Suetonious Paulinus who was campaigning in northwestern Wales when the revolt broke out. It was his actions that saved Roman Britain and he won a decisive victory against overwhelming odds to end this revolt. Even his choice for the final battle remains questionable even to the author and the book offers no new insight to alternative locations.

    It pretty clear that the author of this book didn’t go very deep into his research. He read the familiar accounts, brush up his Celtic and Roman lore and wrote a quick book that basically rehashed material you can easily find on the internet. The book is pretty decent for beginner readers of this subject. My three stars is pretty generous since I choose to round up from what this book really deserves..2.5 stars.

  • Theresa
    4:23 on July 1st, 2013
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    I must admit, after reading Mr. Essery’s review, I was hesitant to buy Fortifications of the Incas, but I am pleased that I finally did buy it. It obviously is a book meant for the general public rather than experts in the field. Considering the text, including illustrations, is only 60 pages, I find that it has a great deal of information. I also do not find the idea that the Incas might have provided defenses for their major cities all that far-fetched. Mr. Essery seems to believe some outmoded ideas that replaced what he referred to as older outdated theories. These were not peaceful noble savages any more than the sophisticated Europeans were a peaceful lot either. After all, most of the cities, even if religious or ceremonial centers, in the Old World had defenses at one time or another in their history and maintained them for many centuries including the Pope’s medieval Rome and Avignon and other many other sites. Why wouldn’t the Incas defend their most important sites, even those that were largely ceremonial? Discussing this with a couple of friends who teach history at a local university, I was told that most cities were often designed as multipurpose. I also loaned one professor the book and he thought it was a fine introduction to the subject. In response to some of Mr. Essery’s comments, which I printed out for the professor, he said that he is more of a traditionalist and apparently not aware of the latest research. I was also informed that the Incas used the agricultural terraces as a “prepared battlefield” when a site was under attack as shown by their drawings in the book. The fact that the text deals with the main Inca sites instead of some obscure sites off the beaten path is a plus since these Osprey books usually note places that can be visited by reasonable means. In a book of this size, there obviously would not be room for secondary sites. In addition, if I went to Peru, I would want to see the main sites before I trekked to distant and difficult regions to find more obscure sites that only a professional might be interested in. At least Mr. Essery has point out that all the sites mentioned are easily accessible to tourists and I think that is a plus.
    I strongly recommend this book for anyone who has a casual interest in the Incas and as a starting point for further studies.

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