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This book provides a comprehensive study of the major changes in infantry tactics from the time of Fredrick the Great to the beginning of what many see as the era of modern war in the 1860's. Ross lays social and political change side by side with technical change. He argues that the French revolution, due to the fervour and loyalty it inspired in its participants, led to huge citizen armies of devolved command which were able to make use of new tactics that swept the poorly paid and poorly treated professional armies of their enemies from the field. Shortly after the Napoleonic wars other European countries experienced similar social change and by the middle of the Nineteenth Century these massive conscript armies were equipped with breech-loading rifles and more powerful artillery. The battlefield of the late 1860's had become a place where close infantry formations could not survive for long in the linear formations of the past. Ross's book comprehensively covers this seminal era in the history of warfare, it is vital reading for anyone interested in the evolution of modern war.