Thursday, April 30, 2020

Book Review, William III's Italian Ally

       William III's Italian Ally, Piedmont and the War of the League of Augsburg 1683-1697 
       Author Ciro Paoletti
       Artist  Bruno Mugnai
       ISBN 978-1-911628-58-3

       Ciro Paoletti has added a noteworthy volume to the library of English- accessible books on the War of the League of Augsburg. Why Helion insists on belaboring every book they publish on this period with a headliner reference to William III is beyond comprehension (particularly as in this case he was William III for only part of the period of the conflict!), the subtitle Piedmont and the War of the League of Augsburg 1683-1697 is far more accurate and descriptive. The stupid title aside I found this a vastly informative volume.

       Written in a breezy conversational style (much like a well-done lecture),  Paoletti gives an overview of the situation before the outbreak of war, then describes Baroque warfare in general before delving into the organization of the Savoy/Piedmont army. From there he further examines the uncomfortable (for Piedmont) alliance with Louis XIV's France before heading into the reasons for Victor Amadeus' switching side. This leads into a year-by-year description of the campaigns against France culminating in Piedmont switching sides and finally achieving Victor Amadeus' war aims. The book is profusely illustrated with period maps and scenes as well as portraits of all the main characters. Further enhancing the illustration is a section of color plates by the very talented Bruno Mugnai. One quibble is the inclusion of period battle maps with no further description, they are of little use, or interest, when the reader doesn't even know which side is which. 

        Happily free of the ponderous translation errors that have plagued this series thus far, this book was an easy and enjoyable read. From a wargamer's point of view there could have been orbats for the armies each year rather than round numbers and new maps of the battles, sieges and maneuvers would have greatly enhanced translating this interesting series of campaigns to the tabletop. This book should provide the reader with an excellent entryway into this much neglected (in English) but important theater in the war of the League of Augburg.

       Very Highly Recommended


  1. Great book! Its already in my collection!

  2. I jumped on it too, when it was released. great review! We need more research materials in that theatre and conflict, in English.