Thursday, 3 June 2021

Amateur Armies: Militias and Volunteers in War and Peace, 1797-1961

Many years ago, I bought and read THE DEFENDERS: A HISTORY OF THE BRITISH VOLUNTEER by Geoffrey Cousins (published in 1968 by Frederick Muller Limited).

I was intrigued by the history of the British Rifle Volunteer movement of the Victorian era, so when I saw Stephen Cullen’s AMATEUR ARMIES: MILITIA AND VOLUNTEERS IN WAR AND PEACE, 1797-1961, I decided to buy a copy.

I was not disappointed by my choice.

The book not only covers the history of militias in various nations, but also the failed French invasion of Fishguard in 1797, the development and popularity of the Victorian Rife Volunteer movement, the various left and right-wing political militias that took part in the Spanish Civil War, and the role played by the Cuban Militia in Castro’s post-revolution Cuba. The latter includes the defeat of the Bay of Pigs invasion, a topic of particular interest to me.

AMATEUR ARMIES: MILITIA AND VOLUNTEERS IN WAR AND PEACE, 1797-1961 was written by Stephen M Cullen and published in 2020 by Pen & Sword Military (ISBN 978 1 52673443 3).


  1. Many thanks indeed for this, Bob. Your readers are just the sort I hope will buy it. Plenty for the wargamer to think about.
    Yours, the bashful author.

    1. AlFront,

      I hope that my review will encourage some of my regular blog readers to buy your excellent book.

      All the best,



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