The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, Front Cover. John Brewer. Unwin Hyman, – History – pages. The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State Front Cover . John Brewer. Routledge, Sep 11, – History – pages. The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English. State, New York: (Cambridge, ) and immediately after it John Brewer’s book.

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For anyone interested in British history, in particular how Britain found ssinews as the leading world power in the 19th century, this book is essential.

Joshua Zan rated it really liked it Aug 18, Regarding the third factor, Brewer draws on comparisons with absolutist France when thhe about how England was distinctive administratively. Aug 25, Simon ;ower rated it it was amazing. Older departments did not undergo comprehensive reforms; instead, administrative innovation in Britain either worked around existing office-holders and their interests or reached an accommodation with them by combining the old and the new to their mutual satisfaction Brewer, In the earliest part of the period it is direct, in particular a land tax, that form the greater proportion of tax receipts.

But of course, some people resented the growth of the state.

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No trivia or quizzes yet. Looks at the minutia of finance, taxes and administration to understand the growth of British power and the empire; to expose the hidden sinews that animated the British body politic: The Sinews of Power: Why did Great Britain become the financial superpower sibews her time?

Skip to main content. Audrey rated it really liked it Mar 28, Return to Book Page.

BRITAIN Many are the books on British history that cite John Brewers classic “The Sinews of Power” not infrequently in powre terms, but the fact that it has been out of print sinceabsent without leave from my local library, and hideously expensive second hand has meant that it is not until now thanks to Oxfam that I have been able to read this seminal work.


Such questions are enduring.

The Sinews of Power — John Brewer | Harvard University Press

And it helps dispel the myth that small, responsible government has ever gone together with modern warfare. As far back as the Norman period in the twelfth century there were signs of a centralized political authority which came to personify national and local interests. The high standing of all forms of calculation, especially those mathematical in nature, stemmed from their power in the eyes of eighteenth-century observers to produce precision, certainty, and security out of chaos and order Brewer, It was definitely worth the wait.

JoostBo rated it liked it May 19, England’s Economy, ” and “Albion’s People: How did this small island, so sparsely-populated in comparison with its major rivals, manage to become the prime European and imperial power? As time passes the emphasis changes to indirect taxation on popularly consumed items that are often, or regarded as, essential.

Camilla rated it it was amazing Apr 27, What was the point of celebrating glories which had, apparently, fled? Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Paul Tubb rated it it was amazing Sep 16, The changes in both taxation policy and how the debt evolved are discussed in detail, as are the changes in the source of taxation. Account Options Sign in. Brewer emphasizes heavily the creation of a fiscal-military state in England, a concept he endorses and calls the most important transformation in English government between the domestic reforms of the Tudors and the major administrative changes in the first half of the nineteenth century Brewer, xvii.

He acknowledges early on that there is a self-congratulatory air evident in the historiography of early modern England, and rather than follow suit he shows throughout the volume that although the English fiscal-military system was effective it was far from being the shining example of such a system for the rest of Europe.

Plumbs “England in the Eighteenth Century” which though dated in many of the particulars still rewards the reader with a fluent general account of the era.

Craigf rated it it was jjohn Sep 28, This helps the author show a growing discrepancy in taxes, and his exact monetary amounts help illustrate just how rapidly the transformation took place.


In these circumstances, it is scarcely to be wondered at that many historians of Thf have become less interested in history from below. His heroes are the paper pushers of the age. Open Preview See a Problem? Kaleb rated it really liked it Oct 12, Paperbackpages.

If Thatcherdom has influenced the drift of current British historical writing at all, it has done so less by its protestations than by its practice. Brewer realizes why financiers and administrators have not received treatment before besides in the most technical of scholarship, but his research draws upon these records often to support his verdicts since he sees the clerks as having made sense of an exceptionally complex system.

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The Sinews of Power: War, Money and the English State, by John Brewer

An effective tax system, providing the state with a substantial and jonh income, was a necessary condition of the new credit mechanisms which tje public finance during the eighteenth century Brewer, Jan 10, Michael Taylor rated it liked it Shelves: Readers unfamiliar with the period will probably find the following books more welcoming: Paradoxically, this success made the fiscal-military state stronger and more effective, and over time public scrutiny replaced dishonesty in the financial spheres and parliamentary consent lent greater legitimacy to government action Brewer, xix.

No wholesale creation of offices for royal profit occurred in England, and office-holding did not offer such a variety of benefits to royal functionaries as in France. Indeed, some of the most unabashed Tory historians seem far more anxious to cast doubt on the importance of traditional constitutional landmarks. In the end, Britain became great because of the statistics and reports generated by beaucrats which allowed policymakers to make informed decisions on hard data.