James, Alan 1965–

views updated

James, Alan 1965–

(Alan Mackenzie James)

PERSONAL:

Born November 8, 1965. Education: University of Alberta, B.A., M.A.; University of Manchester, Ph.D., 1997.

ADDRESSES:

Home—England. Office—Department of War Studies, King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

King's College London, London, England, Department of War Studies, lecturer, 2002-07, senior lecturer, 2007—; Journal of Strategic Studies, reviews editor; previously served as a lecturer at the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester, England.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Best Young Academic Author of the Year, King's College, 2005, for The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661.

WRITINGS:

The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661, Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press (Rochester, NY), 2004.

The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661, Pearson Longman (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to a number of books and journals.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and educator Alan James was born November 8, 1965. He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees at the University of Alberta in Canada, then went on to complete his education with a doctorate from the University of Manchester. James serves on the faculty of King's College London, in England, where he began as a lecturer in the department of war studies in 2002, and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2007. He taught previously at both the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield. James's primary areas of research and academic interest include imperialism, early modern naval warfare, confessional conflict, state building, and the military aspects of France prior to the revolution. In addition to his academic endeavors, James is the reviews editor for the Journal of Strategic Studies, and the author of a number of books, the first of which—a look at the French navy during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century—resulted in his being named the Best Young Academic Author of the Year by King's College in 2005.

The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661 stems from James's doctoral dissertation and offers readers a look at one of the naval powers of the early modern era in Europe. Much has been written previously about the armies that were commanded by French monarch Louis XIII, however, he also had a notable navy, built up in large part due to advice that he received from Cardinal Richelieu, who considered a strong navy as one of the key components of any attempt at greatness. James focuses on Richelieu's naval interest, stressing that his background was not one that would have automatically directed him toward naval prowess or this stress on all things naval. Richelieu focused primarily on continuing the nation's current naval actions and program, rather than on any monumental innovation or strategic redesign. James effectively illustrates how the French began to build their navy, and the steps they took in order to achieve their strength and build large fleets that rivaled those of many other nations by the mid-seventeenth century. Kevin Gould, in a contribution for the European Review of History, remarked that "while new research is presented fully, James also addresses a tendency in traditional scholarship to assume that documentation exposing naval designs equated to real progress for France's navy." English Historical Review writer Richard Bonney opined that "the strength of Alan James's study rests on his firm grasp of the regional constraints, particularly in Brittany, Normandy, Guyenne, and Provence, on France's fitful development as a naval power."

In The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661, James provides a survey of the roots of French absolutism, assuming some small amount of knowledge of the subject but still achieving a level that will be comprehensible to most readers. His focus is primarily on the areas of the subject that relate to warfare either on land or at sea, with additional material provided that pertains more toward politics and social aspects of absolutism. He addresses the reigns of the French kings of the era and illustrates how each one, as well as their advisors, contributed to the development of absolutism, starting with Henry IV and his actions with the Edict of Nantes, and continuing through Louis XIV. Eric Boston, writing for History: The Journal of the Historical Association, remarked that "this is a study that will help frame understanding and the notes on Further Reading are particularly helpful. There is much of value to be read here, reflecting how our picture of the period has become much more intelligible in the last thirty or so years." History Review contributor Richard Wilkinson concluded that "while James argues his case with impressive conviction, readers will enjoy questioning his conclusions."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

English Historical Review, June, 2005, Richard Bonney, review of The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661.

European Review of History, March, 2006, Kevin Gould, review of The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661, pp. 163-173.

Historian, September 22, 2006, Philip F. Riley, review of The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661, p. 634.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, April 1, 2008, Eric Boston, review of The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661, p. 269.

History Review, March, 2007, Richard Wilkinson, review of The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661.

Reference & Research Book News, February 1, 2007, review of The Origins of French Absolutism, 1598-1661.

Seventeenth-Century News, spring-summer, 2005, Edward M. Furgol, review of The Navy and Government in Early Modern France, 1572-1661.

ONLINE

King's College London Web site,http://www.kcl.ac.uk/ (April 27, 2008), faculty profile.

About this article

James, Alan 1965–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article