Suzanne SutherlandMay 23, 2023
The Rise of the Military Entrepreneur
War, Diplomacy, and Knowledge in Habsburg Europe
Cornell University Press 2022
In The Rise of the Military Entrepreneur: War, Diplomacy, and Knowledge in Habsburg Europe (Cornell UP, 2022), Suzanne Sutherland explores the role of the military entrepreneur and explains how these international military figures emerged from, and exploited, the seventeenth century's momentous political, military, commercial, and scientific changes. During the Thirty Years' War, these figures traveled rapidly and frequently across Europe using private wealth, credit, and connections to raise and command the armies that rulers desperately needed. Using the individual of Raimondo Montecuccoli (1609–80), a middling nobleman from the Duchy of Modena, who became one of the most powerful men in the Austrian Habsburg monarchy, Sutherland uncovers the influence of military entrepreneurs not only commanders but also diplomats, natural philosophers, information brokers, clients, and subjects on the battlefield.
The Rise of the Military Entrepreneur explains how Montecuccoli addressed battlefield, court, and family responsibilities while contributing to the world of scholarship on an often violent, fragmented political-military landscape. As a result, Sutherland shifts the perspective on war away from the ruler and his court to instead examine the figures supplying force, along with their methods, networks, and reflections on those experiences.
Douglas Bell is a writer, teacher, and historian who lives in the Netherlands. His research interests center on American military history, American foreign policy, German history, and European Studies. Tweet him @douglasibell.