Contemporary Publications

Sir F.B. Head (1850) The defenceless state of Great Britain

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Sir Francis B Head (1793-1875)

The defenceless state of Great Britain, 1850, Sir Francis Bond Head, John Murray, London

A long, early book reviewing Britain’s readiness for war and its capabilities to resist invasion.

I.f. Clarke comments: The nearest any of them ever came to fiction was a brief passage in The Defenseless State of Great Britain (1850) by Sir Francis Head. There, in “Part IV: On the Capture of London by a French Army,” the author described the course of a French landing, their advance, and their successful attack on London. His analysis posed serious communication problems: the text (410 pages) was for specialists only. The lay reader would have to wait another two decades before Chesney invented a narrative that revealed in the most dramatic manner possible the price to be paid for neglecting the armed forces. [I.F. Clarke, Before and After The Battle of Dorking]

Full text at: https://archive.org/details/defencelessstate00headuoft