The Society of Prisoners: Anglo-French Wars and Incarceration in the Eighteenth Century

ISBN : 9780198723585

Renaud Morieux
464 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2019
Past & Present Book Series
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Very little has been written of the history of prisoners of war before the twentieth century, and Renaud Morieux seeks to correct this in this new history of war captivity in the eighteenth century. He redefines how we understand the notion of what a prisoner of war was before international legal and social conventions were introduced - in the eighteenth century, the distinction between a prisoner of war, a hostage, a criminal, and a slave was not always clear-cut.
Morieux then uses war captivity as a lens through which to observe the eighteenth-century state, how it transformed itself, and why it endured. What impact did the practice of holding prisoners of war have on international relations of the time? How were eighteenth-century societies impacted by war, when the detention of foreign enemies on home soil revealed and challenged social values, representations, hierarchies, and practices? The Society of Prisoners answers these questions while taking the reader on a journey between Britain, France, the West Indies, and St Helena, following the prisoners.


1 Defining the prisoner of war in international law: a comparative approach
2 Hate or love thy enemy? Humanitarian patriotism
3 The multiple geographies of war captivity
4 The anatomy of the war prison
5 The reinvention of Society?
6 War captivity and social interactions
Epilogue: Napoleon the prisoner of peace

About the author: 

Renaud Morieux has been a lecturer in British history at Cambridge since 2011, before which he lectured in modern history at Lille for five years. His career, spanning the Channel, exemplifies his attempts to cross the intellectual and academic borders between France and Britain.

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