Universal conscription has been the main form of military recruitment in the 19th and 20th centuries. In central Asia and the Middle East it has been ruthlessly imposed on agrarian and undeveloped societies, with little regard for individual interest, economic disruption, or intense local resistance. Providing a study of conscription, this work includes contributions from social and political historians on a subject traditionally covered by military historians. It focuses on Ottoman Turkey, Egypt (where some of the most extreme forms of conscription occurred), Iran, central Asia and the Balkans, and covers feudal militarization, unfree service and conscription of serfs, the press gang, military slavery, recruitment in the labour market, mercenaries, privateers, sales of Bedouin services, and resistance.
Erik J. ZUrcher is Chair of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden.
Conscription and resistance - the historical context; Ottoman recruitment strategies in the late-18th century; the manning of the Ottoman navy, in the heyday of sail (1660-1850); the nation and its deserters - conscription in Mehmed Ali's Egypt; the Ottoman conscription system in theory and practice; taking care of soldiers' families - the Ottoman state and the "Muinsiz aile Maast"; Bosnian resistance to conscription in the 19th century; the Central Asian revolts of 1916; conscription and popular resistance in Iran (1925-1941).