My standard "go to" books for the period are the superb double set by Chandler("Marlborough as Military Commander" [clicky] and "The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough" [clicky]) and it's noticeable (in a good way) that Falkner also thought the same..
In many ways in fact this book is covering the same ground as Chandler's "Art of Warfare" book, the significant difference is that Falkner's book covers the other nations in a little more detail - Chandler's was more focussed on the English/British and French..
So is it worth buying?? I would say a qualified "yes", but I'm not sure that there's very much extra material covered than you would have already got by buying the two Chandler books..
The book is organised along the usual lines.. chapters on the background to the war, how the Allies assembled their army, potted histories of the commanders on both sides, then he goes through each of the major constituents of the army, horse, foot, artillery, logistics, and engineers, before finishing off with a summary of Marlborough's legacy..
My specific takeaway's from the book (apart from stuff that I already knew and the book reinforced) were:
- a better understanding of the difference between horse and dragoons - latter tended to be on smaller horses, were cheaper, and did fight on foot on occasion, but could fight as normal horse if required.. I also hadn't realised they had bayonets..
- Cavalry were used primarily for action against other cavalry, or for breakthrough, or for scouting, or against broken troops - they were increasingly ineffective against infantry frontally as a result of advances in musketry, and the socket bayonet..
- a better understanding of the number of ranks difference for infantry between the two opposing sides (the Allies tended to have fewer ranks than the French)
- ammunition weight (British Dutch musket ball was heavier than the French) which together with Allied (just British/Dutch??) knowledge of platoon firing [clicky] (a Swedish invention I seem to remember reading) gave such an advantage .. French fired by rank [clicky], their adoption of platoon firing slower from about 1704 onwards
- I wasn't (fully) aware of how accepted it was that infantry in the period could form square if required - a complex manoeuvre!
- the book reinforced some thoughts I had about the relative static'ness of artillery at the time - it could be moved on the battlefield, and sometimes was, but rarely... heavy artillery was for sieges, not battlefields (Ramillies aside..)
In terms of practicalities, I intend to re-visit the WSS Rules and make some modifications in the area of artillery movement, cavalry melee vs infantry, and some initial thoughts on the square and how to convey it....
Steve the Wargamer rates this one as 8 out of 10 - good, but I think Chandler shades it...