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, ecomic 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.