The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy

The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy

3.4 9
by Peter H. Wilson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674062310

ISBN-13: 9780674062313

Pub. Date: 10/15/2011

Publisher: Harvard

A deadly continental struggle, the Thirty Years War devastated seventeenth-century Europe, killing nearly a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to towns and countryside alike. Peter Wilson offers the first new history in a generation of a horrifying conflict that transformed the map of the modern world.

When defiant Bohemians tossed the Habsburg emperor&rsquo

Overview

A deadly continental struggle, the Thirty Years War devastated seventeenth-century Europe, killing nearly a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to towns and countryside alike. Peter Wilson offers the first new history in a generation of a horrifying conflict that transformed the map of the modern world.

When defiant Bohemians tossed the Habsburg emperor’s envoys from the castle windows in Prague in 1618, the Holy Roman Empire struck back with a vengeance. Bohemia was ravaged by mercenary troops in the first battle of a conflagration that would engulf Europe from Spain to Sweden. The sweeping narrative encompasses dramatic events and unforgettable individuals—the sack of Magdeburg; the Dutch revolt; the Swedish militant king Gustavus Adolphus; the imperial generals, opportunistic Wallenstein and pious Tilly; and crafty diplomat Cardinal Richelieu. In a major reassessment, Wilson argues that religion was not the catalyst, but one element in a lethal stew of political, social, and dynastic forces that fed the conflict.

By war’s end a recognizably modern Europe had been created, but at what price? The Thirty Years War condemned the Germans to two centuries of internal division and international impotence and became a benchmark of brutality for centuries. As late as the 1960s, Germans placed it ahead of both world wars and the Black Death as their country’s greatest disaster.

An understanding of the Thirty Years War is essential to comprehending modern European history. Wilson’s masterful book will stand as the definitive account of this epic conflict.

For a map of Central Europe in 1618, referenced on page XVI, please visit the book feature.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674062313
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
10/15/2011
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
1024
Sales rank:
168,405
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 2.10(d)

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • List of Maps and Battle Plans
  • List of Tables
  • Note on Form
  • The Habsburg Family Tree 1500–1665
  • Map of Central Europe, 1618
  • Note on Currencies
  • Preface
  • Part I: Beginnings

    • 1. Introduction

      • Three Men and a Window
      • Interpretations
      • The Argument


    • 2. Trouble in the Heart of Christendom

      • The Empire
      • Confessionalization
      • Religion and Imperial Law


    • 3. Casa d’Austria

      • Lands and Dynasty
      • Estates and Confession
      • The Catholic Revival


    • 4. The Turkish War and Its Consequences

      • The Turkish Menace
      • The Ways of War
      • The Long Turkish War
      • The Brothers’ Quarrel


    • 5. Pax Hispanica

      • The Spanish Monarchy
      • The Dutch Revolt 1568–1609
      • The Spanish Road
      • Spanish Peace-making


    • 6. Dominium Maris Baltici

      • Denmark
      • The Divided House of Vasa
      • Poland-Lithuania


    • 7. From Rudolf to Matthias 1582–1612

      • Religion and the German Princes
      • Confession and Imperial Politics to 1608
      • Union and Liga 1608–9
      • The Ju¨ lich-Cleves Crisis 1609–10


    • 8. On the Brink?

      • Emperor Matthias
      • The Uskok War and the Habsburg Succession 1615–17
      • Palatine Brinkmanship




  • Part Two: Conflict
  • 9. The Bohemian Revolt 1618–20

    • For Liberty and Privilege
    • A King for a Crown
    • Ferdinand Gathers His Forces
    • White Mountain
    • Accounting for Failure


  • 10. Ferdinand Triumphant 1621–4

    • The Palatine Cause
    • Protestant Paladins
    • The Catholic Ascendancy 1621–9


  • 11. Olivares and Richelieu

    • Olivares
    • Richelieu
    • The Valtellina


  • 12. Denmark’s War against the Emperor 1625–9

    • Trouble in Lower Saxony
    • Wallenstein
    • Denmark’s Defeat 1626–9


  • 13. The Threat of European War 1628–30

    • The Baltic
    • The Netherlands
    • Mantua and La Rochelle
    • The Edict of Restitution
    • The Regensburg Electoral Congress 1630


  • 14. The Lion of the North 1630–2

    • Swedish Intervention
    • Between the Lion and the Eagle
    • The Swedish Empire
    • Calls for Assistance
    • Zenith


  • 15. Without Gustavus 1633–4

    • The Heilbronn League
    • Tension along the Rhine
    • Spain Intervenes
    • Wallenstein: the Final Act
    • The Two Ferdinands


  • 16. For the Liberty of Germany 1635–6

    • Richelieu Resolves on War
    • The War in the West 1635–6
    • The Peace of Prague 1635
    • Appeals to Patriotism
    • Renewed Efforts for Peace


  • 17. Habsburg High Tide 1637–40

    • Stalemate
    • Resolution on the Rhine
    • Peace for North Germany?


  • 18. In the Balance 1641–3

    • The Franco-Swedish Alliance 1641
    • The War in the Empire 1642–3
    • Spain’s Growing Crisis 1635–43
    • From Breda to Rocroi 1637–43


  • 19. Pressure to Negotiate 1644–5

    • The Westphalian Congress
    • France in Germany 1644
    • The Baltic Becomes Swedish 1643–5
    • 1645: Annus horribilis et mirabilis


  • 20. War or Peace 1646–8

    • A Crisis of Confidence 1646
    • Towards Consensus
    • Spain’s Peace with the Dutch
    • The Final Round 1648



  • Part Three: Aftermath
  • 21. The Westphalian Settlement

    • The International Dimension
    • A Christian Peace
    • Demobilization
    • The Imperial Recovery


  • 22. The Human and Material Cost

    • An All-destructive Fury?
    • The Demographic Impact
    • The Economic Impact
    • The Crisis of the Territorial State
    • Cultural Impact


  • 23. Experiencing War

    • The Nature of Experience
    • Military–Civil Relations
    • Perceptions
    • Commemoration



  • Abbreviations
  • Notes
  • Index

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The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Panoply 10 months ago
This is NOT a book for the general history reader. It is a book for serious history readers, bordering on a book for 'expert' historical readers (like the two volume history of the Holy Roman Empire by Whaley or the newly released - and EXCELLENT - 'Heart of Europe,' by - guess who! - Peter Wilson, the author of this book. I mention the HRE because it and the Thirty Years War are inextricably linked. If you are unfamiliar with the HRE, this book isn't for you). If, however, you are such a reader, or are reasonably familiar with the HRE, this book is great. Far and away the best history of this incredibly important war. If you feel this book may be too much for you or you simply aren't THAT interested in the subject, may I recommend 'The Thirty Years' War,' by Wedgewood? It is written very engagingly - really a page turner. Also, it can't be used as a doorstop.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Peter H. Wilson has written an exhaustive study of a now obscure seventeenth century (1618-48) conflict, perhaps a bit too exhaustive. It took me about two months to get through the 800 plus page text. About twenty-five years ago I read the standard The Thirty Years War by C.V. Wedgwood, written in 1938. Wilson is much more detailed and thorough than she was, but not her equal as a stylist. Another problem for the reader is a lack of sympathetic characters. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was the only personality who dominated events, but his premature death in battle ensured that the war would be carried on by average generals and statesmen only interested in saving face. Any good account of the Thirty Years War demonstrates its basic futility and brutality and ends leaving one depressed and disgusted. Perhaps the war was just too complicated to get a handle on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book goes into meticulous details of the causes and aftermath of the Thirty Years' War, as well as the events and characters during the war itself. For those that adore history as I do, this is an enlightening book. When I learned of the Thirty Years' War in my history class I was deeply absorbed into the teacher's lectures, and I was itching to find a novel on the topic; and then I found the one by Wilson. Also, other great history novels every history buff should read are King Kaiser Tsar by Catrine Clay and books by authors: Alison Weir, Robert K. Massie, and James Reston Jr.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TemplarMike More than 1 year ago
The author claims in the introduction that this will be the best source on the Thirty Years War ever written, and he is likely correct. The problem with this book is that it simply delves WAY TOO MUCH into background information. The author spends the first 265 pages of the book-265 PAGES!- explaining to the reader the history behind the Thirty Years War, the Hapsburg empire, the Protestant Catholic conflicts, the war in Netherlands against the Spanish, how the Spanish silver trade from the Americas worked, how firearms had revolutionized warfare, how wars were fought, how the Ottoman Empire worked, how the Hapsburg Empire worked, yet never seems to conclude anything. This is like reading Wikipedia for fun-which I do-but worse on so many different levels. Not that the book is bad, far from it. It is actually an engaging read, especially for someone with professional interest in the period. But as a fun, just reading book, not even close. It is an excellent book, very readable, but way, way, way too filled with information.