- Hardcover: 1024 pages
- Publisher: Allen Lane; First Edition edition (30 July 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0713995920
- ISBN-13: 978-0713995923
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 6.3 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 450,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Europe's Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years War Hardcover – 30 Jul 2009
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Succeeds brilliantly ... His scholarship is remarkable, his prose light and lovely, his judgements fair (Paul Kennedy Sunday Times)
An ambitious and accomplished account, abreast of modern scholarship, has been overdue, and EUROPE'S TRAGEDY supplies it all admirably (Blair Worden Literary Review)
Magisterial ... a wise, wide-seeking account, tenaciously researched (Lauro Martines The Times Literary Supplement)
A history of prodicious erudition ... a definitive account has been needed, and now Peter Wilson has provided it (Jeffrey Collins Wall Street Journal)
A wonderfully comprehensive and detailed account (Tim Blanning Sunday Telegraph)
From the Publisher
Review from Paul Kennedy, Sunday Times:
`Peter Wilson is a brave man to undertake a new general survey of one of the most long-lasting, multi-dimensional and controversial wars of all time. It is a joy to report that, at least in this reviewer's opinion, Europe's Tragedy succeeds brilliantly ... His scholarship seems to me remarkable, his prose light and lovely, his judgments fair'See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A lot has changed since the greatest previous book on the war came out in 1938. There has been a copious amount of new research that just wasn't available then. Also, having been written after World War I the perspective is rather different. In some ways that helped of course, since both wars were so tragically pointless. This book is rather different from that one. While Wedgwood's book relied almost entirely on the chroniclers of the time, this book includes a better look at the war's causes. In fact, the war itself doesn't start until page 269. Wedgwood's book kind of reminded me of Gibbons, at least in the way she arranges her information quite clearly to add force to her thesis. Basically her thesis is that the war was a stupid waste that was caused by stupidity and greed for power. Even though I think her thesis works better that Gibbons', it still left a lot out that wasn't essential to her main point.Read more ›
The roots of the conflict, in my reading, sprung from 2 essential sources: 1) the decline of the feudal order in Central Europe that had operated under the umbrella of the Holy Roman Empire and 2) the simmering religious wars of protestant and catholic. These unfolded symbiotically, but it was really the conflict of the princes and kings - attempting to consolidate their own forms of power in the emerging nation state - that employed the confessional question to their own ends, however sincere they were in their beliefs.
The Habsburgs (in both Spain and central Europe) were essentially feudal lords. One of their most important powers was the ability to confer nobility and authority on allies that would then be sworn to serve them in certain capacities, such as warfare against external enemies such as the Turks or rival Christian kingdoms. They answered to a plethora of institutions that carried their own rights and privileges, the complexity of which is nothing short of extraordinary (i.e. regions, nations, free cities, duchies, each with their own historical perquisites in the hierarchy). Often, the emperors served as arbiters to resolve conflicts between their princes and lords, but they also oversaw the installation of certain administrators and other officials to support the superstructure and finances of the Empire.Read more ›
Don't be too put off by my exhaustion - but be prepared!
It is maybe difficult to seek out any section that could be eliminated though some of the conclusions might have been condenced to make way for a few lines each on the current day condition of the battlefeilds and also an appendix giving a short biography of the main charachters.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's a brick indeed, but it's one of the most well-documented books about the Thirty Years War written in modern time. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Erik K
Lucid, well written & readable account of a complicated subject.Published 2 months ago by Barca Fulmen
A wonderful history of the thirty years war, very scholarlyPublished 4 months ago by gerard de jonggerarddejong
Quite possibly the dullest driest history read I have ever undertaken. The book reads like a long intellectual exercise in which Mr Wilson wants to prove he knows every microscopic... Read morePublished 4 months ago by nicholas nicol
An excellent work on this neglected but important war. This is easily the best book in English on the war and a must get for anyone interested in it.Published 5 months ago by Hwiccee