Thirty Years War book recommendation?

Are there any good popular histories out there on the Thirty Years War? Trying to learn more about it, but academic tomes bore the bejeezles out of me.

I really liked C.V. Wedgewood’s book.

What a weird thing to have a first post about. Welcome, though.

I’d recommend Peter Englunds Ofredsår but there doesn’t seem to be an English translation.

Indeed … but you have to start somewhere!


I’ve got The Thirty Years’ War, second edition, edited by Geoffrey Parker.

Seconded. Very detailed, but does a great job of drawing the personalities.


hah! I loved this series.

Also seconding this, just started reading it.

It is predictably goofy so far, but my review of the first third of the book would be: “:)”

1633 is decent, and 1634: the Baltic War, is okay, but the rest of the books can be comfortably avoided.

There’s actually a new one just out in hardback which looks promising -GBP35 and as many pounds in weight. I may hold off for the p/b…

I loved 1632 and 1633. I’ve never managed to get through The Galileo Affair. I bog down pretty early on and just get bored. I’m not sure if it’s the lack of action or something else, but it was a big letdown after 1633.

1632 is one of my favourite pulpy fun books, and it’s fun having a Baen book written from a left-wing perspective. I just pretend that none of the other books existed - 1633 put me off, mainly thanks to the trademark subtle politics and superbly concise writing style of David Weber.

By the way for anyone wondering wtf book we’re talking about, there first one, I think, is free in Baen’s free ebook library on their site.

It can also be found at used book stores for under a fiver.

Or, if it’s a first edition printing, over $100.

This thread inspired me to read 1634: The Baltic War. I quite enjoyed it.

I finished reading 1632 and yeah… 1633 definitely reads more like a Weber book. Not that I mind, I like the Honorverse series. :)

1632 is a great Hurrah-Hurrah Americans-travel-in-time to rip things up kind of alternate history. Very readable, for what it is.

The sequels stretch the premise to breaking point though (the idea that a small community of people transposed to the past could accelerate technological progress to the extent imagined in the by now very extensive series is absurd). As 1633 and especially 1634 also go into full-scale scholar mode (spending long chapters explaining the politics and history of this alternate europe), it also gets dull.

On the OP’s subject, I don’t know if one can make a book on the Thirty Years War into an exciting read, given how incredibly messy that conflict was. But if you need a quick and short read, the Osprey Essential Histories volume on the Thirty Years War isn’t all that bad (given the limitations of the format).

I guess it’s this one: Europe’s Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War by Peter H. Wilson.