The Thirty Years War

by C. V. Wedgwood

This ambitious book describes one of the decisive episodes in early modern European history.  Europe in 1618 was divided between Protestants and Catholics, Bourbon and Hapsburg, empires, kingdoms, and countless independent states and fiefdoms. After angry Protestants tossed three representatives of the Holy Roman Empire out the window of the royal castle in Prague, world war spread from Bohemia with similar abandon and relentless persistence, destroying European powers from Spain to Sweden as they marched on the contested soil of Germany. Fanatics, speculators, and ordinary people found themselves trapped in a nightmarish world of famine, disease, and seemingly unstoppable destruction.

The Thirty Years War was a turning point in the making of modern Europe and the modern world: out of it came the system of nation-states that remains fundamental to international law.  If you’re a history buff, this book is a must.

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