History Review: "Europe's Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years War" by Peter H Wilson.

Funny story written by Ellis Ian Fields

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

image for History Review: "Europe's Tragedy: A History of the Thirty Years War" by Peter H Wilson.
Oh! For crying out loud... not a uniform from the 30 Years War.

The Thirty Years War was a horrific series of conflicts but it has always seemed remote to the inhabitants of these islands - the last major survey in English was by CV Wedgwood 70 years ago.

Ken Lucid considers this important new contribution…

"First, I have to say sorry this review is late (published late last year - ed.)… but wow! This is one BIG book! It's got 851 pages - and that's not including all those pages at the front with things like "xxii" at the bottom and the usual bunch of stuff at the end… oh, and two nice lots of pictures. There's a lot of maps and things, so I suppose that makes it a bit shorter - but all the same, you're not going to knock this off on a couple of visits to the bog!

"I thought it was going to be funny at the start when Wilson tells the story about these guys getting thrown out of a window in Prague. But apparently it did really happen! And then he goes off all over the place and to be quite honest, I wondered what he was on about a lot of the time: "Casa d'Austria," "Pax Hispanica" and "Dominium Maris Baltici," - come on, Pete, your audience speaks English, that's the whole point, isn't it? A book in English?

"So anyway, there's a lot of stuff about all these Germans, Poles, Swedes and God knows how many others fighting about religion (and other stuff) miles away a long time ago. There are some mentions about the Brits, but we didn't tend to get too involved.

"The book has a nice dust jacket and it's pretty thick, so it's impressive on the shelf and makes you look smart. It's one of the thickest books on my shelf - except Henry Kissinger's Diplomacy is thicker in hardback (I saw it when it came out) but I've got it in paperback…"

"I had to miss a conference Wilson was at a couple of years ago. But my mate VD 'Vince' Comb here at UTVE said he was alright but seemed a bit obsessed with old Germans. Maybe this big effort has got it out of his system."

Ken Lucid is Professor of Modern History at the University of Thames Valley East.

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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