Refighting the Thirty Years’ War

Geoffrey Parker travels to Germany to revisit the sites of the 17th-century conflict that saw the decline of the Holy Roman Empire and Habsburgs.

It is now exactly seven years since I first sketched out the plan for a new book on the Thirty Years' War. By the end of two years, I had realised that any single scholar who believes it possible to refight the war alone suffers from dangerous delusions of grandeur: the sheer volume of surviving archival material writeen in every major (and several minor) European languages, represents an insuperable obstacle to individual synthesis and analysis. Eventually it took ten of us to refight the war, and, although inevitably some parts of the endeavour were both exhausting and frustrating, one aspect certainly was not - visiting in person any and every museum or site of interest that might provide some detail or illustrate example for the book.

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