100 books like Coping with Life during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

By Sigrun Haude,

Here are 100 books that Coping with Life during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) fans have personally recommended if you like Coping with Life during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Wild Goose and the Eagle: A Life of Marshal Von Browne 1705-1757

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

This is one of the first ‘proper’ history books I read, having borrowed it from my local public library, and gave me a lasting interest in the wars and warriors of Central Europe.

First published in 1964, it recounts the life of an Irish exile who became a field marshal in the Austrian Habsburg army and died leading a bayonet charge against the Prussians. Browne’s career exemplifies how ‘German’ military history is far more diverse than it might first appear.

Christopher Duffy vividly brings the eighteenth century to life, and I warmly recommend his many other books on early modern warfare. 

By Christopher Duffy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wild Goose and the Eagle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Maximilian von Browne is counted among the finest soldiers of the old Imperial Austrian Army. As the present biography sets out to show, he was outstanding in his time for his vigorous conduct of war, and his extremely advanced idea of leadership and responsibility. Few commanders have taken so literally the phrase ‘to share the hardships of his men’.

A son of that generation of Irishmen who fled from a penal regime to take service in Catholic Europe, Browne rose in the Army of the Empress Maria Theresa. In 1746, he could take the greater part of the credit for…


Book cover of Hitler's Soldiers: The German Army in the Third Reich

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

More than one in four Germans served during the Second World War, but only one in ten of these volunteered.

In the eight decades since that conflict, the history of this staggering mobilization has been rewritten several times but remains controversial, particularly as more recent research is revealing the scale and complexity of the German military’s involvement in the genocidal policies of the Nazi regime.

Ben Shepherd offers a balanced and finely nuanced account of the German armed forces, their organization, culture, and conduct of total war, noting the importance of context, whilst indicating that the postwar distinction between ‘good German soldiers’ and ‘bad Nazis’ is a myth. 

By Ben H. Shepherd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hitler's Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A penetrating study of the German army's military campaigns, relations with the Nazi regime, and complicity in Nazi crimes across occupied Europe

For decades after 1945, it was generally believed that the German army, professional and morally decent, had largely stood apart from the SS, Gestapo, and other corps of the Nazi machine. Ben Shepherd draws on a wealth of primary sources and recent scholarship to convey a much darker, more complex picture. For the first time, the German army is examined throughout the Second World War, across all combat theaters and occupied regions, and from multiple perspectives: its battle…


Book cover of German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

Addressing his troops prior to their departure for China in 1900, Kaiser Wilhelm urged them to behave like the Huns and give no quarter to the Chinese accused of murdering the German ambassador during the Boxer Rebellion.

Four years later, German troops mercilessly drove the Herero and Nama people of what is now Namibia into the desert to die, while their comrades in what is now Tanzania fought a vicious war to suppress another colonial revolt. These events have recently returned to broader consciousness as the victims’ descendants demand reparations.

Without minimizing the violence, Kuss shows how it was rooted in specific situations and that there was no simple, inevitable line ‘from Windhoek to Auschwitz’. 

By Susanne Kuss, Andrew Smith (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Germany fought three major colonial wars from 1900 to 1908: the Boxer War in China, the Herero and Nama War in Southwest Africa, and the Maji Maji War in East Africa. Recently, historians have emphasized the role of German military culture in shaping the horrific violence of these conflicts, tracing a line from German atrocities in the colonial sphere to those committed by the Nazis during World War II. Susanne Kuss dismantles such claims in a close examination of Germany's early twentieth-century colonial experience. Despite acts of unquestionable brutality committed by the Kaiser's soldiers, she finds no direct path from…


Book cover of Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

After 1918, many German and Austrian Habsburg officers blamed their defeat on being ‘stabbed in the back’ by civilian ‘shirkers’, leftists, and (in the Habsburg case) fractious nationalists.

Both states indeed failed to manage their home fronts but, as Alexander Watson shows in his compelling account of this titanic conflict, there were far more complex reasons for the war’s outcome, not least the willingness of the high command in both states to embark on a conflict they had no realistic chance of winning.

By Alexander Watson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ring of Steel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sunday Times History Book of the Year 2014

Winner of the 2014 Wolfson History Prize, the 2014 Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, the Society for Military History's 2015 Distinguished Book Award and the 2015 British Army Military Book of the Year

For the empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary the Great War - which had begun with such high hopes for a fast, dramatic outcome - rapidly degenerated as invasions of both France and Serbia ended in catastrophe. For four years the fighting now turned into a siege on a quite monstrous scale. Europe became the focus of fighting of a…


Book cover of The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich

Cathal J. Nolan Author Of Mercy: Humanity in War

From my list on how wars are won and lost.

Who am I?

I'm an award-winning teacher and writer who introduces students and readers to war in a profession that today is at best indifferent to military history, and more often hostile. That gives me a wry sense of irony, as colleagues would rather teach about fashion than fascism and truffles over tragedy. Having written a multiple award-winning book that covered 2,000 years of war, frankly I was sickened by how the same mistakes were made over and again. It has made me devoted to exploring possibilities for humane behavior within the most inhumane and degraded moral environment humanity creates; where individuality is subsumed in collective violence and humanity is obscured as a faceless, merciless enemy.

Cathal's book list on how wars are won and lost

Cathal J. Nolan Why did Cathal love this book?

Connects military gamblers from Frederick II to Hitler, demonstrating that “rolling the iron dice of destiny” (Bismarck) by starting wars they hoped would be short but even though they knew they could not win if they went long instead, was always the German national tradition. I learned a great deal from this key book about the irrationalities of decisions made to go to war, contrary to the assumption in most analysis that decision-makers weigh the odds with care. And how many wars are started with a roll of the dice and without a real plan to win them? Or at least, no Plan B once Plan A goes awry, as it always does. 

By Robert M. Citino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The German Way of War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Frederick the Great, the prescription for warfare was simple: kurz und vives ("short and lively")-wars that relied upon swift, powerful, and decisive military operations. Robert Citino takes us on a dramatic march through Prussian and German military history to show how that primal theme played out time and time again.

Citino focuses on operational warfare to demonstrate continuity in German military campaigns from the time of Elector Frederick Wilhelm and his great "sleigh-drive" against the Swedes to the age of Adolf Hitler and the blitzkrieg to the gates of Moscow. Along the way, he underscores the role played by…


Book cover of Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War

Katja Hoyer Author Of Blood and Iron: The Rise and Fall of the German Empire; 1871-1918

From my list on German history that aren't about the Nazis.

Who am I?

I was born in East Germany and experienced the disappearance of that country and the huge changes that followed as a child. My history teachers reflected this fracture in the narratives they constructed, switching between those they had grown up with and the new version they had been told to teach after 1990. It struck me how little resemblance the neat division of German history into chapters and timelines bears to people’s actual lives which often span one or even several of Germany’s radical fault lines. My fascination with my country’s fractured memory has never left me since. 

Katja's book list on German history that aren't about the Nazis

Katja Hoyer Why did Katja love this book?

It is impossible to understand Germany or indeed continental Europe without understanding the horrific conflict that raged on its soil during the first half of the 17th century. One of the most devastating conflicts ever fought in Europe, it tore communities and families apart along dynastic, religious, and political lines. Famine and disease added to the horrors of war, depopulating regions in Germany by up to two-thirds of pre-war levels. The conflict left a deep scar in German collective memory, the consequences of which can still be seen in religious, linguistic, and cultural divisions today. It was a collective experience of trauma with loud echoes in the 19th and 20th centuries. Wilson’s excellent work remains the best overview in English.

By Peter H. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Europe's Tragedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award 2011

The horrific series of conflicts known as the Thirty Years War (1618-48) tore the heart out of Europe, killing perhaps a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to whole areas of Central Europe to such a degree that many towns and regions never recovered. All the major European powers apart from Russia were heavily involved and, while each country started out with rational war aims, the fighting rapidly spiralled out of control, with great battles giving way to marauding bands of starving soldiers spreading plague and murder. The…


Book cover of Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch

Nora Fussner Author Of The Invisible World

From my list on female protagonists who have magical powers.

Who am I?

When I was researching my novel, I learned why so many psychics are women: Spiritualism, founded in the 19th century, had both an intense following (more than 8 million followers in the late 1800s) and gave women equal importance to men, one of the few religions at the time (or since) to do so. Even today, women’s pain is dismissed by doctors disproportionately to that of men; women’s testimony is scrutinized more closely than that of men. I love books that invest women with abilities that seem super-human, perhaps as compensation for unequal access to resources. These books keep one foot in the real, one in the fantastic.

Nora's book list on female protagonists who have magical powers

Nora Fussner Why did Nora love this book?

I’ve been to Salem, Massachusetts; I’ve read Stacy Schiff’s book about the witch trials. We sometimes forget in the USA that there were witch trials in Europe, as well, such as the real one Galchen’s novel is based on.

In 17th century Germany, the mother of Johannes Kepler, one of the fathers of modern astronomy, is accused of by a neighbor of witchcraft, sending the entire town into disarray. Although Galchen draws on historical documents, the narration feels contemporary, as neighbors use accusations of witchcraft as revenge for petty grievances.

I recommend this novel for anyone who checks Nextdoor for the tea.

By Rivka Galchen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The startling, witty, highly anticipated second novel from the critically acclaimed author of Atmospheric Disturbances.

The story begins in 1618, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years' War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katharina Kepler is accused of being a witch.

Katharina is an illiterate widow, known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and the success of her children, including her eldest, Johannes, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It's…


Book cover of Wittgenstein's Nephew

Daniel Ben-Horin Author Of Substantial Justice

From my list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of.

Who am I?

Humor is based on surprise and the ‘foreign’ is often surprising. As I traveled all over the world for work, I searched out local authors and found myself laughing. It started with At Swim Two Birds and has never stopped.

Daniel's book list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of

Daniel Ben-Horin Why did Daniel love this book?

This short 1962 Austrian novel is a scream, literally and figuratively.

The Austrians don’t really know what to do with Bernhardt, who hated the country so trenchantly and yet is its finest twentieth-century writer. If you enjoy spending time in the S. Beckett’s zip code, you’ll love this book.

By Thomas Bernhard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wittgenstein's Nephew as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LRB BOOKSHOP'S AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY BEN LERNER, AUTHOR OF THE TOPEKA SCHOOL

'If you haven't read Bernhard, you will not know of the most radical advance in fiction since Joyce ... My advice: dive in.' Lucy Ellmann

'I absolutely love Bernhard: he is one of the darkest and funniest writers ... A must read for everybody.' Karl Ove Knausgaard

It is 1967. Two men lie bedridden in separate wings of a Viennese hospital. The narrator, Thomas Bernhard, is stricken with a lung ailment; his friend Paul,…


Book cover of 1889-1936 Hubris

David Roman Author Of Geli Hitler

From my list on the batshit-crazy history of Nazi Germany.

Who am I?

I’m a long-time correspondent for American media across the world. I reported on Europe and Asia for the Wall Street Journal, and on Southeast Asia for Bloomberg News. I was always fascinated by deep historical layers to be found in ancient societies like those of Europe, and the sometimes accurate clichés about European tribes and their strange customs; no European tribe is weirder than the Germans, for a long time the wildest of the continent and then the most cultured and sophisticated until they came under the spell of a certain Austrian. The twelve years that followed still rank as the most insane historical period for any nation ever.

David's book list on the batshit-crazy history of Nazi Germany

David Roman Why did David love this book?

Kershaw’s double biography of the Nazi leader (the second part, almost entirely about World War II, is called Hubris) is a classic, and remains the best, most approachable look at the unusual upbringing of a young boy from provincial Austria who once wanted to be an artist, and felt in debt with the Jewish doctor who (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) treated his mother’s cancer. Hubris is most remarkable for the glimpses it provides of a different fate for that young boy Adolf: how he was scarred by family tragedy and by failure at multicultural Vienna, and how the Great War gave him an opening to become the worst possible version of himself.

By Ian Kershaw,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1889-1936 Hubris as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From his illegitimate birth in a small Austrian village to his fiery death in a bunker under the Reich chancellery in Berlin, Adolf Hitler left a murky trail, strewn with contradictory tales and overgrown with self-created myths. One truth prevails: the sheer scale of the evils that he unleashed on the world has made him a demonic figure without equal in this century. Ian Kershaw's Hitler brings us closer than ever before to the character of the bizarre misfit in his thirty-year ascent from a Viennese shelter for the indigent to uncontested rule over the German nation that had tried…


Book cover of Above Suspicion

Pauline Baird Jones Author Of Relatively Risky

From my list on thrilling, chilling, romantic, blush-free reads.

Who am I?

I feel like I’ve read all of my life—though I know at some point someone had to teach me—but stories and storytelling are in my DNA. The first four books were my writing “primers.” I learned more about storytelling from them than any how-to book. They also fueled my passion to write in different genres. You will notice the words “blush free” in some of my recommendations. That is because I love well-told stories that live between prim and steamy, books where I don’t have to flip past the steamy stuff to get back to the story. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!

Pauline's book list on thrilling, chilling, romantic, blush-free reads

Pauline Baird Jones Why did Pauline love this book?

Helen McInnes books made their way into my family via those Readers Digest Condensed books that used to come in the mail. They were hard bound and heavy to hold, but it was fun to open them and explore new books. The only one I remember, though, is one by Helen McInnes. I had to go find the complete book because when they condense? You miss a lot. I recommend starting with her first book, Above Suspicion. I loved her characters right off. This isn’t one of those stories that starts with a big bang. The tension rises very slowly and you don’t realize you are being wound up like a spring until it’s too late to put it down. And cool factoid, the author was in the OAS in World War II. She knew her stuff. 

By Helen MacInnes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Above Suspicion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nazi Germany, 1939. Von Aschenhausen sat on the edge of a large desk, his eyes fixed on the man standing over the girl roped to a chair. "You fool. You stupid little fool. Can't you see I must, I will find out? My patience is limited. Kurt, try some more of your persuasion." The girl felt a hand of iron on her aching shoulder. She struggled weakly against the ropes that held her, but they only cut deeper...


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Germany, the Thirty Years' War, and Austria?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Germany, the Thirty Years' War, and Austria.

Germany Explore 451 books about Germany
The Thirty Years' War Explore 9 books about the Thirty Years' War
Austria Explore 55 books about Austria