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"Suggested Reading for learning the Seven years war" Topic

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Bradley101728 Dec 2022 7:32 p.m. PST


I am not an expert in any part of history. I have read the most about the American Civil War and also the Punic Wars. Other than that just bits and pieces. I have a very vague general understanding of some of the big events and of the Seven years war. I have listened to a few audio books during work just dont tell my boss….

What books would be good to get a hold of if you were starting from scratch to get a more military perspective of the war and period? I am not so interested in the politcs of it all as i am in the generals and the battles etc.


Tlwnd2828 Dec 2022 8:10 p.m. PST

I'd start with almost anything by Christopher Duffy. His Military Experience in the Age of Reason, biography of Frederick the Great, The army of Frederick the Great and Army of Maria Theresa are all excellent.

khanscom28 Dec 2022 8:11 p.m. PST

Might try anything by Christopher Duffy for starters.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP28 Dec 2022 8:50 p.m. PST

G'day, Bradley. As TIwnd28 and khanscom said, anything by Christopher Duffy. For a deeper understanding of why the war was fought I'd also recommend Fraser's "Frederick the Great. King of Prussia" and either Crankshaw's "Maria Theresa" or McCartney's "Maria Theresa and the House of Austria".

Also, don't forget the best SYW resource on the web (in my very biased opinion)- Kronoskaf's SYW site at link

I hope you enjoy your research, mate.

Byron129 Dec 2022 10:49 a.m. PST

I second Dal Gavan's Kronoskaf SYW website a brilliant resource. Also probably not for the general reader, but if your interested in the Hanoverians vs the French in the Western European theatre you cannot go wrong with Sir Reginald Savory's "His Britannic Majesty's Army in Germany during the Seven Years War".

Bradley101730 Dec 2022 4:24 a.m. PST

Thank you all very much. Have ordered the book on Frederick the Great by Duffy albeit used off the net. The Seven years war site Kronoskaf is simply amazing! So much work it has me floored. I have used it before as a painting guide but there is so much more to the site and its just like I said amazing! I will have to support it.

Bradley101703 Jan 2023 3:39 p.m. PST

A place called Thrift Books had the Duffy book on Frederick the great for under 10 dollars in paperback and I just got it in the mail! I cant afford hundreds for books but luckily there seems to be a lot of great books being sold second hand currently.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP03 Jan 2023 4:37 p.m. PST

Bradley, there's nothing wrong with buying 2nd hand books. Sometimes it's the only way to get a book you want. is my favourite book-finding site, mate. A search for "Duffy, Christopher" as author brought up such gems a The Army of Frederick the Great 2nd Ed for $4.87 USD and Military Experience in the Age of Reason for $5.00 USD. There's a lot of titles that don't relate to the SYW, or even Chris Duffy, but you can find some real bargains.

Bradley101704 Jan 2023 5:08 a.m. PST

Thanks for the tip! I will have a look and strike while the iron is hot. Seven Years war seems to be a bit under represented compared to other popular periods for sure!

Bradley101719 Jan 2023 11:17 a.m. PST

Ok from reading Duffy I am not getting the impression Frederick was the great general. He seems to always be attacking rashly and getting costly victories. The great victory over the Reicharmee seems to be the work of his subordinates. Plus he is all over the place emotionally, all is lost, all is great. He is an interesting character but I do not think of him yet as a great general. I guess I have to keep reading! Or maybe I am just pro Austrian?

Bradley101719 Jan 2023 11:19 a.m. PST

I think he is lucky Grant wasnt Austrian lol. If the Austrians would of just kept having battles non stop instead of retiring all the time they would of grinded the prussians out of the war thru attrition.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP30 Jan 2023 6:07 p.m. PST
von Winterfeldt04 Feb 2023 11:15 a.m. PST

Frederick kept Prussia alive despite all odds, a wonder that he succeeded, any Austrian victory in the scale as Rossbach or Leuthen or Hohenfriedberg?

Bradley101704 Feb 2023 9:04 p.m. PST

Thanks for the links!

Personally I think Frederick bit off more than he could chew but he had to have been brilliant at logistics to be able to keep armies in the field in all theatres while he was campaigning. It also amazes me that he didnt go broke and managed to keep getting money one way or another to finance his adventures. But as a general he seems to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown win or lose. Great period of history with lots of interesting personalities for sure!

Mark J Wilson Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2023 9:35 a.m. PST

@ Bradley, there is an argument that Frederick only avoided defeat in the SYW because Elizabeth of Russia died and was replaced by her son, who was a total Frederick arse licker, and pulled russia out of the war.

One comment on your reading list, you need to find some works by non English speaking authors. For some reason Germans and Russians don't always see continental wars the same way we do.

khanscom12 Oct 2023 9:22 a.m. PST

I recently picked up a copy of "The Russians and Prussians During the Seven Years' War" from the Edward R. Hamilton site. A Nafziger translation of a late 19C. French work. The translation reads a bit clunky, and good maps would have been a nice addition, but overall a good buy.

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