Ricarda Huch, Der Dreißigjährige Krieg (The Thirty Years War) (1937)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

This is the most important portrayal of war that remains untranslated into English. A profound study of how military behavior, values, and entire societies degenerate under the stress of extended warfare, this is a book that shaped the reviewer’s thinking for the past forty years. At a time when current catastrophes in the Middle East are casually compared to the Thirty Years War, a deeper knowledge of the web of conflicts that ravaged Europe from 1618 to 1648 can lead to dread: When religious rivalries intersect with great-power ambitions, entire continents can suffer the grimmest cruelties that humans have devised for each other. The author, a staunch opponent of Hitler, humanized the inhuman, helping us grasp civilization’s fragility. Today, Huch’s century-old “docu-drama” rivals the work of Clausewitz in relevance.

 

Ralph Peters is the author of thirty-three books, including works on strategy and security affairs, as well as best-selling, prize-winning novels. He has published more than a thousand columns, articles, and essays here and abroad. As a U.S. Army enlisted man and career officer, he served in Infantry and military intelligence units before becoming a foreign area officer for the dying Soviet Union and the new Russia. As a soldier, journalist, and researcher, he has experience in more than seventy countries, covering various wars and trouble spots. His historical fiction won the American Library Association's Boyd Award for Literary Excellence an unprecedented three times and also received the Herodotus Award and the Hammett Prize. Additionally, he was the 2015 recipient of the Goodpaster Award, presented each year to a distinguished American soldier-scholar. In 2017, he was selected for the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.