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    Guy Farrish

    Finally got round to reading this (thanks Hwiccee for the heads up it was out).

    Great read. Flows well for a book that does not adopt too populist approach to military history. If you are looking for another ‘Great Commanders’ book about Gustavus (or indeed Wallenstein or Pappenheim!) this is not the book for you. If you are looking for an insightful exploration of the confusion of the battle, the sources, the competing narratives around the historiography of the battle within the Thirty Years War and subsequent German and Western traditions, buy this book.

    It was refreshing to read someone who didn’t just trot out all the old cliches about revolutionary Swedish tactics vs staid conservative Imperialist formations. Out go groundbreaking Swedish checkerboard formations that revolutionised infantry tactics for a generation as part of the ‘military revolution’ and in come wasteful Swedish checkerboard formations that failed to utilise the firepower available and were abandoned by the Swedes and not used by anyone else, except perhaps some ECW commanders at Naseby and then promptly abandoned again. The huge Spanish tercio is swept from the fantasy display, and the sources for it lingering in the history (illustrations based on old military handbooks and not sources present at the battle) explained.

    The political and cultural reasons for the posthumous adulation and elevation of Gustavus to great commander status are explored and to large extent debunked. This will no doubt be disputed, particularly by those US military proponents who seem to base so much around his wunderkind status.

    Gustavus’ death as sacrifice and prompt for the ‘revenge’ victory at Lutzen is disputed. His death is shown as a probable meaningless accident and the ‘victory’ as a losing draw that Wallenstein should perhaps have turned into a decisive Imperialist victory, had he not been suffering from various physical and mental impediments at the time.

    Definitely worth getting and reading for the wargamer interested in the period.

    Definitely worth getting for anyone interested in seeing how changing political, social and cultural times alter the interpretation of historical events (without the need to resort to postmodernist dithering).




    A very nice summary/review of this book. I agree totally and it is nice to see a modern view on this era/battle.

    A ‘must have’ if you interested in the TYW I think.




    Excellent read; thoroughly recommended.

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