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arsan
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Thu May 07, 2009 7:53 pm

tc237 wrote:um, sounds about right to me, that's how I'd do it if I was in charge :D

Just got back from the Main branch of the local library, haven't been there in 20 years, had to sign up for a library card :cool:
used to spend hours in that place after school reading history books instead of doing homework (and it was better than going home back then)

Checked out:
Christopher Duffy: The Military Life of Frederick the Great
Christopher Duffy: The Military Experience in the Age of Reason
Franz A.J. Szabo: The Seven Years War in Europe 1756-1763

books are due back in 3 weeks and I'm a slow reader :bonk: , any suggestions ?
I usually like to buy books so that I can always refer back to them, might have to start taking notes again :blink:


Yeah, mail me one of those and i will help you with the reading. I promise to send it back to you before 3 weeks ;)
In any case, if you don't go back to the library in another 20 years they won't be able to retire the card from you :D

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Carnium
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Thu May 07, 2009 7:55 pm

tc237 wrote:Franz A.J. Szabo: The Seven Years War in Europe 1756-1763

Take this one and tell us if its any good :D

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aryaman
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Thu May 07, 2009 8:56 pm

I have read Christopher Duffy: The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, it has some interesting anecdotes, but in general it is too light for my interests.
I have the Osprey books on Rossbach/Leuthen, Kolin and Zorndorff, they are pretty good for Osprey standards.
The Osprey Essential on the SYW, as usual, is too superficial.

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Sol Invictus
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Thu May 07, 2009 9:07 pm

I bought Szabo's book several weeks ago and it is next on my reading list. Probably start it early next week.
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tc237
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Thu May 07, 2009 10:33 pm

I don't know arsan, I had to provide my life story just to get that card :blink:
Carnium wrote:Take this one and tell us if its any good :D

While you wait, try this 2008 thread on TMP for a "lively discussion" of the Szabo book.
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=130953
Caution: TMP is a great source for info but also a hotbed for flame wars.

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TiFlo
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Fri May 08, 2009 1:26 am

Duffy's The Military Experience in the Age of Reason is a classic. A good one. But as aryaman said, it is a summary of everything that happened then, so not many details there.
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tc237
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Fri May 08, 2009 7:31 am

Quick review of the Szabo book, after reading about 120 pages tonight:
WTF? This guy has issues. His hatred for Frederick II is not normal nor healthy.
And it certainly is not an "un-biased" look at the SYW.

The good points are that it is a very good overall view of the war, taking into account all participants, even the usually ignored Russians and Swedes.
It seems to be well researched, organized and extensively footnoted. (bottom 1/4 of most pages are footnotes)
It has the potential to be a gem.

What ruins the book is the authors extremely negative, bordering on disgusting, treatment of Frederick II.
I can understand that the author doesn't agree with the standard perception of Frederick from what he, to frequently, calls "Frederick's apologists" (5 times in the first 120 pages).
But to compose every sentence that mentions Frederick in a very negative and crude fashion is not good writing nor good history.
There is not one quote of Frederick's that is positive in anyway, it is as if the author dug up every negative sentence Frederick every wrote and used it as a quote.
The whole thing just goes to far and does a disservice to the reader. (is there really a need to bash his flute playing and poetry too?)
I've never read a book that did this before, not even the worst ACW General get's this treatment.

The hero of the book so far is the Austrian Foreign Minister Kaunitz, who can do no wrong and leads a benevolent coalition against that most vile of dictators, the King of Prussia.
Is it a coincidence that the author also penned a biography on Kaunitz?
Kaunitz and Enlightened Absolutism, 1753-1780, which he references in the footnotes a few times already.
It is almost as if he wrote this book to cut down Frederick in order to make Kaunitz look good.

Anyway, glad I got it free from the library and didn't actually buy it.
I will probably finish it, it has it's merits, but I'll be thinking "What is this guy's problem?" to myself many more times before I'm done.

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Nikel
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Fri May 08, 2009 9:33 am

Thanks for your review. You agree with the review posted above by Brian G.H. Ditcham :


A more serious issue is perhaps Szabo's open animus against Prussia and Frederick II. The king's military ability is regularly minimized, his personality criticized, and his policies derided. He is given little credit for Prussian victories (generally attributed to the achievements of others) but sole blame for defeats. Even his literary skills and musical abilities are belittled. The Prussian cantonal system of military recruitment is dismissed as "infamous," and recruits into the Prussian army from elsewhere in Germany are invariably "dragooned." The brutality of the Prussian occupation of Saxony is repeatedly stressed. There are distinct echoes of the Prussophobe consensus that dominated most Anglophone historiography of Germany from at least 1914 until quite recently, which at its most radical saw Prussia as solely and uniquely to blame for all the evils of the twentieth century. Clearly, this venerable academic interpretation has been much debated in recent years in Germany and beyond. It would have been interesting had Szabo sought to engage with recent scholarship to explain why he prefers the more traditional view, but he fails to do this. "Apologists" for Frederick are regularly scolded but rarely identified by name.


In the end, Szabo's acerbic tone becomes wearing and even counter-productive. If Frederick II was really so devoid of any positive qualities whatsoever, why did he find so many enthusiastic admirers? Attentive reading begins to detect double standards. Ferdinand of Brunswick's infringement of Dutch neutrality in the run-up to the Battle of Crefeld in 1758 curiously escapes moral condemnation (even though he was on the Prussian side). The sad fate of nominally neutral Poland as base area and supply zone for the Russian armies is barely mentioned until the final pages, although most of the blame for Poland's problems is placed at Frederick's door for debasing its currency.


Frederick's approach to warfare was undoubtedly brutal and hugely wasteful of life. What, however, are we to make of the Austrian court's categorical order to General Leopold von Daun (whose undoubted skills at maneuvering his troops were matched by extreme caution about giving battle) that he must at all costs engage Frederick even if he was likely to be defeated? Szabo clearly shares the view of the Austrian Chancellor Wenzel von Kaunitz that Austria's failure to crush Prussia was a tragedy for Europe and the world. One does not have to share Thomas Carlyle's notorious hero worship of Frederick to find this view somewhat simplistic. Kaunitz's problem was that in order to strip Prussia of Silesia and restore it to Habsburg rule, an unreformed Austria needed allies. With the exception of Elizabeth of Russia, however, no other major European ruler was prepared to face bankruptcy to achieve that end. In the final analysis, even Maria Theresia of Austria was unwilling to beggar herself to regain Silesia. Elizabeth died and the pro-Prussian Peter III ascended the throne. Although (as Hitler's case showed) such fateful turning points are not always decisive, in this case Prussia survived, and (pace Szabo) survival amounted to victory.



Ultimately this is a rather unsatisfactory book, an uneasy mix of a very traditional "battles and treaties" history, and a morality play in which the villain unaccountably escapes in the end. Its narrow focus, clear biases, and rather convoluted narrative line will make it a problematic book to teach.

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aryaman
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Fri May 08, 2009 9:47 am

tc237 wrote:I don't know arsan, I had to provide my life story just to get that card :blink:

While you wait, try this 2008 thread on TMP for a "lively discussion" of the Szabo book.
http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=130953
Caution: TMP is a great source for info but also a hotbed for flame wars.


Great link! I think I will buy Szabo after reading such a heated debate. I have always thought that English bibliography has been too biased in favour of Frederick and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, since the times of the Protestant propagandistic writings that portrayed them as protestant hero-kings. Any revision of those points can be seen as very biased even if balanced. I am not saying Szabo is balanced, since I haven´t read him, but I recall a good example of what I am saying, the work by Anne Curry on Agincourt, after 200 years of piling up myths on that battle, a work that digs French sources and come up with a very different picture is inmediately accused of revisionist.

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Carnium
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Fri May 08, 2009 9:57 am

Thanks for the suggestions guys :thumbsup:
I am still reading the one from Blandford Nikel suggested and it is a nice basic read which also has some nice plates to go along.

Nikel: can we get a new name for this thread now that we have hijacked it from you :D

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Nikel
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Fri May 08, 2009 10:02 am

Carnium wrote:Thanks for the suggestions guys :thumbsup:
I am still reading the one from Blandford Nikel suggested and it is a nice basic read which also has some nice plates to go along.

Nikel: can we get a new name for this thread now that we have hijacked it from you :D



Hey, do not exclude me of the hijackers :niark: ;)

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Ebbingford
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Fri May 08, 2009 10:10 am

I think I might be the guilty party for starting the hijacking :D

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Wed May 13, 2009 3:54 pm

aryaman wrote:Great link! I think I will buy Szabo after reading such a heated debate. I have always thought that English bibliography has been too biased in favour of Frederick and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, since the times of the Protestant propagandistic writings that portrayed them as protestant hero-kings. Any revision of those points can be seen as very biased even if balanced. I am not saying Szabo is balanced, since I haven´t read him, but I recall a good example of what I am saying, the work by Anne Curry on Agincourt, after 200 years of piling up myths on that battle, a work that digs French sources and come up with a very different picture is inmediately accused of revisionist.


finished Szabo's book. I don't have an issue with his characterization of Prussian aggression but I do with his characterization of Frederick. Fred is constantly made out ot be an imbecile, incompetent and, at times, a coward. Throughout the book, any victory by frederick (Leuthen) is made out to be barely won by sheer luck or a mistake by an enemy general that saved frederick from his own stupidity. In the alternative, any Prussian victory is startegically meaningless while the slightest Austrian raid is a model of genius.

The authors bias becomes clear when you read his autobiographical clip in the book. He is Austrian, studies Austrian history and dedicates the book to his two Austrian Grandfathers who fought for the Austro-Hungarian army in WWI. He fails to disguise his bias. Very disapointing from a "scholar" who regularly referes to those who believ that frederick was a tactical genius (like Napoleon I suppose) as "Apologists for Frederick"

Shame...under developed area of study.

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Sol Invictus
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Wed May 13, 2009 4:25 pm

I am about half way through Szabo's book and I have to agree. I welcome another perspective on the "genius" of Frederick since almost everything I have read on the subject generally shows Frederick in a very positive light, but Szabo seems to go out of his way to depict Frederick as lucky at best if not generally incompetent and childish. All great commanders are lucky. I find his repeated use of the phrase "rape of Silesia" as jarring. Once or twice would have been plenty. It is all just a bit over the top and he is obviously very biased against Frederick and the Prussian State. I would still recommend the book though.

Almost finished with the book and some other themes have surfaced that almost club the reader over the head. Mr. Szabo always seems to describe the Prussian Canton System as "notorious" and never tires of repeating Austrian Minister Kaunitz's constant assertion that Austria's struggle against Prussia is akin to some selfless holy crusade in order to save Europe from Prussian militarism. I would really like to hear the author's opinion of Austria's willing cooperation in the rape of Poland.
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aryaman
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Wed May 13, 2009 6:02 pm

I am waiting the book anytime this week. I a afraid the comments on Szabo bias could lead to me to read the book with a certain bias as well, but I will try to keep my distance. Fortunately it is not subject in which I have any personal bias...

tc237
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Thu May 14, 2009 11:06 pm

aryaman wrote:I am waiting the book anytime this week. I a afraid the comments on Szabo bias could lead to me to read the book with a certain bias as well, but I will try to keep my distance. Fortunately it is not subject in which I have any personal bias...

Sorry if other reviews or opinions might affect your reading of the book.
Best suggestion is probably to skip over any posts that mention it until you are done. (I usually do that most of the time)

I don't have any bias in this era either, so I was really looking forward to reading this book.
Just finished it and reluctantly have to recommend it only because it is really the only English language history of the entire war.

Don't have anything positive to add to the other posts and reviews so I won't belabor the points already made.
My own personal opinion is that it is a pathetic, petty attempt to discredit Frederick II, nothing more. Full of contradictions and weak arguments.

In the end it does have some very good value as a guide and reference for SYW wargamers, so in that context it is recommended, if they can stomach the diatribe I would suggest they go for it.

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aryaman
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Fri May 15, 2009 5:56 pm

tc237 wrote:Sorry if other reviews or opinions might affect your reading of the book.
Best suggestion is probably to skip over any posts that mention it until you are done. (I usually do that most of the time)

I don't have any bias in this era either, so I was really looking forward to reading this book.
Just finished it and reluctantly have to recommend it only because it is really the only English language history of the entire war.

Don't have anything positive to add to the other posts and reviews so I won't belabor the points already made.
My own personal opinion is that it is a pathetic, petty attempt to discredit Frederick II, nothing more. Full of contradictions and weak arguments.

In the end it does have some very good value as a guide and reference for SYW wargamers, so in that context it is recommended, if they can stomach the diatribe I would suggest they go for it.


Right now I am reading two biographic works on General Franco, from a very different perspective each one. I read them together to compare and keep a broad perspective on the subject, I may end doing the same with Szabo´s book if I feel is too strongly biased.

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Florent
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Tue May 26, 2009 6:24 pm

I have started and read about half of " By force of Arms " by Christopher Duffy about the guys in White (the Austrians at war in the 7 years war).
This is a great book as always with Duffy.
There is plenty of events that can be included in the game.
For exemple at the beginning of the war (by end of august) most of the guns were still at Vienna and Brown had to write to Maria Theresa which disgusted by administration's inertia used the horses of Imperial stables to send the gun train. Nice event isn't it ?
One important event for Austria is the creation of the General Staff with Lacy at command. Basically it helped for movement with guides, pionneer etc and coul give bonus, as well as coordination for multiple colums attacks " à la Hochkirch", Maxen and so... In game terms it means that corps or columns coming from different directions will much likely be able to coordinate against a Prussian army.
Unfortunately june 1 1760 the event Lacy resigns(because of intrigues and weariness) will cancel this powerfull advantage.
Historically, this is Liegnitz where Dawn and Loudon could crushed Fred but didn't. What would have happen with Lacy coordinating all of this.
From Fred with an interview after the war " Nobody in either history or modern times had rivalled Lacy in ability to move and position armies...and so it was that as long he was chief of staff...i was unable to gain the slightest advantage. Don't you remember the 2 campaigns in 1758-1759 ? you succeeded in everything you attempted. I kept asking "will i ever be rid of that man ? "...but then somebody replaced him. Now i could say " This might not turn out too badly for me ; this might give me an opening. I looked for it, and i found it at Torgau. "
What better compliment for the nemesis of Fred !!! :thumbsup:
Hope that for immersion, historical advantages like this will be included through modifier when calculating if 2 forces cooperate. ;)
If i didn't say that this book is formidable then its time.
You will respect even more the guys in white.
For honors of war Hok said that there will be a calculation outright to see the % of loss. I have to admit that i wasn't convinced, i would have liked the entire garrison displaced...but it was before reading the capture of Dresde when the Prussian left the town between 2 ranks of Austrians, the letter asking if there were saxon, austrian deserters or soldiers put by force in service, more than 800 the left the ranks to join the Austrians.
Perhaps some adjustements will be needed so that a biggest % is more likely to strike the Prussians because of these men included by force in the army.
Bravo Hok ;) !!

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Sol Invictus
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Sat May 30, 2009 12:10 am

Well I caved and just ordered "By Force of Arms". :thumbsup: I swore I wouldn't pay $80 for a relatively slim book but I am weak and there are so few books on the subject. :o It also seems that about every book that deals with The Seven Years War in any depth cost their weight in gold for some reason. :cursing: I already have all of the well-known titles that are priced reasonably. I also bought "Russia and the Outbreak of the Seven Years War" by some guy named Herbert Kaplan. I took a risk with this one because it may be total crap. At least it was inexpensive. :w00t: If ROP is not released soon I will not have any cash left to buy the game. :grr: Please AGEOD, save me from myself! Release the game immediately. ;)
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Florent
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Sat May 30, 2009 8:55 am

Sol Invictus, you will not regret your purchase, this book not slim at all (492 pages) is the best book i read so far about the Austrians.
You are really campaigning with them from general staff to individual soldiers.
I completed Liegnitz this morning(page 259). The battles are much more detailed than the book about the Army of Fred by the same author. I should read about Torgau.
But take care, if you are Prussian oriented, you will want to play the White coated Austrians after starting reading this fascinating book. :)

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Sol Invictus
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Sat May 30, 2009 2:08 pm

Florent wrote:Sol Invictus, you will not regret your purchase, this book not slim at all (492 pages) is the best book i read so far about the Austrians.
You are really campaigning with them from general staff to individual soldiers.
I completed Liegnitz this morning(page 259). The battles are much more detailed than the book about the Army of Fred by the same author. I should read about Torgau.
But take care, if you are Prussian oriented, you will want to play the White coated Austrians after starting reading this fascinating book. :)



I am really looking forward to reading the book. I thought that I had read that it was only 250-ish pages long. I will love a large tome. :thumbsup: The more I read about the Austrian Army of The Seven Years War the more respect I have for these fine gentlemen, but my heart will always be with the Prussians. :gardavou: I would love to get "Instrument of War" and "The Army of Maria Theresa" but they are so expensive and I have blown my reading budget for the next few months. I hope that the book on the Russians is a surprising gem. Have you heard of this book? There are just so few book in English on these subjects. :( I guess I need to learn German. :w00t:
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Florent
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Sat May 30, 2009 3:37 pm

The more I read about the Austrian Army of The Seven Years War the more respect I have for these fine gentlemen
Yes as Fred said after Lobositz in 1756 " These are no longer the same old Austrians.
There is some confusion sometimes between the 7yw and Austrian succession.
The metalic ramrod had been adopted by all or most armies (france in 1753).
I don't know this book about the russians but look at the Seven years war project, this army is covered as well as many things about the war.
I am also a big fan of the prussian army but this is more about the dark blue or prussian blue uniforms, mitre-cap, training (although i like very much the British pattern that was copied on the mitre-cap carried by the grenadiers of Fred's father) than about their politics. Looking at Fred army by Duffy, they took 43000000 thalers from Saxony (hoping that the importance of saxony and also Silesia will be showed in the game for money and manpower).
Also it may well have been the last gasp of religious warfare because the prussians behaviour in catholic areas is shamefull.
Look at Fouque(where he was something of a viceroy), during 18 years between the 40 to 1760 in Glatz (Silesia) the catholic feasts were abolished and he made shot down a priest (look page 239-240 in "By Force of Arms".
Winterfeldt is said to have been shot in the back by his own...Silesian men.
Thus reading about the Austrians just gives the will to play the white coat.

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Sol Invictus
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Sat May 30, 2009 5:11 pm

I am sure that Fred and his Prussians are much easier for me to admire from a distance. ;) If I had to choose, I would have much preferred to serve in the Austrian Army than in the Prussian service.
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Florent
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Sat May 30, 2009 7:20 pm

Good point.

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Carnium
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Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:23 am

British Alibris has some of the Duffys books at a quite reasonable prices :
http://www.alibris.co.uk/search/books/author/Duffy%2C%20Christopher

But still a bit too expensive for me :(

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Savory

Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:04 am

If you have access to inter-library loan (it is long, long out of print) see if they have Savory: His Brittanic Majesty's Army in (Germany?). This is THE english language source for the 7 Years War in the west - between Hannover/Britain/Brunswick etc v France and its allies including Saxony. The author was a British general who had "a good war" fighting the Japanese.

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Ebbingford
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Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:02 am

mariandavid wrote:If you have access to inter-library loan (it is long, long out of print) see if they have Savory: His Brittanic Majesty's Army in (Germany?). This is THE english language source for the 7 Years War in the west - between Hannover/Britain/Brunswick etc v France and its allies including Saxony. The author was a British general who had "a good war" fighting the Japanese.



I got myself a copy several months ago. :thumbsup:

It's been reprinted by 18thcenturypress.com.

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