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Iron and Blood by Peter H. Wilson
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Iron and Blood

A Military History of the German-speaking Peoples Since 1500
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Narrator Rory Alexander

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Length 34 hours 55 minutes
Language English
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Brought to you by Penguin.

For most of its existence German-speaking Europe has been splintered into innumerable states - some substantial (such as Austria and Prussia) and some consisting of just a few Alpine meadows. Its military experience has also been extraordinarily varied: threatened and threatening; a mere buffer-zone, and a global threat.

Iron and Blood is a startlingly ambitious and absorbing book. It encompasses five centuries of political, military, technological and economic change to tell the story of the German-speaking lands, from the Rhine to the Balkan frontier, from Switzerland to the North Sea. Wilson's narrative considers everything from weapons development to recruitment to battlefield strategy. Germans' military impact on the rest of Europe has been immense. If there is one constant it has been the sense of being beset by seemingly more powerful enemies - France or Russia or Turkey - and the need to strike a rapid knockout blow to ensure a favourable result. Almost inevitably, this has in practice meant protracted, relentless and often unwinnable wars, and - in 1939-1945 - moral catastrophe.

The author of definitive books on the Holy Roman Empire and the Thirty Years War, Peter Wilson has with Iron and Blood written his masterpiece.

ยฉ Peter H. Wilson 2022 (P) Penguin Audio 2022

Peter H. Wilson is the author of the highly acclaimed Europe's Tragedy: A New History of the Thirty Years War (2009) and The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History (2016). He is the Chichele Professor of the History of War at the University of Oxford.

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Reviews

The scholarship of this book is breathtaking [and] Wilson relates it with a command of his subject that is unparalleled. No one interested in the history of Europe, and of the Germans in particular, can afford not to read this stupendous book. An ambitious book which was badly needed ... illuminating on the complicated relationship between Prussia, both state and society, and its army .... required reading for serious military historians. Hugely impressive ... By setting his account in the broader context of European history, Wilson launches a sustained attack on the teleological Prussocentrism of the traditional story. Iron and Blood delves into politics, economics, technology and social developments. Its long view of Germany's military history, magisterial detail and acute analysis provide a new understanding of what was once Europe's warring heart. Endlessly fascinating ... History has returned to Europe, and Iron and Blood is an excellent place to start getting reacquainted with it. Ambitious ... While Germany cannot leave its past behind, it can learn from it, if it dares to look ... Iron and Blood is a timely book, arguing powerfully that 'German history should not be read backwards'. A work of first-rate scholarship ... will become the starting point for all students of military history, not only of Germany but of Europe as a whole. Formidably erudite ... What is now Germany's shameful past was once Adolf Hitler's vision of the future. Reimagined by Vladimir Putin, that spectral vision now haunts our present. Hence the importance and urgency of Wilson's investigation.

There is much to admire in this book, from the astounding breadth of its scholarship
to its exceedingly ambitious scope ... a fresh perspective on German history.

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