Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-speaking Peoples Since 1500 (Penguin, October 2022) *Winner of the 2023 Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History*
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.
The Thirty Years' War (1618-48) was Europe's most destructive conflict prior to the two world wars. Two of European history's greatest generals faced each other at Lützen in November 1632, mid-way through this terrible war. Neither achieved his objective. Albrecht von Wallenstein withdrew his battered imperial army at nightfall, unaware that his opponent, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, had died a few hours earlier.
The Holy Roman Empire. A Thousand Years of Europe's History (Penguin, 2017)
A great, sprawling, ancient and unique entity, the Holy Roman Empire, from its founding by Charlemagne to its destruction by Napoleon a millennium later, formed the heart of Europe. It was a great engine for inventions and ideas, it was the origin of many modern European states, from Germany to the Czech Republic, its relations with Italy, France and Poland dictated the course of countless wars - indeed European history as a whole makes no sense without it.
This work has also been published in Italian and Spanish.
The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy (Harvard University Press, 2011)
A deadly continental struggle, the Thirty Years War devastated seventeenth-century Europe, killing nearly a quarter of all Germans and laying waste to towns and countryside alike. Peter Wilson offers the first new history in a generation of a horrifying conflict that transformed the map of the modern world.