Book Review: Frederick the Great and the Seven Years’ War, 1759-1763

Archives

by Herbert J. Redman

Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015. Pp. viii, 598. Maps, notes, biblio., index. $49.95 paper. ISBN: 0786476699

Frederick’s Greatest and Last War

Independent historian Redman gives us a comprehensive operational treatment of the Prussian role in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763). With only the briefest introduction to set the political stage, Redman plunges into the war, which changed a middling power Prussia into an arbiter of European politics. Primarily a military account, with political and diplomatic developments touched on only lightly, the book is organized into seven parts, each covering a single year of the war in several chapters, primarily from Frederick’s perspective, so we don’t hear much about events further afield, in the Americas or India or even much of the rest of Europe. 

There are fights, marches, sieges, plots, and more, all told in considerable detail, usually with some thoughtful analysis as well.   Naturally Frederick’s actions dominate the text, but many other now largely forgotten actors – Seydlitz, Daun, Laudon, de Castries, Lacy, etc. – populate Redman’s account as well. But while the initially went very well for Frederick, it eventually began to turn out badly. Only his tactically genius warded off utter disaster, at enormous cost, and in the end it was only death of the Empress Elizabeth of Russia that saved Frederick’s kingdom, as her successor, the Emperor Peter III, switched Russia’s support to him. In fact, Frederick never risked a major war again after 1763.

This is a good book on Frederick’s campaigns during the Seven Years’ War, but has one great flaw; Redman fails to give the reader an introduction to the military institutions and practice of the times, which thus makes the book more valuable for those already familiar with the background of the war.

---///---

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   


Buy it at Amazon.com




X

ad
0
30

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 30 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close