Prussian Officers

William Doyle

  • Frederick the Great: A Military Life by Christopher Duffy
    Routledge, 407 pp, £17.95, September 1985, ISBN 0 7100 9649 6
  • Society, Government and the Enlightenment: The Experiences of 18th-Century France and Prussia by C.B.A. Behrens
    Thames and Hudson, 248 pp, £16.00, August 1985, ISBN 0 500 25090 1
  • Religious Toleration and Social Change in Hamburg 1529-1819 by Joachim Whaley
    Cambridge, 248 pp, £25.00, August 1985, ISBN 0 521 26189 9

Can the history of Prussia really be as dreary and barren as most of the books make it sound? Only German specialists can say, but little that they choose to tell us in English suggests that German scholarship is unearthing a new and unfamiliar Prussia bursting with unsuspected colour and vitality. The history of France or our own country has been transformed since the war by the researches of social, economic and cultural historians; and even though the dividends of this work are perhaps now diminishing, and historians returning to more traditional questions, the look of French or British history will never be the same again. During all this time it would appear, however, that the look of Prussian history has scarcely altered. Those who study it seem obsessed, as they always have been, with battles and bureaucracy.

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