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Subject: What would be the best book on the period? rss

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Christian Letourneau
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This game has me really interested in reading on the period covered by the game. I know the designer has stated somewhere that unfortunately, there is not a single book dealing with all aspects of the game. What book would come the closest to that that is still in print and available?

Thanks.

Christian
 
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Philip Thomas
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Books...
A very good question. I fear I can't really answer it here, because the family collection of 16th century history is at home (and I am at University). But here is what I think a couple of the books are called. Powers covered in brackets

Reformation: by Diarmaid Maculloch (??). Excellent work on the religous aspects of the period, including Counter-Reformation. Goes a bit beyond the HIS period.(Protestants/Papacy)

The Mediterranean World in the Sixteenth Century, by Ferdinand Braudel: The events covered are actually the second half of the century, but Braudel's masterpiece gives a great overview of the whole Mediterranean It is pretty heavy-going though- an entire first year history course is taught from this book! (Ottomans/Hapsburgs).


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Andrew Young
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William Durant has an overview of the time period that is great. Read it in college. I think it's simply called The Reformation or something. Check amazon.
 
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Steve K
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Another one (sitting on my bookshelf, unread as yet) with pretty good reviews is Reformation, by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Yes, that is the one I meant! blush
 
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Christian Letourneau
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SteveK2 wrote:
Another one (sitting on my bookshelf, unread as yet) with pretty good reviews is Reformation, by Diarmaid MacCulloch.


I did hear of that one but reading up some reviews on it I get the sense that it covers only the religious aspect of the game. Maybe I am wrong. I am really looking for a book that covers the political, military and religious aspects. Maybe such a book doesn't exist however.

Christian
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well the problem is that such books are generally textbooks, fairly dull reading.

I don't think there is a really great work that covers the whole canvas. I will keep an eye out though...
 
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Michael @mgouker
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Not a book, but a movie... check out Luther. Great film.
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Philip Thomas
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Also a character in Superman, hehe devil
 
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Christian Letourneau
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Well the problem is that such books are generally textbooks, fairly dull reading.

I don't think there is a really great work that covers the whole canvas. I will keep an eye out though...


Maybe we could ask Ed Beach to write a book out of his historical notes included in the scenario book?

Christian
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Paul Elliott
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For a good book about the religious struggle in Germany with the political background also addressed, I'd recommend Luther and His Times by E. G. Schwiebert. If you want a shorter and more readable book that covers much of the same ground, try Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career by James A. Kittelson.
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Philip Thomas
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That would be the Protestant angle, I suppose
 
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Ed Beach
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Good discussion. I will get to posting a more complete Bibliography at some point. Though I pulled from all over the place for this game, including a large number of used or out-of-print books that I had been collecting for the past 5 years or so.

Here are two that I found to be especially interesting that I recommend very highly.

Over the Edge of the World : Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, by Laurence Bergreen.

The Barbary Corsairs: Warfare in the Mediterranean, 1480-1580, by Jacques Heers.

There are a huge number of books on Tudor England. I'm an Alison Weir fan, but people may find they like other writers better. There is one other book with the English side of the Reformation story that I especially liked (if you liked the Tyndale historical article in the game, this gives a lot more detail). That one is:

Wide as the Waters : The Story of the English Bible and the Revolution It Inspired , by Benson Bobrick.

I just checked and all three of these books are available from Amazon. The Barbary Corsairs book is a bit pricey though.
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Philip Thomas
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While we are on the subject of English Books about the Reformation, I recommend The Stripping of the Altars by Eamon Duffy. Rather a Catholic approach, but a great book too!
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Tom Grant
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I'll second the recommendation for McCulloch's book on the Reformation. It's detail, but the details are fascinating. They're also necessary: you can't really understand the Reformation without knowing the peculiar politics of Germany at that time. And that's just one of several pieces of context that are needed to "get" the Reformation.

I'd also recommend The Age of Religious Wars, 1559-1715 (Norton History of Modern Europe) as a general introduction to the larger time period.
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Benjamin Hamdorf
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When I got into the playtesting, I bought Thomas Arnold's The Renaissance at War. It is a marvellous introduction to the period, covering all the military conflicts that are featured in the game - from the Siege of Rhodos to the crushing of the Schmalkaldic League. The book starts with a section on how warfare had changed from the middle ages, on the emergence of gunpowder weapons, siegecraft, and the Trace Italienne. Interesting read!

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Mark Brazas
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Try The Reformation by Will Durant. Part of his "History of iviliation". Intellectual snobs denigrate this guy, but he covers the material, of which there is plenty.devil
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Greg Forster
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I really enjoyed Diarmaid MacCulloch's book. It was well written and not at all boring. It does a great job of clearly conveying the complex political and religious issues; I was especially impressed with the good job he did of laying out the convoluted series of events in England. He also covers events in eastern Europe, which most western historians neglect. The book is a bit long; some of the less important material could have been edited out (that's the problem with books that try to straddle the scholarly market and the popular market). I read the first half, but a little bit into the second half I set the book aside just because I don't need to know that much about the Reformation. Also, the book is strictly about intra-European events: you don't get much about the Ottoman invasion and nothing about the new world.
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Andy Daglish
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For the nature of the actual fighting, I recommend the following three books:

David Eltis' The Military Revolution in Sixteenth-Century Europe, a small book derived from his doctoral thesis which proposes that a revolution concerning all matters military did occur around the convenient date of 1500, due to a better understanding of gunpowder technology, and the printing presses which informed a newly literate middle class of it. It wasn't just Christianity which was affected by the written word.

Bert S. Hall's Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe, rather more accurately subtitled "Gunpowder, Technology, and Tactics", is well-known and very useful. The author writes in a "Sam Eagle" authoritarian style which becomes its own joke when the author's interesting and well-written prose betray the fact he is a historian and not a scientist, for example when explaining chemical reactions he flips from the glass being half-empty to half-full and then back to half-empty in three consecutive sentences. Here it helps to know beforehand what he is talking about, although were he not to adopt this style, these passages would presumably have the impersonality of a dry-as-dust science textbook. A major lapse early on is the too-short comparison of the bow, crossbow and arquebus, and this is always the case in my experience. The 'reason why' may not be hard to guess. Hall writes "...the study of war may pose serious spiritual dangers for the historian", but if it did so, it just might affect the quality of his work. Imagine a Dr. Lecter type, revelling in the detail of bloodbaths, producing the seminal definitive tome! In short Eltis knows the longbow arrow could not penetrate plate armour with military effectiveness, Hall thinks it could if the plate was "low-grade", and for this he relies on sources such as Seward and Neillands, which I presume to doubt, not least because quality of plate is not an omnipresent factor.

John F. Guilmartin Jr.'s Gunpowder and Galleys deals with the Renaissance war at sea, and does so very competently. The style is fairly academic, which is a shame because on TV he comes across as an excellent communicator, mentioning the last time that the atomic bomb of 1945 was less of a technological achievement than the B-29 that carried it. He also wrote Galleons and Galleys in the Cassel series. A telling point is that on-board arquebuses could be wielded with much greater ease than bows.

Overall I find the advent of gunpowder is one of the most fascinating passages of military history, as it links the medieval with the modern and so has attributes of both.
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Ed Beach
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Andy: I did read Hall's book as part of the research on the game. I agree it wanders and has little focus. Probably its biggest contribution to HIS was inspiring the Trace Italienne card.
 
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Ed Beach
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Adding a few more book recommendations (I had a request for more military/political texts).

The Reign of Charles V, by William Maltby

A quick study (less than 200 pages) of the Hapsburg Empire during the period. Very useful in figuring out where the Hapsburg money came from, where it was spent, how much time Charles spent in various parts of his realm, etc.

Pavia 1525: The Climax of the Italian Wars (Campaign 44), by Angus Konstam, Osprey Publishing

A detailed look at the most important military campaign of the period. Includes information on how troops got into Italy (either over the Alps or by sea to Genoa), Charles Bourbon's campaign in France just before Pavia, and then the climactic battle of Pavia itself.

Ottoman Centuries, by Lord Kinross

The first book on the Ottomans I read for HIS research, and still one of the best. It is long and covers the rest of Ottoman history too, but has a good 85+ pages on the period covered in the game.

The Rise and Fall of Renaissance France, 1483-1610 by R. J. Knceht

The best book I've found on the history of France during the period. I liked it much better than "France in the Sixteenth Century, by Frederic J. Baumgartner". This one is organized more chronologically, whereas Baumgartner discusses things one theme at a time (and you tend to lose the relative sequence of events).

The Safeguard of the Sea, A Naval History of Britain, 660-1649

A very cool book with huge amounts of detail on all English naval operations up through the period (and 100 more years). Explains just how the English navy of the time became embattled with French, Scottish, and even Breton naval forces.
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Gus I
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Koning Filips de Tweede
Robert van Roosbroeck
http://www.amazon.com/Koning-Filips-Tweede-Robert-Roosbroeck...

I have seen an english translation of this book but it is not on amazon. The early chapters deal with Charles V.

The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806
Jonathan Israel
http://www.amazon.com/Dutch-Republic-Greatness-1477-1806-His...

Has some good chapters on the reformation in Holland, Erasmus and Charles' Burgundian heritage.
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Rob Doupe
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For an insight into the religious, scientific, and political thought of the era, I recommend A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, by William Manchester.

http://www.amazon.com/World-Lit-Only-Fire-Renaissance/dp/031...

It's a popular, general history for those who don't want to read text books.
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Great I'll check it out. I read his "Glory and the Dream" many years ago and really enjoyed it. It is now sadly out of print.

Another book is Barabara Tuchman's "March of Folly". http://www.amazon.com/March-Folly-Troy-Vietnam/dp/0345308239... It discusses the papacy up to the sack of Rome.

I suspect her other book "A Distant Mirror" covers the same topic in more detail but I have not read it. http://www.amazon.com/Distant-Mirror-Calamitous-14th-Century...

A Path to Glory players would no doubt enjoy "The Guns of August" http://www.amazon.com/Guns-August-Barbara-W-Tuchman/dp/03454... Also an excellent read.
 
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Magister Ludi
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Here's a couple more, whilst not on the Reformation per se..

'Rivers of Gold-The Rise of the Spanish Empire' Hugh Thomas 2003

'The Age of Reconnaissance' JH Parry 1963 ( covers exploration of the New World 1450 to 1650)
 
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