These books are in English, or translations to English. Unless otherwise noted, the recommendations are from Virginia Easley DeMarce, also noted as VED. I have not yet put them in a standard bibliography format. Anyone want to speak up?

You do not have to read all of these books to make a valuable contribution to the 1632 universe. You may not have to read any. If you do not have much background in history, we strongly recommend that you at least read a general history and a history of the Thirty Years’ War before you start reading more specific histories.

If you feel intimidated by this reading list, note that it has very little on Russia, the Ukraine, the Baltic states, Romania, the Ottoman empire, etc. Recommendations for basic readings to the east and to the southeast are gratefully accepted.

Please note that we most emphatically do not recommend that you purchase all of these books. Libraries are wonderful. Interlibrary loan is a good thing. Get to know your local librarians.

Laura Runkle

History — General

  • If you are only going to read one book on the history of the 17th century as background for the 1632-verse, I recommend this one. Geoffrey Parker, Europe in Crisis, 1598-1648 (Blackwell Classic Histories of Europe) Paperback: 326 pages Publisher: Blackwell Publishers; ISBN: 0631220283; 2nd edition (2001) — VED   Find in a Library   Find Used
  • This is the Blackwell’s series companion volume to Parker on the 17th century: Andrew Pettegree, Europe in the Sixteenth Century (Blackwell History of Europe) Hardcover: ;Publisher: Blackwell Publishers; ISBN: 063120704X; (March 2002) –VED   Find in a Library   Find Used
  • I would highly recommend this for a sense of how the court system worked in the 16th and 17th centuries. Witchcraft Persecutions in Bavaria: Popular Magic, Religious Zealotry and Reason of State in Early Modern Europe (Past and Present Publications) by Wolfgang Behringer, J. C. Grayson (Translator), David Lederer (Translator) List Price: $80.00 Hardcover: 498 pages Publisher: Cambridge University Press; ISBN: 0521482585; (February 1998) — VED (Strongly seconded – Laura) Find in a Library Check used prices
  • This is the History On Line list of people who are teaching early modern history, of some variety, in the British Isles as of March 2002. It doesn’t give a list of publications, but does indicate the individual’s research interests. Therefore, if you flip through, and then search the author’s name in a large library catalog, you may be able to work into something in English on a topic of interest to you.

History — Thirty Years War

  • The Thirty Years War. C. V. Wedgwood. (Almost any edition.) — Recommended by Eric Flint   Find Used
    [expand title=”Various ISBN’s”]
    1590171462 Find in a Library
    1590171462 Find in a Library
    0416320201 Find in a Library
    0415045746 Find in a Library
    0712653325 Find in a Library
    3404005678 Find in a Library
    3517090174 Find in a Library [/expand]
  • GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, Theodore Ayrault Dodge The book was written in 1895, but it’s still the most comprehensive study available of GA’s military career. It’s also still in print, published by Da Capo Press (latest edition 1998) in trade paperback format, for a little over $20. It’s a massive volume — over 800 pages — and well worth the money for anyone interested in the military aspect of the story.No other volume I know of contains the same level of detail on GA’s campaigns and battles, and Dodge’s book was the one I used for that part of the background in 1632. The description in the novel of the battles of Breitenfeld and the Crossing of the Lech were both largely taken from Dodge’s account. Recommended by Eric Flint   Download ebook from Google Books (requires payment) Download ebook from (Free) Buy New  Buy Used
    [expand title=”Various ISBN’s”]
    0306808633 Find in a Library
    1853672343 Find in a Library [/expand]
  • The Thirty Years War by J. V. Polisensky. Translated from the Czech by Robert Evans. Berkeley, University of California Press, 1971. 305 p. illus. 23 cm. (out of print ) Recommended by Howard Wilkins It is much better than Wedgewood on the situations in Bohemia and Moravia, which were very important factors in the war.
    ISBN: 0520018680 Find in a Library Check used prices

History — Agricultural and handwork

  • For a general, short, introduction to agriculture in early modern Germany, I would recommend the “Landscapes” chapters in Bob Scribner and Sheilagh Ogilvie, eds., Germany: A New Social and Economic History (vols. I and II). Virginia De Marce
    Volume 1 ISBN: 0340652179 Find in a Library
    Volume 2 ISBN: 0340652160 Find in a Library

The following titles were recommended by Lisa Satterlund

  • History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt, copyright 1987 ISBN 0-934026-35-1 Find in a Library
  • No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting by Anne L. MacDonald, Ballantine, 1988 WARNING, this author has an agenda (she “proves” that the Venus de Milo was shown spinning when complete)
    ISBN: 0345362535 Find in a Library
  • For details on historical clothing, I can recommend Janet Arnold’s books (Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620 and Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860, Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlocked) and “Historical Costume in Detail” from the Victoria and Albert. However, for some of the barflies, those books would contain too many MEGO details.

Patterns of Fashion 1560-1620
[expand title=”ISBNs for various editions”]0896760839 Find in a Library
089676026x Find in a Library
0896760278 Find in a Library
0333136063 Find in a Library
0333136071 Find in a Library
0333382846 Find in a Library
0333140125 Find in a Library [/expand]

Patterns of Fashion 1660-1860 
[expand title=”ISBNs for various editions”]089676026X Find in a Library
0896760839 Find in a Library
0896760278 Find in a Library
0333136063 Find in a Library
0333136071 Find in a Library
0333382846 Find in a Library
0333140125 Find in a Library [/expand]

Dover books has published a number of nice, simple books on dyeing with plants and lichens–any of them will give you an idea of what colors were available before the advent of petroleum dyes.

From Virginia:

  • Ambrosoli, Mauro, The Wild and the Sown: Botany and Agriculture in Western Europe, 1350-1850 (Cambridge, 1997) ISBN:
    0521465095 Find in a Library
    8806128825 Find in a Library
  • Astill, Grenville and John Langdon, ed., Medieval Farming and Technology: the Impact of Agricultural Change in Northwest Europe (Leiden, 1997) ISBN: 9004105824 Find in a Library
  • Working Horses Charles Philip Fox Heart Prairie Press 1990 ISBN 0-9622663-2-9 Pictures of draft and carriage horses and the great variety of wagons, carts, sleighs, and such they pulled. — Karen Bergstralh
    Find in a Library
  • For those interested specifically in English agriculture, I recommend: Joan Thirsk, ed., Agricultural change: policy and practice 1500-1750. Chapters from The Agrarian History of England and Wales, Volume 3.This is a paperback, new edition updated (Cambridge University Press, 1990). It has excellent bibliographies to each chapter and illustrations — for instance, the pages of pictures of plows from Walter Blith, The English Improver Improved or the Survey of Husbandry Surveyed, Discovering the Improveableness of all lands (1653 ed.). There were pictures of “the Dutch coulter,” the “Harfordshire Wheeld plough, the single wheeld plough, the double plough ploughing two furrows at one time,” etc. It also added a new section on the growth of market gardening and has quite a lot more statistical material than the original 1967 version. — VED Find in a Library

History — England

  • History of Myddle by Richard Gough, David Hey, ed.  (Penguin Classics) Out of print — Recommended by Laura Runkle. A picture of the life in a rural Shropshire village. Written by a solicitor in 1700, but gives an excellent picture of village life and attitudes throughout most of the seventeenth century. The plethora of Latin aphorisms gives an idea of what was expected to be in the working memory of well-educated men.
    [expand title=”Various editions”]
    0880290811 Find in a Library
    0904573141 Find in a Library
    0140058419 Find in a Library
    0708820727 Find in a Library [/expand]
  • E.A. Wrigley, ed., English Population History from Family Reconstitution 1580-1837 (1998); Cambridge Studies in Population, Economy, and Society in Past Time, No. 32 Recommended by Virginia DeMarce ISBN: 0521590159 Find in a Library
  • Not so much for the content as for methodology, you might also want to look at: Roger Thompson, Mobility and Migration: East Anglian Founders of New England 1629-1640 (1994).
    [expand title=”Various Editions”]0870238930 Find in a Library
    0585084203 Find in a Library [/expand]
  • Ian D. Whyte, Migration and Society in Britain 1550-1830 (Social History in Perspective) (Great Britain, Macmillan; US St. Martin’s Press, 2000).
    [expand title=”Various Editions”]031223175x Find in a Library
    0333712447 Find in a Library
    0333712455 Find in a Library [/expand]

Both of these are expensive to buy, but recent enough that you should be able to get them easily via interlibrary loan. The major problem with Thompson’s is that he generalizes from the portion of the population base that he could trace to the remainder — apparently not fully realizing that the least migratory left the most easily identifiable paper trail behind them :)Like many of the best migration studies, it is the product of a geographer — in this case, [Ian D. Whyte] a professor at the University of Lancaster. This has, too often, the unfortunate effect that historians get in a snit and do not properly appreciate the work done. I think Whyte’s discussion of migration (moving from here to there, and maybe moving on) as distinct from mobility (which was often circular and seasonal, even when as long-distance as the annual sojourn of the Cornish fishermen along the coasts of Labrador) is very useful. We often underestimate the level of migrant labor in early modern Europe — Vass’s The Village and the Outside World in Golden Age Castile has an excellent section of the seasonal migrations of farmers from the Estremadura to the Andalusian vineyards. Recommended by Virginia DeMarce

  • A History of the English People in 1815 (A History of the English People, Vol 1) (Paperback) by Elie Halevy
    ISBN: 0744800676 Find in a Library
    it’s helpful to read Elie Halevy’s England in 1815. A major focus of the book is just how **little** government there was in England as compared to France and, consequently, how **little** in the way of government records was generated in the British Isles as a whole. — Virginia
  • However, to give you something in English to start, I recommend that you get the 1995 edition (reprinted 2001) of: Keith Wrightson and David Levine, Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling, 1525-1700 (Oxford: Clarendon Press).
    ISBN: 0198203217 Find in a Library
    0127659501 Find in a Library 

It’s English, but the chapter on “Demographic Structures” will give you a good insight into the methodology. Marrying at age 28, presuming that the marriage lasted until the wife was past menopause, the average woman bore 5-6 children. With, on the average, just under half of them dying by age 5 and comparatively few between age 6 and adulthood, this accounts for everything we know about overall population figures from tax registers, hearth registers, etc. — Virginia

History — France

  • David Parrott, Richelieu’s Army: War, Government and Society in France, 1624-1642 (Cambridge University Press, 2001).
    ISBN: 0511018185 Find in a Library
    0521792096 Find in a Library That’s 599 well-researched pages in small type, with numerous footnotes in even smaller type, and a bibliography. Recommended by Virginia De Marce.
  • Orest A. Ranum, Richelieu and the Councillors of Louis XIII:A Study of the Secretaries of State and Superintendents of Finance in the Ministry of Richelieu 1635-1642 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963).
    ISBN: 0837188032 Find in a Library
    Recommended by Virginia De Marce

History — Germany

  • Germany Under the Old Regime, 1600-1790 (The History of Germany) by John G. Gagliardo List Price: $30.99 Paperback: 453 pages Publisher: Addison-Wesley Pub Co; ISBN: 0582491061; (August 1991)
    Find in a Library
    If you’re only going to read one book, in English, on early modern Germany. This is distinct from my recommendation, “if only one on the 17th century,” which I already sent. has 27 sample pages of this to be read online, so Barflies may sample it for free. – Virginia
  • The Origins of Modern Germany by Geoffrey Barraclough Paperback W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393301532; Reprint edition (May 1984) $15.95
    Find in a Library
    Recommended by Howard Wilkins and Virginia DeMarce — Eric’s basic text for Germany and the Holy Roman Empire
  • For a general, short, introduction to agriculture in early modern Germany, I would recommend the “Landscapes” chapters in Bob Scribner and Sheilagh Ogilvie, eds., Germany: A New Social and Economic History (vols. I and II). Virginia De Marce
  • Steven Ozment’s book, Flesh and Spirit: Private Life in Early Modern Germany, is good. — VED
    ISBN: 0140291989 Find in a Library
    0670883921 Find in a Library
  • The Burgermeister’s Daughter is also good reading, but less applicable to family correspondence
    ISBN: 0060977213 Find in a Library
    031213939x Find in a Library

History — Netherlands

  • The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806 (Oxford History of Early Modern Europe) by Jonathan Israel Paperback: 1272 pages ; Publisher: Clarendon Pr; ISBN: 0198207344; Reprint edition (September 1998) $29.95
    Find in a Library In particular, his chapter about William Henry’s 1631 campaign, and the negotiations that followed it, are interesting and relevant – Recommended by Howard Wilkins
  • The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age by Simon Schama Paperback: 720 pages ;: Vintage Books; ISBN: 0679781242; (December 1997) $23.00
    Find in a Library

I strongly recommend this. It covers a lot of topics of interest to Barflies, such as the daily food ration of a Dutch sailor (in the absence of impressment, they resorted to edible bribery).– Recommended by Virginia DeMarce

History — Military

  • Winter campaigns on land were actually quite common during the period, especially on the part of those countries accustomed to the conditions, like Sweden and Denmark. If you want to get a sense of it, I recommend a book which is excellent all the way around: Robert Frost, The Northern Wars: State and Society in Northeastern Europe,1558-1721.
    ISBN: 0582064295 Find in a Library
    0582064309 Find in a Library

There are some big advantages as well as disadvantages to campaigning in wintertime in northern Europe. There’s no mud and the rivers are often frozen over, so movement is actually easier than any time except summer –provided you have the right equipment, clothing and training. As a rule, of course, the only countries who were good at it were the ones who faced harsh winter conditions every year. — Eric

History — Poland

  • Domination of Eastern Europe: Native Nobilities and Foreign Absolutism, 1500-1715 by Orest Subtelny c1986 McGill-Queens U. Press, Quebec Alan Sutton Publishing Co Ltd, GB
    ISBN: 0773504389 Find in a Library
    0862992370 Find in a Library

This book groups five E-Europe countries or provinces: Livonia, Poland-Lith., Hungary, Moldavia, Ukraine. Subtelny claims that, in each of them, the “native royal power” was opposed successfully by a “native nobility” between the years 1400 & 1680, to the extent that, in each case, the nobles got control of the country or province. The truth of this for Poland, which he calls the archtypical case, is well-known to us; in the other cases he stretches the facts to support his point. For example, Ukraine in 1640-90 was controlled by the Zap. Cossacks, who in theory lacked a nobility; Subtelny claims that the richest Cossacks performed the functions that other nobilities did, so he uses them to fill the “native noble” space that his theory demands. He further claims that, in each case, this so weakened the defensive strength of the nation that a “foreign absolutist dynasty” was able to take over the country by 1715. He lists those dynasties, in order, as: Vasa/Livonia; Wettin(Saxony)/Poland; Hapsburg/Hungary; Ottoman/Moldavia; Romanov/Ukraine. Again, some of his cases fit better than others; the Wettin power in Poland was much limited, and the Romanovs would soon take over Livonia and Poland. But to a certain extent his parallels work well. Subtelny has seen certain coincidences that had not been famous before, and he does make some points about the natural opposition of Absolutist Monarchies and Selfish Nobilities that might be Very Useful to the writers of the 1632 series.One point of interest is the alliance systems that formed. Although all of the other nobilities envied the Poles, only the Hungarians tried to ally with them. Intead the Vasas allied with the Polish Nobles, the Cossacks, and eventually the Ottomans. Against them, the Wettins helped the Livonian nobles and the Romanovs helped the Moldavians. It is also noteworthy that the Ottomans were gaining power in Moldavia as they were losing Hungary. The maps are very good, and support Subtelny’s thesis. – Howard Wilkins

  • From Piotr Konieczny:And now back to the topic. I have started the lecture of the first of the several books I mention (Polish Anarchy by Pawel Jasienica). I am just halfway through it, but it is EXTREMLY interesting. I am not sure if it was printed in English, though – but I honestly recommend ‘The Commonwealth of Both Nations’ series by that author – it was apparently printed in English
    Publisher: American Institute of Polish Culture (August 1, 1987) Language: English
    ISBN: 0870523945 Find in a Library

History — Russia

The following recommendations are from Paula Goodlet, who recommends used and inter-library loan.

  • Muscovy and Sweden in the Thirty Years War, 1630-1635 by B. F. Porshnev and Paul Dukes, trans by Brian Pence. This book has a lot on the economics of Russia at that time.
    ISBN-10 0521451396 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13 978-0521451390 Find in a Library
  • Russia’s First Civil War: The Time of Troubles and the Founding of the Romanov Dynasty by Chester S. L. Dunning. ISBN-10: 0271020741 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 978-0271020747 Find in a Library
  • Medieval Russia – A Source Book, 900-1700 ed. by Basil Dmytryshyn.
    ISBN-10: 0030864410 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 978-0030864414 Find in a Library
  • Russia: People and Empire, 1552-1917, Enlarged Edition by Geoffrey Hosking
    ISBN-10: 0674781198 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 978-0674781191 Find in a Library
  • The first Romanov : Tsar Michael, 1613-1634, by Sergei Mikhailovich Soloviev; trans and intro by G Edward Orchard. And I sincerely wish I had or could afford volumes 15 and 17, lemme tell you.
    ISBN-10: 0875691242 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 9780875691244 Find in a Library
  • Religion and Society in Russia: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, by Paul Bushkovitch
    ISBN-10: 0195069463 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 978-0195069464 Find in a Library
  • Russia in the Age of Peter the Great, by Lindsey Hughes.
    ISBN-10: 0300082665 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 978-0300082661 Find in a Library
  • The Economy and Material Culture of Russia, 1600-1725, by Richard Hellie. Recommended by Iver Cooper.
    ISBN-10: 0226326497 Find in a Library
    ISBN-13: 978-0226326498 Find in a Library

History — Spain

History — North America

  • For early modern colonial conditions and record sources, take a look at James R. Perry, The Formation of a Society on Virginia’s Eastern Shore 1615-1655 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, jointly sponsored by the College of William and Mary and Colonial Williamsburg, 1990). This is more comparable to England than are the New England colonies because of the Anglican church structure. — VED
    ISBN: 0807819271 Find in a Library
  • If you haven’t seen it, you might also want to look at Carr, Menard, and Walsh, Robert Cole: World, on 17th-century Maryland,
    ISBN: 0807843415 Find in a Library
    0807819859 Find in a Library
  • or Tate and Ammerman, The Chesapeake in the 17th Century.
    ISBN: 0393009564 Find in a Library
    0807813605 Find in a Library –VED

History — Science and Technology

  • De Re Metallica, Georgius Agricola, Herbert and Lou Henry Hoover, Translators. Dover, facsimile reprint of 1912 edition, ISBN 0486600068 
    Find in a Library Check used Prices.
    This was the mining text from its publication in 1556 to well beyond the 1720s. The Hoover Translation is the only translation from Latin in _any_ language done by a working mining engineer (Mr. Hoover) and a geologist (Mrs. Hoover.) The copious footnotes are excellent. More recent translations into other languages (including German) depend greatly on the work of the Hoovers. – Recommended by Laura Runkle and Manfred Gross
  • From David Sedgeworth: PDR for Herbal Medicine, 1998, 1244 pages, ISBN 1-56363-292-6 Find in a Library
  • From Walt Boyes: Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions” is the Urfather of all of it. Anybody who thinks they know anything about science who hasn’t read it doesn’t. Although I only was able to hear Kuhn talk once, I was pleased to take a class from Steven Toulmin, one of his early students, on paradigmatic shift (long before it became a used-up buzzword)If you really want to think about the history of science, go here.
    [expand title=”Various Editions”]0226458075 Find in a Library
    0226458040 Find in a Library
    0226458083 Find in a Library
    2080811150 Find in a Library
    2082101819 Find in a Library
    8972912565 Find in a Library
    9518841519 Find in a Library
    9632813502 Find in a Library
    9654497381 Find in a Library
    9681672240 Find in a Library
    9757414425 Find in a Library[/expand]
  • Kendall and Koehler Radio Simplified Subtitled “what is is, how to build and operate the apparatus” from the Winston publishing company. The 1922 first edition I have in my hand sells on ABE for under 10 bucks. Since it is out of copyright, some kind person has scanned it and uploaded to Archive will let you download it in many formats. 

Kendall and Koehler were directors of the YMCA technical school and radio school in Philidelphia, and they wrote a book which explains what radio is, how it works, and how to make radios in 1922 IN ENGLISH. No math above simple arithmetic and not much of that. All the details on crystal radios, basic tube circuits, tanks, “Q” etc etc etc. and lots about spark.  – Rick Boatright

  • A book by a Surveyor/Engineer/Mining Man: “Quest for Ore”, by Russell H. Bennett, Registered Professional Engineer. Foreword by Herbert Hoover. Book starts in the Mesabi, in 1920. Published by T.S. Denison in 1963 in Minneapolis.
    ISBN: 0895202549 Find in a Library The author has also written: “THE COMPLEAT RANCHER”.
    ASIN: B0007F5B3E
    — Niel Frandsen
  • From Kim Mackey:
    • “Steelmaking Before Bessemer: Vol. 2, Crucible Steel, the growth of technology” by K.C. Barraclough. 1984.
      ISBN: 0904357643 Find in a Library .
    • “Refractories: Production and Properties” by J.H. Chesters. 1973.
      0904357627 Find in a Library .
      090049784x Find in a Library
    • “Steel-Makers and Knotted String” by Harry Brearly. 1995 edition.
      ISBN: 0901716650 Find in a Library .