Coping with Life during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648)


Author: Sigrun Haude
At its core, Coping with Life during the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) explores how people tried to survive the Thirty Years’ War, on what resources they drew, and how they attempted to make sense of it. A rich tapestry of stories brings to light contemporaries’ trauma as well as women and men’s unrelenting initiatives to stem the war’s negative consequences. Through these close-ups, Sigrun Haude shows that experiences during the Thirty Years’ War were much more diverse and often more perplexing than a straightforward story line of violence and destruction can capture. Life during the Thirty Years’ War was not a homogenous vale of gloom and doom, but a multifaceted story that was often heartbreaking, yet, at times, also uplifting.

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Sigrun Haude, Ph.D. (1993), is Walter C. Langsam Professor of European History at the University of Cincinnati. She has published on the Thirty Years’ War, gender, and Anabaptism, including In the Shadow of “Savage Wolves” (Humanities Press, 2000).
"Sigrun Haude's exciting new book revises our view of wartime experiences. Her meticulous archival research reveals a far broader range of reactions and coping strategies than previous histories have offered. Her sparkling prose vividly catches the dilemmas of life in a war-torn world but also uncovers surprisingly positive moments and unexpected decisions. Simply put, she sets a new standard for the historical understanding of war in early modern times."
Professor Mary Lindemann, University of Miami

"Haude's superb study expands our understanding of the Thirty Years War to include the full range of human experiences at the ground level. Her archivally rich analysis includes not just predictable accounts of human cruelty and suffering, but also of ingenuity and resilience. Her important findings challenge our most basic ideas about religious strife and coexistence during this especially violent phase of the early modern era."
Professor Joel F. Harrington, Vanderbilt University

"Sigrun Haude’s book takes us into the maelstrom of the Thirty Years War, Europe’s most destructive conflict prior to the twentieth century, and reveals through a gripping narrative how ordinary – and some not so ordinary – people faced death, violence, disease, fear and want, many with fatalistic resignation, but equally many others with pragmatism and ingenuity. From this we gain a more rounded and detailed understanding of the war’s impact, as well as the interaction between politics, military operations, and daily life."
Professor Peter H. Wilson, University of Oxford

"Sigrun Haude’s wide-ranging yet intimate study of the Thirty Years’ War broadens the focus beyond army camps, generals’ tents, and rulers’ palaces to encompass convents and monasteries, pest-houses, village churches, and urban workshops. Much that made the war so devastating will seem strikingly familiar, with fleeing migrants blamed for spreading disease and governments unable to relieve poverty and suffering, but so will the means women and men found to cope: conversation, community, music, shared food, family rituals."
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

"Haude’s study transforms our understanding of everyday life during the Thirty Years’ War. Full of rich detail and powerful personal testimonies, it reveals the coping strategies – both practical and psychological – that seventeenth-century women and men adopted in the face of death and destruction. In asking how communities and individuals endured this most destructive of pre-modern European wars, Haude’s broad-ranging study opens up crucial new avenues of research."
Bridget Margaret Heal, University of St Andrews
List of Illustrations

1 Introduction: The Lay of the Land
 1 Focus – Historiography – Methodology
 2 The Thirty Years’ War, Abridged
 3 Places and Characters

2 Experiences of War
 1 Fear and Vulnerability
 2 Instability and Disruption
 3 Poverty – Hunger – Dearth
 4 Violence and Human Concern: World Views Turned Upside Down

3 Governmental Support: Hopes, Measures, and Realities
 1 Protection against Violence
 2 Stemming Deprivation and Disease
 3 Averting Spiritual Harm and Promoting a Decent Life

4 Coping with the Experiences of War
 1 To Flee or Not to Flee
 2 News and Information
 3 Pragmatism, Resilience, and Initiative
 4 Connections, Communities, and Space
 5 Religion and Other Formative Forces
 6 Lifting Up the Spirit

5 Conclusion: Life Beyond Devastation
All interested in the history of Early Modern Europe, the Thirty Years’ War and society, home and exile, poverty and epidemics, and conflict and coexistence in the seventeenth century.