Brennan C. Pursell
This study is not just a detailed biographical account of Frederick, but a contribution to the historiography of the war itself, placing constitutionalism instead of religion at the centre of our understanding of the Thirty Years' War. For centuries historians have portrayed intra-confessional rivalry as the primary cause of the crisis, yet this has increasingly been viewed as insufficient. Examining the early stages of the war through the locus of Frederick, the goal of this book is to reconcile the forces of confession, conscience and constitutionalism affecting Frederick's decision making at various junctures throughout the crisis, and thus to present a more nuanced understanding of the wider conflict Relying heavily on his political and personal correspondence, backed up with a wealth of archival and secondary sources, Pursell presents Frederick's choices and alternatives, and interprets his words and responses to them. Considering the war from Frederick's perspective, he argues that it is best to understand the war as an extended constitutional conflict, entailing religious and political factors together, fought within the Holy Roman Empire.