Cover: The Iron Princess: Amalia Elisabeth and the Thirty Years War, from Harvard University PressCover: The Iron Princess in HARDCOVER

The Iron Princess

Amalia Elisabeth and the Thirty Years War

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Product Details


$48.00 • £38.95 • €43.00

ISBN 9780674073395

Publication Date: 06/10/2013


344 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

10 halftones, 2 maps


Impressive… Helfferich tracks Amalia Elisabeth’s bold, often duplicitous, but ultimately successful diplomatic manoeuvrings in meticulous, indeed exhaustive, detail… In an age when so much of what passes for ‘history’ in the bookshops is merely the competent journalistic synthesis of earlier (and often better) books, it is refreshing to come across a work that is grounded in original, multilingual archival scholarship and has something genuinely new to say… The Iron Princess is far more than merely the biography of a singularly forceful, if despotic, woman. Its narrative provides an exceptionally sure-footed guide through the mazes of European princely politics at their most labyrinthine, and offers an entirely new insight into the role of the smaller states in shaping the great Westphalian treaties that settled the European state system for the best part of the next two centuries. If the Iron Princess was more fortunate in life than she deserved, she has undoubtedly continued her lucky run in this fine biography.—John Adamson, Literary Review

This deeply researched book will make a major contribution to what we know about the Thirty Years War. Helfferich’s work will place Amalia Elisabeth of Hesse-Cassel squarely onto the mental map of anyone who takes a serious interest in the most protracted and important European conflict of the seventeenth century.—Christopher R. Friedrichs, University of British Columbia

Helfferich’s exploration of the intricate political maneuverings of Amalia Elisabeth offers not only a fascinating vignette of the Thirty Years War, but also a most valuable scholarly contribution and corrective to the political and religious history of the first European war. It was largely due to the landgravine’s tenacity and shrewd insight into politics that Calvinism was legalized in the Peace of Westphalia.—Sigrun Haude, University of Cincinnati

In this detailed and impressively researched study of Amalia Elisabeth, Helfferich offers a shrewd and sophisticated analysis of the problems of female rule in an age of crisis, combined with an equally penetrating interpretation of princely politics within the Holy Roman Empire during the closing stages of the Thirty Years War. It is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary ruler, deftly told.—Mary Lindemann, University of Miami

Like Elizabeth I of England, Amalia Elisabeth was a mistress of delay, and The Iron Princess shows how she successfully navigated the maze of legal, military, and diplomatic obstacles that awaited her when she assumed power. Helfferich deftly reconstructs the dynamics of power, religious division, and social opposition that Amalia Elisabeth confronted. A superb book.—Orest Ranum, Johns Hopkins University

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