Prussia's Glory: Rossbach and Leuthen 1757 (review)
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Prussia’s Glory: Rossbach and Leuthen 1757. By Christopher Duffy. Chicago: Emperor’s Press, 2003. ISBN 1-883476-29-1. Maps. Photographs. Illustrations. Notes. Select bibliography. Index. Pp. 208. $33.00.

Fans of Christopher Duffy—his long and distinguished career has created a legion of them—will not be disappointed by this latest work of his. As usual, the most remarkable characteristics of the volume are the author's commitment to exhaustive research in Continental European archives and the immense range of linguistic and epigraphic skills that underlie his efforts. The bibliography and precise documentary references are proof of prolonged visits to Vienna's Kriegsarchiv, along with the Austrian capital's huge Haus- Hof und Staatsarchiv, Paris's (Vincennes) Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre, Stuttgart's Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Munich's Kriegsarchiv, Budapest's Hadtörtenéti Intézet és Muzeum (Military Historical Institute and Museum), Berlin's Geheimes Staatsarchiv (now Preußischer Kulturbesitz), Bratislava's Statny Ústredny Archív (State Central Archives), Brussels' Archives de la Ville, and even two English depositories (the Public Record Office, Kew, and the Northumberland County Record Office)! Duffy's persistent, thorough plumbing of non- or rarely exploited primary sources enables him not only to clarify difficult operational issues but to add incisive personal vignettes—the recollections of combat veterans—to his engrossing narrative and analyses. [End Page 954]

It should be borne in mind that the officers especially, but to some extent also the noncoms, and rank and file of eighteenth-century hosts, consisted of a wide variety of nationalities and ethnic groups. To be sure, German and French were of necessity the languages of command. The reviewer finds it hard to select those portions of the book which he liked best. However, the account of Magyar Andreas von Hadik's famous cavalry raid upon Berlin (16 October 1757) and the description of Frederick the Great's genial ordre oblique employed at Leuthen (and elsewhere) stand out in particular. The portrait of the enigmatic king himself presents a more human—and humane—visage. The final chapter is a thought-provoking retrospective from the vantage point of more recent decades of history. The battle maps and illustrations are of a notably high quality and demonstrate that Duffy has visited the places in question himself. The only problem that a linguistically less adept, Anglophone reader may have in regard to landscape is that many contemporary toponyms are no longer German but Czech or Polish. If one wishes to trace the campaign movements or even do an automotive tour—a kind of "staff ride"—of the actual sites of Baroque Era engagements with the aid of a modern atlas, one will be hard put to pinpoint the locations. Most people are unlikely to know that Leitmeritz is now Litomercice or that Breslau is Wroclaw: the editorial staff of the Emperor's Press could easily have commissioned someone to produce a glossary. The index unfortunately encompasses personal and place names only. More thorough proofreading would also have been in order. Occasionally a whole word has simply disappeared from a sentence. Duffy's resort now and then to pronounced Anglicisms, if piquant, may confuse many an American who will not immediately recognize, for example, what a quinsy (sore throat) is. The Emperor's Press did a somewhat better, if also imperfect, job with the author's previous magnum opus, The Instrument of War (Volume I of "The Austrian Army in the Seven Years War"). That it has chosen to be unduly parsimonious in the present instance is regrettable. However, to sum up, it is improbable that Prussia's Glory will ever be surpassed as a treatment of the classic encounters of 1757. The adjective "definitive" is entirely justified.

Thomas M. Barker
Emeritus, University at Albany, SUNY
Albany, New York
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