Charles XII: Warrior King

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Charles XII: Warrior King
  • Edited by: John B. Hattendorf, Åsa Karlsson, Margriet Lacy-Bruijn, Augustus J. Veenendaal, Jr., and Rolof van Hövell tot Westerflier
  • Hardback linen binding with dustjacket, 21.5 x 28.5 cm,
  • 464 pages, full-colour photographs, maps and artwork throughout
  • ISBN: 978-94-90258-19-1
  • Language: English


King Charles XII of Sweden is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of early eighteenth-century European history. The war he fought, but eventually lost after a string of brilliant initial victories, was a significant turning point in European history.

For centuries, Charles XII has mainly been seen in the context of Sweden’s national experience, yet his activities stretched across the European continent from Russia and Denmark to Germany, Austria, Poland, Ukraine, and the Ottoman Empire. Even the Dutch Republic, Britain, and France became involved diplomatically and economically.

In this volume, 20 scholars from 12 different countries contribute to creating a broader perspective on Charles XII and the Great Northern War in European history. The contributors to this volume expand the scope of international research on Charles XII and his time by examining not only his victories and defeats but the king’s impact in other areas as well.

Praise for Charles XII: Warrior King

"All in all, the chapters of Charles XII provide a well-founded and broad understanding of the king, but above all of the game of power during the Great Nordic War. The volume is a marked departure from a nationally focused history, at the same time, with the clear chronological character of each chapter and focus on events, stands for a classic narrative story that does not explicitly touch on theory or method. There are some repetitions as certain events are interpreted from different countries' perspectives in different chapters. A comprehensive index assists the reader, but cross-government reviews between the contributions would have further helped and enabled the authors to enter into dialogue with each other. Such a dialogue would have further strengthened the volume, as the contributions are now somewhat isolated. Together, it gives a rich and nuanced picture, but is left to draw such parallels and lessons from the many perspectives alone. However, this does not detract from the impression, step by step, event by event, and country by country, of a central part of European history."
- Karolinska Forbundet Arsbok, (2021)

"Charles XII: Warrior King is the fourth volume in the series called ‘Protagonists of History in International Perspective,’ which last dealt with the British master John Churchill, duke of Marlborough. The result is impressive... Charles XII: Warrior King is a bold and extremely ambitious book production."
- Militär Historia, No. 8 (2019)

"...the book is a fine piece of scholarship written for the general reader and the specialist alike."
- War in History, No. 30 (2023)

Includes the following chapters:

  1. The Great Northern War (1700-21) and the Integration of the European States System (Hamish Scott, The United Kingdom)
  2. Charles XII: A biographical sketch (Åsa Karlsson, Sweden)
  3. Charles XII as a Protagonist in International Perspective: An Overview (John B. Hattendorf, United States of America)
  4. Swedish Grand Strategy and Foreign Policy, 1697-1721 (Gunnar Åselius, Sweden)
  5. Charles XII’s Armies in the Field (Christer Kuvaja, Finland)
  6. Swedish Naval Power and Naval Operations, 1697-1721 (Lars Ericson Wolke, Sweden)
  7. The Absent King and Swedes at Home (Marie Lennersand, Sweden)
  8. The Impact of the Great Northern War on Trade Relations with the Baltic (Werner Scheltjens, Germany)
  9. British Policy towards Sweden, Charles XII, and the Great Northern War, 1697-1723 (John B. Hattendorf, United States of America)
  10. How to Handle a Warrior King: The States General and Its Policies in Regard to Charles XII of Sweden (Augustus J. Veenendaal, Jr., the Netherlands)
  11. The French View of Charles XII: The King, the Soldier, the Man (Eric Schnakenbourg, France)
  12. ‘The Mad Swede’: The Habsburg Monarchy and Charles XII (Michael Hochedlinger, Austria)
  13. Charles XII at the Centre of Swedish-Ottoman Diplomacy (Bülent Ari and Alptuğ Güney, Turkey)
  14. Warmonger or Benefactor? Charles XII and the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway (Knud J.V. Jespersen, Denmark)
  15. A Polish View of Charles XII and the Great Northern War (Gabriela Majewska, Poland)
  16. Russian Views of Charles XII (Pavel A. Krotov, Russian Federation)
  17. Brandenburg-Prussia and the Northern German States (Linda S. Frey and Marsha L. Frey, United States of America)
  18. Charles XII: A King of Many Faces (Inga Lena Ångström Grandien, Sweden)
  19. A Literary Charles XII (Nils Ekedahl, Sweden)

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