The Dreadful History and Judgement of God on Thomas Müntzer: The Life and Times of an Early German Revolutionary (Hardcover)

The Dreadful History and Judgement of God on Thomas Müntzer: The Life and Times of an Early German Revolutionary By Andrew Drummond Cover Image
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"You will be gripped and inspired by this exciting story–I couldn’t put it down."
–Lyndal Roper, author of Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet

On the 500th anniversary of the German Peasant Wars, a brilliant portrait of Thomas Munzter: radical millenarian preacher, revolutionary and iconoclast


‘The princes are nothing but tyrants who flay the people; they fritter away our blood and sweat on their pomp and whoring and knavery.’ These were the words of Thomas Müntzer at the head of the massed ranks of a peasant army in the year 1525. Ranged against him were the might of the princes of the German Nation. How did Müntzer, the son of a coin maker from central Germany, rise in just a few short years to become one of the most feared revolutionaries in early modern Europe?

In this brilliant work of historical excavation, Andrew Drummond charts the life and times of the man Martin Luther denounced as a ‘Ravening Wolf’ and ‘False Prophet’. Drummond shows us Müntzer as a human being. Far from the bloodthirsty devil of legend, he was a man of considerable learning and principle, deeply sympathetic to the misery of the peasantry and the poor. In his short life – he was beheaded at thirty-five – Müntzer promised to fundamentally upend German society.

Seeking to save Müntzer from the condescension of history, Drummond guides us through the religious and political disputes of the Reformation, placing his life and thought in the context of those turbulent years. The result is a portrait of an often contradictory but always radical figure, one who continues to inspire movements of the poor across the globe.

About the Author


Andrew Drummond is a historian, novelist and translator based in Edinburgh. He is the author of five novels: An Abridged History of the Construction of a Railway Line Between Ullapool and Lochinver; A Hand-book of Volapük; Elephantina; Novgorod the Great; and The Books of the Incarceration of the Lady Grange. He has also written short stories and translations from German. More recently, he has written a biography of the 18th century adventurer Maurice Benyovszky, and an account of the attempts to extend rail connections to the north-west Highlands of Scotland.

Praise For…


"At last – a new account for our times of Thomas Müntzer, theologian and revolutionary. Drummond brings Müntzer and his world vividly to life. He shows us just why Müntzer hated Luther, and how he came to take up arms. What did it mean to be a revolutionary in sixteenth-century Germany? – Drummond shows us. You will be gripped and inspired by this exciting story – I couldn’t put it down."
—Lyndal Roper, Regius Professor of History at Oxford, and author of Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet

"Posterity has endorsed not just Luther’s victory but also his determined character assassination of his rival. Andrew Drummond’s scholarly but eminently readable, thoughtful, thorough and at times witty biography of Müntzer redresses the balance for English-speaking audiences"
—Professor Michael Russell, University of Glasgow

"Among the famous figures associated with 16th century Germany, that of religious thinker and social revolutionary Thomas Müntzer deserves to be far better known. Andy Drummond's excellent, brilliantly written and entertaining, new biography delves deep into the archival material to draw out the history of a radical whose life is often obscured by propaganda and myth. As we approach the 500th anniversary of Müntzer's execution, this book is the definitive account of his life."
—Martin Empson, author of 'Kill all the Gentlemen': Class Struggle and Change in the English Countryside

"A blisteringly good book about personal enmity, and the difference between revolution and reform."
—Daniel Brooks, Telegraph

"Drummond's marvellous romp of a biography - part jolly Simon Winder-like deep dive into 16th-century Germania, part sagacious reflection on the Reformation in the manner of Diarmaid MacCulloch - aims to free Müntzer from his detractors."
—Stuart Jeffries, Spectator

"Drummond's biography of this volatile and subversive thinker is both highly readable and carefully researched."
—Peter Marshall, Literary Review

"Andrew Drummond's skeptical and compassionate biography documents a life that is as much a warning as an inspiration to the modern left. Its evocative, exquisitely detailed panorama of Reformation Germany leads us to reflect on the tangled links between religious zeal and the successful exercise of political power."
—Michael Ledger-Lomas, Jacobin


Product Details
ISBN: 9781839768941
ISBN-10: 1839768940
Publisher: Verso
Publication Date: February 20th, 2024
Pages: 384
Language: English