Bismarck was one of the most important men of the late 19th Century, unifying Germany and building it up into one of the Greatest powers of Europe. In this book, A.J.P Taylor produces one of the best reviews of Bismarck available, showing to the reader the influences that his life had on his policy. Taylor shows Bismarck to be a deeply opinionated man, but shows that his principles, although formed by his experiences, were often fluid and depended deeply on how best to keep himself in power and Germany as strong as possible.
Taylor is a wonderful writer of this sort of history, not simply showing what Bismack did and thought, but why. He shows the man who built up the German Kaiser into an almost unassailable position to be on principle a republican, but explains why this principle was ignored. In this brilliant work, Taylor picks up on a number of aspects of Bismarck's personality and policy that I have never seen considered before, and offers a number of possible reasons for actions that other historians seem to have a great difficulty attributing to anything at all.
This book will be exceedingly interesting to anyone who reads modern European History, and even if this area is not one that a reader has any special interest in, it is very easy to read. Strongly reccommended.