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Imperial Adventurer: Emperor Maximilian of Mexico Hardcover – 18 Nov 1971


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 531 pages
  • Publisher: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd (18 Nov. 1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297993631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297993636
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,316,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Publisher: Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Date of Publication: 1971
Binding: Hard Cover
Edition: First Edition
Condition: Very Good +/No Jacket

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Schallenberg on 23 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Mexican Empire of Maximilian of Austria is strangely enough one of history's largely neglected episodes. Even most books on France's Second Empire - the driving force behind the whole undertaking - don't give it more than a cursory treatment. It is telling that this more or less latest book on the subject was written exactly 40 years ago.

My advice after reading this book however is: get a copy while one is still available second-hand, because the story of Mexico's Empire makes for fascinating reading. In the two years of its existence it had more high drama, intrigues, swahbuckling and political double-dealing than most other countries get in a century. Moreover, the story is told by an author who combines excellent research and analysis with a first rate narrative style and a sharp eye for the telling anecdote.

The first part of the book answers the question what caused the Archduke Maximilian of Austria to assume the imperial crown of Mexico - basically Montezuma's crown, since Maximilian's predecessors had been the King of Spain and after that, a great number of presidents, none of whom had lasted for more than a year - a country in the midst of civil war, completely bankrupt and with a ruling class where liberals, conservatives en the clergy were constantly at each other's throats.

The author describes in vivid detail how Maximilian - by inclination primarily a botanist and butterfly-collector - was never more than a pawn in the hands of an Imperial brother who wanted him out of the way because of his liberal leanings, a French emperor who needed someone to recoup the huge investments made in Mexico and last but not least a highly ambitious wife for whom an imperial crown was worth almost any risk.
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By JVRobson on 6 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This excellent and hugely entertaining book was of great help to me when researching a novel that touched on Maximilian's reign. Ms Haslip's well-researched, pacy account of the doomed attempt to bring a European court to the chaos of mid-19th century Mexico reads like a classic adventure story but ends as a tragedy.

Maximilian was a man out of his own time - born into Austria's ruling Hapsburg elite but with little to do once his elder brother Franz Josef had ascended to the imperial throne and with some dreamy, vaguely liberal ideals that won him many enemies during his governorship of Austria's Italian provinces.

Anxious to keep his troublesome brother out of the way, the offer by a cabal of Mexican emigres to restore order to a country which had endured more or less permanent revolution since independence from Spain must have seemed a godsend. France had promised money and troops, America was distracted by civil war and it was a chance for the descendants of the New World's original conqueror, Charles V, to take charge of a country rich in natural resources.

But Maximilian's good heart was compromised by a butterfly brain and a chronic inability to make a decision. His empress Charlotte, a determined but highly-strung offshoot of the Saxe-Coburg royal bride factory, saw the project as the making of him. But a motley crew of advisers and favourites gave conflicting and often disastrous advice from the outset. And Napoleon III of France proved utterly unworthy to assume his uncle's mantle, presiding over a half-hearted campaign and constantly nagging Maximilian to repay the debts he had incurred installing him, before pulling his troops out when America made clear it would never countenance a European colony on the continent.
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