- Paperback: 816 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (6 Sept. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140293345
- ISBN-13: 978-0140293340
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.7 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 Paperback – 6 Sep 2007
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A magisterial history of Europe's only extinct power, nuanced, dispassionate and utterly gripping' -- Financial Times
`A terrific book ... the definitive history of this much-maligned state' -- Daily Telegraph Books of the Year
`Exemplary ... an illuminating, profoundly satisfying work of history' -- The New York Times
`The best history of Prussia in any language' -- Sunday Telegraph
`Written with great clarity and vigour ... I was completely hooked' -- Antonia Fraser, Guardian Books of the Year
'...thorough, sensitive and well-written'
-- Justin Cartwright, Spectator Books of the Year
From the Back Cover
`Fascinating ... masterly ... littered with intriguing detail and wry observation' Richard Overy, Daily TelegraphSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Who can honestly say they know anything about Prussia? When I first came across the place at school, I could not understand how there could be two states with such similar names - Prussia and Russia; and it took a long time to understand the relationship between historic Prussia and present-day Germany. Clark shows very well how this grew, but also how complex the relationship was; and how the dominance of Prussia within the German Empire between 1870 and 1914, together with the uncertain position of the Kaiser and the Army in the imperial constitution, was responsible for many of Germany's problems.
Clark tells some familiar stories - for example about Frederick the Great's invasion of Silesia and his tragic relationship with his friend Von Katte, and about the Captain of Kopenick - but he also explains some unfamiliar problems of German history.Read more ›
Clark analyzes the transformation of the Prussian empire from its small Brandenburg origins to the dominant European power it became. The book covers all the major rulers from the Great Elector to Frederick the Great to Kaiser "Willy", and examines in detail the social, political, economic and military issues that played such a part in the development of Prussia. Where Clark especially shines is the detail of the empire's early years with the Great Elector and his two successors. In this era Prussia gained extensive swaths of territory through alliances and marriages, even as it went through internal and religious strife at home. Clark has clearly done his homework, scouring through dusty archives and examining in multiple languages the papers of the empire, most notably the Political Testaments (a letter of sorts to the next King) of the early Kings. Clark examines the successes of the Prussian military machine, with its strength of the canton regimental system, and the growth of the civil service and judiciary. The political maneuverings between Prussia, France, England, Russia, and Austria make for fascinating reading, with Prussia somehow managing to come out ahead more often than not (conversely, Austria managed to always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory).
This is a large book, and takes a while to get through.Read more ›
Two very minor typographical/proofreading errors in the Penguin edition which I bought: (these ought to be addressed to Penguin but it has proved beyond my deductive skills to find how to contact their history editors) p. 62, Frederick II the Great is the Great Elector's great-grandson, not his grandson (an error not repeated elsewhere); and p. 666, the name should read Arthur Seyss-Inquart, not Inquest. It says much about the quality of the book that these two very minor errors appear all the more glaring because of that quality.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This account is full of detail, which means you need to read carefully and, if you are like me, repeat some passages. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Badger
Excellent detailed reading...loved it.
I enjoyed the scholarly depth in this book. You've really got to be into your European history to really enjoy it... Read more
I thought I knew a lot about Prussia until I read this book by Christopher Clark.
I had previously read his book about the causes of the Great War - The Sleepwalkers -... Read more