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The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918: A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary [Paperback]

A J P Taylor
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Sep 1990
A history of the Habsburg monarchy from the end of the Holy Roman Empire to the monarchy's dissolution in 1918. The book offers an insight into the problems inherent in the attempt to give peace, stability and common loyalty to a hetergeneous population.

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The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918: A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary + The Fall of the House of Habsburg + The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Sep 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140134980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140134988
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

A.J.P. Taylor (1906-1990) was one of the most controversial historians of the twentieth century. He served as a lecturer at the Universities of Manchester, Oxford, and London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Of great educational value, somewhat turgid 15 Aug 2001
Format:Paperback
Like AJP Taylor's other books written in the 40/50s, this is an immensely intelligent and investigated piece of work yet difficult to read. Some of the information is shocking, and gives great perspective to subsequent events. For example, to question what the Sudeten Germans were doing before 1918, why Trieste was considered Italian (Italian was a naval language of the earlier period), or similiarly, to examine the real racial history of balkans. Most shocking of all perhaps, the observation that German was almost a "class" in central europe. So, an excellent book which really enlightens the reader. However, I found it difficult to read in sessions of more than thirty pages, mostly because of the blow-by-blow account (same as Struggle for Mastery in Europe) that predates his improved writing style of the 60s, such as Origins of the Second World War. Still, I am immensely positive about the book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dry but brilliantly analytical 31 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book, first published in the late 1940s, traces the policy of the Austrian emperor and his ministers. It is a brilliantly analytical study of the empire's weaknesses and the problems of holding together and governing a collection of lands and peoples with nothing in common beyond having been acquired at some point in history by the Habsburg dynasty. The book is not, and doesn't attempt to be, a general history of Austria-Hungary in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tension builds as the end approaches and Taylor's epilogue, summarising events in Central Europe after 1918, foretells in an almost uncanny way events since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, balanced and amusing 13 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Mr Taylor compared the Habsburg monarchy to the plaster cast around a broken limb, in that while it sustained Eastern Europe, it had to be shattered to bring freedom. Now that the region has broken free of the Communist cast, his book provides an excellent study of the region and its place in the Balance of Power.
The book punctures many myths, not least the 'inevitabilist' view, that Austria was destined to collapse no matter what. The epilogue dealing with the postwar problems of the replacement multinationals, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, is particularly prescient, forecasting the difficulties both of these states would face. There is a very slight bias in favour of the Czechs and Serbs, but the overall picture is fair and balanced. I cannot recommend it too highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sean on Habsburg 30 April 2012
By Sean
Format:Paperback
Very heavy going, not at all like the 1st and 2nd world war books of his and the maps/social delimitations are far and few between. One must stay concentrated but I'm hoping for further enlightenment of this centralised and therefore (socially/political)influential power.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Practically Indigestible 24 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Hapsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 (Pelican)

A difficult read, a very dry stringing together of fact after fact, date after date. Some fleshing out of the dynastic landscape and peoples would have made it more interesting, digestible and memorable.

I found the footnotes giving pronunciation of names very irritating. I would have thought that most people who bothered to pick up a a book of this nature would either have some idea of pronunciation or not feel it necessary to their understanding of the text.

It's a bit like being on a roller coaster after a big meal and getting indigestion, or you may want to throw up! Or, another analogy would be that it is a skeleton with no flesh on it. We have the bare bones, but it would have been more interesting if there were more details of the echelons of society and character of leading protagonists. So many important personnages are mentioned but without much detail. Mention is made of whatthe echelons of society were, but with mere mentions of how they affected the politics, nothing more.

I recently visited Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, and in Emperor Franz (why did he have to anglicise his name?) Joseph's bedroom it was interesting to be informed that he rose at 5am every morning, toileted and dressed and then moved across the room to sit at his desk working, with meals brought to him there, until late at night. From this book you don't get a sense that he took his responsibilities seriously.

It took a lot of reading to come away with some sense of the history of the complicated conglomeration of states and nationalities which once made up the empire.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By red0209 TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as I'd studied the First World War extensively, but just wanted a bit of background to what led up to the conflict from a different (non-British) perspective, particularly in the nineteenth century. Just prior to reading this book I'd read The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919 , which covers the conflict on the Italian Front, largely between Austria-Hungary and Italy, very well. Therefore I was looking to find out more about Austria-Hungary in the lead up to 1914.

AJP Taylor is a very well respected historian, but I feel that this book just does not cover a number of key events in any detail at all. For example, the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 gets only a passing mention. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 as far as I recall does not even get mentioned at all in the book. The book focuses entirely on the political struggle between peasants, gentry and magnates (get used to those three words if you buy the book) of different nationalities trying to assert their supremacy over other nationalities. The Emperor's interactions with his most prominent ministers are discussed in great detail also. Personally I was left wanting to find out a little bit more about the economic and social conditions within the Habsburg Monarchy. I wanted more detail about the various conflicts which either directly involved the Habsburg Monarchy, or indirectly had a great affect upon it.

All in all this is a well written book, but if your knowledge of the subject is quite poor, as mine was before I picked up this book, you will need to do more background reading to gain a full understanding of the Habsburg Monarchy in this period.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book to read
I found this book to be very complying and left on edge with every chapter. I would recommend this book with anyone to read this very great book.
Published 3 months ago by Bobby Boy
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Its been decades since I first read this, and I rather expected it to be dated. Not a bit of it. I am doing some work on Hapsburg Hungary, and found AJP's book to be just as... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Only for seasoned historians!
The author has extensive knowledge of the minutiae of Habsburg History, far to much for the interested lay person. Makes the text dry and boring.
Published 14 months ago by Heidi Cooke
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written
Unfortunately, this is very difficult to read. I think the problem is that the author assumes you know the history of the Habsburgs well already. Read more
Published 19 months ago by M. D. Holley
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918 is a very interesting and enjoyable look at one of the dominant forces in European affairs. Read more
Published on 21 Oct 2009 by HBH
5.0 out of 5 stars missing piece in European History
The Austrian Empire is almost forgotten as a player in the lead up to the First World war.AJP Taylor provides an insight that is untouched in UK schools. Read more
Published on 13 April 2008 by M. Thanki
2.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
This book is showing its age and it's very hard work. I have no doubt that AJP Taylor was a top-notch historian and if you need a reference work for your history exams this is... Read more
Published on 17 Nov 2007 by Petrolhead
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