There's something here to delight any reader interested in European history, whether monarchist or republican. The Habsburg dynasty, sometime rulers of Austria, Germany, Spain, Tuscany and very briefly Mexico, were the consummate career monarchs. Wheatcroft's account deliberately ignores the large-scale events of European history, giving scant coverage to the three wars (Thirty Years, Spanish Succession, and First World War) which cost the dynasty so much of its power. Instead, he focusses on the characters of individual rulers, including some who are often overlooked, and on the iconography of the dynasty. Learn about the emperor Maximilian's literary works, the 'Plus Ultra' motto, and contemporary cartoons of the empress Maria Theresa. There are also some interesting details on Spanish culture in the inquisition era, one of the dynasty's times of infamy. The notes are almost a book in themselves, and well worth reading. The hardback edition has more pictures than the paperback, including colour plates and my favourite Habsburg picture, which shows the young Maria Theresa addressing sword-waving Hungarian diet members while holding her baby son. That said, the pictures in the paperback are good too. My only warning to readers is that they should have a dictionary of european history to hand, or some other source, to match up the wars and revolutions which Wheatcroft deliberately skirts around.