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The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire [Paperback]

Andrew Wheatcroft
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 Sep 1996
The Habsburgs have been described at one extreme as demons - responsible for a 'long history of atrocities'; and, at the other, as dodos - living fossils unable to adapt to the modern world. In reality, the flamboyant royal family appear, in many ways, to have behaved much like most other monarchies. Their story, however, is none the less enthralling for that. It is populated by such unforgettable figures as mad Queen Juana, progressing through Spain with her husband's decaying body; the 'heroically fertile' Maria Theresa, and the quixotic Maximilian, 'Emperor' of Mexico.

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

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (26 Sep 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140236341
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140236347
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Andrew Wheatcroft has written and lectured widely on European and Middle Eastern history. His books include The Ottomans and The Hapsburgs.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
On a day of stifling heat late in June 1386 the little town of Brugg was thronged to capacity with armed men. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good, deep history of an amazing dynasty 12 Nov 2003
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars habsburg 14 Nov 2012
Having read Mr. Wheatcroft's epic 'Enemy at the Gates' I did not hesitate a second about buying this one. This is an ambitious book given its scope. Sensibly, Wheatcroft did not attempt to write a 'complete' history of all the Habsburgs; instead he tried to find a commmonality across the ages. He seems to believe that there was a distinct 'something' common to all the Habsburgs across all those centuries but I cannot say that I was convinced. Surely all the Habsburg rulers were children of their own times and had far less in common with one another than with their contemporaries - for example it is very difficult to believe that, to pick a couple, Joseph II had anything more in common with Felipe II, than each had with their contemporary non-Habsburg rulers. Having said this, I still found this book interesting enough to make it worth the read. However, 'Enemy at the gates' is really much much better.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mist over Marchfeld 3 April 2012
By lixasyb
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like the Danube, the course of central European history is not straightforward, and the Habsburg dynasty has channelled over six centuries of it. As an amateur, what I had sought, therefore, was an account that would collate the better known episodes, such as Charles V's abdication, the siege of Vienna, etc, and draw them into a single narrative. After the first chapter (38 pages) I have given up, having slithered back and forth between the earlier centuries to no avail. No shortage here of furiously detailed material, but in my view it produces no more than a Shakespearean medley of pomp, derring-do, dastardly deeds, pageantry and gore. For an objective appraisal of cited sources and, generally, a narrative coherence, I shall look elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Could have been smoother 17 Sep 2013
An interesting and enlightening glide through the history of this fascinating and extraordinary family, who are still very much with us today. Despite the different and interesting perspective that he takes on their story, he still provides enough information to give the novice (like me) a useful insight into the subject, and a sense of their character as human beings. Even so, Wheatcroft tends to be needlessly verbose at times (do things really need to elide when they can merge?), and even a fairly experienced reader may feel the need to interrupt their reading to reach for a dictionary once in a while. The positing of the Battle of Sempach in 1386 at the beginning of the work, covering a total of some 18 of its first pages, is also a needless distraction. Over all, there are times when one suspects that Wheatcroft wishes to say more about himself than his subject matter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
although not the complete history of the dinasty in here, it makes a good and interesting read. the authors view is very personal, and there are some gaps in the history of the family, but its a good first approach for somebody interested in this subject.
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36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A complete disappointment 26 May 2000
By A Customer
Bearing in mind the fact that no book has ever before covered the entire Habsburg dynasty, one assumes that this book would make the effort to do so. Instead, this book tries to make a virtue of ignoring the major events and not telling the reader much about the lives of the major players. It prefers to concentrate on the art and architecture of the period and to construct a complicated mindset which the author claims to be one shared by all Habsburgs regardless of country of birth, upbringing and generation. In short, if you want a historical biography this is not the book for you. If you are interested in sets of descirptions of pictures you cannot see in the book combined with pyschobabble, then buy this book (off me, preferably so I don't have let it gather dust on my shelves!)
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