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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, very good.
This is not a new book; it is a reissue of the 'Profiles in Power' book published a decade ago. Like most books in PIP series, this is NOT a biography. Rather, it is a chronological study of the Kaiser's political career and the ways in which he exercised political power. The book thus becomes quite dry in places and by the end of it you are still left feeling that the...
Published on 10 Dec 2009 by Chris Warne

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wilhelm: Dry but Informative
I bought this partly for my English course, and partly because it was one of only a few books I could find on the Kaiser specifically. While I found it informative, it did read like a series of essays as opposed to a book, and compared to most of the other history books I've come across this one was rather dry. While the author does say that this is a study of the...
Published 14 months ago by ibn Aiyub


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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall, very good., 10 Dec 2009
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This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
This is not a new book; it is a reissue of the 'Profiles in Power' book published a decade ago. Like most books in PIP series, this is NOT a biography. Rather, it is a chronological study of the Kaiser's political career and the ways in which he exercised political power. The book thus becomes quite dry in places and by the end of it you are still left feeling that the 'personal' Kaiser is an enigma. But the 'political' Kaiser is completely revealed, and thus the author fulfills his objective. An interesting read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The complex Kaiser decoded, 13 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
Having read Christopher Clark's Iron Kingdom I did not hesitate in reading Kaiser Wilhelm II, Life in Power. I was not disspointed.

History has been brutal to Kaiser Wilhelm portraying him as a warmongering and power hungry figure, vain and foolish causing the destruction of the Hohenzollern Empire his forefathers worked so tirelessly to create.

Clark really uncovers the layers upon layers of the complex personality that is Wilhelm the Second. The book is a breathtaking study in the psyche of leader taking us through his childhood and early years as well as his years in power. His disliking of his father, envy of Bismarck and increasing lack of any authority as the First World War progresses are amongst the intriguing facts that Clark brings to front.

Clark really does a fine job decoding Wilhelm the tragic figure that lost a crown and an empire and paved the way for the horrors that were to descend upon Germany in the years to come, one which he watched in horror from his exile in Holland.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Was he Mad?, 22 Aug 2011
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Stephen Cooper (South Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
There has never been any doubt in England that Germany was responsible for the two World Wars of the twentieth century; but, whereas Hitler has been a relatively uncontroversial war criminal, the same cannot be said of Kaiser Wilhelm II. After all, he was very closely related to the British royal family, and prior to 1914 the Germans were thought of as our cousins, far more closely related than the French. The Entente Cordiale was a relatively recent phenomenon, and people simply could not understand how the First World War had come about.

My grandmother used to refer to the period before that War as the period 'before the world went mad'; and, because the Kaiser was clearly to blame for the mass slaughter which followed, there was a movement in England which was in favour of hanging him. He was clearly a very bad man. Was he also mad? Christopher Clark brings the cool mind of the professional historian to these problems, and he provides some very convincing answers, firmly based on a vast German literature which is not readily accessible by most English readers.

The view he presents of the Kaiser will surprise many. He was neither mad, nor particularly bad. He was not an absolute ruler, indeed he had no very clearly defined role within the Imperial Constitution (though he liked to talk big). He had difficult relationships with his Chancellors, starting with the formidable Bismarck. He did not by any means always get his own way. He was not particularly militaristic, though he was always very keen on the Navy (root cause of the growing and fatal misunderstanding between Germany and Britain). On some issues, he was a liberal; and he favoured a policy to improve the schools. He was not principally responsible for the Agadir incident, nor for the decision to back Austria against Serbia in 1914, even if that meant a war. He did not in fact want war, and tried to avoid it. In some circles, he was mockingly referred to as 'the Peace Kaiser'. He was not in favour of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, until 1917, when he felt compelled to authorise it. He was much less in favour of invading France, and of crushing the French, than his generals were. He did not expect war with Russia. We may question this portrait at various points, but I suspect it is accurate, if only because life is seldom as simple as we would like it to be.

The book is not intended to be a biography. It is more of a study in political history; and it is more of a summary than a full-length exposition of the arguments deployed; but, as a non-specialist, I found it all the better and more readable for that. Certainly it will be difficult to think of Germany, and the Kaiser's role in the First World War, in quite the same way again.

Stephen Cooper
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and incisive., 14 Mar 2014
This superb new edition of Christopher Clark's magisterial study of the Kaiser contains some new material and photographs.

Many questions hang over Wilhelm II -- just how much power and influence did he wield in Germany? To what degree did he shape the development of Germany during the three decades of his rule? To what extent was the Great War the result of his planning and leadership? Christopher Clark sets out to answer these questions in an incisive, beautifully-written synthesis of current scholarship.

Prof. Clark's interest is primarily in the political sphere; but despite his claim that this "makes no pretense at the comprehensiveness of a biography," it is also a revealing study of Wilhelm's family, character and personal foibles. I found it fascinating.

Highly recommended to serious students of the period.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant study of one of histories most interesting persons, 20 Oct 2013
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Dr Clark offers a fascinating and insightful look at the last German Kaiser. This book is well researched and with the latest available source material at his disposal this book is a must read for any lovers of German history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kaiser Wilhem II - a Life in Power, 17 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
Very interesting book, easy to read and absorb the information contained therein. A really good indepth view f the Kaiser, his life, his court and the play he played in World War I. The book also follows him following abdication and touches briefly on his feelings regarding Hitler.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and easy to digest, 3 May 2013
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I knew nothing about Kaiser Wilhem or the events leading up to the first world war.
I found this a very enjoyable read - factual without being 'dry' as is the case with so many books in this genre.
Highly recommended
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hoch the kaiser, 19 Aug 2011
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Timothy R. Chilvers (Senglea, Malta) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
A very good in-depth biography of a rather puzzling character. The author examines HIM's actions, and gives convincing reasons for what would otherwise seem inexplicable, not to say contradictory, behaviour. Altogether, an excellent biography that is a readable contribution to a victim of propaganda.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wilhelm: Dry but Informative, 16 Feb 2013
This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
I bought this partly for my English course, and partly because it was one of only a few books I could find on the Kaiser specifically. While I found it informative, it did read like a series of essays as opposed to a book, and compared to most of the other history books I've come across this one was rather dry. While the author does say that this is a study of the Kaiser's power and NOT a biography, I was still hoping for a little more easy-readability. Having said that, I didn't regret buying and reading the book and if you are looking for detailed information on Wilhelm and his power and control especially, then this is probably exactly what you want. However, for someone just coming to the subject, or if you don't like slow, dry books, tihs might not be quite the right thing for you.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kaiser Wilhelm, 27 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power (Paperback)
Just a poor book..nothing new in it at all. I was quite disppointed. Th post WW1 era gets hardly a mention
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Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power
Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power by Christopher Clark (Paperback - 4 Jun 2009)
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