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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best biography ever written about Sissi - simply superb and a benchmark in writing biographies
When Brigitte Hamann first published her biography it was an instant sensation.

I remember reading it during skiing holidays in Austria and I was completely absorbed and the time and when haven recently re-read it I still am.

Out goes the super romantic notion of the ever beautiful but unhappy Empress who was tragically murdered but instead one learn...
Published on 20 May 2007 by Amelrode

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Either badly translated or badly written...
...but if you're a die-hard fan of the Sissi-films, you'll finish this bio simply for the sake of having read it. It's not up to the standards set by other biographers such as Alison Weir, in two ways: bad construction and bad writing. As for the latter, I'm not sure whether it's because the German text is bad in itself or whether it's a bad translator. As for the first,...
Published on 10 May 2010 by L. Boer


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The very best biography ever written about Sissi - simply superb and a benchmark in writing biographies, 20 May 2007
By 
Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Reluctant Empress: Elisabeth of Austria (Hardcover)
When Brigitte Hamann first published her biography it was an instant sensation.

I remember reading it during skiing holidays in Austria and I was completely absorbed and the time and when haven recently re-read it I still am.

Out goes the super romantic notion of the ever beautiful but unhappy Empress who was tragically murdered but instead one learn to understand this difficult, unhappy and nevertheless fascinating creature. Here is a woman who did not want to be an Empress and who in the end did what she wanted to do. She did not perform and forfilled her pre-designed role as a dutiful Empress. However, she pulled her weight in moments of crisis. It is remarkable how she called the shots in her marriage as her husband was quite weak and used to female dominance.

Birgitte Hamann is in my view from the thousands of biographies on Elisabeth who captured this woman best. Every page is a pleasure to read!!

This is a MUST for all who have an interest in Sissi: a benchmark in the writing of biographies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real 'Sisi', 11 July 2011
I have always wanted to know more about the charismatic 'Sisi, Empress of Austria, but my sources never seemed to go far enough - the romantic German film seen many years ago, various written accounts, and of course the all dancing and singing 'Sisi' on the Andre Rieu DVD. Now this book has satisfied all my requirements, giving the in-depth well-documented story of this extraordinary woman's life, and the turbulant history of the Habsburg Empire. A jolly good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Either badly translated or badly written..., 10 May 2010
By 
L. Boer (The Hague, NL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The reluctant empress (Paperback)
...but if you're a die-hard fan of the Sissi-films, you'll finish this bio simply for the sake of having read it. It's not up to the standards set by other biographers such as Alison Weir, in two ways: bad construction and bad writing. As for the latter, I'm not sure whether it's because the German text is bad in itself or whether it's a bad translator. As for the first, that's a blameworthy mistake. The chapters are divided along 'themes' - her love of horse-riding, her love of Hungary, her children - and it simply doesn't work. I'm only slightly known with Austria's history, and given the structure of the book, I completely lost sight of what happened when and how certain events influenced Sissi's life. It does provide an overview of her character, but Hamann doesn't explain how Sissi became the woman who was, at the end of her life, happy to die.

Given the above criticism, however, I do believe this is the best biography (in English, that is) about her. If you don't want a reality check on your Romy Schneider-fantasies, don't read it. It is, all in all, a very tragic story.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative-but a bit boring towards the end, 18 Jan 2014
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Didn't realise that this book is out of print-hence the high price. Would recommend this book if you want a non-sugary description of this woman's life.
She was extremely troubled. She would be described as a neurotic, anorexic recluse these days.
The tragedy was that she was chosen to live a high profile life-and it clearly did not work out.

I was surprised at how self-centred and selfish she was. Completely focused on herself always.

Descriptions are absorbing. However towards the end of her life the book interest wanes . I even considered leaving the book unfinished-but struggled on. Glad I did, to learn how she was killed,

Throughout the book talks about the political events of the time-and it felt 'worthy' -learning about the various wars etc when all I wanted was to read about the personal life of the Empress

Only get this book if you have an extremely strong interest in the subject - as it requires accommitment to read through it
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Purchase from EliteDigital UK, 14 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Reluctant Empress: Elisabeth of Austria (Hardcover)
EliteDigital in cooperation with Amazon UK excellently just provided me with a long sought for book about Empress Elisabeth of Austria. I can recommend buying books here and I would not hesitate to use their services again.
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The Reluctant Empress: Elisabeth of Austria
The Reluctant Empress: Elisabeth of Austria by Brigitte Hamann (Hardcover - 18 Nov 1988)
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