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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The political life of Bismarck and the influences on it, 17 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Bismarck was one of the most important men of the late 19th Century, unifying Germany and building it up into one of the Greatest powers of Europe. In this book, A.J.P Taylor produces one of the best reviews of Bismarck available, showing to the reader the influences that his life had on his policy. Taylor shows Bismarck to be a deeply opinionated man, but shows that his principles, although formed by his experiences, were often fluid and depended deeply on how best to keep himself in power and Germany as strong as possible.
Taylor is a wonderful writer of this sort of history, not simply showing what Bismack did and thought, but why. He shows the man who built up the German Kaiser into an almost unassailable position to be on principle a republican, but explains why this principle was ignored. In this brilliant work, Taylor picks up on a number of aspects of Bismarck's personality and policy that I have never seen considered before, and offers a number of possible reasons for actions that other historians seem to have a great difficulty attributing to anything at all.
This book will be exceedingly interesting to anyone who reads modern European History, and even if this area is not one that a reader has any special interest in, it is very easy to read. Strongly reccommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting insight into a complex character, 6 Jun 2004
By A Customer
Given the long and illustrious career of Bismarck including his 28 year term as German Chancellor this book can become complicated to follow though through no fault of the author. This is the first book I have read by Taylor. I found his style of narrative to be very interesting, fluid and objective. For anyone who is interested in contemporary history particularly that of the late 19th century this is a must read as Bismarck is the pivotol figure of this period. Taylor who seems to have extensively examined memoirs and documents of Bismarck and Germany offers a deep insight into this complex character. He offers a clear reasoning behind Bismarck's changing and contradictory domestic policies engineered to the retention of his Chancellorship. We see the character of a man deeply concerned for his own self preservation yet not without his own merits proving a master in the arena of foreign affairs. This book is a great account of the life of Bismarck and well worth the money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Taylor at his best, 27 Jan 2014
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A very lucid account of Bismarck that debunks myths and gives insight into the man and his life and times.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point, 17 July 2013
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red0209 (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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I must confess that my knowledge regarding European history in the second half of the nineteenth century is (was) pretty lacking. I found this book easy to digest without having to do a lot of background reading, largely because it concentrates far more on Bismark and his attitudes and relationships than the broader events in which he is involved. If you're looking to find out more about Prussia's wars with Austria in 1866 or France in 1870-71 or the precise details relating to the unification of Germany, then this is the wrong book for you. I had previously only read one book by A. J. P. Taylor, The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918: A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary, which was pretty heavy going and assumed an extensive knowledge of the period. I feared that this one would be similar, but with this book instead focussed on one individual and the author's attempts to rationalise his thoughts and actions, you can get a very good feel for who Bismark was and how he interacted with others, particularly William I (or Wilhelm I if you prefer; A. J. P. Taylor does like to Anglicise the names).

Having just finished reading this book, I think that I need to read a lot more about Prussia and Germany in the nineteenth century before going back and reading this book again so that it is much easier to place Bismark's thoughts and actions into a greater historical context. An extra few paragraphs here and there in this book would've been helpful in that regard, but reading this book was certainly worthwhile.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bismarck: The Man and the StatesmanBismarck: The Man and the Statesman, 19 Jan 2013
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Anyone who likes history will love this book. Bismark was a master of brinkmanship, yet knew when to pull back and change tack.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bismark and his doctor's relationship, 27 Dec 2009
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M. Thanki "Manish" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I found this book very interesting.His doctor fed him some fish in the morning to keep his weight down. Then, I think , Bismark made him a health minister.
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Bismarck (Vintage)
Bismarck (Vintage) by A. J. P. Taylor (Mass Market Paperback - Oct 1975)
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