Top critical review
9 people found this helpful
Mostly for art historians!
on 14 September 2014
While there are some interesting parts to this book, the reader should be aware, this is not a history of the Habsburgs in the usual sense, but a discussion of the dynasty's use of image in creating its sense of empire. Therefore, while the book takes you through the general history of the most important Habsburg kings and emperors, it does not explain the historical backdrop, but only comment upon it. If you are looking to get a better picture of European history, than this book isn't for you. You really need to be familiar with it already to fully appreciate what you are reading.
Furthermore, the author does not take the time to fully differentiate between Holy Roman Emperors, kings, and other important Habsburgs. To do this you need to look at the family tree in the back of the book, but it is so small, packed and written in such tiny font, that it is too time consuming to find everyone you are looking for. And many of the interesting Habsburgs highlighted in Amazon's blurb about the book, barely get a mention in the actual narrative.
For a book written about images, is sorely lacking in them. So many times the author is discussing paintings and the like, but fails to give us an image so we can see it for ourselves. This book is wanting in so many places, I can not give it a strong recommendation. You may enjoy it if you like art history and have enough time to search the web for the images he speaks about yourself.