Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Summer Savings Up to 25% Off Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Learn more Shop now Learn more

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars20
4.0 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 15 August 2001
Like AJP Taylor's other books written in the 40/50s, this is an immensely intelligent and investigated piece of work yet difficult to read. Some of the information is shocking, and gives great perspective to subsequent events. For example, to question what the Sudeten Germans were doing before 1918, why Trieste was considered Italian (Italian was a naval language of the earlier period), or similiarly, to examine the real racial history of balkans. Most shocking of all perhaps, the observation that German was almost a "class" in central europe. So, an excellent book which really enlightens the reader. However, I found it difficult to read in sessions of more than thirty pages, mostly because of the blow-by-blow account (same as Struggle for Mastery in Europe) that predates his improved writing style of the 60s, such as Origins of the Second World War. Still, I am immensely positive about the book.
0Comment|47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 December 1998
This book, first published in the late 1940s, traces the policy of the Austrian emperor and his ministers. It is a brilliantly analytical study of the empire's weaknesses and the problems of holding together and governing a collection of lands and peoples with nothing in common beyond having been acquired at some point in history by the Habsburg dynasty. The book is not, and doesn't attempt to be, a general history of Austria-Hungary in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tension builds as the end approaches and Taylor's epilogue, summarising events in Central Europe after 1918, foretells in an almost uncanny way events since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
0Comment|19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 3 April 2012
I bought this book as I'd studied the First World War extensively, but just wanted a bit of background to what led up to the conflict from a different (non-British) perspective, particularly in the nineteenth century. Just prior to reading this book I'd read The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915-1919 , which covers the conflict on the Italian Front, largely between Austria-Hungary and Italy, very well. Therefore I was looking to find out more about Austria-Hungary in the lead up to 1914.

AJP Taylor is a very well respected historian, but I feel that this book just does not cover a number of key events in any detail at all. For example, the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 gets only a passing mention. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 as far as I recall does not even get mentioned at all in the book. The book focuses entirely on the political struggle between peasants, gentry and magnates (get used to those three words if you buy the book) of different nationalities trying to assert their supremacy over other nationalities. The Emperor's interactions with his most prominent ministers are discussed in great detail also. Personally I was left wanting to find out a little bit more about the economic and social conditions within the Habsburg Monarchy. I wanted more detail about the various conflicts which either directly involved the Habsburg Monarchy, or indirectly had a great affect upon it.

All in all this is a well written book, but if your knowledge of the subject is quite poor, as mine was before I picked up this book, you will need to do more background reading to gain a full understanding of the Habsburg Monarchy in this period.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 July 1999
Mr Taylor compared the Habsburg monarchy to the plaster cast around a broken limb, in that while it sustained Eastern Europe, it had to be shattered to bring freedom. Now that the region has broken free of the Communist cast, his book provides an excellent study of the region and its place in the Balance of Power.
The book punctures many myths, not least the 'inevitabilist' view, that Austria was destined to collapse no matter what. The epilogue dealing with the postwar problems of the replacement multinationals, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, is particularly prescient, forecasting the difficulties both of these states would face. There is a very slight bias in favour of the Czechs and Serbs, but the overall picture is fair and balanced. I cannot recommend it too highly.
11 comment|17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 May 2010
Professor Taylor outlines in a densely written book of slightly more than 250 pages the history and political evolution of Austria-Hungary, from the early 19th century to its demise after World War I.
While I found this book relevant and attractive in its very stark analyses of the Empire's long path to its grave a few caveats are called for:

-This probably not the right book for a beginner. It is packed with data and probably assumes a familiarity with Central European history that may discourage a normal reader.

-The book is not particularly easy to read. Being so packed with information, almost condensed, it is not precisely light reading. It requires a wide-awaken and interested reader.

-The author is definitely not an impartial observer. Though extremely insightful and full of sharp analysis, the book is more a collection of the writer's opinions on facts than an narrative of events. More an essay than a traditional history book. I find most of the author's statements as reasonable and correct, but another reader may very likely disagree.

-The author does not bite his tongue and has some harsh things to say about some "sacred truths" like nationalism. Conservative-minded readers may find the book less than agreeable to their tastes.

I would call this volume a very good companion to a more traditional narrative of the same historical period.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 April 2012
Very heavy going, not at all like the 1st and 2nd world war books of his and the maps/social delimitations are far and few between. One must stay concentrated but I'm hoping for further enlightenment of this centralised and therefore (socially/political)influential power.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 October 2009
The Habsburg Monarchy 1809-1918 is a very interesting and enjoyable look at one of the dominant forces in European affairs. It is written in an enjoyable style with the author holding no punches and even if you disagree with what he is arguing he still does it in an entertaining way. Although he probably focuses a little too much on class issues at times his basic argument that the Habsburg Empire was pretty much dead by the mid-nineteenth century seems to be justifiable. All in all a very good and enjoyable book.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 December 2009
The Hapsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 (Pelican)

A difficult read, a very dry stringing together of fact after fact, date after date. Some fleshing out of the dynastic landscape and peoples would have made it more interesting, digestible and memorable.

I found the footnotes giving pronunciation of names very irritating. I would have thought that most people who bothered to pick up a a book of this nature would either have some idea of pronunciation or not feel it necessary to their understanding of the text.

It's a bit like being on a roller coaster after a big meal and getting indigestion, or you may want to throw up! Or, another analogy would be that it is a skeleton with no flesh on it. We have the bare bones, but it would have been more interesting if there were more details of the echelons of society and character of leading protagonists. So many important personnages are mentioned but without much detail. Mention is made of whatthe echelons of society were, but with mere mentions of how they affected the politics, nothing more.

I recently visited Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, and in Emperor Franz (why did he have to anglicise his name?) Joseph's bedroom it was interesting to be informed that he rose at 5am every morning, toileted and dressed and then moved across the room to sit at his desk working, with meals brought to him there, until late at night. From this book you don't get a sense that he took his responsibilities seriously.

It took a lot of reading to come away with some sense of the history of the complicated conglomeration of states and nationalities which once made up the empire. Also, one could get why Serbia thought and still possibly thinks it should reign supreme over its neighbours and hated and still hates the Muslims. Presumably historically they must have come from the Ottoman Empire, and before that Asia, and as humankind has done since its beginning, migrated further and further west. Only Tito was able to maintain the disparate states of different ethnic backgrounds, which was Yugoslavia. The Hapsburg Empire of Franz Joseph consisted of so many disparate states that only an emperor who could never make up his mind and therefore never made political decisions until his hand was forced, could have held them together for so long.

If one's interest has been roused by the complicated make-up of Europe by this book, one would need to look elsewhere to flesh out the dry facts set out here.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 17 November 2007
This book is showing its age and it's very hard work. I have no doubt that AJP Taylor was a top-notch historian and if you need a reference work for your history exams this is probably gold dust. But I found it almost impossible to read.
Ironically, it might be easier going if it was longer.
"The Habsburg Monarchy" rattles along at high-speed, a chronological storm of facts and events, but recorded so dispassionately that it reads a little like a the synopsis of a particularly complex opera. The author is evidently immersed in his subject and he expects you to keep up. But his narrative is dry, and there are no syrupy asides to wash it down with. Even the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is dealt with in single matter-of-fact paragraph which focuses on the policy implications.
Taylor does not venture into "popular history", such as telling us how politics affected the ordinary people and vice versa, but sticks to describing the forces at the highest level of diplomacy. He has the infuriating and outdated tendency to say "Germany thought X" and to call countries "she" as if there were no real people involved. He also chucks around a lot of words like "fronde" or "ultramontane", which he uses to imply certain things - things that were completely lost on me. Other words, such as "Jagellon" or "jacquerie", may have been familiar to his readers in 1947. Now they raise a tiny glimmer of recognition, so an explanatory footnote might have been nice.
This book may suit people who already know the subject and want a quick refresher. But for anyone starting out and looking for a deep and sympathetic understanding of how and why events unfolded, especially an easy read, I cannot recommend it.
0Comment|11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 January 2014
I found this book to be very complying and left on edge with every chapter. I would recommend this book with anyone to read this very great book.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)