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The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire Paperback – 26 Sep 1996
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The Habsburgs have been described at one extreme as demons - responsible for a 'long history of atrocities'; and, at the other, as dodos - living fossils unable to adapt to the modern world. In reality, the flamboyant royal family appear, in many ways, to have behaved much like most other monarchies. Their story, however, is none the less enthralling for that. It is populated by such unforgettable figures as mad Queen Juana, progressing through Spain with her husband's decaying body; the 'heroically fertile' Maria Theresa; and, the quixotic Maximilian, 'Emperor' of Mexico.
About the Author
Andrew Wheatcroft has written and lectured widely on European and Middle Eastern history. His books include The Ottomans and The Hapsburgs.
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The family tree helped but even here we had " upper case names denote either King of Spain, Holy Roman Emperor or Emperor of Austria" ( I may have got the titles wrong but there were 3 alternatives) which doesn't help sort out who followed who. I would have liked more illustrations as the whole book was about image. Wheatcroft often went into considerable detail about certain portraits but they weren't included in the small number of pictures. We then had pictures of people who hardly got a mention in the book.
All in all I found it very disappointing. That said I do feel I know a little more about European history and the importance of the Habsburg's.
The later chapters get better, but sometimes, the author spends a long time on some themes, such as the order of the golden fleece, and very little time on other themes which might considered of greater importance.
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