- Paperback: 816 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (6 Sept. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140293345
- ISBN-13: 978-0140293340
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.9 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947 Paperback – 6 Sep 2007
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A magisterial history of Europe's only extinct power, nuanced, dispassionate and utterly gripping' -- Financial Times
`A terrific book ... the definitive history of this much-maligned state' -- Daily Telegraph Books of the Year
`Exemplary ... an illuminating, profoundly satisfying work of history' -- The New York Times
`The best history of Prussia in any language' -- Sunday Telegraph
`Written with great clarity and vigour ... I was completely hooked' -- Antonia Fraser, Guardian Books of the Year
'...thorough, sensitive and well-written'
-- Justin Cartwright, Spectator Books of the Year
From the Back Cover
`Fascinating ... masterly ... littered with intriguing detail and wry observation' Richard Overy, Daily TelegraphSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
The Iron Kingdom is not a military history, although a theme is militarism which perhaps justifies its bellicose cover, if you want to read about battles then you will not find much joy here. The battle of Sedan is given a single sentence, Koeniggratz not much more and Waterloo is almost an afterthought. The author does not underestimate the importance of these events; it is merely that he is more interested in the causes and consequences than the blood and heroism. Prussian military tactics in the seven year war, the use of the needle gun and rifled cannon are described in much greater detail, but only because they reflect elements of Prussian civil and political culture. Jena is also described in some detail but not because it was great clash of armies but rather because it represented a culture shock which changed the way the Prussians saw themselves and organised their state.
So what is the Iron Kingdom and what makes it so good? I can only really give a personal perspective and so I need to discuss a little of my own interests and biases.
I am British, I am interested in what makes the British - British, what makes the English - English, what makes the Welsh - Welsh, the Scots - Scots and the Irish - Irish. I have been interested in this ever since I discovered that no one could give me a straight answer to any of these questions other than `history'.Read more ›
Clark analyzes the transformation of the Prussian empire from its small Brandenburg origins to the dominant European power it became. The book covers all the major rulers from the Great Elector to Frederick the Great to Kaiser "Willy", and examines in detail the social, political, economic and military issues that played such a part in the development of Prussia. Where Clark especially shines is the detail of the empire's early years with the Great Elector and his two successors. In this era Prussia gained extensive swaths of territory through alliances and marriages, even as it went through internal and religious strife at home. Clark has clearly done his homework, scouring through dusty archives and examining in multiple languages the papers of the empire, most notably the Political Testaments (a letter of sorts to the next King) of the early Kings. Clark examines the successes of the Prussian military machine, with its strength of the canton regimental system, and the growth of the civil service and judiciary. The political maneuverings between Prussia, France, England, Russia, and Austria make for fascinating reading, with Prussia somehow managing to come out ahead more often than not (conversely, Austria managed to always find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory).
This is a large book, and takes a while to get through.Read more ›
Two very minor typographical/proofreading errors in the Penguin edition which I bought: (these ought to be addressed to Penguin but it has proved beyond my deductive skills to find how to contact their history editors) p. 62, Frederick II the Great is the Great Elector's great-grandson, not his grandson (an error not repeated elsewhere); and p. 666, the name should read Arthur Seyss-Inquart, not Inquest. It says much about the quality of the book that these two very minor errors appear all the more glaring because of that quality.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First class narrative providing the essential background to understanding the rise of HitlerPublished 6 months ago by Dr I.M Maitland-Hume
Clark tackles subjects which other historians have not bothered with. For example ,I have always wondered about the strength of the Napoleonic invasion of Russia in 1812. Read morePublished 9 months ago by jkobi2011
Very well written using precise language. Insuffficient attention given to the collapse of the German economy and its effect on politics in the early 1930s.Published 13 months ago by Trollope
bought this for a friend who was in to german history as a present they really enjoyed reading itPublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer