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.
Penguin Group USA
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
After visiting Vienna, I really wanted to learn more about the Hapburgs. To my surprise, very little is available in English. This book does a great job of telling the beginnings and the interplay between the Spanish and Austrian dynasties. However, it does fall apart when you get into the late 19th century and the actual fall of the empire. It left me wanting to know more. I'm still looking for another book that covers the fall.
This book is worth the time but if you're looking for the conclusion, it never comes.
This book is very readable. It weaves the various stories about the personalities involved in an extremely presentable way. You find yourself drawn inexorably forward through the history which by itself might seem to be dry and forbidding. Wonderful presentation!!
The book covers a wide length of time and covers the entire empire, Spain, Netherlands, Austria and Hungary. While I learned alot, there is much more to the empire than can be covered in this book. It is easy to tell the writer is passionate about the subject and has created in me an interest in learn more about the specific rulers and territories.
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