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Danubia : A Personal History of Habsburg Europe
by Simon Winder


Overview -

A charmingly personal history of Hapsburg Europe, as lively as it is informative, by the author of "Germania"
For centuries much of Europe and the Holy Roman Empire was in the royal hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off through luck, guile and sheer mulishness any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918.  Read more...


 
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More About Danubia by Simon Winder
 
 
 
Overview

A charmingly personal history of Hapsburg Europe, as lively as it is informative, by the author of "Germania"
For centuries much of Europe and the Holy Roman Empire was in the royal hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors, they saw off through luck, guile and sheer mulishness any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without the House of Hapsburg.
""
"Danubia, "Simon Winder's hilarious new book, plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, royalty, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Full of music, piracy, religion and fighting, it is the history of a strange dynasty, and the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna. Readers who discovered Simon Winder's storytelling genius and infectious curiosity in" Germania" will be delighted by the eccentric and fascinating tale of the Habsburgs and their world."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374175290
  • ISBN-10: 0374175292
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Publish Date: January 2014
  • Page Count: 551


Related Categories

Books > History > Europe - Austria & Hungary
Books > History > Social History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-10-28
  • Reviewer: Staff

The Habsburgs, Europe’s most durable, powerful dynastic family, held sway from the late Middle Ages till the end of WWI, ruling lands that now comprise 19 modern countries. Penguin UK editor Winder offers a meandering combination of history, travelogue, and personal digressions to follow his previous work Germania. He begins with flighty, indecisive, mid–15th-century dynasty founder Frederick III and moves mostly chronologically down the line. Maximilian I, Dürer’s patron and an intellectual man of action, stretched Habsburg holdings “from the Danube to the North Sea.” Grandson of Maximilian as well as Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, the canny yet overburdened Charles V opposed the Protestant Reformation, successfully aided in the Italian Wars against France, and nearly ruled all of Europe in the 16th century. Maria Theresa, the sole female sovereign, kept the Habsburg lands intact in the 18th century, had 16 children, and successfully ruled for 40 years. Her son Joseph II liberated the serfs and the Jews, carved up Poland with Russia, and helped repel the Ottomans. In the face of Napoleon, “feeble” Franz II’s self-elevation as hereditary Emperor of Austria gave the family another 114 years of power. Overall, Winder’s longwinded and self-indulgent rhapsody is knowledgeable and perceptive, but he lets his wit overwhelm the narrative. Illus. (Feb.)

 
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