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Bismarck: The Man and Statesman Mass Market Paperback – October 12, 1967


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (October 12, 1967)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394703871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394703879
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A reevaluation of Bismarck's motives and methods, focusing on the chancellor's rise to power in the 1860's and his removal from office in 1890.

About the Author

Alan John Percivale Taylor, born in Lancashire in 1906, studied at Oriel College, Oxford. From 1953 he was a lecturer in international history at Oxford, also enjoying a successful career as a broadcaster. Taylor's many books include The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848 -1918 (1954). The origins of the Second World War (1961) and English History 1914-1945 (1965). Taylor died in 1990. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

As well as, of course, Otto Von Bismarck.
Bill Perez
Entertaining to a fault, Taylor's book is more of a history book with a very Bismarck and German slant then a strict autobiography.
K. Morris
Summing up,Bismarck is a pre-requisite to understand European politics and history as well as great lessons in practical politics.
Clement Hamer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bill Perez on June 19, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A.J.P. Taylor adheres to his typically excellent style and delivers this keen critical biography of the man who made modern Europe. If you expect fawning portraits, or gossip-laden scandal, stay clear of Taylor--but at the same time do not fear dry recitation of dates and events. Taylor is a master of his subject matter and knows precisely which details advance his critical wit. No distractions, no tangents, no sermons--Bismarck's political career is the focus, and the ultimate aim is to assess his aims, identify both his failures and successes, and to explain their shape as works springing from the flawed mind of a political genius. As usual with Taylor, little is slack is given to either Bismarck or his adversaries, and each parties' motives are cynically weighed and found contradictory, petty or blind. And, also per usual, Taylor is quick to reveal the absurd quirks of the political elite, and how they impinged on the course of events. Taylor provides an excellent, London-Underground-styled map to the roiling tangle of scheme and intrigue characteristic of nineteenth-century European diplomacy, charts Bismarck's course through it, and deftly shows how its fundamental structure was reformulated by him. Taylor has sometimes been accused of being anti-German, and, in rare moments, he seems to imply the existence of deep flaws in the "national character" of Germany throughout history. But here I was surprised to find Taylor asserting the presence of an instinctive commitment to peace, stability and tranquility in Germany's greatest statesman. This book is essential to an understanding of Germany, Europe and both World Wars. As well as, of course, Otto Von Bismarck.
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Hanael Bainchi on February 17, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Arrogant, confrontational, self-absorbed: one would be hard pressed to determine if these characteristics should be found in A. J. P. Taylor's Bismarck: The Man and the Statesman or if they should be in his autobiography. Moreover, it is curious that many other distinguishing characteristics of Taylor's Bismarck are in many ways reflections of Taylor himself. This parallel could even be extended one step further to claim that Taylor's assessment of Bismarck might be similar to the present assessment of Taylor; that is, both must be praised for their remarkable achievements but praised in such a way that they would be opposed to it.
Taylor, England's most flamboyant historian,# often broke the traditional bounds of the field. He brought history to television, radio and the newspapers. He closed the gap of the historical wait period by writing a history of the origins of War World II in 1961. His flashiness aside, he produced many historical masterpieces including Bismarck. In this work he goes beyond the face value of Bismarck's recorded statements and examines the actions, and subsequently his motives, to find the true character of this monumental figure. He develops the notion of a opportunistic and self-centered Bismarck as opposed to loyal servant of the king whose great foresight brought the unity of Germany.
One major theme of the book is chance. It is argued that it was stoke of luck that allowed Bismarck even enter the field of politics, the bad health of another deputy. Even his great foreign policy was based on providence. Repeatedly Taylor asserts that Bismarck had no plan, rather he would let events unfold and then act from there. Furthermore, when Bismarck intentionally carried a line of policy through it would normally backfire causing him more harm.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Holff on February 25, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Taylor's thesis is not meant to be an all inclusive telling of Bismarck's life from beginning to end; rather it highlights the most important events which made him famous, often notorious. As with The Second World War, Taylor takes a controversial stance in presenting his topic in order to disclaim the common misperceptions of Bismarck as a warmonger and tyrant bent on German dominance. By using reliable first-hand sources, Taylor shows how Bismarck often opted to go against popular opinion to assure peace in Europe. While this may sound entirely contradictory to contemporary historical record, Taylor does show how every goal set and made by Bismarck was ultimately to his advantage.

Taylor's Bismarck is a concise look at arguably the most influential statesman in Germany if not the world. No noticeable bias is present in Taylor's portrayal of Bismarck as he shows strength and weakness, success and failure in equal portions. While it is not all inclusive and is written for an audience with a certain level of prior knowledge of 19th Century German history, Bismarck is well composed, easy to follow and educational.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Clement Hamer on April 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bismarck may be read by high school students,housewives and educated men and women...A.J.P Taylor wrote to several audiences at once. So I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a well written book and wants learn about the facts of Bismarck's accomplishments. Furthermore "Bismarck" is a great example of what politicians do and say. The Difference between what constituents want to hear and what great politicians actually do. Examples are when British politicians make anti-Euro currency declarations in order to gain votes, while at the same time quietly adopting European integration measures. Conversely Italian politicians agreeing quickly to sound pro-European Integration,while all the while in practice stalling every European integration measure so as not to loose voters. This book is a great introduction into Parliamentary and extra parliamentary manoevuring,the basics on Right,Center,Left and the Grand coalition,or all party initiatives for US readers.

Summing up,Bismarck is a pre-requisite to understand European politics and history as well as great lessons in practical politics.
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