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The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World Hardcover – September 3, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250000165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250000163
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Covers the subject so thoroughly and so honestly that this is almost certainly the last book that needs to be written.” —Robert K. Massie, author of Nicholas and Alexandra on The Resurrection of the Romanovs

“Wonderfully vivid…a worthy companion to Edvard Radzinsky’s The Last Tsar.” —Publishers Weekly on The Last Empress

About the Author

GREG KING is the author of eleven internationally published works of royal and social history, specializing in late Imperial Russia and Edwardian-era royalty, including The Fate of the Romanovs, The Court of the Last Tsar, and the UK bestseller The Duchess of Windsor.  A frequent onscreen expert and commentator for historical documentaries, his work has appeared in Majesty Magazine, Royalty Magazine, Royalty Digest, and Atlantis Magazine.

SUE WOOLMANS is a royal historian and writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications. With Paul Kulikovsky, great-grandson of Tsar Nicholas II’s sister Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, she recently edited the Grand Duchess’s memoirs, Twenty-Five Chapters of My Life. She is a sound engineer and  lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Very well written book,.
margaret
The book is really fascinating and I would highly recommend it.
R Helen
Franz married Sophie for love.
Carroty Nell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 95 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most histories of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 focus on the politics behind it and the catastrophic world war which resulted from it. Franz Ferdinand himself is usually brushed off with a reference to his being heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and sometimes the fact that he had married morganatically (unequally) and that his wife Sophie was also killed that day is mentioned. But who were Franz Ferdinand and Sophie? Most of the time they are brushed aside, as if the only important thing about them is that they were assassinated. Greg King and Sue Woolmans have given us an excellent dual biography of the Austrian Archduke and his Bohemian wife that lets us see them as real people: a man and woman from different backgrounds who met, fell in love, got married despite enormous difficulties, and had a happy family life with their three children until they were murdered on their 14th wedding anniversary.

Franz Ferdinand originally had very little chance of ever becoming famous. He was the nephew of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, one of several dozen Hapsburg Archdukes. He was sickly as a child and eventually developed tuberculosis. Intelligent but shy and distrustful of others, it was difficult for him to mix in society or form close friendships. When the Emperor's son Crown Prince Rudolf committed suicide in 1889 Franz Ferdinand was forced into a more prominent role, one which neither he nor his uncle cared for, and perforce found himself expected to marry and have children who would one day rule the Empire. While half heartedly going about the business of choosing one or another dreary Princess or Archduchess to be his wife Franz Ferdinand met Countess Sophie Chotek, a handsome woman with a quick mind and sparkling personality.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kate Stout VINE VOICE on September 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When we studied history, we were told that World War I started when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914. Did you ever wonder who this Archduke was, and why his assassination precipitated the War?

This biography tells the story of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, nephew of the Emperor of Austria. He became heir to the Austrian throne after the tragic death of the Emperor Franz Joseph's son, Rudolph, who killed himself and his mistress at Mayerling in 1899. The Emperor did not like his new heir, who he saw as liberal reformer. (Only in Austria could a militaristic, temperamental, rigid man who had occasionally expressed the opinion that some of the nations that Austria ruled might want some control over their own areas be seen as a liberal!)

The tension between the two men was increased when Franz Ferdinand announced that he wanted to marry a woman who, though descended from many generations of nobility, did not have the lineage required to marry an Archduke. Eventually, the two were allowed to marry morgantically, which meant that Franz Ferdinand's wife had none of the titles or precedence of an Archduchess, and that their children would be excluded from inheriting the Austrian throne.

The book does a good survey of Franz Ferdinand's life, but the focus is really on this aspect of his life - his marriage for love, his happy family life, and the hundreds of ways that the Austrian Court managed to insult and demean his wife and family. Written with the cooperation of some of the great-grandchildren of the couple, this is an interesting story, though many of the details are missing because much of their personal correspondence was destroyed by earlier generations.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By F. S. L'hoir VINE VOICE on September 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
All wars are stupid--to begin with a generalisation--but the so-called War to End All Wars takes the cake in the stupidity sweepstakes, since what began as a family squabble among the crowned heads of Europe and Britain, ended in wiping out or maiming an entire generation of young men. I was particularly interested in the authors' account of the serial assassinations that preceded the event of the title, something that I had not previously connected to the war itself.

Greg King and Sue Woodman have written an absorbing account of the events leading up to the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his morganatic wife, Sofie. Since my topic is ancient history, and my exposure to World War I consists of one very interesting undergraduate class many moons ago, I am not -au courant- with the scholarship on the topic, so I cannot comment on the accuracy of authors' detail, but the book is well footnoted and has an extensive bibliography. It also contains an extensive "cast of characters" and a complex family tree.

What is lacking, however (with the exception of the cover), are photographs (which abound on the era)--something to do with the economy, one supposes. These would have made the book more accessible to the reader who is not an expert on WWI, especially given the extensive catalogue of personages essential to the narrative. The book in its present form also lacks an index, which I consider indispensable in a scholarly work of history.

Despite these drawbacks, I found the book to be extremely readable and interesting.
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