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Palmer (Crowned Cousins) notes in his introduction that there is more to Franz Josef (1830-1916) than his longevity. But considering how many of the emperor's immediate circle died young and/or violently, longevity in this set was a real virtue: Franz Josef's son Rudolf killed himself and his mistress at Mayerling in 1889; his wife, the Empress Elisabeth, was assassinated by an Italian anarchist in 1898; and, most famously, his nephew Franz Ferdinand and his wife were shot to death in 1914 by the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip. The portrait that emerges from Palmer's descriptions is that of a sad figure left much alone by his unstable wife and of a man very concerned for his empire's survival and for personal honor (his best feature) but, like other wildly inbred Hapsburgs, probably not a very bright bulb. Palmer gives little sense of the culture of fin de siecle Vienna, focusing more on the machinations of states (the League of Three Emperors, the Triple Alliance, etc.) that led to WWI and foreshadowed WWII and the current Balkan crisis. These dry if informative passages sit uncomfortably with the gushy personal details ("he was fascinated by her sister's untarnished elfin qualities, by the long auburn hair and the challenge of those dancing eyes..."). Photos.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The condition of the paperback that I received was a s good as new from Barnes and Noble. Very happy with the delivery time and the subject matter.Published 2 months ago by Tom Ryan
A great book about a bad person -- yes, I think Franz Joseph was a bad person. Too bad the assassination attempt on him failed.Published 14 months ago by Tim Proeber
An excellent description of the times of Francis Joseph, one of the longest reigning monarchs of Europe, his personal tragedies, and his view on how to keep his large Empire... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lyalya
Similar to previous reviews I have read, it is very distracting to see names Anglicanized by the author. It is FRANZ Joseph, not Francis. Read morePublished on October 2, 2013 by melalbert
If you have the interest in the subject, it is a good read. If not, then it will be of little interest as the writing style can be boring at times. Read morePublished on September 27, 2013 by Brutus
This is the most disappointing biography I've read recently. Palmer's style is dry and boring, but worse than that he's horribly biased in how he presents information, and also... Read morePublished on October 23, 2012 by Ashes in Bloom