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Frederick the Great: The Magnificent Enigma 0th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0595469000
ISBN-10: 0595469000
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This welcome reprise of the great Prussian soldier-king provides some new insights into the tantalizing contradictions in his personality and behavior and retells the crowded events of his life in a comprehensive manner. Asprey's fresh prose and anecdotal style are appealing to the modern reader and detailed enough to satisfy the specialist. He is skilled at depicting the people who surrounded Frederick and in explaining the tortuous political and military affairs of the era. The book makes a nice companion to Christopher Duffy's Military Life of Frederick the Great ( LJ 1/86). Recommended for public and school libraries. Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Asprey is a military historian whose articles and books are internationally respected. Born in 1923 he served as an officer in the Marines in World War II and in the Korean War. A Fulbright scholar, he studied at both Oxford University and the University of Vienna. His works include the best-selling War in the Shadows—The Guerrilla in History.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 738 pages
  • Publisher: Backinprint.com (November 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595469000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595469000
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,411,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a sparkling book which reveals much about the life and times of a man about which too little is known in our age. Frederick the Great (King of Prussian 1740-1786) militarily united much of the Protestant northern Germany under one crown--the Prussian crown. He did so while supporting the enlightenment idea of toleration of religious differences, at least in theory, and with the goal of making Prussia a major power in central Europe.
Frederick anticipated Napoleon by re-introducing the strategy of the attack to military theory. He laid much of the groundwork for the diplomacy of Bismarck which a hundred years later sould see Frederick's great grand-nephew, William I (reigned 1861-1888) crowned German Emperor in 1871.
Frederick was certainly an genius in some areas of his life. However, as this book points out, he inherited a lot of the tools that he would need for success during his reign from his father, King Frederick William I (reigned 1713-1740). For instance, the army that Frederck the Great used so devastatingly in the War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763), had been painstakingly built by his father.
Additionally, he inherited a close diplomatic reationship with the British crown from his mother, Sophie Dorothea of Hanover. Sophia Dorothea was the daughter of George I and brother of George II of England. Assured of English neutrality Frederick could have a free hand to deal with Austria during the Seven Years War of 1756-1763.
Asprey writes in a way that is entertaining and still relates a good deal on information to the reader. Because of this, his work on Frederick the Great is a welcome addition to anyone's library.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Asprey's life of Frederick The Great was a fascinating read. The author's understanding of his subject makes Frederick come to life. One can understand the forces that created the man, his strengths and weaknesses.
Asprey also provides a clear view of Europe in Frederick's times. The constant conflicts between its nations is difficult to understand from the perspective of the modern reader. In our times Europe has been at peace for more than 50 years (despite the conflagration in the Balkans) yet in Frederick's time the great nations could not stop warring with each other.
Most fascinating in this book, however, is the suspense filled descriptions of Frederick's major battles and the masterful way the king manuevered through the 7 year war. This was very exciting reading. It also provided insights as to how an inferior force can prevail against what appeared to be overwhelming odds.
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Format: Hardcover
This book may be out of print, but it certainly is not out of style. Mr. Asprey does try to maintian a degree of objectivity throughout the book, but he doesn't always succeed. Nevertheless, this book shines with in depth research of nearly every aspect of the life, politics, loves, and military considerations of Frederick the Great throughout his reign. There is a near 100 page bibliography in the back, replete with sources for further reading. The way the author wove the story of Frederick of Prussia was masterful in holding my attention as well as making me more interested in period politics of the era. What a fascinating era in European development. What a fascinating human being Frederick the Great was. A true humanist philospher king forced to embark upon a war of expansion to ensure his country would be able to dictate it's own course in the near future of Europe (through Germany as he envisioned it) and beyond. A truly cruel and engimatic circumstance to be trapped in as an enlightened human being during the mid 18th century. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I emphatically recommend it to anyone interested in this period of European history. Good coverage of historically significant battles with terrain maps and battle line progression provided as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Asprey is a wonderful author if you enjoy learning about military figures and this book is no exception. It is a very long book, over 500 pages, but Asprey does a good job dividing the book up into readable segments. He covers all of Frederick's life in considerable detail and raising some interesting questions along the way. He dives into Frederick's family life, social life, and military one. In addition to military terms he talks about reforms in Prussia and his status as a great leader. It is a very readable book with maps to help the reader. I highly suggest it.
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Format: Paperback
I finished the book on Frederick the Great not long after I read a biography on Louis XIV. Most have known something about the latter, not much about the former. Having read the book, I would call Fredrick a great statesman, although he is not a particularly nice person. He was much more conscientious, skillful, and successful than Louis XIV in the pursuit of their respective goals, although it is a different issue to assess the goals. Fredrick was a quintessential German, and his personality traits might have shaped German national character. As a human, I understand his happiness, his pride, his anxiety, his sorrow, his suffering, and his struggle. If one wants to seek fascination or even inspiration, this is the book.

A student of international politics, I read two chapters on the wars first, which turn out to be too detailed and tactical. I skipped the detail of each battle and found the battle maps overwhelming. They may be interesting to military historians, but not to general readers. The maps on the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia are really helpful, and a couple of maps on Europe, especially on Silesia and the division of Poland would benefit the readers. The Treaty of Breslau is not highlighted enough. The first time I did not realize how important it was. It seems safe to say that the control of Silesia was King Frederick's lifelong obsession and crowning achievement.

The author should be praised for this insightful, intriguing and enjoyable book. Frederick seems to be a co-author, since he left so much for us to digest.
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