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The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 : A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary Reprint edition Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226791456
ISBN-10: 0226791459
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A. J. P Taylor was one of Britain's most respected and influential historians. He was Professor of History and Fellow of Magdalen College, University of Oxford. He died in 1990.
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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Book; P683
  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition edition (May 15, 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226791459
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226791456
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. Albin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
Published in 1948, this concise book is a good overview of the Habsburg monarchy over the last century of its existence. It is written with the wit and sometimes sarcastic judgements for which Taylor was known well. Taylor's theme is the attempt of the Empire to cope simultaneously with the internal pressures exerted by the awakening of nationalism among the subject peoples of the regime and the external pressures of dealing with the rising powers of Germany and Russia. This is primarily a political history but draws astutely on relevant social and intellectual history. This book can only be read by individuals with a good basic knowledge of 19th century European history. Taylor shows that the survival of the Habsburg state was a paradoxical function of internal and external conflicts that embroiled it. The aggressive Hungarians, for example, wished to preserve it because it provided a vehicle for their domination of other ethnic groups within the historic borders of Hungary. Bismarck wanted to preserve the Habsburg state to avoid the diplomatic and internal political complications that would follow its dissolution. For decades, external and internal conflicts existed in uncomfortable equipoise punctuated by recurrent conflicts that never resolved any of the basic issues. Taylor provides a sophisticated analysis of this problem and interesting characterizations of the major interest groups and political figures involved. A particularly interesting aspect of this book is the concise analysis of developing nationalism. While this is not the main theme, Taylor provides some interesting insights into the development of nationalism in the various parts of the Habsburg state.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
This was the first book I read on the topic that later became the basis for my dissertation. Taylor captured the big picture best, wrote the best, brought in enough detail to tell the story vividly, stated his biases and viewpoint clearly, and did it in far fewer pages than most others. Absolutelyl necessary, but not for beginners. This should be your second book. All the more important today as the Soviet Empire breakup and discussion of the American "empire" bear close comparison with a REAL dynastic empire.
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Format: Paperback
You don't want to miss Lagavulin, but you don't want it to be all you drink, either.

Edward Crankshaw's book on "The Fall of the House of Habsburg," while ostensibly starting in 1848, is a good suggestion for the "first" book called for by so many reviews. Crankshaw, an intelligent old-school conservative, appears to have written his book in part as a retort to Taylor (judging by his comments in the text). Very readable, though without Taylor's wit.
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Format: Hardcover
A.J.P. Taylor first had this book (THE HAPSBURG MONARCH:1809-1918)publsihed in 1948 which Harper and Row republished in 1965. This book is a solid summary of the gradual disintegration of the Hapsburg Monarchy and Empire. Taylor clearly and effectively diagnosed the political and diplomatic problems that undermined the Hapsburgs by the end of World War I.

The early sections of the this book dealt with the problems the Hapsburgs faced from the 16th. to the early 19th. century. The problems of the Reformation and Counter Reformation plus the serious Turkish invasions were concisely treated and gave readers a clear historical understanding the problems the Hapsburghs faced prior to the French Revolution and the rise and fall of the Napoleanic Empire.

Taylor then introduced readers the problems the Hapsburgs faced when their armies were decisively defeated by Napoleon's armies in 1806 and 1809. These defeats showed signs of political ineptness and weakness. The "subject nationalities" were not slow to recognize these weaknesses. Taylor made clear the reason why Metternich (1773-1859)was the guiding force at the Congress of Vienna( 1814-1815). Metternich knew very well that if the subject nationalities such as the Czechs, Polish, Reuthenians (Little Russians),Serbs, Italians, etc. ever got political independence, that would be the end of the Hapsburg Empire. The Hapsburgs had to do a politcal balancing act both within their empire and with the Russians, Prussians (Nothern Germans), and some of the Italian rulers. The Quadruple Alliance worked tolerably well. However when the Hapsburg Emperor Francis died in 1835, he was replaced by Ferdinand (1835-1848)who was lazy and incompetent. Taylor made clear that Ferdinand was NOT the one to keep the Empire intact.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book covers mainly the endgame, the last century of the Habsburg Dynasty, the rulers of the Austrian and Hungarian double monarchy. As a look at a map of the time will show us, even the name of that monarchy is phony. The entity was `a collection of provinces accidentally ruled by the same prince'. It was a European superpower at its time and any confusion with the current respectable but modest countries Austria and Hungary would be going in the wrong direction. It was a part of an instable balance of powers: the Turks, Russians, French, and in the last phase the Prussians were all competing for overlapping areas of influence.
The period starts with the end of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which was smashed into pieces by Napoleon's France. This `holy' empire had a Habsburg at its top, as Kaiser, for most of its time. When it ended, a new German Confederation was started, without a comparable nominal head, and with Austria and Prussia as twin leaders. The struggle between the two was won by Prussia, who established a new German Empire, leaving the Habsburgs to their now `Austrian Hungarian' empire.

The main theme of the book is the struggle of this supranational structure against the growing phenomenon of the `nation'. The ghost of nationalism had been awakened by Napoleon's raids across the continent. This had to come to a clash with the Habsburgs: `In other countries, dynasties are episodes in the history of the people; in the Habsburg Empire peoples are a complication in the history of the dynasty'.

It could have been such an interesting book. Alas, it is not quite so interesting.
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