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Twilight of the Habsburgs: The Life and Times of Emperor Francis Joseph
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Twilight of the Habsburgs: The Life and Times of Emperor Francis Joseph

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  64 ratings  ·  8 reviews
No ruler in modern times reigned in full sovereignty for as long as Francis Joseph, emperor of Austria and king of Hungary, Bohemia, Dalmatia, Croatia, and Slavonia. Titular master of central Europe from 1848 until 1916, he was center stage in Europe throughout the dramatic era in which Italy and Germany emerged as united nation states. His personal decisions were vital bo
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published March 15th 1995 by Grove Press (first published 1994)
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An interesting and informative (rather than 'fascinating' or 'brilliantly written') biography of Austria's longest-ruling emperor; it concentrates more on the diplomatic and political issues than on the private and personal ones (which I myself did not mind, but it's a good thing for a potential reader to know). Alan Palmer places Franz Joseph firmly within the political and ideological tradition of the Habsburgs politics, while at the same time trying to ascertain his role in more general Europ ...more
Wilson Hines
The author in the last paragraph of the book summed up the effectiveness of Emperor Francis Joseph and his reign in quoting the Emperor in a meeting in 1904:

“The Monarchy is not an artificial creation, but an organic body”, Francis Joseph claimed, “It is a place of refuge, an asylum for all those fragmented nations scattered over central Europe who, if left to their own resources would lead a pitiful existence, becoming the playthings of more powerful neighbours”. Ninety years later, it is the e
This was a very dry book from beginning to end. As someone who likes to read biographies, I didn't think Alan Palmer wrote enough about the Emperor as a person. Important events such as the suicide of his son and the murder of his wife were relegated to a couple of sentences. There are pages upon paged about which diplomat thought what about which general's orders. If this is what you prefer in a biography, this book is for you. Luckily for me I'd read many other biographies about the Habsburg f ...more
Daniel Rosenthal
Picked this before I head to Austria in a few months. Certainly not the most interesting historical figure (although the longest reigning emperor in modern times 1848-1916). Most of the book is pretty dull, but does give an interesting angle to Balkans peoples, the Crimean war, the Franco-Prussian War, and the lead-up to WW1.
I read large parts of this book for a central European class. It gives a good analysis of the gradual decline of the Hapsburg empire and the reasons behind it.
Katherine Baber

Interesting more because of the history and personalities involved than because of the mediocre writing.
OK writing but does a great job of showing just how intermarried the leaders of Europe were before WWI
Christopher Culp
Very well-written and fascinating biography of Franz-Joseph.
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