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The Fall of the House of Habsburg

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  78 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Edward Crankshaw's distinguished study offers a compelling account of the final decades of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At the centre of the dramatic events stands the majestic figure of the Emperor Franz Josef, facing the tragedies of his disastrous marriage and the suicide of his only son, and doggedly resisting the ruin of his inheritance. In a sweeping panorama of Vien ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published January 27th 1983 by Penguin Books (first published 1963)
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Sep 21, 2008 Jan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is more of an old-school history book: the author tends toward the judgmental (it's hard to find a passage that doesn't drip with disgust toward the Magyars) and makes bold statements that aren't always supported by good evidence. There are plenty of instances where I would think, "huh, how does he know that? I'm quite curious." Mostly they pertain to inferences about the state of mind of major players in the story of Austria-Hungary's downfall.

As old-school history, most of the discussion
Oct 05, 2012 John rated it liked it
A factual account of the unfortunate demise of the last, great Catholic Monarchy on earth, the Habsburg dynastry which ruled the Holy Roman Empire (turned Austria-Hungary) for over 700 years. Giving a brief history of the Habsburgs from the Medieval era until the failed 1848 Revolution, the author brings to life the real people who made and broke the Empire during its final epoch from 1848-1918, notably the life, character, and mind of Emperor Franz Josef who reigned for 68 of those 70 years.

Lauren Albert
May 31, 2014 Lauren Albert rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-european
It is clearly true, as one reviewer wrote, that Crankshaw has a bias against the Hungarians. Not knowing enough about the subject, I can't say how much, if any, is based on reality though either way, Crankshaw definitely goes overboard. They would hardly be the first group to demand independence and then repress their own minorities (the U.S. being an example).

But it was a pleasure reading the book after some of the rough reading I've been doing. It was well written (if opinionated). He seems to
Don Heiman
Jun 17, 2014 Don Heiman rated it really liked it
Crankshaw's treatment of the fall of the House of Habsburg and the Holy Roman Empire was published in 1963. I was struck by his bias against Hungry but impressed by his treatment of Franz Josef's personality and values. His book is a biography of the Emperor's tragic life and the conflicts that led to the WW 1 and 2. Crankshaw helped me understand how irredentism (annexation of territories administered by another state) and interlocking treaties triggered the events that threw the world into a w ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Ruben rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I finished this book, but what a chore. Some thoughts:

This is not a good first book on the Austria of these years. Very impressionistic; even though it's a straightforward chronology of 1848-1914 spread out over about 400 pages, it manages to feel rushed and lacking depth. Maybe Crankshaw's style is just too idiosyncratic for me. It just seems like a repeating formula of event -- assertion that people have misunderstood the decisions its actors made -- quip about someone's character. And I don't
Mar 06, 2013 Rayrumtum rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I have always been interested in events in Europe leading up to WWI. I felt particularly weak on the Austro-Hungarian Empire so I selected this book. It was interesting, but it focused more on political history when I would have liked to see more cultural/social history during this fascinating period of time.
It did seem to me frequently that he was an apologist for the Emperor and blamed most of the Empire's woes on the implacable Hungarians. That seems to be a bit extreme for 10 million Hungari
This is one of the best works written about the fall of the Dual Monarchy and what were the origins as what were the consequences of this real tragedy for Europe and the World. Without the Habsburg dynasty everything was worst in Europe, the allies invented Yugoslavia, which was much more against nature than the Habsburg realm. Was a real plot of the French left, socialists and nationalists like Clemenceau, who supported their fellow masons such as Benes and Masaryk. This was in my opinion the w ...more
Dec 07, 2011 Tej rated it liked it
Although this is a book about history, it was clearly influenced by the time and place that it was written. The author is English, and he was writing during the height of the cold war in the 1960s. His opinions definitely reflect those two things. I'm guessing there are probably more objective books about the last Austrian emperor. But, it did teach me about a subject I don't know very well.
Goddamn Magyars!
Rex Brampton
Aug 02, 2016 Rex Brampton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take notes! There's a huge cast of minor characters who keep recurring and you need notes to keep track of them. Best to have a family tree of the Hapsburgs handy too.
Richard Thomas
Nov 24, 2014 Richard Thomas rated it it was amazing
Shelves: europe
Great book - worth re-reading
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Edward Crankshaw (3 January 1909 – 30 November 1984), was a British writer, translator and commentator on Soviet affairs.

Born in London, Crankshaw was educated in the Nonconformist public school, Bishop's Stortford College, Hertfordshire, England. He started working as a journalist for a few months at The Times. In the 1930s he lived in Vienna, Austria, teaching English and learning German. He wit
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