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The Red Prince: The Fall of a Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Europe

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  273 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews

Wilhelm Von Habsburg wore the uniform of the Austrian officer, the court regalia of a Habsburg archduke, the simple suit of a Parisian exile, the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and, every so often, a dress. He could handle a saber, a pistol, a rudder, or a golf club; he handled women by necessity and men for pleasure. He spoke the Italian of his archduchess moth

Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2008)
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Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 19, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”When Wilhelm was arrested in August 1947, his Soviet guards removed an Omega watch from his wrist. This was the brand later worn by James Bond on the silver screen. The fictional Bond family even took a Habsburg motto for its own: ‘The World is Not Enough.’ By the time this was revealed by Bond’s creator Ian Fleming in 1963, only a very few Europeans would have remembered its Habsburg origins. By the time James Bond wore an Omega Seamaster watch in Goldeneye in 1995, it is fair to guess that no ...more
Данило Судин
Цікава, але двозначна праця Тімоті Снайдера. Перша, яку переклали українською мовою, та найбільш українська зі всіх, які я читав. По-перше, в ній автор найбільш прихильно ставиться до українців (в Перетворення націй: Польща, Україна, Литва, Білорусь 1569-1999 та Криваві землі: Європа поміж Гітлером та Сталіним він часто описує події української історії більш упереджено, ніж пасувало б сучасному історикові), хоча і тут не бракує химерних помилок. Наприклад, батьки Зиґмунда Фройда, згідно з Т.Снай ...more
Harriet Steel
Apr 13, 2014 Harriet Steel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
The Red Prince has taken me longer than I anticipated, not because I haven’t enjoyed it, quite the reverse, but because I’ve been busy with the final stages and launch of my new novel, City of Dreams (on a Goodreads Giveaway until 30th May if anyone is interested in entering).

Going back to The Red Prince, however, it’s an excellent book that tells the story of Wilhelm von Habsburg who was born in 1895 at a time when the power of the Habsburg dynasty was showing signs of strain. Like many of his
A fascinating life of a paradoxical and almost-pivotal figure told with a historian's eye for the bigger picture

My gripes with this book come with its penultimate chapter and they don't detract from Snyder's masterful telling.

(view spoiler)
Dec 26, 2010 Ilya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1580, the House of Habsburg reigned in a good third of Europe: Spain, Portugal, the Low Countries, the southern half of Italy, Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and smaller principalities; the Habsburgs were also emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. By 1914, their realm had shrunk in some places and expanded in others, comprising a huge country in Central and Eastern Europe, consisting of many peoples and tongues, as reflected in the almost-fractal complexity of its coat of arms. Josef Haydn's ...more
Oct 04, 2016 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Laura
4 OCT 2016 - spied on Laura's feed. Sounds super!
Oct 24, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This biography of a minor Habsburg makes the political machinations in "Game of Thrones" look more like "Game of Candyland."

I picked this book up for 2 reasons:

1) I wanted to learn more about the Hapsburgs
2) This particular Hapsburg struggled his whole adult life to create a free Ukraine in order to be its king.

Wilhelm von Habsburg, a relative of the famous Archduke Ferdinand, was born at the height of his family's imperial power, which gradually disintegrated during the rise of national sovere
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Archduke Wilhem of Austria, son of Karl Stephan and Maria Theresia of Tuscany, came of age just before WWI, when his father was scheming to embrace a Polish identity and have his branch of the family become pre-eminent, if not independent as rulers of Poland, going so far as to marry his daughters to Lithuanian-Polish nobles. Independent, democratic Poland absolutely refused to consider this project after 1920, and Wilhelm personally switched his interest to the Ukraine, where he had served in t ...more
Oct 12, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The Red Prince” offers a fascinating window into the life of a one-time Habsburg archduke, while simultaneously telling the story of Central and Eastern Europe from the outbreak of the First World War to the ¬consolidation of Communist power in 1949. Archduke Wilhelm’s story is a rather interesting study of the fluidity/rigidity of European ethnic identity in the short 20th century – a Habsburg by birth, a Pole by upraising, a Ukrainian by choice, a German by Nazi racial standards, and an Austr ...more
Feb 18, 2010 Joerg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sachbuch, kakanien
Hut ab vor Timothy Snyder für dieses Werk. Hier wird Geschichte spannend und lebendig wie in einem James Bond Film. Fein granuliert breitet der Autor das Leben des Erzherzog Wilhelm aus. Es ist faszinierend was sich z.B. alleine im Sommer 1918 alles zugetragen, wer wen alles getroffen hat und wie die Mitteleuropäische Geschichte andere Bahnen hätte nehmen können.

Vergleicht man wie unsere Postmoderne Gesellschaft in ihrer grauen Angestelltensicherheit (bzw. -unsicherheit) vor sich hin lebt mit de
Dec 14, 2014 Mikel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un retrato fascinante de un personaje olvidado por la historia y de una época en la que el mundo vivió un sinfín de cambios tanto políticos como sociales y en los que el protagonista se fue deslizando y adaptando poco a poco para sobrevivir en una desgarrada Europa cada vez mas violenta.
Guillermo de Habsburgo ayudó a crear la identidad nacional ucraniana en una época en que Ucrania no existía como país sino que estaba repartida entre varios imperios, sus habitantes no tenía siquiera una noción d
Apr 27, 2013 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent overview of the fading of the Hapsburg Monarchy and 20th Century history of the Ukraine and Poland. For all I have read on causes and consequences of WWI and II, this short book, covering one small corner of history helped me frame not so much what happened, but how it happened.

Through the lives of this minor branch of the Hapsburg family we learn how the Ukraine developed its national identity and, despite the dedication of Wilhelm Hapsburg (aka Vasyl Vyshyvanyi) and other
Jun 06, 2008 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If, like me, you never really "got" what the first world war was about, and felt fuzzy about the whole Holy Roman Empire thing, and that bit about Poland disappearing for a few years sounds somewhat familiar, then this book is an interesting way to clear some of that up. It's a biography of one of the last archdukes of the Hapsburg dynasty, a guy who spoke several languages but had no nationality, who rebelled against his father by trying to become king of the Ukraine (he almost did it), and who ...more
Matt Poland
Feb 21, 2014 Matt Poland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the finest books I've read. Although it is nearly perfectly written, with an historian's skill channeling the fluxes of time into a sense of their proportion and unexpected continuity, frequent readers of biography might say that Wilhelm von Habsburg never takes his proper place at the center of this story, as, indeed, he never did in the story he fashioned for himself. But this points at one of the accomplishments of this book: to show how enmeshed its subject is in his time, how ...more
Ruud Meij
Apr 04, 2014 Ruud Meij rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: europe, ukraine
Timothy Snyder wrote a fascinating and briljant book on European history. Using the archduke Wilhelm von Habsburg Snyder writes something like an archeology of the present. Snyder sketches a vivid sympathetic picture of the choices which the Habsburgs as leading political elite had to make in the making of modern Europe as a Europe of nations, dismantling the Europe of empire. In the end it puts Ukraine at the center of the European stage, and makes fhe point of the Euroepean Union as the succes ...more
Jul 28, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Red Prince is a book I read a blurb about somewhere and thought it sounded interesting and educational so I put it in my library queue. The book jacket also mentions that Archduke Wilhelm occasionally liked to wear dresses which piqued my interest even more. Wilhelm was a nephew of Emperor Franz Joseph, cousin of Franz Ferdinand (the man, not the band) and he himself set forth from an early age with a plan to become ruler of a Ukrainian state.

See the full review here: http://mrssmithreads.tu
Aug 31, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting approach to the history of Central Europe in the 20th century in that it's told not as a "people's history" (the author is no stranger to that format, however) but through the lives the last relevant leg of a monarchist dynasty that was tossed about through changing popular ideology. Snyder's writing is good as always, but I kind of hate the way he gets coy when talking about sex. Anyway, if you want to know some interesting stuff about Austro-Hungarian nobility, the history o ...more
Kimberly Taylor
Aug 07, 2013 Kimberly Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think most of us know the name of Archduke Ferdinand in conjunction with his assassination, but this book goes more in depth regarding the entire family in this period of European history and how their once glorious empire crumbled. The only thing I did not care for especially was the writing style. The author seems to go on and on about a single point for pages when one paragraph would suffice. (IMHO)
Jan 12, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the lesser-known facets of the Massive World War (my term for the period between 1914 and 1948), this compact biography of one of the last archdukes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire illuminates the muddy history of the eastern European transition from 19th Century to modern states-hood. One among many dreams that never came to fruition as expected by people who thought they had the momentum of history on their side.
Sep 20, 2011 Bob rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read by Snyder and I've become a fan. He does a very nice job of weaving detail and analysis into an entertaining and informative read. His sheer delight in Wilhelm's character was contagious. My question: did Gary Trudeau (also an Eli) read this and did it inspire his Red Rascal character in Doonesbury?
This is the story of the creation of the modern day Ukraine. The author has used the biography of a Habsburg archduke to tell the tale, much in the manner that Neil Sheehan used the life of John Paul Vann in A Bright Shining Lie to tell the story of America's involvement in Viet Nam. As late as 1918, it turns out, "Ukraine" was little more than a Russian backwater, though a highly productive one agriculturally. The Russian revolution was the direct result of German foreign policy. In the spring ...more
Jan Szczerbiuk
Concerning the antics of Wilhelm von Habsburg who decided to become Ukrainian, mainly to irritate his father (I grew my hair long, seemed to work), who had himself previously become Polish (anything but Austrian it seems). Wilhelm was so fond of being Ukrainian that he decided that he wanted to be their king. Bad timing as this was at a time when people were deciding that they might like a say in things like that. The suggestion is that having minor Habsburgs as the titular heads (all very const ...more
Jan 21, 2017 Olksndr rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Читати Снайдера завжди суцільне задоволення, а в поєднанні з дуже неординарною історією безпосереднього зв'язку Габсбургів з Україною в бурхливі часи першої половини 20 століття, і яка мабуть абсолютна невідома для більшості, (як і мені до читання цієї книги) - роблять цю книгу справді a very good read.

Щоправда виникає враження, що у підготовці україномовного видання редактор недопрацював
Sep 14, 2016 mcq rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helder verhaal over een nogal gecompliceerd stukje geschiedenis. Wat mij op den duur wel wat tegen begon te staan was de schrijfstijl. Veel "wat als" en alles constant naar het grotere geheel vertalen. Maar misschien maakt dit het wel beter te begrijpen.
Aug 29, 2014 Beata rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Timothy Snyder is a noted historian of Eastern Europe, as well as a commentator of the current situation here (especially on what is going on in Ukraine). He has written a couple of groundbreaking books, of which Bloodlands is very popular (deservedly so, even if Reconstruction of Nations is probably more important and certainly more innovative).

These are the reasons why The Red Prince is such a disappointment. It tells the story of Wilhelm von Habsburg, a prince from the ancient house, who dec
Jackie ϟ
I read this book for a class, so naturally I wasn't as invested in it as I usually am in books. Still, it wasn't as terrible as I feared it would be. Basically, it's the story of Wilhelm Habsburg, the air to a throne that no longer existed by the time he was in his twenties, and what he decided to do with the remainder of his life afterward. While there were times when the writing got a bit dull for me, mostly when the author was going into great political analysis or the like, there were also a ...more
Jul 03, 2016 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At its very best in the first half (and then it's exemplary history writing) and Wilhelm's life as a Hapsburg Archduke up to the close of the First World War probably because the historical records are plentiful, it gets a little murkier (as does Wilhelm's life) during the scandal-hit playboy years in Paris, his flirtations with fascism in the 30s before redemption, as anti-Nazi and anti-Communist in the 40s, until his death in 1948, abducted from the streets of Vienna by Stalin's henchmen.

One o
Pete Warden
Oct 27, 2010 Pete Warden rated it liked it
I picked this up after discovering Snyder through Bloodlands, and because I generally find biographies an accessible way to drill deep into an era. As the blurb says, this covers an extraordinary life, but the author's clear and scholarly approach doesn't paint a vivid picture. His relentless construction of arguments, but I was left wishing for a little more imaginative and informed speculation about the subject's inner life. The focus is on actions, not description, which leaves the tale a lit ...more
Jun 12, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am fascinated by the Hapsburg's, and this book has some good stories that are well written. However, the book is highly redundant. How many times can the author tell us that nationalism was going to destroy the Hapsburg Empire and that Wilhelm went to rule the Ukraine. Well, by about a third of the way through the book, about two dozen times.

It's unfortunate that this book reads like a series of articles hastily slapped together rather than having been edited to where someone could read it as
Lauren Albert
A man of changeable identity and political beliefs. One minute an anti-Semite and fascist sympathizer and the next a man who risks his life conspiring against the fascists. It seemed to me that his beliefs changed as he decided what best suited his self-image. He seems strangely sincere even as he changes political opinions as the wind blew. It was about how he saw himself and how he wanted to be seen. If that meant that he was a socialist monarchist, so be it. If it meant that he was an anti-Se ...more
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Timothy Snyder is Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar. He has held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.

His most recent book is Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning, p
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“All citizens do have a measure of control, at least in democracies where their votes are counted, of how they belong to their nations. Perhaps they will have more confidence in unconventional choices if they see that each nation's founders were disobedient and unpredictable, men and women of imagination and ambition. The steel of every national monument was once molten.” 1 likes
“The nation faces forward. It is made and remade every day. If we believe that the nation resides in the orderly recitations of history given to us by our leaders, then our story is over” 0 likes
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