Liam's Reviews > Uncrowned Emperor: The Life and Times of Otto von Habsburg

Uncrowned Emperor by Gordon Brook-Shepherd
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Feb 08, 2011

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bookshelves: biography-autobiography-memoir, europe, political
Read from January 29 to February 08, 2011 — I own a copy

Though I have always thought of myself as an Irishman, one of my Great-Grandfathers was born a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His name was Josef Ettl, and he came from Neusiedl-Am-See, which at that time was technically in Hungary but since 1920 has been in Austria. I never knew him well, since he died when I was 9 years old, but I remember clearly making my first halting attempts to speak German because he was much more comfortable in that language. For this reason, and others as well, I find the History of the Dual Monarchy to be fascinating. It makes a nice change of pace from the History of more modern times.
Having said that, this book does not deal only, or even primarily, with the old Empire. Erzherzog Otto von Habsburg-Lothringen is very much a man of his time, and that time stretches across the 20th century and into the 21st. It is rare to find a public, much less political, person who is wholly admirable and without major and glaring flaws of character, but I believe Erzherzog Otto is an exception to that rule. The only criticism I have of this book is that it could have been much more detailed, particularly in reference to the later career of its subject.
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01/30/2011 page 91
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Liam Sadly, Erzherzog Otto passed away a few months after I wrote this review on 4 July, 2011. Regardless of his privileged status at birth, Otto von Habsburg was a great supporter of democracy and a brilliant and respected political leader. He was an early advocate of a united Europe, and served in the European Parliament from 1979 to 1999.

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