❰EPUB❯ ✰ The Habsburgs Author Andrew Wheatcroft – Lectinshield.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “The Habsburgs

  1. says:

    On a recent trip to east central Europe, I became aware that my knowledge of the Habsburgs was only partial and episodic, restricted to awareness of a few names and a few dates without a continuing context in which to locate them and without an understanding of the sweep of their rule over centuries.As Wheatcroft begins his book, in June 1386 in Brugg, Leopold, the then head of the Habsburgs, gathered his retainers to fight and punish uppity peasants The march into the Aargua formed part of a larger pattern A social order already under siege was waging yet another campaign in a war to the death, to preserve rank and subordination against the threat from below Wheatcroft s thesis is that the Habsburgs, throughout their long domination of politics in Austria and beyond, deliberately created and cultivated a cult, a family history and mystique that included the continual accretion of claimed ancestors, however improbable Conquest by arms was less their strategy than expansion by alliance, particularly by marriage ties with other noble houses in Europe, so that ultimately they were linked together in such a way that they became a kind of unity There were times when the family seemed in the ascendency, and there were times when it was in relative eclipse, but the trajectory was gradually upward, and stability became an overarching goal During the 16th century the history of the Habsburgs was characterized by extensive intermarriage between the Austrian and Spanish branches of the family with gradual negative genetic effects At the same time the Spanish branch, obsessed with purity of royal blood that merged with anti Muslim and anti Semitic revulsion to produce the Inquisition, gradually exported its attitudes and practices to the north of Europe as well as the New World Their expanding empire was based less on the dominance of one individual within the family than on a network of relationships all focused on preservation of land, possessions, and familial integrity and power This required a continual deliberate campaign of what would today be called public relations, a careful cultivation of image that guaranteed power and stability Ultimately Spain was lost forever, and, in the 18th century the royal line seemed to be withering away until the fecundity of Maria Theresa seemed to ignite the reproductive faculties of the entire extended family During these years, the b te noires of the Habsburg empire, itself apparently increasingly identified with Austro Hungary, were first France and then Prussia.Wheatcroft traces the family fortunes down to the present day, the official position of the Habsburgs having ended effectively with the end of Franz Joseph s rule in the early 20th century, although a couple of hangers on ruled for a few years thereafter A common overriding characteristic of Habsburg rule had been a conservative reactivity that preferred to substitute pomp and ceremony for substantive reform, although the latter did occur when strategically necessary.Such a history in bald form might suggest a quest for power for its own sake But this is to neglect the family s self perception of service to the people, their sincere desire to rule constructively and well, albeit over a concatenation of peoples who were expected to be obedient and grateful Even today those who remain of the official lineage view themselves as being ready to resume rule and official responsibilities at such a time as they are needed and wanted.Wheatcroft s book clearly advances a particular thesis and perspective It is readable if sometimes a bit dry, and one does come away with the desired understanding of the fortunes and role of the remarkable Habsburg family and dynasty It is a good source for the reader seeking a relatively detailed understanding of an extended particular period in this part of the world I am less persuaded that the otherwise general reader would find it particularly gripping.


  2. says:

    37 inches of flat screen high definition LCD panel goodness came into my life just before the holidays, which dramatically interfered with my reading for a while It didn t help that I was in the middle of this book at the time Not that it was bad I actually quite enjoyed most of it just that it was extremely dry and dense A page turner it s not Some academic or esoteric books make an effort at cross over appeal, or at least strive for so called readability Andrew Wheatcroft is not interested in such pleasantries, and this book is for hard core history nerds only Luckily I am one.If the name Habsburg means anything to you already if you have a general concept of this extraordinary family that ruled anywhere from 20% to 50% of Europe for most of the past 1000 years then you d be interested in this book But if this kind of stuff doesn t fire up your engines on its own merits, steer clear Wheatcroft has a high opinion of his readers, and doesn t bother to provide much context or description for the major historical events the Habsburgs weaved their way through He expects you to already know the details of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, the Treaty of Westphalia, the Reformation, the Council of Trent, the 30 Years War, the interactions between the Ottoman Empires and the Holy Roman Empire, the War of Spanish Succession, the Bourbons, the overseas possessions of various empires, the regions of Europe and their various religious affiliations, the ally enemy breakdowns in all the major wars, etc etc Some of this stuff he never even mentions specifically, focusing instead on the inner workings and machinations of the family, and blowing past the political headlines of the day Not that he doesn t think it s important, he just assumes you already know the context, can appreciate the gravity of the situation, and don t want to hear about it He even at one point impatiently declared his refusal to rehash the story of the Defenestration of Prague, since everyone knows it so well You get the idea.


  3. says:

    This history of the Habsburgs focuses on the line of succession and how the family used marriage and images rather than conquest for the most part to further their empire I would have given it 5 stars if it had contained a bit about the territorial gains losses of the empire and had disclosed information about societal changes that they brought about in each era but other than that it was very detailed and interesting This is not written to be an introduction to the Habsburgs, although was for me except for the thirty year war era I would suggest having a basic knowledge the history of the Habsburgs or being an avid reader before picking this up.


  4. says:

    I suspect that this book is probably best read by people already very familiar with the history of the Habsburgs While there were a few new facts for me, most of what Wheatcroft had to tell so engagingly was familiar The thing that kept me reading was his take on how they saw themselves I had seen signs of this when I was in Austria four decades ago, delving in the library at the University of Vienna, and in my single trip into the Habsburg archives Gosh I wish I hadn t been a twenty year old ignoramus, I missed so much Anyway, Wheatcroft, instead of shoving the imperial personalities into this or that box, as adjudged by nineteenth or twentieth century standards, sifted their memoirs, and the contemporary writings about them, to illustrate how they saw themselves how they made the idea of the empire work as long as it did in the minds of client nations Which is surprising, given the far flung nature of the empire, and its multitude of languages.


  5. says:

    If you re expecting a play by play, day by day history of the Habsburgs, this is not the book for you If you want a thesis about what was the main drive and focus of the family, and how it was passed down through the centuries, this is your book Mr Wheatcroft did a masterful job of using the history, and the standouts who ruled to put forth his theory and justification for why they did what they did Not a light read, but a very interesting theory that history buffs will enjoy.


  6. says:

    Non aspettatevi una dettagliata biografia dei numerosi sovrani della Casa d Asburgo, n la pedissequa storia dei loro altrettanto numerosi domini sarebbe impossibile per chiunque, infatti, condensare in poco pi di duecentocinquanta pagine effettive le restanti sono costituite da note bibliografie, mappe e alberi genealogici quasi dieci secoli di Storia Non questa la sede per farlo L intento di Wheatcroft un altro, come ben si evince dal titolo della sua opera che costituisce esso stesso una sorta di dichiarazione di intenti Qui gli eventi storici sono solo accennati, per lo pi limitati agli episodi pi significativi ed adatti a supportare il discorso, e le vite di arciduchi, re e imperatori sono tratteggiate in maniera breve seppur puntuale e precisa, con un solo scopo mostrare l inscalfibile senso dell Impero di cui la grande casata austriaca era ed tutt ora stando a quanto affermato da Wheatcroft pervasa sin dagli albori Gli Asburgo di Wheatcroft non sono semplicemente i detentori del trono imperiale, i sovrani dell Impero, essi stessi sono l Impero Il loro codice morale, le loro logiche dinastiche, hanno guidato ogni loro azione sono mutati nei secoli eppure sono rimasti sempre uguali a s stessi, sentendosi mai davvero padroni del proprio destino ma devoti all alta missione divina e imperiale Nati per essere imperatori, educati a vivere da imperatori e perfino a morire da imperatori Proprio per questo senso di missione divina quasi sacerdotale al pari dei re sacerdoti degli albori della civilt gli Asburgo mai poterono davvero comprendere le ragioni ed il senso della fine di un ordine sociale, culturale e politico che sembrava immutabile ed eterno, apparendo loro malgrado retrogradi al meglio, tiranni al peggio, agli occhi dei loro contemporanei e dei posteri.Che tutto ci sia condivisibile o meno, Wheatcroft riuscito a mostrarlo e a raccontarlo, con freschezza e leggerezza senza scadere nella pedanteria solo i molti nomi di luoghi e persone possono disorientare un po o nel pettegolezzo restando sempre imparziale ad eccezione dei passi dedicati a Filippo II di Spagna, presentato come naturale aspettarsi, dato che tutti gli storici britannici sono tendenzialmente anglocentrici in modo negativo solo perch grande nemico dell Inghilterra Qualche difetto Il focalizzarsi solo su di un unico argomento talmente vasto offre facili spunti all accusa di superficialit quando si costretti a sorvolare su guerre, eventi storici ed episodi biografici che meriterebbero maggior spazio Inoltre il numero di pagine dell opera pu effettivamente apparire eccessivamente riduttivo considerando la grande quantit di personaggi, un altra cinquantina di pagine sarebbe stata l ideale per dare pi completezza e ampiezza alla trattazione Sarebbero tre stellette e 3 4 ma approssimo per eccesso a quattro in modo positivo.


  7. says:

    This book has sat on my shelf for 15 years unread, most likely because I feared it would be boringApparently, the author took 30 years to get around to completing it It shows both in a good and a bad way There is clearly a huge amount of research and thought that went into the foundations of this book but the net result is, for my taste, over ripe I d rather he d put out a fresher version, a decade or two earlier Or actually, what I was hoping for was a coherent history of the Habsburgs There is at times infuriating repetition in the text here particularly if you count postscripts as text and, worst of all, we are led all over the place, geographically and time wise forwards and backwards, without any warning hell on earth for uninitiated readers like myself, given the Habsburgs complete lack of imagination when it came to naming their children at some point, I just gave up trying working out which damn Theodore or Otto he was talking about Major events are ignored or glossed over.So, be warned, this is neither linear nor a self contained history of the Habsburgs.If you ve already read 5 10 books which cover the historical events of the period s in reasonable detail, then the value added by this book is that it approaches the essence of the Habsburgs as the author states in the closing chapter, I have turned away from the events that I have been trained to consider important, to those other issues that loomed large in the minds of my subjects.


  8. says:

    One reviewer wrote that this book is essential for understanding modern Europe I echo that sentiment The author, Andrew Wheatcroft, wisely chose to confine this history to the nature of the Habsburg dynasty rather than to fritter away the reader s time in a rehashing of well known seminal events such as the Thirty Years War or the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo For those interested in those isolated topics, there are thousands of well written histories in many languages that can be sought This book keeps its focus as narrow as possible, and in so doing has provided us with a unique study of a unique family European history seems to have many unconnected strands Where did Metternich come from Where was Austria in 1800 What became of 1848 s peasant uprisings Why is it only the Habsburg dynasty that made its mark for 500 years all across Europe This book has insights into all these questions, and will cause you to consider many Should you be the type of reader who likes an intellectually challenging, thought provoking history, this is a book you should seriously consider reading.


  9. says:

    A quick history of the thousand year reign of the Habsburgs HIghlighting Maximilian, the combo Pope and emperor Franz Joseph, Ferdinand Maximilian, the one who tried to control Mexico Rudolf, and the women like Maria Theresa, who had lots of kids and named all the girls Maria, as in Marie Antoinette.


  10. says:

    It took me a long time, and the print was very small, but I finished it This was not the history of the Habsburgs I had hoped for Following a few days in Vienna I wanted a chronological history of the family but this concentrated on the dynasty as a whole and how they perceived themselves and wished to be perceived I also found Andrew Wheatcroft s style very annoying he jumped from person to person to justify his theme and sometimes seemed to repeat himself I felt I was expected to know the history The family tree helped but even here we had upper case names denote either King of Spain, Holy Roman Emperor or Emperor of Austria I may have got the titles wrong but there were 3 alternatives which doesn t help sort out who followed who I would have liked illustrations as the whole book was about image Wheatcroft often went into considerable detail about certain portraits but they weren t included in the small number of pictures We then had pictures of people who hardly got a mention in the book.All in all I found it very disappointing That said I do feel I know a little about European history and the importance of the Habsburg s.


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