Week 11

Week 11: Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Johannes Gutenberg

Week 11

Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1400 – 1468) was a German goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with the introduction of mechanical movable type printing press. His work started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution, as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses. Gutenberg in 1439 was the first European to use movable type. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink for printing books; adjustable molds; mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type. The alloy was a mixture of lead, tin, and antimony that melted at a relatively low temperature for faster and more economical casting, cast well, and created a durable type. (Wikipedia)

 

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein,

The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe,

Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (March 30, 2012),

ISBN 1107632757

This account of the printing revolution is absolutely indispensable.

One Amazon reader:
James Huffman
5.0 out of 5 stars
Extremely useful for understand[ing] both Reformation and Renaissance

Eisenstein's book details how printing changed our world. Not only the way ideas and information were communicated, but how we think, how we do research, how we interact, and even how censorship in one area (e.g., censorship of Protestant writings in Catholic areas inadvertently curtailed scientific publishing as well). She has recognized implications and trends that have not even yet been fully worked through in our culture, and this necessarily limited survey doesn't even touch on other technologies through the centuries since the printing revolution: movable type, telegraph, telephone, computer technology, and the net. The book can be dry at times (even in this relatively short book, she's covering a lot of material) but it is well worth the reading.

12

Week 12: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
The Renaissance in Germany

Week 12

When we think of Germany around 1500, we immediately think of Luther and the German Reformation. But well before the Reformation, Germans were engaged in the scholarship of the new international movement that we now call the Renaissance. If Florence was the home of the earliest moments of the Renaissance around 1400, there were many important German scholars in Italy and elsewhere adding their own scholarship to the various fields of Biblical scholarship, Greek linguistic studies and other fields of value in the 1400s. Among the many great scholars from Germany we will take note of the following: Cardinal Nicholas Cusanus (died 1464), Rodolphus Agricola (1443-1485) called the Father of German Humanism, Johann Reuchlin (1455 – 1522), Conrad Celtes (1459 – 1508), and Erasmus. In Part Two of our evening we will turn to the life and work of Albrecht Durer the greatest of all the German Renaissance figures. You see below his spectacular self-portrait.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

 

13

Week 13: Wednesday, January 20, 2021
The Reformation in Germany

Week 13

WIKIPEDIA: "Martin Luther, 1483– 1546, was a German professor of theology, priest, author, composer, Augustinian monk, and a seminal figure in the Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; in particular, he disputed the view on indulgences. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor. Luther taught that salvation and, consequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God's grace through the believer's faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge, and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with these, and all of Luther's wider teachings, are called Lutherans, though Luther insisted on Christian or Evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. His translation of the Bible into the German vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry."

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 15th century
Chronology of the 16th century
Biography of Martin Luther

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

REQUIRED READING

The Ninety-Five Theses

RECOMMENDED READING

The biography of Luther that everyone should own is the one book on Luther that has dominated all studies of Luther in the United States for the last fifty years. It is the work of Roland Bainton, the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale for almost half a century. Bainton was the professor of my professor, Lewis Spitz. So I am his academic "grandson." Bainton's biography of Luther is still in print fifty five years after its first publication. It's a complete bargain in hardcover, at $14.

Roland Bainton,

Here I Stand,

Hendrickson Publishers (April 2009),

ISBN 1598563335

NEW BOOK ON LUTHER

Eric Metaxas,

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,

Viking; First Edition edition (October 3, 2017),

ISBN 110198001X

 

 

 

14

Week 14: Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

Week 14

Charles V (1500 – 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria from 1519 to 1556, King of Spain (Castile and Aragon) from 1516 to 1556, and Lord of the Netherlands as titular Duke of Burgundy from 1506 to 1555. As he was head of the rising House of Habsburg during the first half of the 16th century, his dominions in Europe included the Holy Roman Empire, extending from Germany to northern Italy with direct rule over the Austrian hereditary lands and the Burgundian Low Countries, and a unified Spain with its southern Italian kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Furthermore, his reign encompassed both the long-lasting Spanish and the short-lived German colonizations of the Americas. The personal union of the European and American territories of Charles V was the first collection of realms labelled "the empire on which the Sun never sets". Charles was born in the County of Flanders to Philip the Handsome of the Austrian House of Habsburg (son of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Mary of Burgundy) and Joanna the of the Spanish House of Trastámara (daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon). The ultimate heir of his four grandparents, he inherited all of his family dominions at a young age, due to the premature death of his father and the mental illness of his mother. After the death of Philip in 1506, he inherited the Burgundian Netherlands, originally held by his paternal grandmother Mary. In 1516, he became co-monarch of Spain with his mother Joanna, and as such he was the first king of Spain to inherit the country as dynastically unified by the Catholic Monarchs, his maternal grandparents. The Spanish possessions at his accession also included the Castilian West Indies and the Aragonese Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. At the death of his paternal grandfather Maximilian in 1519, he inherited Austria and was elected to succeed him as Holy Roman Emperor. He adopted the Imperial name of Charles V as his main title, and styled himself as a new Charlemagne. See below a portrait of Charles with his Portuguese bride Isabella. Their son Philip II will inherit the whole of the Iberian peninsula for the first time in history.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

15

Week 15: Wednesday, February 3, 2021
The Thirty Years War

Week 15

The Thirty Years’ War was a 17th-century religious conflict fought primarily in central Europe. It remains one of the longest and most brutal wars in human history, with more than 8 million casualties resulting from military battles as well as from the famine and disease caused by the conflict. The war lasted from 1618 to 1648, starting as a battle among the Catholic and Protestant states that formed the Holy Roman Empire. However, as the Thirty Years’ War evolved, it became less about religion and more about which group would ultimately govern Europe. In the end, the conflict changed the geopolitical face of Europe and the role of religion and nation-states in society. Causes of the Thirty Years’ War With Emperor Ferdinand II’s ascension to head of state of the Holy Roman Empire in 1619, religious conflict began to foment. One of Ferdinand II’s first actions was to force citizens of the empire to adhere to Roman Catholicism, even though religious freedom had been granted as part of the Peace of Augsburg. Signed in 1555 as a keystone of the Reformation, the Peace of Augsburg’s key tenet was “whose realm, his religion,” which allowed the princes of states within the realm to adopt either Lutheranism/Calvinism or Catholicism within their respective domains. This effectively calmed simmering tensions between peoples of the two faiths within the Holy Roman Empire for more than 60 years, although there were flare ups, including the Cologne War (1583-1588) and the War of the Julich Succession (1609). Still, the Holy Roman Empire may have controlled much of Europe at the time, though it was essentially a collection of semi-autonomous states or fiefdoms. The emperor, from the House of Habsburg, had limited authority over their governance. Defenestration of Prague But after Ferdinand’s decree on religion, the Bohemian nobility in present-day Austria and the Czech Republic rejected Ferdinand II and showed their displeasure by throwing his representatives out of a window at Prague Castle in 1618. The so-called Defenestration of Prague (fenestration: the windows and doors in a building) was the beginning of open revolt in the Bohemian states – who had the backing of Sweden and Denmark-Norway – and the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War.
Bohemian Revolt In response to Ferdinand II’s decision to take away their religious freedom, the primarily Protestant northern Bohemian states of the Holy Roman Empire sought to break away, further fragmenting an already loosely structured realm. The first stage of the Thirty Years’ War, the so-called Bohemian Revolt, began in 1618 and marked the beginning of a truly continental conflict. Over the first decade-plus of fighting, the Bohemian nobility formed alliances with the Protestant Union states in what is now Germany, while Ferdinand II sought the support of his Catholic nephew, King Phillip IV of Spain. (The foregoing is taken from a good article in Aug, 2009 issue of History.

 

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Best book on the Thirty Years War:

Geoffrey Parker, et. al.
The Thirty Years War
1984

16

Week 16: Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Week 16

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65. Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Many of his works employ the genres of canon and fugue. (from Wikipedia)

17

Week 17: Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Frederick the Great

Week 17

Frederick II (1712 – 1786) was a Prussian king and military leader, who ruled the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786, the longest reign of any Hohenzollern king at 46 years. His most significant accomplishments during his reign included his reorganization of Prussian armies, his military victories, his success in the Silesian wars and the Partitions of Poland, and his patronage of the arts and the Enlightenment. Frederick was the last Hohenzollern monarch titled King in Prussia and declared himself King of Prussia after achieving sovereignty over historically Prussian lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772. Prussia greatly increased its territories and became a leading military power in Europe under his rule. He became known as Frederick the Great (German: Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed Der Alte Fritz ("The Old Fritz") by the Prussian people and eventually the rest of Germany. In his youth, Frederick was more interested in music and philosophy than the art of war. Nonetheless, upon ascending to the Prussian throne he attacked Austria and claimed Silesia during the Silesian Wars, winning military acclaim for himself and Prussia. Toward the end of his reign, Frederick physically connected most of his realm by acquiring Polish territories in the First Partition of Poland. He was an influential military theorist whose analysis emerged from his extensive personal battlefield experience and covered issues of strategy, tactics, mobility and logistics. Considering himself "the first servant of the state", Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and pursued religious policies throughout his realm that ranged from tolerance to segregation. He reformed the judicial system and made it possible for men not of noble status to become judges and senior bureaucrats. Frederick also encouraged immigrants of various nationalities and faiths to come to Prussia, although he enacted oppressive measures against Polish Catholic subjects in West Prussia. Frederick supported arts and philosophers he favored as well as allowing complete freedom of the press and literature. Most modern biographers agree that Frederick was primarily homosexual. Frederick is buried at his favorite residence, Sanssouci in Potsdam. Because he died childless, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Frederick William II.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Tim Blanning,

Frederick the Great: King of Prussia,

Random House, March 2016,

ISBN 1400068126

Reviews

“Writing Frederick’s biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance. . . . Frederick the Great offers a portrait in chiaroscuro, full of intricate shadings and startling contrasts.”—The Wall Street Journal

“As Tim Blanning makes clear in a new biography that is at once scholarly and highly readable, Frederick the Great fully deserves history’s judgment of him as a transformative figure of the second millennium. . . . [Blanning] has given us a superb portrait of an enlightened despot, equally at home on the battlefield and in the opera house, both utterly ruthless and culturally refined.”—Commentary

“[A] masterly biography . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history, building up a rich picture of his very active mental life and the strange social setting that he constructed around himself.”—The Telegraph (five stars)

“Superlative . . . an almost sculptural, three-dimensional rendering of Frederick, one that enables its vast and protean subject to be viewed from a multiplicity of angles . . . a supremely nuanced account, abounding in novel assessments and insights . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers and offers major reassessments of almost every aspect of Frederick’s career.”—Literary Review

“In Tim Blanning, Frederick has found the ideal biographer. . . . Blanning evokes Old Fritz in all his cold-blooded brilliance, ranging from the king’s operatic tastes to his gastronomic and erotic predilections.”—The Sunday Times

“[Frederick the Great] is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises. Blanning shows that this hereditary monarch, born in Berlin in 1712, could be more radical than most leaders today.”—The Spectator

About the Author
Until his retirement in 2009, Tim Blanning was a professor of modern European history at the University of Cambridge, and he remains a fellow of Sidney Sussex College and of the British Academy. He is the general editor of The Oxford History of Modern Europe and The Short Oxford History of Europe. He is also the author of The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture, which won a prestigious German prize and was short-listed for the British Academy Book Prize, the New York Times bestseller The Pursuit of Glory, The Triumph of Music, and The Romantic Revolution. In 2000 he was awarded a Pilkington Prize for teaching by the University of Cambridge.

18

Week 18: Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Goethe, Werther, and German Romanticism

Week 18

GERMAN ROMANTICISM

The novelist and Romanticism

Werther, the first international bestseller

Germany is often cited as the origin of the great international movement of Romanticism. It is true that the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote the first theories that initiate Romanticism. But Goethe and his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther announces the new movement as an international one that crosses all boundaries.

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 18th Century

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

REQUIRED READING

Goethe,

Sorrows of Young Werther,

Vintage Classics,

ISBN 0679729518

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is absolutely essential that you read The Sorrows of Young Werther without reading synopses, reviews, introductions, prefaces, or blurbs.  Beware even browsing in a bookstore: Some editions carry, right on the front or back cover, blurbs that give the whole book away in just one sentence. The Vintage Classics edition cited here is the best in English. PLEASE DO NOT READ THE W. H. AUDEN FOREWORD before reading the book. You can go back and read it later. Go right to page 3 (Book One, May 4, 1771) and start reading. The best way to read it is to set aside some time and read all the way through in one sitting. In this edition, a second short novel by Goethe, Novella, is included, beginning on page 169. Novella is NOT part of Sorrows. It is not part of this week's assignment.

19

Week 19: Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Napoleon in Germany

Week 19

The rise of Napoleon.
The family.
Corsica, Italy.
Military school in France.
The rise of the young Napoleon.
His military genius.
Toulon.
The Battle of St Roch, Paris.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

RECOMMENDED READING

Paul Johnson,

Napoleon: A Life,

Penguin,

ISBN 0143037455

From Library Journal: In this newest addition to the "Penguin Life" series, Johnson (The Birth of the Modern) produces an "unromantic," "skeptical," and "searching" study of a person who exercised power "only for a decade and a half" but whose "impact on the future lasted until nearly the end of the twentieth century." Characterizing Bonaparte primarily as an opportunist "trained by his own ambitions and experiences to take the fullest advantage of the power the Revolution had created," Johnson suggests that, by 1813, the emperor "did not understand that all had changed ... and events were about to deposit him ... on history's smoldering rubbish dump." Why another biography of Napoleon now? Johnson's answer is that the great evils of "Bonapartism" "the deification of force and war, the all-powerful centralized state, the use of cultural propaganda..., the marshaling of entire peoples in the pursuit of personal and ideological power came to hateful maturity only in the twentieth century." Thus, Napoleon's is a grandly cautionary life. Readers might wish to counterbalance Johnson's deliberately sparse outline of Bonaparte's amazing career by examining James M. Thompson's Napoleon Bonaparte: His Rise and Fall. But Johnson's antiromantic treatment brings into sharp focus the ills he identifies with "Bonapartism," and that focus certainly justifies this new look at the much-studied old general. Recommended for larger public libraries. Robert C. Jones, Warrensburg, MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

20

Week 20: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Congress of Vienna 1815

Week 20

The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. This objective resulted in the redrawing of the continent's political map, establishing the boundaries of France, Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw, the Netherlands, the states of the Rhine, the German province of Saxony, and various Italian territories, and the creation of spheres of influence through which Austria, Britain, France and Russia brokered local and regional problems. The Congress of Vienna was the first of a series of international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, which was an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in Europe, and served as a model for later organizations such as the League of Nations and United Nations. The immediate background was Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender in May 1814, which brought an end to twenty-five years of nearly continuous war. Negotiations continued despite the outbreak of fighting triggered by Napoleon's dramatic return from exile and resumption of power in France during the Hundred Days of March–July, 1815. The Congress's "Final Act" was signed nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815. (Wikipedia)

David King's book on the Congress is one of the best history books I have ever read. It is full of great portraits of fascinating people and the whole story is memorable and helps you understand 10th century European history better than before you read it. I love the book. (WHF)

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

RECOMMENDED BOOK

David Lawday,

Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand,

Thomas Dunne Books (November 13, 2007),

ISBN 0312372973

From Publishers Weekly

Charles-Maurice de Tallyrand-Perigord (1754-1838) was a diplomat for all regimes. He had major French governmental posts, including brief stints as prime minister, for nearly four decades: during the post-terror phase of the French Revolution and then under Napoleon and the Bourbon King Louis XVIII. As portrayed by Lawday, a former correspondent for the Economist, Talleyrand was a womanizer (he and Gouverneur Morris, then the American ambassador to Paris, competed for the same mistress) and a Thurs.ey-grubber, with a certain aristocratic hauteur. Yet Tallyrand was gifted at diplomacy: he was patient, an exceptional listener and, most important, a conciliator. Having had an exceptionally close relationship with Napoleon, he came to staunchly oppose the emperor's insatiable ambition and even committed near-treason in his complicity with Austria and Russia against Napoleon. Lawday devotes appropriate space to Talleyrand's finest moment, the 1815 Congress of Vienna, where his skills steered the assembled diplomats to allowing France to remain an integral part of the concert of Europe. Though comprehensive and quite good, Lawday's biography is long on narrative, hewing closely to the details of Tallyrand's unfolding life, but short on analyses of Tallyrand's choices and of the broader French and European contexts in which he acted. 8 pages of b&w photos; maps. (Nov.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Reviews

"Swift, informed and literate." ---Kirkus Reviews

"Comprehensive and quite good." ---Publishers Weekly

RECOMMENDED BOOK

David King,

Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna,

Broadway; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009),

ISBN 0312372973

From Publishers Weekly

Leaders from the world's five major diplomatic forces - Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia - convened in Vienna in 1814 to found a new order for post-Napoleonic Europe. Historian King (Finding Atlantis) calls it the greatest and most lavish party in history, at which delegates would plot, scheme, jockey for position, and, in short, infuriate each other as they competed in affairs of state and the heart. King covers the diplomatic wrangling well, particularly over the fates of Poland, Saxony and the Kingdom of Naples. His greater strength is in depicting the personalities and motivations of the key players, such as Metternich's daring love affair with a baroness and Czar Alexander I's growing reliance on a German mystic. Despite endless parties, the Congress achieved pioneering work in culture and human rights, including Jewish rights and a vote to abolish slavery. Most important, it established alliances that defeated Napoleon's attempt to regain power in 1815 and helped foster a spirit of cooperation that, in some ways, has still not been surpassed. King's fine work is not quite as scholarly as the book it recalls, Margaret Macmillan's Paris 1919, but it is more deftly paced and engagingly written. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"King reveals his talent for narrative flow and portraiture in a biography that will thoroughly inveigle history readers." - Booklist

"A teeming…personality-rich panorama of the first truly international peace conference." - Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating tale that shines light on a unique aspect of the relationship between scholarship and nationalism." - Choice

All

Week 11: Wed., Jan. 6, 2021
Johannes Gutenberg

Week 11

Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1400 – 1468) was a German goldsmith, inventor, printer, and publisher who introduced printing to Europe with the introduction of mechanical movable type printing press. His work started the Printing Revolution and is regarded as a milestone of the second millennium, ushering in the modern period of human history. It played a key role in the development of the Renaissance, Reformation, Age of Enlightenment, and Scientific Revolution, as well as laying the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses. Gutenberg in 1439 was the first European to use movable type. Among his many contributions to printing are: the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type; the use of oil-based ink for printing books; adjustable molds; mechanical movable type; and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the agricultural screw presses of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system that allowed the mass production of printed books and was economically viable for printers and readers alike. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type. The alloy was a mixture of lead, tin, and antimony that melted at a relatively low temperature for faster and more economical casting, cast well, and created a durable type. (Wikipedia)

 

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

Elizabeth L. Eisenstein,

The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe,

Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (March 30, 2012),

ISBN 1107632757

This account of the printing revolution is absolutely indispensable.

One Amazon reader:
James Huffman
5.0 out of 5 stars
Extremely useful for understand[ing] both Reformation and Renaissance

Eisenstein's book details how printing changed our world. Not only the way ideas and information were communicated, but how we think, how we do research, how we interact, and even how censorship in one area (e.g., censorship of Protestant writings in Catholic areas inadvertently curtailed scientific publishing as well). She has recognized implications and trends that have not even yet been fully worked through in our culture, and this necessarily limited survey doesn't even touch on other technologies through the centuries since the printing revolution: movable type, telegraph, telephone, computer technology, and the net. The book can be dry at times (even in this relatively short book, she's covering a lot of material) but it is well worth the reading.

Week 12: Wed., Jan. 13, 2021
The Renaissance in Germany

Week 12

When we think of Germany around 1500, we immediately think of Luther and the German Reformation. But well before the Reformation, Germans were engaged in the scholarship of the new international movement that we now call the Renaissance. If Florence was the home of the earliest moments of the Renaissance around 1400, there were many important German scholars in Italy and elsewhere adding their own scholarship to the various fields of Biblical scholarship, Greek linguistic studies and other fields of value in the 1400s. Among the many great scholars from Germany we will take note of the following: Cardinal Nicholas Cusanus (died 1464), Rodolphus Agricola (1443-1485) called the Father of German Humanism, Johann Reuchlin (1455 – 1522), Conrad Celtes (1459 – 1508), and Erasmus. In Part Two of our evening we will turn to the life and work of Albrecht Durer the greatest of all the German Renaissance figures. You see below his spectacular self-portrait.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

 

Week 13: Wed., Jan. 20, 2021
The Reformation in Germany

Week 13

WIKIPEDIA: "Martin Luther, 1483– 1546, was a German professor of theology, priest, author, composer, Augustinian monk, and a seminal figure in the Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; in particular, he disputed the view on indulgences. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor. Luther taught that salvation and, consequently, eternal life are not earned by good deeds but are received only as the free gift of God's grace through the believer's faith in Jesus Christ as redeemer from sin. His theology challenged the authority and office of the pope by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divinely revealed knowledge, and opposed sacerdotalism by considering all baptized Christians to be a holy priesthood. Those who identify with these, and all of Luther's wider teachings, are called Lutherans, though Luther insisted on Christian or Evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. His translation of the Bible into the German vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation, and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible. His hymns influenced the development of singing in Protestant churches. His marriage to Katharina von Bora, a former nun, set a model for the practice of clerical marriage, allowing Protestant clergy to marry."

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 15th century
Chronology of the 16th century
Biography of Martin Luther

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

REQUIRED READING

The Ninety-Five Theses

RECOMMENDED READING

The biography of Luther that everyone should own is the one book on Luther that has dominated all studies of Luther in the United States for the last fifty years. It is the work of Roland Bainton, the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale for almost half a century. Bainton was the professor of my professor, Lewis Spitz. So I am his academic "grandson." Bainton's biography of Luther is still in print fifty five years after its first publication. It's a complete bargain in hardcover, at $14.

Roland Bainton,

Here I Stand,

Hendrickson Publishers (April 2009),

ISBN 1598563335

NEW BOOK ON LUTHER

Eric Metaxas,

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,

Viking; First Edition edition (October 3, 2017),

ISBN 110198001X

 

 

 

Week 14: Wed., Jan. 27, 2021
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V

Week 14

Charles V (1500 – 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor and Archduke of Austria from 1519 to 1556, King of Spain (Castile and Aragon) from 1516 to 1556, and Lord of the Netherlands as titular Duke of Burgundy from 1506 to 1555. As he was head of the rising House of Habsburg during the first half of the 16th century, his dominions in Europe included the Holy Roman Empire, extending from Germany to northern Italy with direct rule over the Austrian hereditary lands and the Burgundian Low Countries, and a unified Spain with its southern Italian kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Furthermore, his reign encompassed both the long-lasting Spanish and the short-lived German colonizations of the Americas. The personal union of the European and American territories of Charles V was the first collection of realms labelled "the empire on which the Sun never sets". Charles was born in the County of Flanders to Philip the Handsome of the Austrian House of Habsburg (son of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Mary of Burgundy) and Joanna the of the Spanish House of Trastámara (daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon). The ultimate heir of his four grandparents, he inherited all of his family dominions at a young age, due to the premature death of his father and the mental illness of his mother. After the death of Philip in 1506, he inherited the Burgundian Netherlands, originally held by his paternal grandmother Mary. In 1516, he became co-monarch of Spain with his mother Joanna, and as such he was the first king of Spain to inherit the country as dynastically unified by the Catholic Monarchs, his maternal grandparents. The Spanish possessions at his accession also included the Castilian West Indies and the Aragonese Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. At the death of his paternal grandfather Maximilian in 1519, he inherited Austria and was elected to succeed him as Holy Roman Emperor. He adopted the Imperial name of Charles V as his main title, and styled himself as a new Charlemagne. See below a portrait of Charles with his Portuguese bride Isabella. Their son Philip II will inherit the whole of the Iberian peninsula for the first time in history.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

Week 15: Wed., Feb. 3, 2021
The Thirty Years War

Week 15

The Thirty Years’ War was a 17th-century religious conflict fought primarily in central Europe. It remains one of the longest and most brutal wars in human history, with more than 8 million casualties resulting from military battles as well as from the famine and disease caused by the conflict. The war lasted from 1618 to 1648, starting as a battle among the Catholic and Protestant states that formed the Holy Roman Empire. However, as the Thirty Years’ War evolved, it became less about religion and more about which group would ultimately govern Europe. In the end, the conflict changed the geopolitical face of Europe and the role of religion and nation-states in society. Causes of the Thirty Years’ War With Emperor Ferdinand II’s ascension to head of state of the Holy Roman Empire in 1619, religious conflict began to foment. One of Ferdinand II’s first actions was to force citizens of the empire to adhere to Roman Catholicism, even though religious freedom had been granted as part of the Peace of Augsburg. Signed in 1555 as a keystone of the Reformation, the Peace of Augsburg’s key tenet was “whose realm, his religion,” which allowed the princes of states within the realm to adopt either Lutheranism/Calvinism or Catholicism within their respective domains. This effectively calmed simmering tensions between peoples of the two faiths within the Holy Roman Empire for more than 60 years, although there were flare ups, including the Cologne War (1583-1588) and the War of the Julich Succession (1609). Still, the Holy Roman Empire may have controlled much of Europe at the time, though it was essentially a collection of semi-autonomous states or fiefdoms. The emperor, from the House of Habsburg, had limited authority over their governance. Defenestration of Prague But after Ferdinand’s decree on religion, the Bohemian nobility in present-day Austria and the Czech Republic rejected Ferdinand II and showed their displeasure by throwing his representatives out of a window at Prague Castle in 1618. The so-called Defenestration of Prague (fenestration: the windows and doors in a building) was the beginning of open revolt in the Bohemian states – who had the backing of Sweden and Denmark-Norway – and the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War.
Bohemian Revolt In response to Ferdinand II’s decision to take away their religious freedom, the primarily Protestant northern Bohemian states of the Holy Roman Empire sought to break away, further fragmenting an already loosely structured realm. The first stage of the Thirty Years’ War, the so-called Bohemian Revolt, began in 1618 and marked the beginning of a truly continental conflict. Over the first decade-plus of fighting, the Bohemian nobility formed alliances with the Protestant Union states in what is now Germany, while Ferdinand II sought the support of his Catholic nephew, King Phillip IV of Spain. (The foregoing is taken from a good article in Aug, 2009 issue of History.

 

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Best book on the Thirty Years War:

Geoffrey Parker, et. al.
The Thirty Years War
1984

Week 16: Wed., Feb. 10, 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Week 16

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival, he has been generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university's student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65. Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach's compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Many of his works employ the genres of canon and fugue. (from Wikipedia)

Week 17: Wed., Feb. 17, 2021
Frederick the Great

Week 17

Frederick II (1712 – 1786) was a Prussian king and military leader, who ruled the Kingdom of Prussia from 1740 until 1786, the longest reign of any Hohenzollern king at 46 years. His most significant accomplishments during his reign included his reorganization of Prussian armies, his military victories, his success in the Silesian wars and the Partitions of Poland, and his patronage of the arts and the Enlightenment. Frederick was the last Hohenzollern monarch titled King in Prussia and declared himself King of Prussia after achieving sovereignty over historically Prussian lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1772. Prussia greatly increased its territories and became a leading military power in Europe under his rule. He became known as Frederick the Great (German: Friedrich der Große) and was nicknamed Der Alte Fritz ("The Old Fritz") by the Prussian people and eventually the rest of Germany. In his youth, Frederick was more interested in music and philosophy than the art of war. Nonetheless, upon ascending to the Prussian throne he attacked Austria and claimed Silesia during the Silesian Wars, winning military acclaim for himself and Prussia. Toward the end of his reign, Frederick physically connected most of his realm by acquiring Polish territories in the First Partition of Poland. He was an influential military theorist whose analysis emerged from his extensive personal battlefield experience and covered issues of strategy, tactics, mobility and logistics. Considering himself "the first servant of the state", Frederick was a proponent of enlightened absolutism. He modernized the Prussian bureaucracy and civil service and pursued religious policies throughout his realm that ranged from tolerance to segregation. He reformed the judicial system and made it possible for men not of noble status to become judges and senior bureaucrats. Frederick also encouraged immigrants of various nationalities and faiths to come to Prussia, although he enacted oppressive measures against Polish Catholic subjects in West Prussia. Frederick supported arts and philosophers he favored as well as allowing complete freedom of the press and literature. Most modern biographers agree that Frederick was primarily homosexual. Frederick is buried at his favorite residence, Sanssouci in Potsdam. Because he died childless, Frederick was succeeded by his nephew Frederick William II.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Tim Blanning,

Frederick the Great: King of Prussia,

Random House, March 2016,

ISBN 1400068126

Reviews

“Writing Frederick’s biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance. . . . Frederick the Great offers a portrait in chiaroscuro, full of intricate shadings and startling contrasts.”—The Wall Street Journal

“As Tim Blanning makes clear in a new biography that is at once scholarly and highly readable, Frederick the Great fully deserves history’s judgment of him as a transformative figure of the second millennium. . . . [Blanning] has given us a superb portrait of an enlightened despot, equally at home on the battlefield and in the opera house, both utterly ruthless and culturally refined.”—Commentary

“[A] masterly biography . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history, building up a rich picture of his very active mental life and the strange social setting that he constructed around himself.”—The Telegraph (five stars)

“Superlative . . . an almost sculptural, three-dimensional rendering of Frederick, one that enables its vast and protean subject to be viewed from a multiplicity of angles . . . a supremely nuanced account, abounding in novel assessments and insights . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers and offers major reassessments of almost every aspect of Frederick’s career.”—Literary Review

“In Tim Blanning, Frederick has found the ideal biographer. . . . Blanning evokes Old Fritz in all his cold-blooded brilliance, ranging from the king’s operatic tastes to his gastronomic and erotic predilections.”—The Sunday Times

“[Frederick the Great] is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises. Blanning shows that this hereditary monarch, born in Berlin in 1712, could be more radical than most leaders today.”—The Spectator

About the Author
Until his retirement in 2009, Tim Blanning was a professor of modern European history at the University of Cambridge, and he remains a fellow of Sidney Sussex College and of the British Academy. He is the general editor of The Oxford History of Modern Europe and The Short Oxford History of Europe. He is also the author of The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture, which won a prestigious German prize and was short-listed for the British Academy Book Prize, the New York Times bestseller The Pursuit of Glory, The Triumph of Music, and The Romantic Revolution. In 2000 he was awarded a Pilkington Prize for teaching by the University of Cambridge.

Week 18: Wed., Feb. 24, 2021
Goethe, Werther, and German Romanticism

Week 18

GERMAN ROMANTICISM

The novelist and Romanticism

Werther, the first international bestseller

Germany is often cited as the origin of the great international movement of Romanticism. It is true that the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote the first theories that initiate Romanticism. But Goethe and his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther announces the new movement as an international one that crosses all boundaries.

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 18th Century

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

REQUIRED READING

Goethe,

Sorrows of Young Werther,

Vintage Classics,

ISBN 0679729518

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is absolutely essential that you read The Sorrows of Young Werther without reading synopses, reviews, introductions, prefaces, or blurbs.  Beware even browsing in a bookstore: Some editions carry, right on the front or back cover, blurbs that give the whole book away in just one sentence. The Vintage Classics edition cited here is the best in English. PLEASE DO NOT READ THE W. H. AUDEN FOREWORD before reading the book. You can go back and read it later. Go right to page 3 (Book One, May 4, 1771) and start reading. The best way to read it is to set aside some time and read all the way through in one sitting. In this edition, a second short novel by Goethe, Novella, is included, beginning on page 169. Novella is NOT part of Sorrows. It is not part of this week's assignment.

Week 19: Wed., Mar. 3, 2021
Napoleon in Germany

Week 19

The rise of Napoleon.
The family.
Corsica, Italy.
Military school in France.
The rise of the young Napoleon.
His military genius.
Toulon.
The Battle of St Roch, Paris.

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

RECOMMENDED READING

Paul Johnson,

Napoleon: A Life,

Penguin,

ISBN 0143037455

From Library Journal: In this newest addition to the "Penguin Life" series, Johnson (The Birth of the Modern) produces an "unromantic," "skeptical," and "searching" study of a person who exercised power "only for a decade and a half" but whose "impact on the future lasted until nearly the end of the twentieth century." Characterizing Bonaparte primarily as an opportunist "trained by his own ambitions and experiences to take the fullest advantage of the power the Revolution had created," Johnson suggests that, by 1813, the emperor "did not understand that all had changed ... and events were about to deposit him ... on history's smoldering rubbish dump." Why another biography of Napoleon now? Johnson's answer is that the great evils of "Bonapartism" "the deification of force and war, the all-powerful centralized state, the use of cultural propaganda..., the marshaling of entire peoples in the pursuit of personal and ideological power came to hateful maturity only in the twentieth century." Thus, Napoleon's is a grandly cautionary life. Readers might wish to counterbalance Johnson's deliberately sparse outline of Bonaparte's amazing career by examining James M. Thompson's Napoleon Bonaparte: His Rise and Fall. But Johnson's antiromantic treatment brings into sharp focus the ills he identifies with "Bonapartism," and that focus certainly justifies this new look at the much-studied old general. Recommended for larger public libraries. Robert C. Jones, Warrensburg, MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Week 20: Wed., Mar. 10, 2021
Congress of Vienna 1815

Week 20

The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. This objective resulted in the redrawing of the continent's political map, establishing the boundaries of France, Napoleon's Duchy of Warsaw, the Netherlands, the states of the Rhine, the German province of Saxony, and various Italian territories, and the creation of spheres of influence through which Austria, Britain, France and Russia brokered local and regional problems. The Congress of Vienna was the first of a series of international meetings that came to be known as the Concert of Europe, which was an attempt to forge a peaceful balance of power in Europe, and served as a model for later organizations such as the League of Nations and United Nations. The immediate background was Napoleonic France's defeat and surrender in May 1814, which brought an end to twenty-five years of nearly continuous war. Negotiations continued despite the outbreak of fighting triggered by Napoleon's dramatic return from exile and resumption of power in France during the Hundred Days of March–July, 1815. The Congress's "Final Act" was signed nine days before his final defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815. (Wikipedia)

David King's book on the Congress is one of the best history books I have ever read. It is full of great portraits of fascinating people and the whole story is memorable and helps you understand 10th century European history better than before you read it. I love the book. (WHF)

REQUIRED READING

Steven Ozment,

A Mighty Fortress: A New History of the German People,

Harper Perennial,

ISBN 0060934832

Gordon A. Craig,

The Germans,

Meridian,

ISBN 0452010853

RECOMMENDED BOOK

David Lawday,

Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand,

Thomas Dunne Books (November 13, 2007),

ISBN 0312372973

From Publishers Weekly

Charles-Maurice de Tallyrand-Perigord (1754-1838) was a diplomat for all regimes. He had major French governmental posts, including brief stints as prime minister, for nearly four decades: during the post-terror phase of the French Revolution and then under Napoleon and the Bourbon King Louis XVIII. As portrayed by Lawday, a former correspondent for the Economist, Talleyrand was a womanizer (he and Gouverneur Morris, then the American ambassador to Paris, competed for the same mistress) and a Thurs.ey-grubber, with a certain aristocratic hauteur. Yet Tallyrand was gifted at diplomacy: he was patient, an exceptional listener and, most important, a conciliator. Having had an exceptionally close relationship with Napoleon, he came to staunchly oppose the emperor's insatiable ambition and even committed near-treason in his complicity with Austria and Russia against Napoleon. Lawday devotes appropriate space to Talleyrand's finest moment, the 1815 Congress of Vienna, where his skills steered the assembled diplomats to allowing France to remain an integral part of the concert of Europe. Though comprehensive and quite good, Lawday's biography is long on narrative, hewing closely to the details of Tallyrand's unfolding life, but short on analyses of Tallyrand's choices and of the broader French and European contexts in which he acted. 8 pages of b&w photos; maps. (Nov.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Reviews

"Swift, informed and literate." ---Kirkus Reviews

"Comprehensive and quite good." ---Publishers Weekly

RECOMMENDED BOOK

David King,

Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna,

Broadway; Reprint edition (March 24, 2009),

ISBN 0312372973

From Publishers Weekly

Leaders from the world's five major diplomatic forces - Great Britain, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia - convened in Vienna in 1814 to found a new order for post-Napoleonic Europe. Historian King (Finding Atlantis) calls it the greatest and most lavish party in history, at which delegates would plot, scheme, jockey for position, and, in short, infuriate each other as they competed in affairs of state and the heart. King covers the diplomatic wrangling well, particularly over the fates of Poland, Saxony and the Kingdom of Naples. His greater strength is in depicting the personalities and motivations of the key players, such as Metternich's daring love affair with a baroness and Czar Alexander I's growing reliance on a German mystic. Despite endless parties, the Congress achieved pioneering work in culture and human rights, including Jewish rights and a vote to abolish slavery. Most important, it established alliances that defeated Napoleon's attempt to regain power in 1815 and helped foster a spirit of cooperation that, in some ways, has still not been surpassed. King's fine work is not quite as scholarly as the book it recalls, Margaret Macmillan's Paris 1919, but it is more deftly paced and engagingly written. 16 pages of b&w photos. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"King reveals his talent for narrative flow and portraiture in a biography that will thoroughly inveigle history readers." - Booklist

"A teeming…personality-rich panorama of the first truly international peace conference." - Kirkus Reviews

"A fascinating tale that shines light on a unique aspect of the relationship between scholarship and nationalism." - Choice