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King Ludwig II: His Life - His End by Julius…
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King Ludwig II: His Life - His End (1976)

by Julius Desing

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This slim volume (which exists in a number of different language editions) recounts the life, obsessions, downfall and mysterious death of King Ludwig II of Bavaria - better known as 'Mad King Ludwig', the sponsor of Wagner and builder of the fantastic castles of Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee and (most spectacularly) Neuschwanstein.

The English is quaint, the attitude distinctly uncritical (there is a minor cult surrounding Ludwig and this booklet definitely panders to it), Ludwig's possible homosexuality is definitely not challenged and the other Bavarian politicians are painted as villains. Bismarck has a cameo role, but is generally portrayed as a hero (despite his playing little part in the story of Ludwig). No explanation is given for Ludwig's mysterious death, and although conspiracies are hinted at, the booklet at least does little to fuel pointless speculation.

We would probably not identify Ludwig as 'mad', merely perhaps as a little obsessive. History has generally not been kind to him, but this booklet is a bit too much the other way. ( )
  RobertDay | Feb 4, 2009 |
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