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Martyn C. Rady

Author of The Habsburgs: To Rule the World

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About the Author

Martyn Rady is Masaryk Professor of Central European History at University College London. A leading expert on Central Europe, he is the author of The Emperor Charles V, The Habsburg Empire: A Very Short Introduction, and other books on Hungarian and Romanian history. He lives in Kent, UK.

Includes the names: Martyn Rady, Martyn Rady, Dr Martyn Rady

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Common Knowledge



For surch an important dynasty, many people, including me, don't know that much about the Hapsburgs. Martyn Rady puts that right in this compact 330 page, introduction. We learn about the rise and massive expansion of the Empire, the shaving off of the Spanish component, the horrors of the Thirty Years War - which really should be known as the First World War given that it involved conflict on 4 continents including as far East as Taiwan, whereas the Great War of 1914-18 was primarily fought in continental Europe - the formation of a multi ethnic, multi religious Empire that held together remarkably well considering.

Throughout, the eccentricities, insanity, and inbreeding of the Hapsburgs are noted but not dwelt on. More space is given to the politics and factions of this complex edifice. And then finally, the end. As Martyn Rady notes, 1918 marks the end of a chapter for most countries, but for the Hapsburgs it marks the end of the book

Highly recommend
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Opinionated | 8 other reviews | Sep 3, 2023 |
This work on the Habsburg Empire provides just enough content to give readers a general overview of the empire which influenced central and Eastern Europe. Beginning with the rise of the Holy Roman Empire and continuing until the time of World War I, the author shows us the how the Habsburgs gained power and then how that influence waned. The book contained only two maps, and I think some additional ones depicting periods between those two would help readers understand some of the periods a little better.… (more)
thornton37814 | 1 other review | Jan 16, 2022 |
A decent look at the House of Habsburg. This author takes a thousand years of Habsburg history and presents it to us in a little over 300 pages. We begin with the origins of the mighty Habsburg dynasty, how they shored up their rule in Europe and bound their empire together. As their rule progressed, they were able to incorporate territories in both the Old and New Worlds into their empire.

The book is complimented by a full cast of characters including Maria Theresa, who ruled as Queen/Empress in her own right; and Franz Josef I, who brought the Habsburgs into World War I. While this book isn't lacking at all in the political side of things, I find that it is greatly hindered by the omission of a great many personal details of the members of the House of Habsburg. Reading the political became extremely trying at times, and I was soaking up the personal bits like a sponge that's been too long without water.

In summary, this is a good book for those looking for the political rise of the Habsburgs. Look elsewhere if you are seeking something a bit more personal.
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briandrewz | 8 other reviews | Feb 4, 2021 |

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