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Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe by Simon Winder



ISBN: 9781529026160 Category: Tags: ,


Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013 ‘Funny erudite frequently irritating . . . and never boring’ Sarah Bakewell Financial Times ‘An excellent rich and amusing read’ The Times Book of the Week For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards obsessives melancholics bores musicians and warriors they saw off – through luck guile and sheer mulishness – any number of rivals until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere – indeed the history of Europe hardly makes sense without them. Danubia plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy skeletons jewels bear-moats unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Full of music piracy religion and fighting it is the history of a dynasty but it is at least as much about the people they ruled who spoke many different languages lived in a vast range of landscapes believed in many rival gods and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna. Joining Germania and Lotharingia in Simon Winder’s endlessly fascinating retelling of European history Danubia is a hilarious eccentric and witty saga.

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