"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, October 23, 2020

Habsburg History

Eastern Christians, especially some of those we today call, or who call themselves, Ukrainians, were for a very long time bound up with the fortunes of the Habsburgs, not least in Austrian Galicia. Galician history, as I indicate at the link, is itself fascinating, not least as told by Larry Wolff, and Robert Magosci and Christopher Hann. 

Habsburg history takes place on a much wider front, of course--indeed, a global one, and is even more interesting. It is an area I have long wanted to read more of, and now I have new incentive to do so thanks to the wonderful London Review of Books, in its 24 September 2020 edition, where we find a laudatory review of a new book: Martin Rady, The Habsburgs: to Rule the World (Basic Books, 2020), 416pp.

About this new book the publisher tells us this:

In The Habsburgs, Martyn Rady tells the epic story of a dynasty and the world it built -- and then lost -- over nearly a millennium. From modest origins, the Habsburgs gained control of the Holy Roman Empire in the fifteenth century. Then, in just a few decades, their possessions rapidly expanded to take in a large part of Europe, stretching from Hungary to Spain, and parts of the New World and the Far East. The Habsburgs continued to dominate Central Europe through the First World War.

Historians often depict the Habsburgs as leaders of a ramshackle empire. But Rady reveals their enduring power, driven by the belief that they were destined to rule the world as defenders of the Roman Catholic Church, guarantors of peace, and patrons of learning. The Habsburgs is the definitive history of a remarkable dynasty that forever changed Europe and the world.

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