The Habsburgs: The Rise and Fall of a World Power

October 31, 2020
The Habsburgs: The Rise and Fall of a World Power

'The Habsburgs is gripping, colorful, anddramatic but also concise, scholarly, and magisterial ... Historyon an epic scale!' Simon Sebag Montefiore, author ofThe Romanovs and Jerusalem: TheBiographyIn The Habsburgs, Martyn Rady tells the epicstory of a dynasty and the world it built - and then lost - overnearly a millennium.From modest origins, the Habsburgs grew in power to gain controlof the Holy Roman Empire in the fifteenth century. Then, in just afew decades, their possessions rapidly expanded to take in a largepart of Europe stretching from Hungary to Spain, and from the FarEast to the New World. The family continued to dominate CentralEurope until the catastrophe of the First World War.With its seemingly disorganized mass of large and smallterritories, its tangle of laws and privileges and its medley oflanguages, the Habsburg Empire has always appeared haphazard andincomplete. But here Martyn Rady shows the reasons for the family'sincredible endurance, driven by the belief that they were destinedto rule the world as defenders of the Roman Catholic Church,guarantors of peace and patrons of learning. The Habsburg emperorswere themselves absurdly varied in their characters - from warlordsto contemplatives, from clever to stupid, from idle to frenzied -but all driven by the same sense of family mission. Scatteredaround the world, countless buildings, institutions and works ofart continue to bear witness to their overwhelming impact.The Habsburgs is the definitive history of a remarkabledynasty that, for better or worse, shaped Europe and the world.