Wednesday 22 January 2020

Book Review: The Habsburgs - To Rule the World by Martyn Rady (Non-Fiction/History)

Title: The Habsburgs - To Rule the World
Author: Martyn Rady
Publisher: Pushkin Press/Basic Books

Publication Date: 12 May 2020
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley

In The Habsburgs, Martyn Rady tells the epic story of a dynasty and the world they 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. 

I have a long-held interest in the Habsburgs and was therefore keen to read a new biography about the family. Rady's book is certainly packed with detail, and overall I thought it was a satisfying read, if a little dry at times. Some information I already knew, but there were a few things I hadn't come across/realised before, so that helped to maintain my interest. I wasn't sure about the handful of digressions into art and architecture. Not that they weren't interesting; they simply seemed out of place in a family biography and maybe could have been trimmed somewhat. But that is a minor gripe. On the whole this was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to those interested in the Habsburgs or the history of Europe in general.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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