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Publisher's Summary

The Napoleonic Wars had torn Europe apart, and the peace conference of 1814 was to be held in the continent's grandest city: Vienna. Everyone had an agenda in the postwar world, and spy networks, bitter hatreds, illicit affairs, and tangled alliances ensued.Despite the gravity of the situation, the Hapsburg Emperor of Austria, in opening his splendid rococo palace to the European royals and providing elaborate banquets and lavish entertainments, set the stage for the most extravagant pageantry since the fall of the Roman Empire. Guests were swept up in the dazzling whirlwind of social events - masquerades, hunts, and elaborate dinners - even as maps were being redrawn, rulers reinstated or ousted, and fortunes transferred. Ultimately, the Congress of Vienna ushered in the longest period of peace Europe has ever known.Vienna 1814 is a rich, impeccably researched history of the intrigue and frivolity that would forever mark the Congress of Vienna as the greatest Vanity Fair of all time.
©2008 David King; (P)2008 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Deftly paced and engagingly written." (Publishers Weekly)
"A worthy contribution to the study of a critical historical event long neglected by historians." (Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Adam on 09-29-11

Very good

This book is well written, and covers an important topic that not a lot has been written about recently. This topic isn't just the culmination of 30 years of events in Europe, but also sets the stage for the trouble later in the century, which ultimately leads to WW1 and WW2. This book also helps you understand why certain events around this time in America occurred as they did, such as the end of the War of 1812. I also liked the details it gives about life in Vienna in the early 19th century, which almost makes you feel like you are there. My only complaint is that by the second half of the book, some of the social details become a bit repetitive. This is minor, and the book overall is well worth it.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By D. Littman on 05-26-08

brings you into the whirl of the time

This books does a nice job bring the reader, listener, into the life of the Congress of Vienna, part party, part diplomacy. With the party dominant. It turns out that the party aspects of the event were closely interlocked with the diplomacy aspects, at least insofar as the author is able to show. So it seems necessary to be cognizant of both. At times, I found the party aspects a bit overwhelming, but the author (& the narrator) are able to bring things together at the end of each thematic section to make what you have heard relevant. I am more comfortable with political/diplomatic history of this period, so it some ways it was refreshing to see the players in their times of pleasure & partying, and not just in their times of plotting.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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