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Metternich Reviews

Metternich by Wolfram Siemann, Daniel Steuer

Metternich: Strategist and Visionary

Wolfram Siemann, Daniel Steuer

3.75 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Harvard University Press
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 29 Nov 2019
ISBN: 9780674743922

Wolfram Siemann tells a new story of Clemens von Metternich, the Austrian at the center of nineteenth-century European diplomacy. Known as a conservative and an uncompromising practitioner of realpolitik, in fact Metternich accommodated new ideas of liberalism and nationalism insofar as they served the goal of peace. And he promoted reform at home.

4 stars out of 5
22 Feb 2020

"Metternich deserves, and here thoroughly receives, re-examination."

Metternich deserves, and here thoroughly receives, re-examination. It’s a biography for anyone who seriously wants to learn about its remarkable subject. But for the casual reader unprepared for an endless procession of unpronounceable principalities and
actors — from Von Trautmansdorff to Grillparzer — it could be quite baffling.


3 stars out of 5
22 Feb 2020

"The translation by Daniel Steuer is fluent and vivacious"

This is the achievement of Wolfram Siemann, emeritus professor of history at Munich and already author of monographs on several crucial episodes in Metternich’s long life: the Congress of Vienna, the beginnings of the German secret police, the 1848 revolution and Metternich’s Britain. Metternich: Strategist and visionary is thus the culmination and encapsulation of a life’s work, and despite its length, twice as long as anybody else’s except Srbik, it is a running joy, full of winking sidelights and delightful detours, many of which are not really detours at all – for example, Metternich’s endless struggles to recover or replace the princely estates which had been torn away by the war and then to restore the family finances which had been frittered away by Franz Georg.

4 stars out of 5
Adam Zamoyski
14 Dec 2019

"This impressive biography is welcome."

This impressive biography is welcome. It covers every aspect of Metternich’s life with a wealth of detail, and dishes up some delightful gems. A hand-drawn sketch recording where every Italian subversive had gone to ground, from Buenos Aires to Brussels, brings to life his obsession with the threat they posed. A bizarre diagram showing the relative ages of sexual activity of the two sexes provides a valuable insight into the way his mind worked — it puts 49 as the age of mort sexuelle in women.