The Austrians : A Thousand-Year Odyssey

Gordon Brook-Shepherd

Published by Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1997
ISBN 10: 0786704004 / ISBN 13: 9780786704002
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Synopsis: A critically lauded, stimulating, and well-informed history of modern Austria makes use of the Habsburg's private family archives to trace the role of Austria in Europe's history since the Reformation and Austrians' identity as a people.

From Kirkus Reviews: The Austrians' island mentality and their competitive and ambiguous relationship with Germans interact as motifs throughout this flowing historical narrative. This readable account gives the impression that one is engaging in an extended private conversation with its author. Brook-Shepherd (The Storm Birds: Soviet Postwar Defectors, 1989, etc.) boasts a long and intimate acquaintance with the region and its influential figures that started with his service in the postwar Allied Commission in Vienna and years as a journalist. Always commanding the facts and elegant in his presentation, Brook- Shepherd is informative and at times insightful. His narrative focuses on political, dynastic, and military developments in Austrian history: its origins in the Holy Roman Empire, the Hapsburg dynasty, troubled relations with Hungary, the even more disturbing and still troubling issue of the Anschluss, and the era of neutrality and retirement that has come to an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The final sections on Austria's role in Europe as a potential bridge between East and West is timely. Still, the reader is left wishing that the author really had the opportunity to probe further: His walk along the already well-trod paths of political history does not adequately fulfill his aim of enlightening us about Austrian identity. Both in terms of the Austrians' relationship with Germans and with the many nationalities in their empire or national state, Brook-Shepherd should have amplified the other distinguishing aspects of Austrian society: language, dress, food, art, philosophy, and cultural trends. Details of everyday and intellectual life would have better served his goal of examining ``the suppressed development of an Austrian consciousness,'' especially as the country enters into the potentially homogenizing force of the European Union. These reservations notwithstanding, Brook-Shepherd provides a compact and illuminating overview of Austria's odd place in European history. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Title: The Austrians : A Thousand-Year Odyssey
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc.
Publication Date: 1997
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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