This is a great biography of Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph, as well as an excellent history of the time period in which he ruled: 1848 until 1916. Emperor Francis (Franz) Joseph was the longest ruling Habsburg king, as well as one of the most important rulers of the dynasty. His reign began during the revolutions of 1848, saw the rise of Prussia, Italian independence and unification, the creation of the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1867, German unification under Prussian dominance, and the beginning of World War One. Quite a bit of consequential European history occurred during the reign of Emperor Francis Joseph.
But he also saw personal tragedy during this time, including the assassination of his wife, Empress Sisi, and the suicide of his son, Crown Prince Rudolph. At the end of his life, the Emperor's long-term work to retain Habsburg power and influence proved futile, as his empire crumbled in the aftermath of World War One and the Austrian republic began. His dynastic successors had to leave Austria, and renounce their claim to any power over the Austrian people. But the Habsburgs had ruled for centuries, and had made their mark on Europe in countless ways. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Habsburgs, Austrian history, or 19th Century European history.
Brendan Steinhauser is a national political strategist focused on campaigns, media, and public policy.