Non-fiction – society, biography, and literary and cultural history

Wolfram Siemann
Metternich. Stratege und Visionär

© C. H. Beck Verlag, München, 2016 Wolfram Siemann: Metternich. Stratege und Visionär © C. H. Beck Verlag, Munich, 2016Outmoded and misunderstood. That was a feeling known only too well by the most hated politician of his day. Even today, Metternich’s name is associated with censorship and surveillance, the secret police, European-wide suppression of freedom and national self-determination, and with the Austrian reactionary who saved the rotten building of the Habsburg Empire from its well-deserved downfall at any price. Metternich is still the bad guy of German historiography, presented as a sinister character in every textbook. (...) Yet Metternich was quite different to what we have so far assumed. That is now the convincing claim of retired Munich historian Wolfram Siemann in his ground-breaking biography, the first major Metternich biography to be published in the last ninety years. On nearly 1,000 pages including notes, Siemann presents in minute detail the career of the statesman, who was born in 1773, dispelling legends and prejudices by means of many new documents, correspondence and archive findings. This impressive, multi-faceted work reflects a whole epoch, from the period before 1789 to the threshold of unification of the German Reich under Bismarck. (...) Like noone else, Metternich recognised Napoleon’s genius as well as his limitations. The way in which he outmanoeuvred the Emperor over the years in spite of defeats, forging a European coalition against him as foreign minister after 1809, reads like a crime thriller.

Alexander Camann: „Gerechtigkeit für ein Genie“
© Die Zeit, 5 March 2016

Wolfram Siemann
Metternich. Stratege und Visionär
C. H. Beck Verlag, Munich, 2016
ISBN 978-3-406-68386-2
983 pages

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