Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, dominated the 18th century in the same way that Napoleon dominated the start of the 19th - a force of nature, a caustic, ruthless, brilliant military commander, a monarch of exceptional energy and talent, and a knowledgeable patron of artists, architects and writers, most famously Voltaire. From early in his reign he was already a legendary figure - fascinating even to those who hated him.
Tim Blanning's brilliant new biography recreates a remarkable era, a world which would be swept away shortly after Frederick's death by the French Revolution. Equally at home on the battlefield or in the music room at Frederick's extraordinary miniature palace of Sanssouci, Blanning draws on a lifetime's obsession with the 18th century to create a work that is in many ways the summation of all that he has learned in his own rich and various career. Frederick's spectre has hung over Germany ever since: an inspiration, a threat, an impossible ideal - Blanning at last allows us to understand him in his own time.
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- Verlag: Penguin Books Ltd
- Seitenzahl: 600
- Erscheinungstermin: 24.09.2015
- ISBN-13: 9780241216996
- Artikelnr.: 43657612
As Tim Blanning makes clear in a new biography that is at once scholarly and highly readable, Frederick the Great fully deserves history s judgment of him as a transformative figure of the second millennium. . . . [Blanning] has given us a superb portrait of an enlightened despot, equally at home on the battlefield and in the opera house, both utterly ruthless and culturally refined. Commentary
Methodically but not ploddingly, Blanning, in clear thinking and prose, investigates all aspects of Frederick s personality and reign. . . . The last word on this significant king, for years to come. Booklist (starred review)
[A] masterly biography . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history, building up a rich picture of his very active mental life and the strange social setting that he constructed around himself. The Telegraph (five stars)
Superlative . . . an almost sculptural, three-dimensional rendering of Frederick, one that enables its vast and protean subject to be viewed from a multiplicity of angles . . . a supremely nuanced account, abounding in novel assessments and insights . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers and offers major reassessments of almost every aspect of Frederick s career. Literary Review
In Tim Blanning, Frederick has found the ideal biographer. . . . Blanning evokes Old Fritz in all his cold-blooded brilliance, ranging from the king s operatic tastes to his gastronomic and erotic predilections. The Sunday Times
[Frederick the Great] is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises. Blanning shows that this hereditary monarch, born in Berlin in 1712, could be more radical than most leaders today. The Spectator
[Blanning] has a reach that exceeds that of most of his peers. . . . This book is a rich, dense but accessible work of high scholarship. The Times