Vienna, 1814

Vienna, 1814

How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna

Book - 2008
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Random House, Inc.
“Reads like a novel. A fast-paced page-turner, it has everything: sex, wit, humor, and adventures. But it is an impressively researched and important story.”
—David Fromkin, author of Europe’s Last Summer

Vienna, 1814 is an evocative and brilliantly researched account of the most audacious and extravagant peace conference in modern European history. With the feared Napoleon Bonaparte presumably defeated and exiled to the small island of Elba, heads of some 216 states gathered in Vienna to begin piecing together the ruins of his toppled empire. Major questions loomed: What would be done with France? How were the newly liberated territories to be divided? What type of restitution would be offered to families of the deceased? But this unprecedented gathering of kings, dignitaries, and diplomatic leaders unfurled a seemingly endless stream of personal vendettas, long-simmering feuds, and romantic entanglements that threatened to undermine the crucial work at hand, even as their hard-fought policy decisions shaped the destiny of Europe and led to the longest sustained peace the continent would ever see.

Beyond the diplomatic wrangling, however, the Congress of Vienna served as a backdrop for the most spectacular Vanity Fair of its time. Highlighted by such celebrated figures as the elegant but incredibly vain Prince Metternich of Austria, the unflappable and devious Prince Talleyrand of France, and the volatile Tsar Alexander of Russia, as well as appearances by Ludwig van Beethoven and Emilia Bigottini, the sheer star power of the Vienna congress outshone nearly everything else in the public eye.

An early incarnation of the cult of celebrity, the congress devolved into a series of debauched parties that continually delayed the progress of peace, until word arrived that Napoleon had escaped, abruptly halting the revelry and shrouding the continent in panic once again.

Vienna, 1814 beautifully illuminates the intricate social and political intrigue of this history-defining congress–a glorified party that seemingly valued frivolity over substance but nonetheless managed to drastically reconfigure Europe’s balance of power and usher in the modern age.

Baker & Taylor
A vivid rendering of the 1814 peace conference held in Vienna during the Napoleonic Wars offers lively portraits of the participants in the Congress of Vienna, as well as the political intrigues, illicit affairs, tangled alliances, bitter rivalries, and glittering pageantry that marked the occasion that transformed the face of nineteenth-century Europe and beyond. 50,000 first printing.

Book News
King, a Fullbright scholar who taught European history at the U. of Kentucky for many years, has uncovered a wealth of previously uncovered material on the Congress of Vienna, where the borders of Europe were re-drawn after the defeat of Napoleon. King focuses on the larger-than-life personalities who attended the historic conference, which included princes, dukes and tsars. King employs a rich and detailed narrative style that will delight history buffs, especially when it comes to documenting the espionage that remained a secret for almost two centuries. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

& Taylor

Details the 1814 Congress of Vienna, offering portraits of the participants and discussing the political intrigues, illicit affairs, tangled alliances, and bitter rivalries that marked the occasion that transformed the face of nineteenth-century Europe.

Publisher: New York : Harmony Books, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
Description: viii, 434 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780307337160
Branch Call Number: 940.2714 Kin


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Jul 16, 2019

A likeable book. I think if you come into this book knowing it will revolve around the leaders/political elite and their gossip before, during and a little after the Vienna Congress, you'll be enthralled. It was interesting to see how leaders and diplomats would be affected professionally by personal crisis, which makes one thinks on reflections of our politics today.

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