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Download The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey epub

by Gordon Brook-Shepherd

The nation-state of Austria has only existed since the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg empire in 1918. This work examines the Austrian people's struggle to find their identity against the pull of multi-national Danubian traditions on one hand and racial German ties on the other. It also describes the role the Austrians have to play in the modern world and how they have come to terms with their recent past.
Download The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey epub
ISBN: 0786705205
ISBN13: 978-0786705207
Category: History
Subcategory: Europe
Author: Gordon Brook-Shepherd
Language: English
Publisher: Basic Books; 1st Paperback Edition edition (February 15, 1998)
Pages: 512 pages
ePUB size: 1566 kb
FB2 size: 1721 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 214
Other Formats: docx lrf mobi lrf

Zeus Wooden
As an overview of Austrian history - which both the book's subtitle and description seem to promise - The Austrians resoundingly disappoints. The first thousand years, until the reign of Franz Joseph I are rushed over in a couple of pages with almost all details left out. For example, here is the entire coverage of the War of Austrian Succession:

"There is no need to recount here how the young and inexperienced empress survived the onslaught on her inheritance which was now lavished by those same powers who had promised to respect it; but survive, at the end, she did, though at the heavy cost of yielding up Silesia to Frederick II of Prussia."

Fortunately, beginning with the revolutionary year 1848, and even more so around the two world wars, the account becomes very detailed and interesting. The author has had first-hand experience with many of the events as an officer in Vienna's Allied Commission, and it shows throughout the text. It is nevertheless frustrating how the author skimmed over the period of Austria as a major European power and focused so much on the time when the Germans in Vienna decidedly started to play second fiddle to the Germans in Berlin.

The book enjoys almost no competition in the English language and so the reader cannot be too picky. This particular reader however wishes that the author had been more honest, dropped the opening part and called his book Austria in the 20th Century.
If you are trying to develop an insight into the start of WWI then this book is very good. The writing style of the author makes it very interesting to read about the feelings at the time. Finally I have a better understanding of why Austria was instrumental in starting WWI. I thought it was because the Archduke was shot in Bosnia. I did not know why he was shot until I read this excellently researched book. I had no idea about the double dealing and intrigue the Austrian emperor was engaged in. I have been a history buff for many years and I wish that I had discovered this book several years earlier!!
This is one of a number of books we purchased in preparation for a month-long journey to Austria (in the course of which we spent a delightful week with our exchange-student daughter's host family near Graz). Austria has played a central role in much of European history, and this book provides indispensable insights into the background of this fascinating nation. One can't begin to understand Austria today without some knowledge of its complex past. This book is indispensable for those who would really seek to experience Austria. We don't pretend to a lofty level of geopolitical wisdom, but this book helped lift us out of our American insularism. Our Austrian hosts were fascinated by it, and wanted their own copy.
This was very well-written. But, as many here have pointed out, the book seems to exclusively focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, and the previous eight hundred years take up around 80 pages, I think. Now while this book was very informative and dispersed interesting anecdotes among all that history, I really do wish it focus on all thousand years of that odyssey. One must also keep in mind that this boo is from the 90s, and therefore, slightly dated. However, it is understandable why Brook-Shepherd didn't focus on earlier Austria. His primary sources, especially the people he knows, are big players in the 20th century Austria. And he begins the book with explaining that for some reason it took so long for Austrians to mark themselves as something other than a German-state, even with the empire attached to them. I might be wrong, but he seems to be describing the history of the Austrian identity as well, especially with the really interesting analysis of Austrian, and specifically, Viennese character. He notices trends in Austrian history, such as the deciders of its fate have usually not been Austrians themselves. And this really was a good book to look into if you want a good history of the country. It seems that for learnin about Austria's earlier history it might be more prudent to focus on the history of the HRE and the Hapsburgs. In conclusion, I enjoyed this book. It wasn't very "dry", mostly because of my interests, and it did teach me many things.
Expected this book to be very dry (dates,facts) it was not the case. The historical information was well presented and flowed li!e a fiction novel! It actually made reading the history of my birth country really enjoyable! If someone is interested in how and why for instance of why WW1 happened this is a great source! Even though it is a larger eBook it is well worth the read! Highly recommend!
A fascinating book. As an Austrian, I very much enjoyed reading this book, as I am not used to encountering history books on my own country in English. Although it was rather biased (Gordon Brook-Shepherd, the author, vehemently insisted that Austrians have no sense of national identity, something which quite a few people would object to), it was well argued, and a fascinating read into the much-unknown world of the Austrians, formerly an important nation until the First World War came along, flattened their massive empire, and left them to wallow in their own nostalgia and self-pity, having to put up being a second-rate nation after having experienced Imperial glory under the Habsburg emperors. Gordon Brook-Shepherd puts forward a balanced account of the Nazi years, delicately addressing the status of the Austrian nation at the time. Brook-Shepherd, I believe, accurately depicts the Austrians, as idyllic, ever cheerful people who are more concerned with their wine, food, and merry-making, than what goes on around them. Definitely a thumbs-up!
My husband is thoroughly enjoying this read. He is a true history buff.
Not finished the read, however, so far very informative.