Allan Massie

Hodge-Podge Empire

Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe

By

Picador 530pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

Danubia: A Personal History of Habsburg Europe is a logical sequel to Simon Winder’s quirky and delightful Germania, an exploration of German history that paid much more attention to the small states within the old Holy Roman Empire than to the large ones such as Prussia, Saxony and Bavaria. It too was a personal history, an exercise in happy self-indulgence, Winder giving free rein to his enthusiasms and prejudices. Written in an agreeably informal and spontaneous style, it was sometimes marred by the author’s habit of finding places, buildings, museums and works of art ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ – though it should be added that these adjectives were usually employed as terms of praise.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,