Tim Blanning

Frederick the Great : King of Prussia

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Book FormatHardcover
AuthorTim Blanning
Publication DateMarch, 2016
ISBN-139781400068128
GenreBiography & Autobiography/Royalty
<b>The definitive biography of the legendary autocrat whose enlightened rule transformed the map of Europe and changed the course of history</b> <p></p> Few figures loom as large in European history as Frederick the Great. When he inherited the Prussian crown in 1740, he ruled over a kingdom of scattered territories, a minor Germanic backwater. By the end of his reign, the much larger and consolidated Prussia ranked among the continent's great powers. In this magisterial biography, award-winning historian Tim Blanning gives us an intimate, in-depth portrait of a king who dominated the political, military, and cultural life of Europe half a century before Napoleon. <p></p>A brilliant, ambitious, sometimes ruthless monarch, Frederick was a man of immense contradictions. This consummate conqueror was also an ardent patron of the arts who attracted painters, architects, musicians, playwrights, and intellectuals to his court. Like his fellow autocrat Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick was captivated by the ideals of the Enlightenment--for many years he kept up lively correspondence with Voltaire and other leading thinkers of the age. Yet, like Catherine, Frederick drew the line when it came to implementing Enlightenment principles that might curtail his royal authority. <p></p> Frederick's terrifying father instilled in him a stern military discipline that would make the future king one of the most fearsome battlefield commanders of his day, while deriding as effeminate his son's passion for modern ideas and fine art. Frederick, driven to surpass his father's legacy, challenged the dominant German-speaking powers, including Saxony, Bavaria, and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was an audacious foreign policy gambit, one at which Frederick, against the expectations of his rivals, succeeded. <p></p> In examining Frederick's private life, Blanning also carefully considers the long-debated question of Frederick's sexuality, finding evidence that Frederick lavished gifts on his male friends and maintained homosexual relationships throughout his life, while limiting contact with his estranged, unloved queen to visits that were few and far between. <p></p> The story of one man's life and the complete political and cultural transformation of a nation, Tim Blanning's sweeping biography takes readers inside the mind of the monarch, giving us a fresh understanding of Frederick the Great's remarkable reign. <p></p> <b>Praise for <i>Frederick the Great<br /></i></b> <br /> &quot;Writing Frederick's biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance.&quot; <b>--<i>The Wall Street Journal</i></b> <p></p> &quot;At once scholarly and highly readable . . . [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.&quot; <b>--<i>Commentary</i></b> <p></p> &quot;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.&quot; <b>--<i>Booklist </i>(starred review)</b> <p></p>&quot;Masterly . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history.&quot; <b>--<i>The Telegraph</i> (five stars)</b> <p></p> &quot;A supremely nuanced account . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers.&quot; <b>--<i>Literary Review</i></b>

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The definitive biography of the legendary autocrat whose enlightened rule transformed the map of Europe and changed the course of history

Few figures loom as large in European history as Frederick the Great. When he inherited the Prussian crown in 1740, he ruled over a kingdom of scattered territories, a minor Germanic backwater. By the end of his reign, the much larger and consolidated Prussia ranked among the continent's great powers. In this magisterial biography, award-winning historian Tim Blanning gives us an intimate, in-depth portrait of a king who dominated the political, military, and cultural life of Europe half a century before Napoleon.

A brilliant, ambitious, sometimes ruthless monarch, Frederick was a man of immense contradictions. This consummate conqueror was also an ardent patron of the arts who attracted painters, architects, musicians, playwrights, and intellectuals to his court. Like his fellow autocrat Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick was captivated by the ideals of the Enlightenment--for many years he kept up lively correspondence with Voltaire and other leading thinkers of the age. Yet, like Catherine, Frederick drew the line when it came to implementing Enlightenment principles that might curtail his royal authority.

Frederick's terrifying father instilled in him a stern military discipline that would make the future king one of the most fearsome battlefield commanders of his day, while deriding as effeminate his son's passion for modern ideas and fine art. Frederick, driven to surpass his father's legacy, challenged the dominant German-speaking powers, including Saxony, Bavaria, and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was an audacious foreign policy gambit, one at which Frederick, against the expectations of his rivals, succeeded.

In examining Frederick's private life, Blanning also carefully considers the long-debated question of Frederick's sexuality, finding evidence that Frederick lavished gifts on his male friends and maintained homosexual relationships throughout his life, while limiting contact with his estranged, unloved queen to visits that were few and far between.

The story of one man's life and the complete political and cultural transformation of a nation, Tim Blanning's sweeping biography takes readers inside the mind of the monarch, giving us a fresh understanding of Frederick the Great's remarkable reign.

Praise for Frederick the Great

"Writing Frederick's biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance." --The Wall Street Journal

"At once scholarly and highly readable . . . [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

"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)

"Masterly . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history." --The Telegraph (five stars)

"A supremely nuanced account . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers." --Literary ReviewThe definitive biography of the legendary autocrat whose enlightened rule transformed the map of Europe and changed the course of history

Few figures loom as large in European history as Frederick the Great. When he inherited the Prussian crown in 1740, he ruled over a kingdom of scattered territories, a minor Germanic backwater. By the end of his reign, the much larger and consolidated Prussia ranked among the continent’s great powers. In this magisterial biography, award-winning historian Tim Blanning gives us an intimate, in-depth portrait of a king who dominated the political, military, and cultural life of Europe half a century before Napoleon.

A brilliant, ambitious, sometimes ruthless monarch, Frederick was a man of immense contradictions. This consummate conqueror was also an ardent patron of the arts who attracted painters, architects, musicians, playwrights, and intellectuals to his court. Like his fellow autocrat Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick was captivated by the ideals of the Enlightenment—for many years he kept up lively correspondence with Voltaire and other leading thinkers of the age. Yet, like Catherine, Frederick drew the line when it came to implementing Enlightenment principles that might curtail his royal authority.

Frederick’s terrifying father instilled in him a stern military discipline that would make the future king one of the most fearsome battlefield commanders of his day, while deriding as effeminate his son’s passion for modern ideas and fine art. Frederick, driven to surpass his father’s legacy, challenged the dominant German-speaking powers, including Saxony, Bavaria, and the Habsburg Monarchy. It was an audacious foreign policy gambit, one at which Frederick, against the expectations of his rivals, succeeded.

In examining Frederick’s private life, Blanning also carefully considers the long-debated question of Frederick’s sexuality, finding evidence that Frederick lavished gifts on his male friends and maintained homosexual relationships throughout his life, while limiting contact with his estranged, unloved queen to visits that were few and far between.

The story of one man’s life and the complete political and cultural transformation of a nation, Tim Blanning’s sweeping biography takes readers inside the mind of the monarch, giving us a fresh understanding of Frederick the Great’s remarkable reign.

Praise for Frederick the Great

“Writing Frederick’s biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance.” The Wall Street Journal

“At once scholarly and highly readable . . . [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

“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)

“Masterly . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history.” The Telegraph (five stars)

“A supremely nuanced account . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers.” Literary Review

Specifications

Publisher
Random House Publishing Group
Book Format
Hardcover
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
688
Author
Tim Blanning
Title
Frederick the Great
ISBN-13
9781400068128
Publication Date
March, 2016
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.54 x 6.56 x 1.64 Inches
ISBN-10
1400068126

Customer Reviews

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Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Frederick the Great K...

Frederick the Great King of Prussia by Tim Blanning is a stunning book. Blanning , a professor of mine when I was at Cambridge, has given us the definitive biography of Frederick the Great. I think of Nancy Mitford's biography but I find this one more substantial. For a student of German history this is a must.

Average Rating:(3.0)out of 5 stars

Frederick the Great K...

Frederick the Great King of Prussia, by Tim Blanning (read 10 Aug 2016) Even though I read on 15 May 1972 Ludwig Reimers' biograph of Frederick the Great and on 4 June 1987 I read Robert B. Asprey's biography of him, I hve now read this 2016 biography by a Cambridge historian. Blanning spends a lot more time on Frederick's probable homosexuality than did the othe two biographies I read, but he also covers the life and Frederick's exploits in full. Some of the accoun is pretty dry, but the account of account of the Seven Years war is well done. The book has 105 pages of notes and six pages of a list for "Further Reading" (though neither of the old biographies I have read is suggested as uther reading. The book did not make me admratory of Frederick--in fact some of what Frederick thought and di suggested why Hitler admired him, his anti-Semitism, his animus against religion, etc.

Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars

The iconic biography i...

The iconic biography in English it may be, but so much less engaging than his excellent books on Glory and on Music. This took months to read and I was really grateful for the 160 pages of notes as they suddenly ended the tome. I read it all because it was so expensive to purchase. The maps are execrable. You need your own. Not a nice person. Enlightened autocracy is shown to be overrated.


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