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Maria Theresa of Austria

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In 1740, destiny sweeps the young Maria Theresa of Austria to the top of the Habsburg throne. The 23-year-old greenhorn turns out to be dynamite: with vigor, determination and great charm, Habsburg's only woman ruler parries the onslaught of a host of enemies, has 16 children in twenty years by her beloved husband, reforms her huge Habsburg Empire from head to toe and part In 1740, destiny sweeps the young Maria Theresa of Austria to the top of the Habsburg throne. The 23-year-old greenhorn turns out to be dynamite: with vigor, determination and great charm, Habsburg's only woman ruler parries the onslaught of a host of enemies, has 16 children in twenty years by her beloved husband, reforms her huge Habsburg Empire from head to toe and parties as if there were no tomorrow. Its focus on the strong, colorful personalities of Maria Theresa, her family and other leading figures of her age, makes this a most entertaining and immensely readable historical account.


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In 1740, destiny sweeps the young Maria Theresa of Austria to the top of the Habsburg throne. The 23-year-old greenhorn turns out to be dynamite: with vigor, determination and great charm, Habsburg's only woman ruler parries the onslaught of a host of enemies, has 16 children in twenty years by her beloved husband, reforms her huge Habsburg Empire from head to toe and part In 1740, destiny sweeps the young Maria Theresa of Austria to the top of the Habsburg throne. The 23-year-old greenhorn turns out to be dynamite: with vigor, determination and great charm, Habsburg's only woman ruler parries the onslaught of a host of enemies, has 16 children in twenty years by her beloved husband, reforms her huge Habsburg Empire from head to toe and parties as if there were no tomorrow. Its focus on the strong, colorful personalities of Maria Theresa, her family and other leading figures of her age, makes this a most entertaining and immensely readable historical account.

30 review for Maria Theresa of Austria

  1. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    "I found myself without money, without credit, without army, without experience and knowledge of my own and finally, also without any counsel because each one of them at first wanted to wait and see how things would develop." Maria Theresa of Austria The life story of the powerful German Queen, Maria Teresa, who was ahead of her time in many ways, in the areas of reform but also a woman plagued with many insecurities, despite her successful rule. She was dependent on her many advisors (being youn "I found myself without money, without credit, without army, without experience and knowledge of my own and finally, also without any counsel because each one of them at first wanted to wait and see how things would develop." Maria Theresa of Austria The life story of the powerful German Queen, Maria Teresa, who was ahead of her time in many ways, in the areas of reform but also a woman plagued with many insecurities, despite her successful rule. She was dependent on her many advisors (being young and ill-prepared when she started) and some gave her very bad advice which weaked her at first as a ruler. She was brought up to despise Jews and Protestants and insisted they be removed and excluded from her kingdom. Maria Teresa was the only female ruler of the Hapsburg dynasty for forty years and she was also the mother of sixteen children. (Only ten lived to adulthood.) She understood as a mother the need for education and made education compulsory in her kingdom. Her rule began when she was only 23 years old in 1740. I always enjoy reading about female rulers and learning how they actually ruled in a world of men and this biography did not disappoint. Four stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Irina

    It was very hard to let go of this book, so much so that I carried it in my pocket (it was the pocket that is big, not the other way 'round) all the time in order to catch some free minutes on my commute where I can read it. This is not only because the life of Maria Theresa is absolutely fascinating, but also because the way this book was written was both funny and catchy. I especially liked how it was presented in such a way that it made the otherwise dry details very funny. I cannot shake it It was very hard to let go of this book, so much so that I carried it in my pocket (it was the pocket that is big, not the other way 'round) all the time in order to catch some free minutes on my commute where I can read it. This is not only because the life of Maria Theresa is absolutely fascinating, but also because the way this book was written was both funny and catchy. I especially liked how it was presented in such a way that it made the otherwise dry details very funny. I cannot shake it off my mind how Neuhauser said that Francis was set on a "Mission Impossible" by his father-in-law when he had to join the war, the second time (I blame it on her that now I picture Maria Theresa married to a 1700 something Tom Cruise). So I would recommend for everyone to read it even if they are not that interested in Maria Theresa's life (although everyone should be, her reign and she herself were groundbreaking for her time and for Europe's history in general). On a side note, as someone who is head over hills interested and in love with Franz Joseph (reign, life, family, you name it), this book was a very good first book to read in order to know more about other areas of Austria's history.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marley Ogden

    Fun to read for a biography. Some chapters, it was hard to wade through the details and many different names. The author however provides a good balance of technical and personal information to help break up the complicated parts. Loved the excerpts from letters that gave a real personality to the figures being described

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rose

    As someone who knew nothing about Maria Theresa before reading this, I can highly recommend this book for people who are interested in the topic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Having recently read The Habsburgs by Martyn Rady and being a bit of a history buff, I figured it was time I read a biography of Maria Theresa. I was surprised to see that there were so few books about her, but I am very happy I chose this one. I didn’t want anything too academic that would focus on all the wars going on in Europe in the 18th Century, especially since Maria Theresa reigned for 40 years during that period. Happily I found this book focused on her, which was exactly what I was hop Having recently read The Habsburgs by Martyn Rady and being a bit of a history buff, I figured it was time I read a biography of Maria Theresa. I was surprised to see that there were so few books about her, but I am very happy I chose this one. I didn’t want anything too academic that would focus on all the wars going on in Europe in the 18th Century, especially since Maria Theresa reigned for 40 years during that period. Happily I found this book focused on her, which was exactly what I was hoping for. Because she was a woman in a very conservative male world she had to fight for her position of authority over her subjects and especially vis-à-vis her archenemy Frederick the Great of Prussia. If this book was intended to be simple and readable, for a non academic reader like me, it was just perfect. I did not feel it necessary to keep track of all the switching back and forth of allegiances between the players: Prussia, France, Spain, Silesia, Bavaria, Bohemia, Russia, England … I found it fascinating how a woman could be at the heart of so much internal and external activity and give birth to 16 children at the same time. Not sure a man could have pulled that off! She reigned through the smallpox epidemic, countless wars, the height of the Enlightenment and still she loved to dance and play games until the wee hours of the morning. She brought about major social changes too: compulsory education (even for girls), military and administrative reform, economic reform (manufacturing, commence, trade, agriculture), set up hospitals and old people’s homes, developed infrastructures (roads, water) and passed laws restricting the aristocratic practices of exploiting the serfs. She was clearly a workaholic! This book is well researched and contains lots of excerpts from her correspondence. I like that the book had short chapters and nice clear prose. Loved this book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stan

    For one with such an interesting life, Maria Theresa was relatively unknown to me. It was when we visited Vienna that I became exposed to what a tremendous influence she had on the European political scene in the 18th century. This book is just what I was looking for: a manageable account of her life. This book lays out her life in just enough detail. It's a good book because she is such an interesting character. The writing itself is just fine. Not especially prose-like, but also not awkward at For one with such an interesting life, Maria Theresa was relatively unknown to me. It was when we visited Vienna that I became exposed to what a tremendous influence she had on the European political scene in the 18th century. This book is just what I was looking for: a manageable account of her life. This book lays out her life in just enough detail. It's a good book because she is such an interesting character. The writing itself is just fine. Not especially prose-like, but also not awkward at all. I think that's one of the signs of a good book, when you don't notice the writing or writing style--just the story. (Or course, the ultimate is when the story is told with truly beautiful writing as well, ala "East of Eden.") Worth reading because she is a fascinating character. It has motivated me to read about Catherine the Great and Frederick the Great, and maybe a few other of her contemporaries.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John Kenrick

    Enjoyable and informative After seeing a glossy, gossipy Travel Channel documentary on Maria Theresa, I was delighted to find this book. Well researched and very readable, it gave me a serious but accessible look at the life of this extraordinary monarch. Now and then the use of contemporary slang is jarring -- as when the author has the Empress trying to "chill." But to someone who knew very little about this mother of monarchs, this book was fun and rewarding. Enjoyable and informative After seeing a glossy, gossipy Travel Channel documentary on Maria Theresa, I was delighted to find this book. Well researched and very readable, it gave me a serious but accessible look at the life of this extraordinary monarch. Now and then the use of contemporary slang is jarring -- as when the author has the Empress trying to "chill." But to someone who knew very little about this mother of monarchs, this book was fun and rewarding.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Hard to keep all the information about people, countries and wars straight a s they were very involved and complex. However, the story line itself is interesting and there was great insight into the personal lives of Maria Theresa and her faily.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fer

    Uma boa leitura no contexto da minha viagem a Viena. Estou afeito a ler sobre a guerra dos 7 anos desde as perspectivas prussianas, inglesas, russas ou francesas e este texto profundamente austríaco foi mui interessante.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jurrit

    It's what the author promises. It's a great narrative. It sparks the interest for history. It focusses on mostly the human side of things. In that perspective a good book. Taking it at an whole it misses some things, but it doesn't take the joy of reading away. It's what the author promises. It's a great narrative. It sparks the interest for history. It focusses on mostly the human side of things. In that perspective a good book. Taking it at an whole it misses some things, but it doesn't take the joy of reading away.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debra L. Lanham

    Not what I expected.. This book is good if you want to know the history of a political leader. It is not as good if you want to know about Maria Theresa as a person--which is what I wanted. I only read one fourth before I called it a night. Great for a term paper!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katarina Bogdan

    Entertaining Easy and quick read with apparently good, detailed research. Author did a great job providing context for all historical events.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andreea Trezak

    Amazing woman, amazing history, amazing book! Loved it!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    REVIEW I often wondered about the ruling class of Germany, especially after visiting Germany, Austria and other places where history had been made.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Daniela

    Great biography with simple and modern narration, easy to follow and well explained timeline of events.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Marian

    Can someone help me get a copy of this book. The only place is Amazon at a price of $53.00.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Fascinating story about a complex and interesting woman. The writing has a few rough edges and sometimes gets down in the weeds of extraneous detail, but the book is accessible and entertaining. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David O'Connell

  19. 5 out of 5

    J Roberge

  20. 4 out of 5

    Woflmao

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Tidwell

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richard Kaplan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rami Jacob

  26. 5 out of 5

    Richard Hunter

  27. 4 out of 5

    Preston Coe

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristal Amalia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette Clay

  30. 4 out of 5

    J. Heath

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