This is a well written book about one of the lesser known corners of history. Yes, everyone with the slightest interest in history knows…or THINKS they know about the infamous Kaiser Wilhelm II, but I believe few know the whole story. Though hardly a paragon of virtue, he was hardly the great monster he has so frequently been portrayed. More to the point, this book is not just about him, but a lucid overview of the entire, brief span of Germany’s Second Reich, lasting less than fifty years, 1871-1918. As it turns out, the central figures in this narrative are not so much the three kaisers themselves, but the Iron Chancellor, Otto Von Bismark and his chief adversary, Queen Victoria’s eldest child, Victoria, Princess Royal, who became the consort of the future Frederick III, the middle of the three Kaisers, who, tragically was literally on his death bed when he ascended the imperial throne in 1888 and lived for only some three months. The book goes into some detail about their stormy relationship and its consequences. It also points up one major miscalculation that Bismark made:his belief that he could manipulate and control Wilhelm II as he had done with Wilhelm I. My two minor reservations about Mr. Aronson’s book (hence four stars rather than five) have to do with his failure to mention a very likely cause of Frederick III’s fatal illness, which was almost certainly his heavy smoking, and his glossing over of World War I. True, this book was not intended to be a history of that cataclysmic event, but given that it brought down not only the German Empire, but the Austrian and Ottoman empires as well and changed the map of Europe and that continent’s future history rather drastically, he gives it decidedly short shrift. Nevertheless, an easy and informative read. Recommended. Review from the USA with several others just as amazing.
Hardcover, first edition second impression June 1971. The boards are the slightly shelf worn, but remain otherwise in good + shape.
Silver gilt to the spine. The dust jacket is shelf rubbed and worn with some very light creasing and fraying along the edges. Despite this, it remains in very good+ copy. Internally, there is a previous owner’s stamp marking on the front end page. The rest of the pages within are crisp, clean and complete. See Our own photograph of our book for Quality Control