The Napoleonic Wars had torn Europe apart, and the peace conference of 1814 was to be held in the continent's grandest city: Vienna. Everyone had an agenda in the postwar world, and spy networks, bitter hatreds, illicit affairs, and tangled alliances ensued.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the Hapsburg Emperor of Austria, in opening his splendid rococo palace to the European royals and providing elaborate banquets and lavish entertainments, set the stage for the most extravagant pageantry since the fall of the Roman Empire. Guests were swept up in the dazzling whirlwind of social events-masquerades, hunts, and elaborate dinners-even as maps were being redrawn, rulers reinstated or ousted, and fortunes transferred. Ultimately, the Congress of Vienna ushered in the longest period of peace Europe has ever known. Vienna 1814 is a rich, impeccably researched history of the intrigue and frivolity that would forever mark the Congress of Vienna as the greatest Vanity Fair of all time.
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by John C. Calhoun
by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
by Mike Lofgren
by Jonathon King
by David Rollins
by David Talbot
by David Halberstam
"After 12 years of the Napoleonic Wars, the monarchs and ministers of Europe met in Vienna in 1814 to slice up the territorial pie. In a months-long circus of intercourse, intrigue, balls, banquets, and nefarious negotiations, lands were played for like pieces on a chess board. At first, narrator Mel Foster's hesitant speech seems stilted, but his exceptional skill with French and German exposes a broad linguistic strength. With time he relaxes and lets the raucous proceedings take the spotlight, enjoying himself with the occasional poetry. Since the author's attributions make the sources of quotations clear, Foster needn't use any accent or theatrical character. The extensive lesson in geography, politics, history, and biography would satisfy anyone's desire to learn more about this event. J.A.H. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine"
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