The Red Prince by Timothy Snyder
The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke

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Synopsis

Wilhelm Von Habsburg wore the uniform of the Austrian officer, the court regalia of a Habsburg archduke, the simple suit of a Parisian exile, the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and, every so often, a dress. He could handle a saber, a pistol, a rudder, or a golf club; he handled women by necessity and men for pleasure. He spoke the Italian of his archduchess mother, the German of his archduke father, the English of his British royal friends, the Polish of the country his father wished to rule, and the Ukrainian of the land Wilhelm wished to rule himself. In this exhilarating narrative history, prize-winning historian Timothy D. Snyder offers an indelible portrait of an aristocrat whose life personifies the wrenching upheavals of the first half of the twentieth century, as the rule of empire gave way to the new politics of nationalism. Coming of age during the First World War, Wilhelm repudiated his family to fight alongside Ukrainian peasants in hopes that he would become their king. When this dream collapsed he became, by turns, an ally of German imperialists, a notorious French lover, an angry Austrian monarchist, a calm opponent of Hitler, and a British spy against Stalin. Played out in Europe’s glittering capitals and bloody battlefields, in extravagant ski resorts and dank prison cells, The Red Prince captures an extraordinary moment in the history of Europe, in which the old order of the past was giving way to an undefined future-and in which everything, including identity itself, seemed up for grabs.
 

About Timothy Snyder

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Timothy Snyder is Professor of History at Yale University. He won the George Louis Beer Prize of the American Historical Association in 2003 for his book The Reconstruction of Nations. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
 
Published June 3, 2008 by Basic Books. 353 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Children's Books. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Sketches from a Secret War, 2007, etc.), by becoming a Ukrainian prince, “subordinate to the Hapsburg emperor.” The dismemberment of the Austro-Hungarian empire after World War I put an end to this notion, but Wilhelm continued to devote himself to the cause of Ukrainian independence.

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Publishers Weekly

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Part of the family that ruled much of central Europe since 1273, Wilhelm von Habsburg (1895–1949) came of age during the last 23 years of the dynasty’s rule. Von Habsburg lived a nomadi

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The Guardian

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The Red Prince : The Fall of a Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Europe by Timothy Snyder Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop ...

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The Guardian

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Wilhelm's hopes of seeing an independent Ukraine vanished in 1919, and the emphatic Bolshevik victory - confirmed after a botched invasion attempt was crushed two years later - left Wilhelm skirting the fringe of the émigré anti-communist circles found across Europe between the wars.

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London Review of Books

Snyder uses the life of Wilhelm von Habsburg, the ‘Red Prince’, who chose to become a Ukrainian, and the lives of his brother and father, who became Poles, to show how the Polish Question and the less well-known Ukrainian Question were problems not only for Vienna but also for St Petersburg.

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Shelf Awareness

(See Shelf Awareness, July 9, 2007, for more details.) A BBC News report on the U.K.'s Independent Booksellers' Week (July 1-8) highlighted Goldsboro Books, London, which focuses on "specially-bound signed books and in spotting new talent."

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Project MUSE

In previous writings Snyder has shown a talent for large synthetic analysis, as in The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), and for biographical studies, notably in Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission...

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BBC History Magazine

A minor scion of the illustrious Habsburg dynasty, Wilhelm von Habsburg, alias Vasyl Vishyvanyi, rebelled against both the wider cosmopolitan tradition of his family and his father’s own pro-Polish leanings, using his military training to promote the cause of Ukrainian independence during the Fir...

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