Joseph II: Volume 1, in the Shadow of Maria Theresa, 1741-1780

Derek Beales, Author Cambridge University Press $110 (546p) ISBN 978-0-521-24240-0
Claimed as the first full and reliable biography of this ""classical example of a monarch who tried to transform society from above,'' Beales's magisterially smooth and scholarly study covers Joseph's upbringing and education at the stuffy Viennese court, his tragic marriages and his 15 years as co-regent, with his formidable mother Maria Theresa, of the vast and ramshackle remnants of the Holy Roman Empire. Beales (The Risorgimento and the Unification of Italy, etc.) reduces a bewildering array of material to lucid order as he examines Joseph's complex and not altogether attractive personality, his stormy relations with his mother and his partially successful attempts to assert himself in both domestic and foreign policy. Together with its projected sequel, the book should prove invaluable to students of the period. Illustrations. (April)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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