Author(s): Simon Winder
Longlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize for NonfictionNow reissued with a fresh cover look, Danubia is the brilliant and entertaining companion to the Sunday Times top ten bestseller Germania. For centuries much of Europe was in the hands of the very peculiar Habsburg family. An unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians, and warriors, they saw off - through luck, guile and sheer mulishness - any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918. From their principal lairs along the Danube, they ruled most of Central Europe and Germany and interfered everywhere. The history of Europe hardly makes sense without them.Clever and remarkably funny, Simon Winder plunges the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages, and a guinea-pig village. Filled with music, piracy, religion, and in-fighting, Danubia is the history of a dynasty, but it is at least as much about the people they ruled, who spoke many different languages, lived in a vast range of landscapes, believed in many rival gods, and often showed a marked ingratitude towards their oddball ruler in Vienna. Readers who discovered Winder's genius for telling wonderful stories of middle Europe with Germania will be delighted by the eccentric and fascinating stories of the Habsburgs and their world.