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George, Nicholas and Wilhelm

Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I

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In the years before the First World War, the great European powers were ruled by three first cousins: King George V of Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Together, they presided over the last years of dynastic Europe and the outbreak of the most destructive war the world had ever seen, a war that set twentieth-century Europe on course to be the most violent continent in the history of the world.
Through brilliant and often darkly comic portraits of these men and their lives, their foibles and obsessions, Miranda Carter delivers the tragicomic story of Europe’s early twentieth-century aristocracy, a solipsistic world preposterously out of kilter with its times.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 01, 2010 – Historian Carter (Anthony Blunt: His Lives) delivers an irresistibly entertaining and illuminating chronicle from Queen Victoria's final decades to the 1930s through linked biographies of the emperors of England (George V), Germany (Wilhelm II), and Russia (Nicholas II). Anachronisms presiding over courts that were “stagnant ponds of tradition and conservatism,” the three possessed average intelligence and little imagination. All were unprepared for their jobs and didn't improve with on-the-job training. Most fortunate was George, who performed his purely symbolic royal role dutifully, avoided scandal, and, alone of the three, reigned until his death, in 1936. More colorful but also tactless and unpredictable, Wilhelm took the German throne in 1888, dismissed his long-serving, brilliant chancellor, Bismarck, and launched an erratic reign that contributed to the onset and loss of WWI. Czar Nicholas showed little interest in governing except to oppose reform. In the end, the most violent reformers, the Bolsheviks, murdered him and his family. Readers with fond memories of Robert Massie and Barbara Tuchman can expect similar pleasures in this witty, shrewd examination of the twilight of the great European monarchies. 32 pages of photos, 2 maps.

Customer Reviews


I am continuously trying to understand the world I have lived in for 50 years. This immensely readable book provides a comprehensive history of a very important time.

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm

Fascinating !!!!!

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm

A world of research went into this detailed, readable book. This book complimented The Guns of August from a few years ago. The men are brought to life in such a real way that I wanted to yell at them, "don't do that, it won't end well, are you nuts?" The news today is the same as it was back then in the Ukraine, so sad. The books gives good background for so many stories today, like Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge's.

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Mar 23, 2010
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 560 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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