The Fortress: The Siege of Przemysl and the Making of Europe's Bloodlands

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Product Details

Price
$32.00  $29.44
Publisher
Basic Books
Publish Date
Pages
400
Dimensions
6.3 X 1.3 X 9.3 inches | 1.4 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781541697300

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About the Author

Alexander Watson is professor of history at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, which won the Wolfson History Prize and the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History, and Enduring the Great War, winner of the Fraenkel Prize.

Reviews

"[The Fortress] is excellent history, a marvelously readable, though tragic, story of its time and of how the clock can be made to turn backwards under siege conditions; and in its account of the Habsburg commanders' unshakable vanity, philandering and cockiness it has plenty of modern resonances as a parable of arrogant exceptionalism, imperial conceit and perilous isolationism."--The Daily Telegraph (UK)
"Watson's account of these men's experience of battle is a brilliant distillation of their letters, diaries and memories. The voices of the siege convey its horror and the terror of men who had to endure it and suppress their fear of death... The vividly written and well-researched The Fortress is a masterpiece. It deserves to become a classic of military history."--The Times (UK)
"Watson's splendid book combines great evocative power (and flashes of sharp humour) with the ethical authority of the best history writing. The story it tells is unsettling, because it resists any attempt to encompass the death and violence of war within a narrative of redemption. It recalls instead a war that never really ended, but rather spilled out into cascades of further violence whose toxic effects are still with us today."--Guardian (UK)
"The Fortress is based on extraordinarily impressive research, yet is also vivid, imaginative, and humane. It recaptures one of the most terrible episodes in a terrible war, which -- as Watson rightly argues -- presaged even greater horrors to come."--David Stevenson, London School of Economics and Political Science
"Przemysl, Habsburg Austria's easternmost fortress, lay in Galicia, a flat borderland between the turbulent German, Austrian, and Russian empires. Watson reconstructs the Russian siege in engrossing detail, and also proves that the eastern 'bloodlands' later ravaged by the Nazis and Soviets had already been desolated once before -- during World War I and its chaotic aftermath, when the Russians and Austro-Hungarians, desperate to hold Galicia, taught Hitler and Stalin how to weaken and destroy unwanted peoples like the Jews or Ukrainians."--Geoffrey Wawro, author of A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire
"Przemysl is best known for its challenges to orthography and pronunciation. But Watson contextualizes the history of this remote Habsburg fortress-city from its beginnings as a strategic pivot to its development as a focal point for overlapping imperial and nationalist aspirations. The defining event was the great siege of 1914, whose everyday routines and long term consequences Watson presents with a verve and clarity making this a must read for students of the Great War in the east."--Dennis Showalter, professor emeritus, Colorado College