Frederick the Great: King of Prussia

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Product Details

$40.00  $37.20
Random House
Publish Date
6.6 X 9.4 X 1.6 inches | 2.2 pounds

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About the Author

Until his retirement in 2009, Tim Blanning was a professor of modern European history at the University of Cambridge, and he remains a fellow of Sidney Sussex College and of the British Academy. He is the general editor of The Oxford History of Modern Europe and The Short Oxford History of Europe. He is also the author of The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture, which won a prestigious German prize and was short-listed for the British Academy Book Prize, the New York Times bestseller The Pursuit of Glory, The Triumph of Music, and The Romantic Revolution. In 2000 he was awarded a Pilkington Prize for teaching by the University of Cambridge.


"Writing Frederick's biography . . . requires a diverse set of skills: expertise in eighteenth-century diplomatic and military history, including the intricacies of the Holy Roman Empire; a familiarity with the music, architecture and intellectual traditions of Northern Europe; and, not least, a profound sense of human psychology, the better to grasp the makeup of this complex and tormented man. Fortunately, Tim Blanning . . . has all of these skills in abundance. . . . Frederick the Great offers a portrait in chiaroscuro, full of intricate shadings and startling contrasts."--The Wall Street Journal

"As Tim Blanning makes clear in a new biography that is at once scholarly and highly readable, Frederick the Great fully deserves history's judgment of him as a transformative figure of the second millennium. . . . [Blanning] has given us a superb portrait of an enlightened despot, equally at home on the battlefield and in the opera house, both utterly ruthless and culturally refined."--Commentary

"Methodically but not ploddingly, Blanning, in clear thinking and prose, investigates all aspects of Frederick's personality and reign. . . . The last word on this significant king, for years to come."--Booklist (starred review)

"[A] masterly biography . . . Blanning brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history, building up a rich picture of his very active mental life and the strange social setting that he constructed around himself."--The Telegraph (five stars)

"Superlative . . . an almost sculptural, three-dimensional rendering of Frederick, one that enables its vast and protean subject to be viewed from a multiplicity of angles . . . a supremely nuanced account, abounding in novel assessments and insights . . . This biography finds [Blanning] at the height of his powers and offers major reassessments of almost every aspect of Frederick's career."--Literary Review

"In Tim Blanning, Frederick has found the ideal biographer. . . . Blanning evokes Old Fritz in all his cold-blooded brilliance, ranging from the king's operatic tastes to his gastronomic and erotic predilections."--The Sunday Times

"[Frederick the Great] is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises. Blanning shows that this hereditary monarch, born in Berlin in 1712, could be more radical than most leaders today."--The Spectator

"[Blanning] has a reach that exceeds that of most of his peers. . . . This book is a rich, dense but accessible work of high scholarship."--The Times