Drawing on unpublished letters and rare primary sources, King and Woolmans tell the true story behind the tragic romance and brutal assassination that sparked World War I.
In the summer of 1914, three great empires dominated Europe: Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary. Four years later all had vanished in the chaos of World War I. One event precipitated the conflict, and at its heart was a tragic love story.
When Austrian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand married for love against the wishes of the emperor, he and his wife, Sophie, were humiliated and shunned. Yet they remained devoted to each other and to their children. The two bullets fired in Sarajevo not only ended their love story but also led to war and a century of conflict.
Set against a backdrop of glittering privilege, The Assassination ofthe Archduke combines royal history, touching romance, and political murder in a moving portrait of the end of an era. One hundred years after the event, it offers the startling truth behind the Sarajevo assassinations, including Serbian complicity, and examines rumors of conspiracy and official negligence.
Events in Sarajevo also doomed the couple's children to lives of loss, exile, and the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, their plight echoing the horrors unleashed by their parents' deaths. Challenging a century of myth, The Assassination of the Archduke resonates as a very human story of love destroyed by murder, revolution, and war.
©2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2013 Greg King and Sue Woolmans
The great disappointment of this book was the focus on the minute details of the marriage of the Duke and his wife and the consternation their marriage caused in the Austrian Royal Family. While some of this was interesting, it became extremely tedious after numerous descriptions of what the Duke's wife wore to various social engagements or verbatim quotes of letters from members of the Austrian aristocracy to each other.Another disappointing aspect of the book is the lightly hidden collaboration between the authors and the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the Duke and his wife to restore their reputations. The authors make a very strong argument that the behavior of Austrian Royal Family to the Duke and his wife was despicable. But I couldn't help but be put off by the decedents of the Duke and his wife seeming to cling to titles of Prince and Princess when such titles were part of the social order that permitted the mistreatment of their grandparents.The last part of the book partially makes up for these deficits when it launches into detail about the immediate events surrounding the assassination of the Duke and his wife. What I felt was left out, though, was more information about the politics in the Balkans that caused such hatred of the Duke. Why did the Eastern Orthodox Slavs hate the Catholics and Muslims? The book is very shallow in providing the reader with an understanding of why the Balkans were, and remain, an area of viscous ethnic conflict. This would have been far more interesting than digressions on the type of feathers the Duke was wearing on his hat on a certain day.
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