R. J. W. Evans is a Fellow of Oriel College and Regius Professor of History Emeritus at Oxford. He is the author of Austria, Hungary, and the Habsburgs: Central Europe, 
c. 1683–1867, among other books.
 (June 2020)


The Dream of World Monarchy

Titian: Emperor Charles V at Mühlberg, 1548

Emperor: A New Life of Charles V

by Geoffrey Parker
Emperor: it’s an arresting title. And the concept looks simple. If it means a ruler over vast lands and numerous peoples, then Charles V eminently qualifies. Through the accidents of fecund marriages and mortality among other prospective claimants, he held sway over a multitude of territories across much of Europe—from …

A Liberal Empire? Ruled from the Spas?

A still from Alain Resnais’s film Last Year at Marienbad, 1961

The Grand Spas of Central Europe: A History of Intrigue, Politics, Art, and Healing

by David Clay Large

The Habsburg Empire: A New History

by Pieter M. Judson
There is a symbol for the late Habsburg Empire in its elegant spa of Carlsbad: a genteel center of society and culture in the heart of old Europe; a place where crowned heads of the continent and their chief advisers could meet informally, in the years before the World War …

A New Vision of Germany

A parade on the first ‘Day of German Art,’ marking the opening of the first ‘Great German Art Exhibition’ of works by artists approved by the Nazi regime, Munich, July 18, 1937

Germany: Memories of a Nation

by Neil MacGregor
This is a book about the Germans and their past. But it is also a distinctly British book. Britain has unfinished business with the history of Germany in a way other countries seem no longer to have, even those pitted against it more desperately through twentieth-century wars and aggression. For …

How They Hunted Down Liberals

‘Proclamation of the French Republic’; caricature by Johann Christian Schoeller, February 1848

Phantom Terror: Political Paranoia and the Creation of the Modern State, 1789–1848

by Adam Zamoyski
In the years after the Congress of Vienna, whose final act was signed almost exactly two centuries ago, on June 9, 1815, the flamboyant English Romantic poet Lord Byron had more followers across Europe than any of his contemporaries. Quite a few of them followed him literally: he was being …

‘The Greatest Catastrophe the World Has Seen’

John Singer Sargent: Gassed, 1919

The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914

by Margaret MacMillan

1913: In Search of the World Before the Great War

by Charles Emmerson
June 28, 1914, Sarajevo, Bosnia. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the multinational Habsburg realms, resplendent in the dress uniform of an Austrian cavalry general, but also absurd in his plumed headdress, was shot at close range by Gavrilo Princip, a local student dropout obsessed with the Serbian national cause. Sarajevo was one of history’s most purple passages: there was the drama of bungled security and hamfisted conspiracy; spectacle and gore; the play of intention and chance; the clash of generations and civilizations, of the old monarchical Europe and the modern terrorist cell.

In the Lost World of East Prussia

Marienburg Castle, the former headquarters of the Teutonic Order, Marienburg, East Prussia, 1928. The castle, in what is now Poland, was damaged significantly during World War II, but has since been mostly reconstructed.

Forgotten Land: Journeys among the Ghosts of East Prussia

by Max Egremont
German history has a Stunde Null, a zero hour. It applies to the capitulation at midnight on May 8, 1945, or more generally to the end of World War II. Germans experienced the unconditional surrender of the National Socialist state amid unprecedented destruction of the existing built environment, political system, …

The Gambler in Blood and Iron

Otto von Bismarck with his dogs, Tyras II and Rebecca, July 1891

Bismarck: A Life

by Jonathan Steinberg


by Jean-Paul Bled
Life with Otto von Bismarck could be very uncomfortable, even for those on his own side. Shortly after being appointed premier of Prussia in 1862, with a brief to defend monarch and army against an overwhelming liberal majority in parliament, he gave a speech that included the infamous claim that …