Combining impeccable scholarship and literary elegance, David Wetzel depicts the drama of machinations and passions that exploded in a war that forever changed the face of European history.
The clash of two extraordinary personalities-Otto von Bismarck and Napoleon III-drives this engrossing account of the events leading up to the Franco-Prussian War, one of the most momentous and decisive conflicts in the history of Europe.
An accomplished and eloquent historian, David Wetzel tells how this utterly avoidable war unfolded in the brief, eventful days of July 1870, ushering in an era of power politics that would reach its apocalyptic climax in World War I. Hotheaded militarists, high-minded statesmen, scheming opportunists, impassioned nationalists, and sensationalist newspapers all played their part as the European powers of the era-France, Germany, England, Austria, Spain, Italy, and Russia-jockeyed for advantage. Amidst this swirl of national and personal ambitions Wetzel brings Bismarck, Napoleon III, and their intimate circles to life, depicting for present-day readers the tremendous strains working upon them, their preoccupations, motives, judgments, and their ultimate decisions.
Indispensable reading for every student of the nineteenth century, A Duel of Giants offers a wealth of telling detail drawn from personal memoirs, official records, cabinet minutes, journalistic accounts, private notes, and public statements, presented in dramatic and enjoyable style. 8 b&w photographs, 5 line drawings