As fascinating as it is informative, this chronicle of Europe's most enduring system of government—monarchy—explores the many colorful and often controversial facets of an institution that has survived revolution, warfare, regicides, national strife, and the occasional sheer incompetence of the head beneath the crown. While it considers monarchical history as well as the tales, intrigues, scandals, and historical gossip that have attached themselves to both the British and continental monarchies, this always engaging volume also speculates upon the future of European monarchy as a vital and viable form of government after the year 2000. The speculation is not idle, for monarchy continues to command the world's attention and to wield significant influence throughout Europe. Of the fifteen members of the European Union, seven are monarchies—among them Spain, whose king saved the country's democracy from a military coup in the 1980s, and Belgium, where the monarchy has proven to be a crucial factor in the survival of a fractured nation. In England four generations of Windsors survive and thrive, and the Dutch royal house, too, enjoys immense popularity. Meanwhile, former monarchs like Constantine II of Greece, Michael II of Romania, and Simeon of Bulgaria retain their titles and loyal followers who refuse to forfeit the hope of their kings' restoration to power. Surveying the sweep of monarchy in Britain and across the regal face of the European continent, The Royal Families of Europe adeptly illuminates an institution that flourishes with possibilities and prospects beyond ceremony, ermine robes, crowns, and scepters.
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In exhaustive detail, Hindley (The Book of the Magna Carta) gives an overview of the state of the monarchy in 20th-century continental Europe. He first looks at the royal families--some of them in exile--of countries, such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and France, where the monarchy's political duties have been assumed by other governmental bodies. Hindley espouses the view that today's hereditary monarchs are "above politics" and that, when functioning in their proper capacity as heads of state, they "embody values of public service and a sense of communal and national identity." Drawing on dozens of historical and contemporary sources, he traces the impact of WWI and II, and of the Communist Bloc, on various monarchies. The travails of the Bulgarian royals, for instance, began in 1939, when King Boris III was forced to cooperate with Germany but kept his commitment vague. When Hitler pressed him to formally declare war on the Soviet Union, he refused and died shortly thereafter under mysterious circumstances. The throne was left to six-year-old Simeon II, who in 1946 was exiled along with his mother and sister. King Simeon II still holds out for re-enthronement, maintaining active ties with expatriated Bulgarians, in part via a Web site where he posts letters to the Bulgarian people. Hindley, whose sympathies apparently lie with the mostly disempowered aristocracies, gives several examples of bad treatment received by deposed royal families, including the harassment of Constantine II of Greece when he cruised the Greek Islands. Hindley also covers monarchies currently on the throne--with varying degrees of executive power--in countries like Belgium, Monaco and Spain. This account's sentimental subjectivity may appeal to devotees of European monarchy despite the book's dry prose, but it will disappoint more serious scholars of the subject. Photos not seen by PW.
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Rumors to the contrary, the British monarchy is in no real danger of falling; most Britons prefer the institution to remain intact. In this survey of the contemporary monarchical scene in Europe, Hindley presents a fascinating, very knowledgeable "balance sheet" of the countries where monarchs still sit on thrones and a look back at the history of countries where monarchies were once in place but have since been replaced by a republican form of government. His focus is on the local traditions in which each monarchy flourished as well as the conditions that have either kept the monarchy alive or resulted in its overthrow. He introduces the reader to the important royal personalities of the twentieth century, citing the present Spanish king, Juan Carlos, as "twentieth-century Europe's most distinguished holder of the office of monarch." The author peers into the future of monarchy in Europe, sensing that "the challenge for monarchy is to survive in the present by adapting to the future," which he credits the institution of having considerable ability to do. Brad Hooper
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Descripción Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Estado de la sobrecubierta: New. Recounts the history of present and former ruling families of continental Europe and speculates on the role of monarchy in the future. Minimal shelfwear. Book. Nº de ref. de la librería 123473102
Descripción Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P11078670828X
Descripción Basic Books, 2001. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Brand New!. Nº de ref. de la librería VIB078670828X
Descripción Basic Books. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 078670828X New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW7.0889256