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The Last Emperor of Mexico

Edward Shawcross

The bizarre and little known story of how a hubristic Archduke became the puppet Emperor of Mexico – with tragic results and pivotal historical consequences for Europe and America.

106 in stock

£20.00
Format
Hardback
ISBN
9780571360574
Date Published
20.01.2022
Delivery
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.
Summary

‘The jaw-dropping tale of Mexico’s Habsburg emperor is told with brio and narrative punch.This is a page-turning history of imperial hubris and nemesis, deceit and delusion, love and betrayal on a grand scale, written in an easy, lucid style.’ Sunday Times

‘Edward Shawcross’s entertaining history explores one of the most reckless political and military adventures of the 19th century . . . the attempt in the 1860s to establish a monarchy in Mexico under Maximilian, the Habsburg archduke who was the brother of Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria. . . A superbly entertaining and well-researched account that sets a new standard for histories of the doomed escapade.’ Financial Times

‘One of the most monstrous enterprises in the annals of international history,’
said Karl Marx. ‘
A madness without parallel since Don Quixote,’ said a future French president.
This is history’s judgement on the events surrounding the ill-fated reign of Maximilian of Mexico, the young Austrian archduke who in 1864 crossed the Atlantic to assume a faraway throne.

He had been convinced to do so by a duplicitous Napoleon III. Keen to spread his own interests abroad, the French emperor promised Maximilian a hero’s welcome, which he would ensure with his own mighty military support. Instead, Maximilian walked into a bloody guerrilla war — and with a headful of impractical ideals and a penchant for pomp and butterflies, the so-called new emperor was singularly unequipped for the task.

The ensuing saga would feature the great world leaders of the day, popes, bandits and queens; intrigue, conspiracy and cut-throat statecraft, as Mexico became the pivotal battleground in the global balance of power, between Old Europe and the burgeoning force of the New World: American imperialism.

The Last Emperor of Mexico is the vivid history of this barely known, barely believable episode — a bloody tragedy of operatic proportions, and a vital debacle, the effects of which would be felt into the twentieth century and beyond.

Critic Reviews

'Edward Shawcross’s entertaining history explores one of the most reckless political and military adventures of the 19th century . . . the attempt in the 1860s to establish a monarchy in Mexico under Maximilian, the Habsburg archduke who was the brother of Franz Joseph, emperor of Austria. . . A superbly entertaining and well-researched account that sets a new standard for histories of the doomed escapade.'

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

'The jaw-dropping tale of Mexico’s Habsburg emperor is told with brio and narrative punch…This is a page-turning history of imperial hubris and nemesis, deceit and delusion, love and betrayal on a grand scale, written in an easy, lucid style.'

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

'The rise and fall of Maxmilian I, the doomed royal dupe, makes for a bleakly comic tale… Shawcross is especially good at describing the cultural gulf between the imperial couple and their subjects and their adopted realm…This is history as at once both tragedy and farce.'

The Times
Critic Reviews

‘Majestic . . . Shawcross’s vivid details turn the emperor into a character as ornate as the silk tapestries he imported. Such attention to the minutiae — including Maximilian’s hunt for rare larvae — makes his demise all the more heartrending.’

Spectator
Critic Reviews

'Gripping...he's an eloquent writer, good at showing both sides of an argument.'

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

'Entertaining.'

Telegraph
EdwardShawcross

After graduating from the University of Oxford, Edward Shawcross lived and worked in France, then South Korea and finally Colombia before returning to London where he completed a PhD at UCL. His research specialised on French imperialism in Latin America and the Mexican intellectual thought that underpinned the Second Mexican Empire.

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