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Home » Books » History » Europe » General

Rites of Peace

The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna

By Adam Zamoyski

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Format: Paperback, 416 pages
Published In: United Kingdom, 04 February 2008
Following on from his epic `1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow', bestselling author Adam Zamoyski has written the dramatic story of the Congress of Vienna.In the wake of his disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, Napoleon's imperious grip on Europe began to weaken, raising the question of how the Continent was to be reconstructed after his defeat. There were many who dreamed of a peace to end all wars, in which the interests of peoples as well as those of rulers would be taken into account. But what followed was an unseemly and at times brutal scramble for territory by the most powerful states, in which countries were traded as if they had been private and their inhabitants counted like cattle.The results, fixed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, not only laid the foundations of the European world we know; it put in place a social order and a security system that lie at the root of many of the problems which dog the world today. Although the defining moments took place in Vienna, and the principle players included Tsar Alexander I of Russia, the Austrian Chancellor Metternich, the Duke of Wellington and the French master of diplomacy Talleyrand, as well as Napoleon himself, the accepted view of the gathering of statesmen reordering the Continent in elegant salons is a false one. Many of the crucial questions were decided on the battlefield or in squalid roadside cottages amid the vagaries of war. And the proceedings in Vienna itself were not as decorous as is usually represented.Drawing on a wide range of first-hand sources in six languages, which include not only official documents, private letters, diaries and first-hand accounts, but also the reports of police spies and informers, Adam Zamoyski gets below the thin veneer of courtliness and reveals that the new Europe was forged by men in thrall to fear, greed and lust, in an atmosphere of moral depravity in which sexual favours were traded as readily as provinces and the 'souls' who inhabited them. He has created a chilling account, full of menace as well as frivolity.

Promotional Information

/ Lead title Following on from his epic '1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow', bestselling author Adam Zamoyski has written the dramatic story of the Congress of Vienna. / A compelling account of the fall of Napoleon and the extraordinary Congress of Vienna, from bestselling author Adam Zamoyski. / '1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow' was a Sunday Times Bestseller and has sold over 48,000 copies in the UK to date. 'Rites of Peace' is Zamoyski's dramatic follow-up. / Competition: The Congress of Vienna by Tim Chapman (Routledge 1998)

About the Author

Adam Zamoyski was born in New York, was educated at Oxford, and lives in London. A full-time writer, he has written biographies of `Chopin' (Collins 1979), `Paderewski', and `The Last King of Poland', as well as a history of Poland and `Holy Madness: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries 1776-1871' and `1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow'.


'Deeply researched, elegantly written, gleaming with the political and sexual depravity of the Congress that decided the fate of Europe, Zamoyski's "Rites of Peace" is outstanding -- a delicious, triumphant feast of a book.' Daily Mail 'Impressively detailed diplomatic history; it deals with the fate of nations and dynasties and the doings of emperors, kings and princes. The author keeps up a strong narrative drive, guiding the reader through the tortuously involved negotiations of the Congress.' The Economist 'Zamoyski's!account of the labyrinthine twists of diplomacy is both masterly and exhaustive!I closed the book full of admiration for its author.' Sunday Times 'Not since Margaret MacMillan's instant classic on the Treaty of Versailles has there been a book on diplomacy of such richness and readability!an exhilarating book!Zamoyski advances his case with a story-telling detail that makes his book hard to put down!Zamoyski has achieved a rare feat. He has taken the driest of diplomatic archives and turned them into a compelling narrative.' The Guardian 'Zamoyski, who is fluent in six European languages, has covered this maddeningly complicated period with scholarship, comprehension and detachment!(he) has given us an intimate understanding of this most complex of times.'Daily Telegraph 'Zamoyski!writes elegantly and vividly, and deftly balances the complex details of the negotiations with colourful portraits!(his) achievement is to have brought to life one of the great turning-points in European history.' Sunday Telegraph

EAN: 9780007203062
ISBN: 0007203063
Publisher: HarperPerennial
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.5 centimetres (0.40 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna.
Held in 1815 the Congress of Vienna redrew the entire map of Europe and imposed an ideology on the whole Continent, derived from the interest of the four great powers. It transformed the conduct of international affairs and its consequences have led to aggressive nationalism, Bolshevism, fascism, the two world wars and the creation of the European Union.

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