Absolute power: the real lives of Europe’s most infamous rulers

Here, 75 succinct essays cover European royalty from the last king of Rome to Tsar Nicholas II. There is an enduring public interest in royalty and dictatorial rulers: this book covers all of them comprehensively. Far more than just sensational accounts, the book makes a genuine attempt to understand what drove them to their excesses.
An informal, readable style produces a strong turn-page effect. In our time, when European monarchies seem little more than tourist curiosities and democracy is taken for granted, it is easy to forget how much power pre-democratic rulers could once wield.
The rulers and holders of political power in this book fall into four categories: those villainized by propaganda; those with serious mental disorders; those simultaneously revered and reviled; and those who truly were the epitome of evil. “Absolute Power” shows how they were all carried away by their exalted status or even overwhelmed by it, while a few were driven over the edge into madness.

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