George I was not the most charismatic of the Hanoverian monarchs to have reigned in England but he was probably the most important. He was certainly the luckiest.
Born the youngest son of a landless German duke, he was taken by repeated strokes of good fortune to become, first the ruler of a major state in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and then the sovereign of three kingdoms (England, Ireland and Scotland).
Tim Blanning's incisive short biography examines George's life and career as a German prince, and as King. Fifty-four years old when he arrived in London in 1714, he was a battle-hardened veteran, who put his long experience and deep knowledge of international affairs to good use in promoting the interests of both Hanover and Great Britain. When he died, his legacy was order and prosperity at home and power and prestige abroad. Disagreeable he may have been to many, but he was also tough, determined and effective, at a time when other European thrones had started to crumble.
'Highly readable and deeply researched' - Andrew Roberts
'Masterful ... brilliantly brings to life one of the most complex characters of modern European history' - Sunday Telegraph
'It is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises' - Philip Mansel, The Spectator
Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, dominated the eighteenth century in the same way that Napoleon dominated the start of the nineteenth. He was a force of nature, a ruthless, brilliant, charismatic military commander, a monarch of exceptional energy and talent, a gifted composer, performer, poet and philosopher, and a discerning patron of artists, architects and writers, most famously Voltaire. From the very start of his reign he was an intensely divisive figure - fascinating even to those who hated him.
Tim Blanning's brilliant new biography captures Frederick's vitality, complexity and flawed genius better than any previous writer. He also recreates a remarkable era, the last flowering of the old regime that would be swept away almost immediately after Frederick's death by the French Revolution.
Equally at home on the battlefield or in the music room at Frederick's extraordinary miniature palace of Sanssouci, Blanning draws on a lifetime's immersion in the eighteenth century to present him in the round, with new attention paid to his cultural self-fashioning, including his sexuality. Frederick's spectre has hung over Germany ever since, both as inspiration and warning - Blanning at last allows us to understand him in his own time.
Once musicians such as Mozart were little more than court servants; now they are multimillionaire superstars wielding more power than politicians. How did this extraordinary change come about?
Tim Blanning's brilliantly enjoyable book examines how everything from the cult of the romantic to technology and travel all fed the inexorable rise of music in the West, making it the most dominant and ubiquitous of the art forms. Encompassing balladeers, the great composers, jazz legends and rock gods, this is an enthralling story of power, patronage, creativity and genius.
'The Penguin History of Europe series ... is one of contemporary publishing's great projects' New Statesman
The Pursuit of Glory brings to life one of the most extraordinary periods in European history - from the battered, introvert continent after the Thirty Years War to the dynamic one that experienced the French Revolution and the wars of Napoleon. Tim Blanning depicts the lives of ordinary people and the dominant personalities of the age (Louis XIV, Frederick the Great, Napoleon), and explores an era of almost unprecedented change, growth and cultural, political and technological ferment that shaped the societies and economies of entire countries.
Tim Blanning is the author of a number of major works on eighteenth century Europe, including The Pursuit of Glory : Europe 1648-1815, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture and Joseph II. He is Emeritus Professor of Modern European History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and a Fellow of the British Academy. His latest book, Frederick the Great, won the British Academy Medal 2016.