Finished Pieter M.Judson’s “The Habsburg Empire: A New History”
This is a great and meaty book, which I devoured, all 543 pages, including 100 pages of notes. It is more similar to Christopher Clack’s “Iron Kingdom” (another great book), rather than a chronological annal of the history of the Habsburg Empire. It’s central theme was the relationship between the imperial authorities and its peoples, and the ways those peoples tried to articulate stakes on the empire and from the empire. It is a story of the rise of nationalism, but of its rise as a top-down political ideology who struggled to co-opt the imperial state to impose a specific nationalist-statist ideology on peoples who primary identity was localist. It is a great book of politics, showing the empire trying to react to the changes brought by the industrial revolution and the mass politics that continue. It is finally a book that dispenses with the myth propagated by nationalist-statists about the inevitability of their favored systems of nationalism-statism, the unitary nation state. The Empire was not doomed to die. Its death was the result of conscious political choices by both imperialists and nationalist-statists, and by a war of choice.