Author(s): Tim Blanning
Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, dominated the 18th century in the same way that Napoleon dominated the start of the 19th - a force of nature, a caustic, ruthless, brilliant military commander, a monarch of exceptional energy and talent, and a knowledgeable patron of artists, architects and writers, most famously Voltaire. From early in his reign he was already a legendary figure - fascinating even to those who hated him. Tim Blanning's brilliant new biography recreates a remarkable era, a world which would be swept away shortly 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 obsession with the 18th century to create a work that is in many ways the summation of all that he has learned in his own rich and various career. Frederick's spectre has hung over Germany ever since: an inspiration, a threat, an impossible ideal - Blanning at last allows us to understand him in his own time.
Highly readable and deeply researched -- Andrew Roberts Mail on Sunday Tim Blanning's masterly biography guides the reader through all these wars and chicaneries with great skill and dry-eyed objectivity -- Noel Malcolm Telegraph (5*) It is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises -- Philip Mansel The Spectator Tim Blanning is that rarest of scholars, as deft in his command of government and grand strategy as he is in his handling of philosophy and opera, and is rightly regarded as one of Britain's (indeed Europe's) finest historians. This biography finds him at the height of his powers and offers major reassessments of almost every aspect of Frederick's career -- John Adamson Literary Review Potsdam, where the founding father of Prussian autocracy built the prettiest of palaces and picked the loftiest of guardsmen, [is] freshly and fascinatingly described by Tim Blanning -- Nicky Haslam Spectator A similar mastery of topic is evident from the first lines of Tim Blanning's Frederick the Great: King of Prussia (Allen Lane), a virtuoso study of an exceptionally complex man who, through force of personality, helped to shape an equally complex moment in European history. -- Michael Prodger New Statesman A superbly wise and accomplished biographer -- Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times Tim Blanning's Frederick the Great, is as enthralling on its subject's horribly abusive upbringing as on his bold, sometimes foolhardy military campaigns. Blanning is particularly acute in inquiring, without, prurience, into the notorious question of Frederick's sexuality. -- Ritchie Robertson TLS
Tim Blanning is the author of a number of major works on eighteenth century Europe, including The Pursuit of Glory, The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture and Joseph II. He was Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.