> Skip to content

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.

'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.

Reviews

A wonderful book . . . It is sure to be the standard English-language account for many years. It instructs; it entertains; and it surprises . . . Blanning shows that this hereditary monarch could be more radical than most leaders today

Philip Mansel, Spectator

Tim Blanning's masterpiece stands out . . . This is Frederick the Great in 3D, as we have never seen him before . . . unforgettable

Christopher Clark, BBC History Magazine

Superlative . . . a supremely nuanced account, abounding in novel assessments and insights

John Adamson, Literary Review

A virtuoso study of an exceptionally complex man who, through force of personality, helped to shape European history

Michael Prodger, New Statesman, Books of the Year

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780141039190

    November 14, 2016

    Allen Lane (UK)

    672 pages

    RRP $29.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780241216996

    November 14, 2016

    Penguin eBooks (UK Adult)

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Tim Blanning

George I (Penguin Monarchs)
The Triumph of Music: Composers, Musicians and Their Audiences, 1700 to the Present
The Pursuit Of Glory

Recommendations

Ned Kelly
Albanese
For the Glory
41: A Portrait of My Father
Hanns and Rudolf
Bill Clinton
The Dalai Lama: The Definitive Biography
Mapping the Past
The Shepherd's Bush Murders
Martin Luther
A Stain in the Blood
Spymaster
The Black Prince of Florence
Hitler
The Lost Tudor Princess
13 Hours
An Englishman at War: The Wartime Diaries of Stanley Christopherson DSO MC & Bar 1939-1945
Double Down
The Real Great Escape
Sir Henry Parkes: The Australian Colossus