Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2013.
For centuries the very peculiar Habsburg family ruled most of Central Europe and Germany. From their principal lairs along the Danube this unstable mixture of wizards, obsessives, melancholics, bores, musicians and warriors saw off - through luck, guile and sheer mulishness - any number of rivals, until finally packing up in 1918.
Danubia tells the history of this strange dynasty, but it is equally about the people and countries they ruled. Along the way Simon Winder delights in sharing eccentric and fascinating stories, plunging the reader into a maelstrom of alchemy, skeletons, jewels, bear-moats, unfortunate marriages and a guinea-pig village. Accessible, insightful and hilarious, Danubia reveals the wonders of this vastly underappreciated part of Europe.
'Wonderfully readable and entertaining' Sunday Times
'Astoundingly smart . . . It is also damn funny' Scotland on Sunday
'Danubia is a hoot and well worth reading' Independent
Simon Winder, 1963 in London geboren, ist Cheflektor.