The Congress of Vienna
Power and Politics after Napoleon
Harvard University Press 2014
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who knows anything about European history–and European diplomatic history in particular–who doesn’tknow a little something about the Congress of Vienna. That “little something” is probably that the Congress fostered a post-war (Napoleonic War, that is) settlement called the “Concert of Europe” that lasted, roughly, until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
That’s a good sound bite. But, as Brian Vick shows in his lively, fascinating bookThe Congress of Vienna: Power and Politics after Napoleon (Harvard University Press, 2014), a lot more than diplomatic toing-and-froing went on in Vienna. The diplomats and their huge entourages, well, partied a lot. The ate (generally well), drank (often too much) and “consorted” (to put it diplomatically). As Vick demonstrates, this setting has a distinct impact on the negotiations and their eventual outcome. In vino veritas? Listen in.