A dry, ponderous and pedestrian tome about a fascinating man.
No doubt Steinberg is an able historian, but his prose is flat and clunky. Worse, he doesn't know what to throw out. The reader doesn't really need to know every Count Erwin von Klinkerfelden-Baden-Schmeitzenkirken et al in the room. Mein Gott! Who cares?
Inside this flabby 500-page snoozefest is a great 300-page biography gasping to get out.
If only we could summon up the ghost of A.J.P. Taylor whose bio of Bismarck crackled with energy and wit 50-odd years ago. Taylor had more snap, crackle and pop on one page than this whole dreary, wearisome book.
This baby is stillborn. So sad.

georgepatrick's rating:
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