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Synopsis

Here, 75 succinct essays cover European royalty from the last king of Rome to Tsar Nicholas II. There is an enduring public interest in royalty and dictatorial rulers: this book covers all of them comprehensively. Far more than just sensational accounts, the book makes a genuine attempt to understand what drove them to their excesses. An informal, readable style produces a strong turn-page effect. In our time, when European monarchies seem little more than tourist curiosities and democracy is taken for granted, it is easy to forget how much power pre-democratic rulers could once wield. The rulers and holders of political power in this book fall into four categories: those villainized by propaganda; those with serious mental disorders; those simultaneously revered and reviled; and those who truly were the epitome of evil. 'Absolute Power' shows how they were all carried away by their exalted status or even overwhelmed by it, while a few were driven over the edge into madness.

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