Kaiser Wilhelm II was such a bizarre and powerful personality that it is perhaps surprising how few academic historians devoted serious attention to him until recently. Lamar Cecil's Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859--1900 (London/Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina P., 1989; pp. 463. [pound]39.95) is the first volume of a two-volume study and covers Wilhelm's life up to the appointment of Bulow as Chancellor in 1900. In the preface the author emphasizes that he has written a biography rather than a work of history, a 'life' rather than a 'times'; and his insistence on Wilhelm's remoteness, his immunity to 'the concerns and ambitions of his subjects' may surprise those who have been tempted to see the Kaiser as supremely representative of the Wilhelmine era. Cecil writes with his usual fluency and draws on extensive archival research, including family correspondence in the Royal Archives at Windsor. The biographical approach works best in the early chapters, which cover Wilhelm's childhood, adolescence and growing estrangement from his parents. The author paints a...
Wilhelm II: Prince and Emperor, 1859-1900
From: The English Historical Review(Vol. 108, Issue 426)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Document Type: Book review
Length: 681 words
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Copyright: COPYRIGHT 1993 Oxford University Press