am 13. Mai 2012
Joachim Whaley has put years of work into his two-volume portrait of the Holy Roman Empire. The result is a fine tour d'horizon, rich in fact and comment, yet never too detailed as to become unreadable by the less scholarly than he. Whaley, a bilingual, provides some of the tidiest translations of many German names, titles and longer quotes currently available in "British textbooks". (To call his work either or both of these is probably demeaning, however!). Mercifully, he spares us intricate military ins and outs, preferring the broad canvas. He is, I find, at his best on social, religious and cultural history, but masters the vastly complicated administrative material as well. Sadly, OUP displays considerable sloppiness on the misprint front - surely even a Tab publishing at The Other Place deserves better?! More maps would also have been very helpful, even for readers with a pretty good grasp of modern German geography. But Whaley's entertaining turn of phrase is full of pleasant surprises. These and his ability to weave a dozen complicated strands to most elegant cloth make these two (not exactly cheap) books worth every penny. Their publication sets the new yardstick in HRE studies.