Zamoyski, A.: Rites of Peace

Zamoyski , Adam

Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna

HarperPress, 2012

Regency enthusiasts worth their salt should know a thing or two about The Congress of Vienna, the major political event of 1814/1815. The congress is a very complex topic, and many books about it give you the headache (especially some by German scholars). Therefore, I was very happy when I stumbled upon Adam Zamoyski’s “Rites Of Peace”. The author does provide plenty of detailed information on diplomatic aspects, but he tells the story well. And he doesn’t leave out the juicy aspects of the congress: There are greed, lust, blackmailing, bribery and sex. Diplomats send their mistresses to spy on foreign delegations. Politicians write to their spouses at home about how much they abhor the party-live and the easy women of Vienna, and then dash off to enjoy both. Delegates don’t even try to pretend being in Vienna for politics and diplomacy. I will never again be able to consider a political conference a demure affair.

Mr Zamoyski selected information from secret political reports, private diaries, letters and personal reminiscences and turned them into a very readable account of an event that shaped Europe. You get a broad picture of life in Vienna in the years 1814 and 1815 and a good impression of the lavish decorations of its festivities.

“Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna” was a great source for “What Would Have Been Your Role at the Congress of Vienna 1814/1815?“.