Vienna, 1814

Vienna, 1814: How the Conquerors of Napoleon Made Love, War, and Peace at the Congress of Vienna
David King

In 1814, after what seemed to be the end of the Napoleonic Wars, all of Europe went to Vienna to party. The occasion was a peace conference, the Congress of Vienna, where royalty and diplomats came together to draw a new political map of Europe. As David King’s subtitle indicates, his emphasis is as much on the Congress’s extravagant social scene, the intrigues in the ballrooms and bedrooms, as on the actual diplomacy. But the two were closely connected. The “greatest and most lavish party in history” was eventually crashed by Napoleon’s escape from Elba, but after nine months a lasting peace had been brought forth. A better record than Paris, 1919, and almost as interesting as MacMillan’s book.