The Hapsburg Monarchy, 1867-1914
This is a richly detailed and readable history of Austria-Hungary in which Arthur J. May (professor at the University of Rochester) traces the Hapsburg empire from the Ausgleich of 1867 to the eve of the First World War. The extraordinary and amorphous empire – "that ramshackle realm" as Lloyd George called it – extended from cultivated Vienna to the remote hamlets of the Ukrainian east, and comprised a wide mixture of peoples: Magyars, Czechs, Poles and Ruthenians, Slovenes, Croats. May discusses the many elements of this diverse realm, its society, culture, economy, politics, diplomacy, and great men. The burgeoning forces of nationalism were eventually to tear the empire apart. Certainly there were plenty of war scares (occupation of Bosnia in 1878 with 5000 casualties, against Russian in 1885-86, annexation of Bosnia in 1908, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913) before 1914.