Publication date: 2016
Date I finished reading: October 13, 2016
Review: This is the biography to get if you want a balanced view of the remarkable Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. He was a remarkable man. Born in 1701, he was abused by his tyrannical father who tried to make him into a sort of clone. Instead, he rebelled. Certainly an atheist, probably gay, he came to power in 1740 when Prussia was a 3rd rate power and left it a 1st rate one.
He had many good qualities - military brilliance, a reformer (to a degree), a devotee of the arts - and many negative ones - he was a bully, a misogynist and left no clear message for his successors. He was also a micromanager to an incredible degree.
This is a great biography.
Tim Blanning is a retired professor of history. In addition to writing many books, he also won a prize for teaching at Cambridge.