Cover image for Kaiser Wilhelm II : Germany's last emperor.
Kaiser Wilhelm II : Germany's last emperor.
Van der Kiste, John.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Stroud : Sutton, 1999.
Physical Description:
xi, 244 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DD229 .V36 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, this biography examines the complex personality of Germany's last emperor. Born in 1859, the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria, Prince Wilhelm was torn between two cultures - that of the Prussian Junker and that of the English liberal gentleman.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

It was said of both Teddy Roosevelt and Kaiser Wilhelm II that each wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral. Show-offs are more tolerable to read about than be around, and history buffs will certainly enjoy this new biography of the ruler who, as Kaiser Bill, American doughboys went off to fight in World War I. Of course, with someone so flamboyant and controversial as the last emperor of Germany (who ruled his empire from 1888 to his 1918 abdication), achieving balance in understanding the subject is the biographer's challenge, and Van der Kiste accomplishes this task with finesse. Wilhelm's obsessive relationship with his mother (who was born the eldest child of Queen Victoria), his also-obsessive sense of competition with Britain, and his role in the outbreak of the Great War are important factors in the kaiser's life and reign that the author scrutinizes with excellent psychological fathoming and stylish detail. The kaiser seems real here; enough said. --Brad Hooper

Library Journal Review

Van der Kiste, a prolific royal biographer and an academic librarian in Plymouth, England, here turns his attention to Germany's complicated last emperor. Filled with anecdotes and fun to read, this book argues that Wilhelm was no Hitler and is thus not the villain on which World War I can conveniently be blamed; at worst, he was a man out of his depth as leader of Europe's leading military power. Although short on historical analysis and occasionally internally contradictoryÄthe preface weakly hints at a connection among the Kaiser, Hitler, and Helmut K”hl that the text deniesÄthis book gives the reader enough court tittle-tattle to satisfy anyone going through Princess Diana withdrawal. This sort of information is not entirely superficial, however; it gives the reader insight into a man who was not evil but just too flawed to lead the German Empire. A badly needed biography of a leader who has not received much attention in the English language; recommended for undergraduate and public libraries.ÄRandall L. Schroeder, Wartburg Coll., Waverly, IA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.